Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    28

    Relative Braking Power of Avids vs. Hope, Magura

    I currently run Avid Mechanicals and am looking into replacing them with either Hope Mono Minis or Magura Martas, or possibly Louise XC. How does the braking power compare between these hydraulics and the Avid Mechanicals?

  2. #2
    R.I.P. DogFriend
    Reputation: jeffj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,759
    My $.02 on the subject based on my own personal experience.

    I had the original 1999 Magura Louise discs from February of 1999 until summer of 203. Then I replaced them with Hayes HFX Comp. Both of these were using 6” rotors. I replaced the Hayes HFX Comp a month ago with Avid mechanical with the 203mm (8”) rotors.

    I replaced the Hayes system because I was not satisfied with the performance and they would get extremely HOT on extended and/or very steep descents to the point that even the calipers were smoking and brake action getting spongy. I am a big guy and hot brakes come with the turf, but not to the point of risking a possible failure, so a change was in order.

    I now have the Avids with the 203mm rotors and they are FAR stronger than either my Magura Louise or Hayes HFX Comps ever dreamed of being. How much of this is because of using 8” rotors instead of 6” rotors, I can’t say with any degree of certainty, but it is not even close.

    I will add that a well thought out installation with quality housings and cables is crucial to maximizing the performance potential of these brakes. Many times I have seen new bikes with these brakes that did not feel all that great and I believe that it is due to a poor installation and lower quality levers, housings and to a lesser degree, the cables. I think the housing quality, routing and preparation is extremely important if you are looking to get the most from the Avids.

    When you squeeze the levers, the housings should display little more than a slight twitch. If they move any more than that, you might as well install a spring between the lever and the cable because that is essentially what is happening. Low quality housing acts like a spring when compressed by a cable. Housing compression is much more of a problem than any cable stretch.

    The only regret I have with all of the upgrades I have done recently is that if I had known I was going to install 8” rotors before I replaced my front fork, I would have looked for a fork with a 20mm axle (probably a Sherman Firefly instead of the Minute One). I get just barely enough flex in the QR skewers/hubs/fork, etc. that make the 8” rotor rub ever so slightly when I ride. I can adjust the pads to rub slightly when I am off the bike and then they don’t rub when I’m on it, or I can back the pads off so they don’t rub at all, but then the lever doesn’t engage them as soon as I would like (which is admittedly “quick” – I like to have about 1” between the lever and the grip when the brakes are engaged). I think the 20mm axle may have eliminated this but it’s a minor gripe and I’m willing to live with it considering the outstanding power these brakes have. Modulation is very adequate although I would not call it superb and they don’t get anywhere near as hot so far as my other hydraulics have in the past.

    Installation is very straightforward and not difficult. Aligning the calipers is a joy with the CPS (caliper positioning system). Break-in took a little fiddling to eliminate squealing, but it was not difficult or terribly time consuming. This has been my best disc brake experience so far.

    Would I buy these brakes again knowing what I do about them? Yes, although I might have gone for the 7” rotors to avoid the rubbing in the front. The 8” actually have more stopping power than I truly need (and I weigh 270) and I never thought I could have more brake than I need. I am going to try to learn to use only one finger to brake. Still feels a little weird, but so did two-finger braking when I first rode v-brakes.

    I suppose it’s entirely possible that the Magura (1st generation Louise) and Hayes systems were never set-up as well as they could be, but it was not for lack of trying. They might have been significantly better with 8” rotors. Maybe others can comment on 8” vs. 6” rotors. I have not tried swapping rotors with the same braking system.

    If I had started with mechanicals, I would probably be lusting for some hydraulics, but my step down has turned out to be a step up.

    You can get into a well respected hydro system for about the same money (or less in some cases) as it costs for a quality complete Avid mechanical disc system by the time you add up the cost of the brakes, rotors, levers, cables and housings.

    One website I tried that shall remain un-named, had this for pricing:

    This is for top of the line Avid mechanical and hydraulic disc systems (understanding that levers can be had for less for the mechanical system).

    Avid 203mm Mechanical disc brake (rotor and caliper) = $144.95ea x 2 = $289.90
    Avid Ultimate Ti levers = $159.95
    Avid Flak Jacket = $24
    Total for 203mm Avid Mechanical Disc Brake system = $473.85

    Avid Juicy 7 DH (203mm) disc brake (complete lever, hose, caliper & 203mm rotor) = $239 ea x 2 = $478.00

    This was just for the sake of comparing from a site that everything for both systems and I know they can be had for less.

