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  1. #1
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    Pad clearance and retraction - R1 & Hope Race

    Coming off of a few years of sticky pistons and drag with my xtr's, I'm a bit obsessed with piston/pad retraction and clearance between pads and discs for my next brake set. Since weight is a concern and I'm riding xc, R1's and Hope Races are the main contenders, but I've heard that both have rather tight clearance between pads and disc, and related to that - minimal retraction.

    Any comparisons of them on this front?

  2. #2
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    Based on what you just said I think you'd really hate R1's. The clearance is super micro. I can't comment on the new Hopes. I think the Magura Marta SL might be better for you (if you're not willing to try Shimano again).
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  3. #3
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    Shimano again

    no thanks on more xtr's - I had the calipers replaced twice, become an expert piston cleaner/servicer, and still have more problems than I think is reasonable.

    I'm not entirely sure pad clearance is a fair consideration, though, because if the pistons do retract reliably and your disc is true, then it shouldn't be a problem...it just seems that having a bit of room would mean less fuss over time.

  4. #4
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    Quiet

    My bodies (3) ride R1's and I never hear their brakes. I am not sure if they are rotor wizards, but the brakes don't make noise.
    Cheers,

    Kane

  5. #5
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    The formulas, all of them, do have tight pad clearances, but I have never had any piston retraction problems. I clean mine every pad change (like every 3 months) and have no problems.

    I cant comment on the Hopes.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  6. #6
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    I have R1's, and if you get them my recommendation is to get the Formula rotors. I have them with Aishima Airotor, and there was/is drag as standard. I just did some sanding of the pads and all is good now....but that was the only solution because I already had rotors and didn't want to get more.

    Avid elixir retract well, and I have them on every other bike. Work really well, even the superlight XX.
    Rimmer - "There's an old human saying - if you talk garbage, expect pain"

  7. #7
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    I've got R1's and clearance is tight, but it's not a problem. Right after I go thru a muddy puddle I can hear some rub, but it goes away quick. Overall they are a huge improvement over my Avid and Shimano brakes.
    我的镀铬光泽的冰柱一样,我骑在镇附近在我的低骑手自行车

  8. #8
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    My R1 are very tight too and the inboard pistons tend to stick... I may ditch them for XX brakes.

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  9. #9
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    I've had the exact same pad clearance issue with my R1's as well. The tiniest grain of sand or mud and the rotor's drag. As it drove me crazy, I sold them mainly due to that reason. And then there' s the rattling levers of the R1's ...

    I switched to Magura Marta SL's, which were excellent brakes ... except for the brake judder related to the wave discs. Under hard braking, the front wheel shook like riding on cobblestones. With Oro Puro rotor's, these worked perfect though. The R1 rotors also worked, but lever travel was inreased due to the very thin discs. Good thing Magura developed new Storm SL rotors for 2011.

    I've been riding the XX brakes for some time, which I really like. No drag issues whatsoever. I switched my worn out Avid XX sintered pads (the XX pads are lighter than their regular Elixir pads) to SwissStop's. Braking / lever feel has slightly improved over the stock sintered pads. I do have to add that under heavy front braking on steep descents, the Avid Rotor's judder a little as well, but not as bad as the Marta SL's. Is it that hard to make a decent rotor?

    Regarding lever feel, ergonomics, pad clearance, the Marta SL's are the best brakes. Too bad they don't have matchmakers. Wish I could get them somewhere in the Topeak- Ergon Team Edition, with green bore caps.

    Best brake ever ridden for me, were the Formula Oro puro's. They had is just right (power, no noise, drag free), except that it was hard to mount trigger shifters in a good way. Makes me long to the old days

  10. #10
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    Hey Guys,
    If there are any concerns or questions about caliper piston roll-back, give us a call in the office. We can give you a couple of tips on how to get your brakes performing drag free. Because rotor thicknesses vary between manufactures and even between rotor sizes the the first step would be to make sure that you are using our rotors.

    Cheers,

    Chris Costello
    Formula Brake USA
    707.765.2770
    oro@formulabrakeusa.com

  11. #11
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    no probs with pad clearance with 2 sets of R1's - they were an upgrade from Marta (semi) magnesium brakes which were very disappointing.

    were both using Scrub 180/160 rotors on one wheelset and 180/160 Hope + Formula "floating" rotors on another

    some peeps i hear are using credit cards to shim the rotors when centering calipers - that's probably the best use for them

  12. #12
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    Because rotor thicknesses vary between manufactures and even between rotor sizes the the first step would be to make sure that you are using our rotors.
    Do Formula use an unusually narrow caliper? What is the thickness of a Formula rotor?

    As long as the pistons can move (out) far enough to permit the full throw of the lever, any thickness of disc can be used. The miniscule difference in thickness which may or may not exist between a Formula rotor and one from Hope*, Shimano, Hayes, etc.. is not going to matter in the least once the pistons are properly extended into their working position.

    *vented rotor excepted.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous
    My R1 are very tight too and the inboard pistons tend to stick... I may ditch them for XX brakes.
    Well today, the rear caliper completely seized mid-ride, had to take it off the bike just to finish the ride.

