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  1. #1
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    Replacment for XTR V-Brakes

    I'm thinking my XTR 951 are getting just about to the end of their useful life. Both the back arms are pretty stiff (fronts are pretty good), this is after I took it completely apart and cleaned up. I'm not sure if the bushing is worn out or what but if I snug the bolt up they get tighter and less prone to spring back so I have to leave them with a bit of play which I'm sure isn't ideal.

    I'm gona have my LBS take a look and see what they think but in the meantime I'd like to scout out some ideas for replacements. I just rebuilt the bike (99 S-Works HT) and replaced just about everything so I'm willing to spend a bit on something nice.

    The obvious choice would just be some new XTs (M780), is the new stuff as good? And did they drop the parallelogram design?, doesn't look like its there from the pics I've seen.

    Was also looking at the Cane Creek Direct Curve 3 which looks interesting and seems to have good feedback.

    Then there is some of the insane CNC'd stuff from China like the AEST but I'm not sure I trust the build quality.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
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    I haven't worked on V brakes in a while, but I recall that if they would bind when tightening the fixing bolt, it was a set up problem.

  3. #3
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    Its a pretty simple design so I don't see how it could be a setup problem. If they are on and they work they should be "setup" properly unless I'm missing something.

  4. #4
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    I'd buy Avid Single Digit 7's and immediately switch the stock pads to Kool Stop salmons. That will cost you hardly any money and they'll be awesome.

  5. #5
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    Along with the XTs, take a look at the TRP CX 9 or CX 8.4s - depending on your brake lever pull ratio.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shalom View Post
    Along with the XTs, take a look at the TRP CX 9 or CX 8.4s - depending on your brake lever pull ratio.
    I was looking at those but I thought they were geared for CX. Is the distinction just lever pull?, is stopping power similar? I will say I like the look of the CX9s; the red would really match a lot of the stuff on my bike.

    I also found a Ebay seller offering a complete and pretty pristine looking Avid Ultimate V-brake set for $380 and as insane as they are I'm kinda considering them. Help me Ronda.
    Last edited by Operandi; 05-06-2013 at 12:05 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Operandi View Post
    I was looking at those but I thought they were geared for CX. Is the distinction just lever pull?, is stopping power similar? I will say I like the look of the CX9s; the red would really match a lot of the stuff on my bike.

    I also found a Ebay seller offering a complete and pretty pristine looking Avid Ultimate V-brake set for $380 and as insane as they are I'm kinda considering them. Help me Ronda.
    My take is that they are marketed for CX, as not many mountain bikes still use v-brakes. However, they are still a v-brake, so I am sure they will work. I am using the 9.0 with Shimano 105 levers (the 8.9 is apparently designed for use with SRAM or Campagnolo levers). Therefore, I would check the pull ratio of whatever lever you plan on using and pick your brake accordingly.

  8. #8
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    Those TRP's look to me like you could have serious clearance problems trying to use them with fat MTB tires instead of the CX tires they were designed for. Even CX riders say they are hard to set up, and with less side to side clearance with a wider tire, pad to rim distance would be even trickier to set up. Also consider height clearance between tire and the noodle.

    And a shorter arm means less force. And I think they would look kind of wimpy on a mountain bike.

  9. #9
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    TRP does make v-brakes but you don't want the CX9 or 8, those are for road levers.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, ok so CX9 and 8 are probably not what I want.

    I think I might just go with either the Avid Ultimates or a new set of XTs.

  11. #11
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    Never thought of the tire clearance issue....good thinking, smilinsteve!

    So maybe they are not for MTB!
    Just go XT then.

  12. #12
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    I've used diferent V's before changing to disc, you can't go wrong with Avid V's either SD's, Ti or Ultimate (can't say the same about discs)
    My last set up was with Extralite, great power minimal weight.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    If there is not a lot of pad wobble, they are most likely still ok and you should be able to figure out how to get the bolts tight/snug without binding the movment. Maybe add a very small washer? My old xtr Vs still get tight without binding.

  15. #15
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    It's the pads that make the brakes. Put Kool Stop salmons (10 whopping dollars) on any brake and they're instantly awesome.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Well I put up an offer of $340 for the Avid Ultimates and seller accepted so I guess that's what I'm going with (didn't really think they would). A bit more than I wanted to spend but I should be set with this bike on upgrades now. And yeah about pads; I had Kool Stop pads on my XTRs from the beginning of last season so they still have plenty of life in them.

    Those Bombshells looks pretty sweet though too. Didn't know that BMX brakes would be an option, looks like really nice stuff.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Operandi View Post
    I'm not sure if the bushing is worn out or what but if I snug the bolt up they get tighter and less prone to spring back so I have to leave them with a bit of play which I'm sure isn't ideal.

    The washer under the bolt has developed an indentation that allows the bolt to thread down a micron too far and inhibit the movement of the arm. Turn the washer around or replace it and that problem will be gone.


    That's a lot of $$$ for those Avids, hope they work out well. I was going to give a + rep for the direct curves but I guess I'm too late.

