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  1. #1
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    Servo Wave action. Not sure if I like it

    I have the 2012 XT brakes. While they do perform well in the overall power and zero noise level I am having a hard time adjusting to the servo wave. It seems like the power ramps up super quickly, like I'm pulling on the lever and need a wee bit more power and then wham, too much and the front locks up, I can't seem to modulate it very well. Elixirs seem to be a bit more linear in the power department. Has anyone felt the same? I'm wondering if a change to ceramic pads would help or should I try a smaller rotor size. I currently have the ti-metal ones.

  2. #2
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    I went from Hopes, the most linear brakes out there, to Saints m810 and did notice the difference but quickly got used to it. It was not as hard as going from cantilevers to v-brakes imho.

  3. #3
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    Fine tune your reach & bite adj on the levers. If no luck go down one size on the rotor.

    The metal pads are the best all around, but resin's might take some bit out. Just be aware they aren't the best in the wet.
    SPD pedals are an absolute menace to the well-being of the world, and ought be banned immediately.

  4. #4
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    I have a set of resin pads lying around so I will try that first.

  5. #5
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    I recommend you give it some time. The adjustment can be annoying at first, but you may end up liking it better. Or not, and then you can try to remedy it

  6. #6
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    If you're finding your brakes too sharp then you could try adjusting the lever reach and free stroke adjustments. You want to add a little additional free lever travel so that you get a bit of reaction time to think about what you're doing before the pads engage.

    Make sure the reach and bite points on both brakes are fairly even. An unbalanced setup where one lever engages the pads well before the other, or has a different lever feel, can be unpredictable. Chamfering the leading edges of the brake pads might help as well to see if that helps give a smoother braking feel.

    Brake feel is very much about personal preference. I found that the new style Shimano brakes did take a bit of getting used to. I started off very gently (just tickling the brake levers using one finger braking) and have been gradually building up from there. I've had my M988 XTR Trail brakes five weeks now and my technique with them has been improving all the time. Practice and familiarity with the brakes helps a lot.

    I always like to start off well within my limits and then gradually build up. With strong brakes the aim is to be very precise and sensitive to what happens when you pull the brake levers. What I've been concentrating on technique wise is smooth lever application, in order to minimise that initial grab you get, and then trying to work out how the brakes respond - the feedback you receive from the tyres and through the bike as you gradually increase the lever pressure.

    In order to get a feel for the brakes initially what I did was road descents. They allow you to think about your braking without the added complication of a loose surface and limited traction. On tarmac there's plenty of grip for your tyres, and at higher speeds (35-45mph is typical for a road descent here) you can experiment with modulating the brakes and threshold braking without any danger of the wheels locking.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolatt View Post
    I have the 2012 XT brakes. While they do perform well in the overall power and zero noise level I am having a hard time adjusting to the servo wave. It seems like the power ramps up super quickly, like I'm pulling on the lever and need a wee bit more power and then wham, too much and the front locks up, I can't seem to modulate it very well. Elixirs seem to be a bit more linear in the power department. Has anyone felt the same? I'm wondering if a change to ceramic pads would help or should I try a smaller rotor size. I currently have the ti-metal ones.
    You are not alone, I've been saying that since the first Servo Wave XT, they are good brakes and it does not take long to adapt to it but if you have multiple bikes with different brake systems it's a different story.

    I've tried different pads but not really helping much because the only way to reduce the effect is to reduce the power which add to modulation but not really braking performance. I usually spend a few minutes doing trackstand before my descend it seems to help me dialing in the brake feel, it works for me with the XT now I'm doing it on every brakes/bikes and rides.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    You are not alone, I've been saying that since the first Servo Wave XT, they are good brakes and it does not take long to adapt to it but if you have multiple bikes with different brake systems it's a different story.

    I've tried different pads but not really helping much because the only way to reduce the effect is to reduce the power which add to modulation but not really braking performance. I usually spend a few minutes doing trackstand before my descend it seems to help me dialing in the brake feel, it works for me with the XT now I'm doing it on every brakes/bikes and rides.
    Last Saturday I test rode a bike fitted with the 2012 Avid Elixir 7 brakes. They felt great with good power and a predictable linear progression as you pulled the lever harder. I was quite impressed with how nice they felt. In the long term they'd probably end up with stuck pistons but brand new I really liked them. Possibly more than my M988 XTR Trail brakes which is a worrying thought.

    When I got back on my own bike the next day it took a little while to get used to the M988 XTR Trail brakes again. I was back up to speed after the first few times braking but it did highlight how the lever feel from the M988 XTR Trail brakes isn't as intuitive as perhaps it could be. They're powerful but it takes practice to get the best out of them.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    Last Saturday I test rode a bike fitted with the 2012 Avid Elixir 7 brakes. They felt great with good power and a predictable linear progression as you pulled the lever harder. I was quite impressed with how nice they felt. In the long term they'd probably end up with stuck pistons but brand new I really liked them. Possibly more than my M988 XTR Trail brakes which is a worrying thought.

    When I got back on my own bike the next day it took a little while to get used to the M988 XTR Trail brakes again. I was back up to speed after the first few times braking but it did highlight how the lever feel from the M988 XTR Trail brakes isn't as intuitive as perhaps it could be. They're powerful but it takes practice to get the best out of them.

    In general I don't think I'd feel the difference that much but in some situations like descending loose steep or feathering the rear brake during manual/wheelie makes the difference as I did not learn/practice with this type of brake modulation.

    I like my Elixir CR but the vibration and noise gets to me sometime. It's not my first choice of brake but it came with my Blur LTC, I swapped the rotor to Shimano the ugly noise went away.

    Good over all balance I'd give to Magura Louise/Marta, lever feel is awesome, but it's tough to beat the Hope's lever feel and modulation. Like you said, it's personal preference, it's great that we can pick and choose what we like

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    In general I don't think I'd feel the difference that much but in some situations like descending loose steep or feathering the rear brake during manual/wheelie makes the difference as I did not learn/practice with this type of brake modulation.

    I like my Elixir CR but the vibration and noise gets to me sometime. It's not my first choice of brake but it came with my Blur LTC, I swapped the rotor to Shimano the ugly noise went away.

    Good over all balance I'd give to Magura Louise/Marta, lever feel is awesome, but it's tough to beat the Hope's lever feel and modulation. Like you said, it's personal preference, it's great that we can pick and choose what we like
    I've never tried Magura disc brakes.

    With the high end models in particular, unless you know someone who already owns some then the only way to try them out is if you buy a set. That's the problem with hydraulic disc brakes. Every manufacturer's brakes have their own unique feel. Common brakes like Avid Elixirs, which come as OEM on many bikes, are easy to test ride but it isn't as easy to know if you'll like other brakes. The aftermarket hydraulic disc brakes I've had (Hope Tech X2 and Shimano M988 XTR Trail) were bought blind without having tried them first.

    The 2012 Avid Elixir 7 brakes on the bike I tried had the new style Avid HS-1 rotor fitted. The brakes were silent (in the dry) and there was no judder or vibration from them either.

    2012 Avid Elixir Brakes ? First Look - BikeRadar

    I don't know whether they'd stay like that over time but that set of new brakes was working well.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolatt View Post
    I have the 2012 XT brakes. While they do perform well in the overall power and zero noise level I am having a hard time adjusting to the servo wave. It seems like the power ramps up super quickly, like I'm pulling on the lever and need a wee bit more power and then wham, too much and the front locks up, I can't seem to modulate it very well. Elixirs seem to be a bit more linear in the power department. Has anyone felt the same? I'm wondering if a change to ceramic pads would help or should I try a smaller rotor size. I currently have the ti-metal ones.
    I have to correct this post. These brakes make a ton of noise now that it is wet out. It's driving me nuts. I was hoping the switch from Avid to Shimano would cure the squeal but apparently not.

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