Old faithful...Avid Mechanical
A couple years ago when I made the switch to discs, I outfitted my bike with one of the brand new XTR calipers and an Avid Mechanical on back. My reason for this was I like to do long rides, often far removed from civilization and/or my car and didn't want to rip a hose or suffer some failure of my hydraulic brake.
Well I have never had any problems at all with the hydro except the occasional centering issue, until last night....
We were doing a night ride here on the Front Range of CO at a place with really steep, loose terrain. We ride out about 3 or 4 miles and up about 1500 feet and then start our descent. We hit several long rocky and steep sections and the riding just keeps getting better. I started down another section and I'm using my rear brake heavily, but using my front periodically to bleed off some of the speed I am gaining quickly. Mind you it is 10pm at night and dark as can be last night as the moon was nowhere to be seen.
As I start down the section I grab my front brake and it goes all the way to the bar. Naturally I panic a bit and grab the brake again a couple times not believing that it was gone. My initial thought was that I had lost the brake pads (a problem on the XTRs) bouncing through the rocks. I get stopped using the Avid Mech and use my foot Fred Flinstone-style. I shine my light at the brake and see fluid all over the ground. The bolt that holds the hose into the caliper had backed out somehow and my squeezing sent about 3/4 of my fluid to the ground.
I tightened the bolt up, but the brake was pretty much useless. I walked down the steep stuff and then relied on my rear brake and rode the more mellow stuff back to the car.
The funny part about this all is that I was about to replace my Avid Mech with a Juicy since I had virtually no problems ever with hydros. Maybe the Avid with stay on the back a while longer....
While I can appreciate some of the advantages of hydraulics, when they go you don't have much in the way of options when you're out in the middle of nowhere (and I can easily carry spare stuff for a cable/housing line repair, not so easily done with hydraulics). I'll stick with my mechanical Avids for a while yet. I've seen for myself, as well as heard of, so many more problems with hydraulics it's not encouraging me to change...
"...the people get the government they deserve..."
Riding free's the mind
I went juicy, but..
I went from Avid mechs to juicy's, excited with the prospects of finally running hydraulic brakes.... I guess there's a part of me that wants that just wants cool techno hardware on my bike...aside from the performance aspects. Juicy's were the logical way to go having great success with my mechanicals.
Honestly though, getting my juicy's to finally run right has been a quite a journey, frustrating at times. I go through this "labor of love" believing I'm becoming a better bike mechanic, ok I'd admit in the;back of my mind sometimes I think it would be cool to fix bikes for a living. I think I also go through this masochistic effort in search of bike perfection.
The more I think of it, it's just fun to tinker, challenge oneself to make something work well, and then the feeling of success once it's fixed. It kills me on my rides when something is not working right, such that I have to hear a constant squeek, click, or work around bad shifts, etc. The beauty of when all things are working perfectly is that you can concentrate on the ride.
Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"
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