    Rotor's rivets hitting the brake pads (they're almost in the brake track on the 160s), microscopic pad clearance, sticky pistons and now this, I wish I hadn't sold my Oro Puro, they were just the opposite, easy to setup, trouble free...

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  14. #14
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    I recently purchased R1's and installed them with Ashima rotors. I have plenty of clearance (IMO seems the same as my Puro's) One thing I always do when installing brakes. I push the pads all the way out than put a business card over the rotor and give the brake about 10-15 squeezes over the card and rotor. It sets the pad with extra space. I love my R1's and still love my Puro's which I use on my AM ride. I am a big rider 6'2 225 with gear. These are my experiences. Use sintered pads.
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  15. #15
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    I push the pads all the way out than put a business card over the rotor and give the brake about 10-15 squeezes over the card and rotor. It sets the pad with extra space.
    No it doesn't. Within a couple of pulls of the lever after taking the cards out the pistons will have set themselves (further out) into their normal working position. The card trick only works with cable actuated brakes where cable tension determines the position of the working piston. The card trick is irrelevent with hydraulic brakes.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    No it doesn't. Within a couple of pulls of the lever after taking the cards out the pistons will have set themselves (further out) into their normal working position. The card trick only works with cable actuated brakes where cable tension determines the position of the working piston. The card trick is irrelevent with hydraulic brakes.
    Perhaps irrelevant for you. When I received my brakes the clearance was very tight. I did the trick and it worked. Or maybe I was hitting my crack pipe it's all a cloudy blur as the green bud haze seems to dissapate. I can't seem to remember. What I do remember is the head mechanic at Helens cycles taught me this trick in 2004. It has always worked for me. Also I have never had to use this for my GF's BB7's It seems irrelevant for those brakes. IMO.
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  17. #17
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    It's the seals that decide by just how much the pads retract once released from the rotor. While the card trick is good to set the caliper alignement at first, it wont give any more space after you brake once as the seals will auto-adjust to always retract by the same amount, brake without the card and the pads will get closer, that's why the space remain the same as pads wear.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkmtb
    Perhaps irrelevant for you. When I received my brakes the clearance was very tight. I did the trick and it worked. Or maybe I was hitting my crack pipe it's all a cloudy blur as the green bud haze seems to dissapate. I can't seem to remember. What I do remember is the head mechanic at Helens cycles taught me this trick in 2004. It has always worked for me. Also I have never had to use this for my GF's BB7's It seems irrelevant for those brakes. IMO.
    It's not a matter of opinion; it's a matter of mechanics. For what it's worth, the head mechanic at Helen's is wrong. Think about how a hydraulic caliper works: how the seals automatically compensate for pad wear. Would they do this if they also allowed for pad positioning by inserting a piece of cardboard/plastic between the pad and disc? The card is the equivalent to extra pad material, so once you take it away the pistons just push a little further out next time the lever is pulled. Understand how the brake works and you'll understand how you're only kidding yourself.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    It's not a matter of opinion; it's a matter of mechanics. For what it's worth, the head mechanic at Helen's is wrong. Think about how a hydraulic caliper works: how the seals automatically compensate for pad wear. Would they do this if they also allowed for pad positioning by inserting a piece of cardboard/plastic between the pad and disc? The card is the equivalent to extra pad material, so once you take it away the pistons just push a little further out next time the lever is pulled. Understand how the brake works and you'll understand how you're only kidding yourself.
    I blame his crack pipe.

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  20. #20
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    I completely agree with SteveUK. Spend some time actually looking at how a hydraulic brake operates and you'll understand. The index card does nothing for pad retraction. Watch Hope's video on how to properly center a caliper (by sight with the pistons fully retracted). Once that's done you have to make sure that the pistons are both moving--if they aren't or one is sticking even a little, you'll have problems with drag. I am not sure if this is the correct way to do it, but when I have had problems with stuck pistons (thankfully I haven't had a problem since I switched to Hopes) I: (1) pull out the pads; (2) push the pistons all the way back in; (3) pump the brakes to watch the pistons working; (4) if one is hestiant I block off the working one (fully retracted) with a tire lever to isolate the sticky piston and then pump the brakes and push in the piston several times to get it working smoothly (cleaning may be necessary too); and (5) once both pistons are working at the same speed when the brakes are pumped, replace the pads and you are good to go. I am firmly convinced that the best brakes are the ones whose pistons continue to operate smoothly. Hopes do that for me, but others have had good success with other brands.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Do Formula use an unusually narrow caliper? What is the thickness of a Formula rotor?
    I have Formula, Avid, XT 6 bolt, and XTR center lock 160mm rotors. They all measure .069" - .071" thickness.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirthead
    I have Formula, Avid, XT 6 bolt, and XTR center lock 160mm rotors. They all measure .069" - .071" thickness.
    The Puro rotors were thicker (and heavier obviously) than the new style Formula rotors.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous
    The Puro rotors were thicker (and heavier obviously) than the new style Formula rotors.
    The formula rotors I have came with a set of R1's.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

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