    If you are thinking that you’d get better performance from the hydros, I would first go through the Avid mechanicals to maximize their performance before shelling out considerable dough to go hydro. If you do that, I think the performance of the Avids will be too close to warrant the significant cash outlay needed for hydros unless you have plenty of scratch and just want to play around with something. JMHO

  3. #3
    Jm.
    Jm. is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Jm.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,137
    Ive ran the avids, the 203 avids, and a plethora of other brakes.

    Yes, the avids are extremely powerfull. This doesn't translate into the best "control" though.

    I have better control, and therefore better braking, with fully hydraulic systems. My 6" hayes do not have the all out stopping power of my 203 avids for sure, but they do allow me to better control my bike in tech sections, around steep switchbacks, etc.. There are times when I'd appreciate the increased power of the avids, but it's too easy to just lock up the wheels with the avids sometimes, too hard to make small feathering-adjustments and really get the maximum performance out of them.

    For the money, avids are good, hydraulics are still better though, no question.

    Oh yeah, in the 2nd season my avids simply broke down, they just sort of gave up, the cable-arms bent, the pad adjusters would simply vibrate out (leaving me with no brakes!) and they seem to go through pads a LOT faster than comperable hydro brakes (probably why they have so much power, more friction in the compound, but that leads to them wearing faster).
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Rev Bubba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,874

    Just replaced Avid Mechs w/ Louise

    First of all, I decided to change because I liked the feel of hydros better than mechanical discs. The Avids did work well but I was tired of constantly adjusting them. They exhibited more brake rub than I wanted.

    So far, the Louise XC have been excellent. I just put them on and took off with no further problems and I like the self adjusting feature of hydraulic brakes.

    I looked at the Marta's but did not think the large difference in price was worth the minor weight loss.

    I'm not sure if I can honestly detect a difference in power between the Avids and Louise but if there is a slight difference, the edge goes to the Louise.

  5. #5
    Bodhisattva
    Reputation: The Squeaky Wheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    9,573
    In my experience, the primary determinant of brake power is rotor size.
    There are some exceptions. For example, Louise is allegedly slightly stronger than Marta because of a larger pad/rotor contact area although both use 160mm rotors.

    I'm sure there are some other similar examples.

    I've tried 160 Avids and they are plenty strong but I find them to be grabby. I prefer the smooth feel of my Maggie hydros.
    Life....the original terminal illness

  6. #6
    Do It Yourself
    Reputation: Homebrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,722
    I've used Avid_Mechanical, Martas and now the new Louise XC. I had the Avids_decked out with Ultimate levers and Jagwire_RattlerMac housing which was a very good upgrade from v's but the Maguras have much better modulation and smoother feel. Hydros offer more control but not more power. If you want more power though, you'll have to get a bigger rotor.
    Long Live Long Rides

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    3

    mini mono

    I just switched from avid mechs to hope mini monos. They are a definate step up. Using for just XC riding, but power seems close, but modulation is much better with the hopes. Also the lever feel with hydro is something that is overlooked. The mechs have a substantial drag from the friction of the cable that the hydros don't. This means less hand fatigue and a much smoother action. The major plus was nearly a pound of weight savings for in my opinion a better set of brakes. Plus the hopes are the easiest to bleed and cut the hose lengths of any system I have seen.

    Otis

    Quote Originally Posted by mrekrause
    I currently run Avid Mechanicals and am looking into replacing them with either Hope Mono Minis or Magura Martas, or possibly Louise XC. How does the braking power compare between these hydraulics and the Avid Mechanicals?

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    108
    Quote Originally Posted by mrekrause
    I currently run Avid Mechanicals and am looking into replacing them with either Hope Mono Minis or Magura Martas, or possibly Louise XC. How does the braking power compare between these hydraulics and the Avid Mechanicals?
    All I've got to say is that if your changing to get more power and your running 160mm rotors, your missing the whole boat. You need bigger rotors. The hydraulics will modulate better but won't give you a lot more stopping power. If its power your after, get bigger rotors.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    210
    What would one notice going from V's to Avid mechs aside from increased stopping power? How do the compare in terms of modulation/smoothness/control?

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    108
    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance
    What would one notice going from V's to Avid mechs aside from increased stopping power? How do the compare in terms of modulation/smoothness/control?
    Hmmmmmm. Well.... discs are much smoother, they're not affected by crud or brake build up on your rims. Discs don't care about mud, water, squirrels, small bits of crap that get in-between the rim and the pad as on V-Brakes. (at least mine don't)

    My disc brakes are quiet and I don't have to worry about my rims rubbing my brake pads. They stop when it is wet. They stop when its muddy. My disc brakes don't squeal. Never have, never will.

    I have avid mechs with 160mm discs. I had the Avid V-brakes, whatever the next to the top of the line was, so I don't notice more stopping power under ideal conditions.