  18. #18
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    Yes those direct Curves are pretty nice, especially at 37 bucks!

    Cane Creek Direct Curve 3 Brake > Components > Brakes > V-Brakes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

  19. #19
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    Yeah, was gonna say the washer issue, and didn't those xtr brakes have bearings instead of bushings? The ultimate's are serious coin for not a lot of gain over the SD 7's, bombshell or cane creek's. But nice bling!

    The parallelogram linkage was an answer to a problem not many were really having (same with avid arch models). I was never fond of the motolite design, finicky to setup & keep in adjustment.
    [SIZE=1][/SIZE]

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    The washer under the bolt has developed an indentation that allows the bolt to thread down a micron too far and inhibit the movement of the arm. Turn the washer around or replace it and that problem will be gone.


    That's a lot of $$$ for those Avids, hope they work out well. I was going to give a + rep for the direct curves but I guess I'm too late.
    I'm not sure the washer is the problem. I remember when I had the brakes apart I tried turning the arm on the bearing by sticking a allen key in the boss mount and I couldn't get the arm to move at all the bearing. Seems like it should have if I'm understanding the design properly.

    Yeah, I knew the Ultimates were not gona be the high value solution and it was a bit of impulse move but whatever, probably be the last V-brakes I buy and the bling with go along nicely with my Durin and other new XTR stuff I already put on. I'll post a few pics when I get them on.

  21. #21
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    I recently rebuilt some XTR M950s. You said that you took it completely apart, how 'apart' is that? I tore them down to each little piece including the loose ball bearing retainers. The parallel structure would barely move and when forced it felt gritty. Each loose ball bearing sits in a hole cut out in a retainer and they get gummed up with dirt and sand, especially the rears. I have pictures of the process if you are interested. When I was done, they were smooth as silk.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcayce View Post
    I recently rebuilt some XTR M950s. You said that you took it completely apart, how 'apart' is that? I tore them down to each little piece including the loose ball bearing retainers. The parallel structure would barely move and when forced it felt gritty. Each loose ball bearing sits in a hole cut out in a retainer and they get gummed up with dirt and sand, especially the rears. I have pictures of the process if you are interested. When I was done, they were smooth as silk.
    Please post them I will love to see them apart..

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcayce View Post
    I recently rebuilt some XTR M950s. You said that you took it completely apart, how 'apart' is that? I tore them down to each little piece including the loose ball bearing retainers. The parallel structure would barely move and when forced it felt gritty. Each loose ball bearing sits in a hole cut out in a retainer and they get gummed up with dirt and sand, especially the rears. I have pictures of the process if you are interested. When I was done, they were smooth as silk.
    No, I didn't got that far I also commute to work on this bike so I needed brakes. After I get the Avids on though I'll have time mess with the more extensively so yeah, pictures would be cool. Your description pretty much matches how mine feel, my cleaning helped but they are still pretty stiff.

    Also will the Avids take the same pads as the Shimanos? I thought they were the same but when I was looking on Amazon I noticed a seller selling Kool Stop pads "Avid" brakes.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Operandi View Post
    No, I didn't got that far I also commute to work on this bike so I needed brakes. After I get the Avids on though I'll have time mess with the more extensively so yeah, pictures would be cool. Your description pretty much matches how mine feel, my cleaning helped but they are still pretty stiff.

    Also will the Avids take the same pads as the Shimanos? I thought they were the same but when I was looking on Amazon I noticed a seller selling Kool Stop pads "Avid" brakes.
    That could have meant disk brake pads but if they were for V brakes then it could have meant replacement pad inserts for avid cartridge type brake pads.
    For V brakes, really there are only 2 universal options:
    The type with a threaded post (most common V brake pad).
    The type with a smooth post (like was used on most old style cantilevers).

    The XTR's and the arch supremes both take the threaded post type and any brand will work, but be aware of these things:

    1. Some brake pads are cartridge type where you can replace just the rubber part into the existing cartridge with post. For these type, a different type of pad might not work in your brand of cartridge. I'm not sure, but I would guess you would need Shimano pad inserts for Shimano cartridge pads etc.

    2. Some pads have the post in the center and some are asymetrical. I have found the asymetrical ones to be useful where you need to open your brakes completely to remove a wheel with a fat tire. You can point the short end of the pad toward the seatstay or fork so that the pad clears and the brake can open wide. If you do this, beware of my next point:

    3. Cartiridge pads can only be mounted in one direction. If you turn them around (for example to point the long end forward on the front to gain fork clearance), you will shoot the pads right out of the cartridge when you brake, and then you will be without a brake!

    So much to know about brake pads!

  25. #25
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    More tidbits about brake pads:

    If you don't need asymetrical for clearance, then regular symetrical non-curved non-cartridge brake pads have the advantage of being able to be flipped front to back, left to right, or forward end to rear, to even out wear or whatever.

    Try flipping a curved pad around (curve goes opposite of rim curve), or an asymetrical pad from left to right (short end goes in opposite direction).

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