Looking into upgrading to hydros
on my Jamis XLT. Currently has Avid BB7/BB5 with Tektro carbon levers. I'm a complete newbie when it comes to hydros. Familiar with names and models but not quality or which model is better (I know that Juicy 3 is entry-level, for example).
I know I should start out simple, but I want something that has some bling factor yet is affordable. I know, doesn't always work that way. What I want is carbon levers with some red anodized parts (I think one of the Avid models has anodized knobs or something) and comes in 160mm rotor size.
What are my options, and if you can direct me in the right direction to look (best manufactirer, model) I can probaly do my own research.
Avid Elixir CRs pretty much exactly fit your description. Nice brakes.
I think your priorities are a bit skewed. These are brakes and you'll find even the so-called "heavy hitters" on the site speaking about braking performance before they speak about bling.
As far as Carbon levers go, why is this a priority? It's already been shown they are not notably lighter, and breaking them in mishaps is extremely expensive compared to normal levers.
There is also no "best manufacturer and model". You haven't even stated what kind of riding you do, your weight, and other riding styles, and accordingly, a proper recommendation can't be made.
Okay, I should rephrase a bit on what I meant. Bling isn't a priority even though I singled it out as a purchasing factor. Maybe my impressions of hydros is a bit skewed. I have always thought they are inherently better than mechanicals, so I figured the need for "braking performance" is implied in my decision making.
The bike's mainly used for trail riding and XC, I suppose. I know that hydros require a bit more maintenance, though some will argue that it's no more different than maintaining mechs. For me, switching to hydros is wanting that feathery smooth, very little effort squeeze of the levers that hydros seem to give.
My bike is pretty heavy as it is, so CF levers is more for aesthetics than anything. Oh, I'm very light and the bike is a size small. It's all black (yes, even down to the chain and cassette), but lately I've been thinking of putting in some color highlights.