    I weigh 200 lbs all loaded up for riding with hydro pack, tools, etc etc etc so maybe 185mm discs would have been good for the front. I may upgrade to this later. It's not an issue at all, just a thought.

    The discs grab quicker. It takes a lot less finger pressure on the trails for me anyway. They are not as easy to modulate and require more finesse. Hydraulics would address this. Overall. They are far and away better than my old v-brakes without a doubt.

    Piece of advice. Upgrade the WHOLE braking system, that means cables, houseing and levers. You'll be much more satisfied with it and have less tweaking to do. I use the Avid Full Metal Jacket system and it ROCKS.
    Last edited by Cochise; 06-28-2004 at 02:26 PM.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    28

    Maybe Power wasn't the right word

    Great thoughtful input everybody. Although I originally asked about "power" maybe what I am also looking for is efficiency.

    For example, last Thursday after about 3 miles of technical downhill single track at high speed, my forearms, were worked and I could barely hold on to the bar do to my hands being tired. BTW I break with two fingers.

    Compared to the Avids, would the Martas, Hopes, or Louises help with this fatigue, or is it a case of me just needing to get my forearms in better shape?

    Thanks for the input.

  12. #12
    Do It Yourself
    Reputation: Homebrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,722
    Yes, hydraulics would help you out. They require a lot less effort to control speed. I would highly recommend the 2004 Louise. They have a comparable brake track to the Avids_and are very reasonably priced. The Martas and Hopes_Minis have a smaller brake pad contact area therefore not quite as strong and cost considerably more. While the Louise are a bit heavier than the other two, they are still much lighter than Avid_mechanicals. You really pay a premium for the weight weenie parts and aren't designed for hard useage. I would suggest that if you are doing 3 mile high speed downhills often, the 180mm front (e.g. Louise FR) might be a good idea.
    Long Live Long Rides

  13. #13
    Bodhisattva
    Reputation: The Squeaky Wheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    9,573
    Agree with Homebrew.

    Yes. Hydros will require less forearm fatigue and I too recommend Louise FR for the larger rotor. It comes stock with a 180mm rotor but is compatible with larger rotors through an adaptor which Magura also offers.

    I live in Vermont and often ride long downhills and have 180 front/160 rear. No fade and no forearm fatigue.
    Life....the original terminal illness

  14. #14
    Roy
    Roy is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    2,001
    Avids have more of an on/off feeling and so they should actually take less forearm wear and tear than hydraulics. This assumes your cables are in good shape. I have the Louise FR's as well as Avids, and the lever action is lighter on the Avids (and easier on the arms but we're not talking huge differences here) but the Louise's have that wonderful hydro feel/modulation.
    What you are experiencing is most likely fade on the 160mm front rotor, as the more it fades the harder you have to pull the lever. This will be true regardless of which brake you have - hydro or mechanical. Now, if you don't have the Avid inner pad set up as closely to the rotor as possible without touching, your Avid power will be less. You have to pay attention to this every few rides and adjust the inner pad knob appropriately. In this regard, the hydros would serve you better as once centered, they stay centered, but turning the adjuster a few clicks every few rides is no big deal.
    Each brake has it strengths and weaknesses, and each brake is excellent. To me, your real problem is your rotor size on the front brake, and whichever of the brakes you have listed that you end up choosing, as long as you go with a bigger rotor, I believe you will be exceedingly pleased with the results.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    313
    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    Agree with Homebrew.

    Yes. Hydros will require less forearm fatigue and I too recommend Louise FR for the larger rotor. It comes stock with a 180mm rotor but is compatible with larger rotors through an adaptor which Magura also offers.

    I live in Vermont and often ride long downhills and have 180 front/160 rear. No fade and no forearm fatigue.
    I have the Louise FR's with the 210mm/190mm combo, so far I am quite happy with them. Hoping to hit the shore with them very soon to see how they work in the gnar gnar, but first impressions are VERY positive. (Squeak ya gotta come out here for some long down hills bro... you can even stay at my house )
    Pat T.

  16. #16
    Bodhisattva
    Reputation: The Squeaky Wheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    9,573
    Oooohhhh,

    That's tempting Pat T. I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm up in the NW.

    Beers on me.

    Thanks for the offer
    Life....the original terminal illness

Similar Threads

  1. Hope VS. Magura???
    By Trail Thumper in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-06-2004, 11:40 PM
  2. Help! Hayes HMX-1s don't have braking power..
    By Dexterdan in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-25-2004, 01:33 PM
  3. Speedgoat Power Clamp for Hope Mini
    By MrXC in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-27-2004, 10:09 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •