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  1. #1
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    Talk me off the ledge, I'm about to jump!

    I've threatened before, but I'm about to do it for real this time. I'm ready to give up on Hydros and go with BB7's.

    I've about had all the fun I can stand with these Elixir 5 brakes. I want to like them and I admittedly have yet to try all the tricks that people have shared on this forum (have tried some), but it seems like these brakes are simply more hassle than they are worth. I've also considered higher end hydros. Maybe that's the right answer too, but it just seems to me that the BB7 mech's might just be a lot more hassle free.

    Talk me off the ledge boys! Give me a good reason not to do it!

  2. #2
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    BB 7's are good, mid range shimano hydros are better. XT/SLX brakes are awesome and cheap.

  3. #3
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    Another vote for shimano

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    Thanks for the info guys. Seems Shimano may be the way to go, but at the risk of sounding like a cheap skate, even though it is true XT's are a good price I'll still be paying more than double for a set of XT's than I will for a set of BB7's once it's all said and done. Are the XT's gonna be enough better to justify the cost, or am I better off to save the cash and eventually go with high end stuff???

  5. #5
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    SLX is alot of bang for the buck! I just switched to SLX with ice tech rotors from Esqueeker 5's... fawk avid brakes.

  6. #6
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    Ranked from best to worst:
    Shimano
    BB7
    everything else
    Grit, spit, and a w**** lot of duct tape!

  7. #7
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    nah, don't give up on hydros. that would be silly. these days, even average hydros can be more than sufficient for most trail riding. manual brakes will work, but that's not your answer. I strongly suggest you give these brakes the once-over and make sure they are set up & bled properly. If you still don't like them, then try the SLX.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahheadgear View Post
    I've threatened before, but I'm about to do it for real this time. I'm ready to give up on Hydros and go with BB7's.

    I've about had all the fun I can stand with these Elixir 5 brakes. I want to like them and I admittedly have yet to try all the tricks that people have shared on this forum (have tried some), but it seems like these brakes are simply more hassle than they are worth. I've also considered higher end hydros. Maybe that's the right answer too, but it just seems to me that the BB7 mech's might just be a lot more hassle free.

    Talk me off the ledge boys! Give me a good reason not to do it!
    If they were Shimano's I would have offered to take them off you hands

  9. #9
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    So wait, you've tried one model of one brand of hydro brakes, a model that is somewhat known for having some less than desirable issues and admittedly you havent even tried all the tricks for fixing the issues you are having??

    Nevermind moving to BB7's, I think maybe mountain biking isn't your sport.

  10. #10
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    Mack,

    Not sure why you feel the need to be such a dick? I was just looking to vent some frustration, have a little fun at the same time, and get some incite from the guys on the forum as I learn about the sport of mountain biking and the equipment that goes along with it.

    Thanks everyone else for your valuable incite. I'm still deciding how to proceed. For now I'm officially off the ledge. Ha, ha.

    According to Mack I need to find a new sport. Let Mack's comment be a lesson to all of us as to why we should be careful not to take ourselves too seriously. Sheesh
    Last edited by utahheadgear; 08-14-2012 at 02:21 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahheadgear View Post
    Mack,

    Not sure why you feel the need to be such a dick? I was just looking to vent some frustration, have a little fun at the same time, and get some incite from the guys on the forum as I learn about the sport of mountain biking and the equipment that goes along with it.

    Thanks everyone else for your valuable incite. I'm still deciding how to proceed. For now I'm officially off the ledge. Ha, ha.

    According to Mack I need to find a new sport. Let Mack's comment be a lesson to all of us as to why we should be careful not to take ourselves too seriously. Sheesh
    Because itís the anonymous internet, and I can hide behind my keyboard with zero accountability.

    You obviously donít take anything seriously already. You post up here asking for advice, but readily admit you already have not taken previous advice on how to potentially fix your existing brakes.

    Mountain biking is an expensive sport. You're obviously too cheap or poor or combo of the two that your immediate fall back is a set of mechanical brakes rather than different hydros, BUT you could take the advice of others on here who have tons of cumulative experience and potentially fix your brakes FOR FREE (or at least less money than even a set of BB7's).

    Brakes are the key safety item on your bike. And even if your elixr's are noisy (common Avid complaint) or possibly have too much lever pull (my particular issue with the Avids Iíve owned), they will still be more powerful than a set of perfectly working BB7's. Unless your mountain biking consists of flat trails, with no obstacles, then you will still be better off on hydro brakes.

    So, call me a dick all you want, just donít get too butt-hurt because all Iím really doing is pointing out your stupidity and laziness, when you turn to us here and expect expert advice (only to not follow it).

  12. #12
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    The middle section of your latest post is good stuff and is great advice for a rookie like myself that is trying to learn. Thanks for that. The rest of it is uncalled for. It's that stuff that makes you a dick. The good advice you offered would make you a valuable asset to me and others looking for info on the site if you could drop the attitude. Just because a person doesn't know the ins and outs between hydro and mechanical brakes doesn't make that person "stupid", nor does that person wanting to economize (if possible and practical) make them "poor". Last I checked there wasn't a minimum income to participate in mountain biking. Are you gonna be the first to tell us your yearly income so that we can qualify you as a legitimate MTB authority? I didn't think so.

    I posted because I had made a tentative decision and wanted some additional advice. I got it, and everyone but you was able to relay it in a very respectful and helpful fashion. If you read my subsequent posts you will see that I am considering that advice and haven't made a decision one way or the other.

  13. #13
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    I jumped off that ledge already. Expensive hydraulic brakes that were always dragging. Multiple trips back to the shop. Not sure how many times I worked on them myself but it was a lot. Every single ride resulted in frustration because the brakes were making noise and/or dragging.

    I switched to BB7's and now all I get is the blessed sound of silence. My brakes may not stop me quite as quickly now or have that same amount of modulation but every ride is fun instead of ending up with me wanting to do this .

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntenseMack10 View Post
    So wait, you've tried one model of one brand of hydro brakes, a model that is somewhat known for having some less than desirable issues and admittedly you havent even tried all the tricks for fixing the issues you are having??

    Nevermind moving to BB7's, I think maybe mountain biking isn't your sport.
    Maybe he likes to ride and not work on bikes? BB7s work well, but do have a few issues of their own - namely the noise.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntenseMack10 View Post
    Nevermind moving to BB7's, I think maybe mountain biking isn't your sport.
    OP, do what makes you happy and disregard this type of stuff. I recently bought a set of Hope Tech Evos after getting sick of the elixir 9s famous "turkey gobble" and general squealing.

    After all, its your money, your hobby, and your ride. I'm glad to read that you are enjoying the BB7s.

  16. #16
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    I've had some noise issues with my Elixir 5s, made me consider going for 2012 XTs, but then all these leaking XT reports are stopping me. I'd rather have a brake that makes a little noise, than a brake that leaks...

  17. #17
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    When mechanical brakes and hydro brakes perform as designed all is well and imo hydro's are better. When a problem arises hydro's require more mechanical aptitude, patience and fiddling. Avids are mechanical brakes and easier for the end user to manipulate. OP I would suggest BB7's for the simple reason you are here and are ready to throw in the towel. Moving to another set of hydro's requires what I have already listed. Mechanical still need fiddling to get optimum performance as the pads wear - hydro's are automatic in this sense.

  18. #18
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    I have used BB7's (185mm rotors) with Ultimate levers and sealed Flak Jacket cables for three years with ZERO issues and very little maintenance.

  19. #19
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    Thanks again for all the comments gents. I'm glad Mack Attack cooled off. Ha ha.

    Anyway, I'm no so much afraid or inept when it comes to working on hydros, I just would rather spend my time and effort riding as opposed to jacking with my brakes all the time, which is all I've done in the three or four months I've had them, and trying to find just the right "trick" to make them work. However it seems the problem is more with the actual model I own than it is hydros in general. I'll mull it over and probably mess with them some more before trying something else. I've still got my eye on those BB7's though.

    Thanks again for all the info. Great comments.

  20. #20
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    I'm definitely in the "won't go back to mechanicals" camp. If I were looking for worse performance, then I would consider it - and I do own a set of the first gen Elixir CR's, which I haven't had any major issues with(and they are quiet). I think the CPS washer system(have they gone away from that yet?) has a lot to do with excess noise and rubbing issues - the washers are soft, get over-torqued, deform and lead to the caliper getting misaligned. If you want a easy option to quiet your brakes down, maybe look into Squeal Out - I've tried a sample and the stuff works.

    Hope makes some very nice, set and forget brakes(though initial setup is more involved). The new Magura MT brakes have also been very good so far - very easy to set up and get the rotor to run completely rub free(lot's of pad clearance).

  21. #21
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    I just would rather spend my time and effort riding as opposed to jacking with my brakes all the time, which is all I've done in the three or four months I've had them, and trying to find just the right "trick" to make them work.
    This is what made me go back to BB7's. I was taking shorter rides or not riding off road at all. The real question is will your riding be negatively affected by going to mechanical brakes? I'm more of a XC rider, I like doing big loops or exploring roads and trails I haven't been on. For me it was an easy decision, I already had two bikes with BB7's and knew that I could maintain them and also get good power and "feel" out of them. If you don't absolutely need the hydro's and BB7's get you back out on the trail.

  22. #22
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    DM1333,

    Good incite. Thanks. You have pretty much nailed my problem. I don't really know if my riding will be negatively affected by mechanical brakes. I'm new to this MTB thing and the first and only brakes I've had other than bikes as a kid are the Elixir 5's that came on the bike. I don't have any other frame of reference as the the variations in power between the two types, etc. Part of me wants to buy the BB7's just so that I CAN compare the difference.

    I would say I'm more of an XC rider too. I like to pedal up and down. Mostly loops, as you mentioned, on singletrack trails. Some techy stuff now and then, depending on where I ride. I do live in Utah so there is plenty of steep stuff with long descents at times (which is where the Elixir's like to fade on me, incidentally). I like to try to go fast, but not breakneck fast. I have kids to feed after all.

    So, my concern is as you say. Will I switch to BB7's and find out they just don't have the power I want, or will they be just fine and I'll like the added simplicity.

    Any suggestion you can provide based on my rambling description of how I ride would be great!

    Have a good one.

  23. #23
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    I think it's a big stretch to say that you'll find added simplicity with mechanical disc brakes. From a end user's perspective, I would find that hydraulic brakes are more simple to maintain. From a mechanics point of view, hydraulic brakes may take some more time to set up properly.

    Anyways, if you want less than optimal performance, it's all you.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncfisherman View Post

    Anyways, if you want less than optimal performance, it's all you.
    Yep, you'll be killed using your crappy outdated BB7s ...

    For someone riding XC trails like the OP, why exactly are BB7s so bad? We'll assume he has more grip strength than a little girl.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Yep, you'll be killed using your crappy outdated BB7s
    I said nothing close to that. Sure, I could get by fine(on my local trails) with mechanicals. Would I trade Elixir 5's for BB7s? Definitely not(and I have owned and worked on both).

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncfisherman View Post
    I said nothing close to that. Sure, I could get by fine(on my local trails) with mechanicals. Would I trade Elixir 5's for BB7s? Definitely not(and I have owned and worked on both).
    I was kidding a little bit there. I've only ridden BB7s and want to try out hydros, but mechanicals get the job done if setup correctly with rotors matched to the rider's weight.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntenseMack10 View Post
    Because itís the anonymous internet, and I can hide behind my keyboard with zero accountability..
    LOL Do you actually believe that? Any low level hacker could find out more info on you than you even know about yourself! Its just that on this forum, no one really cares to do it.
    Friends don't let friends cheer for the TML

  28. #28
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    ncfisherman,

    When hydraulic brakes WORK they may be less maintenance intensive but it isn't like BB7's are all that hard to set up or to adjust once the pads start to wear. And when hydraulics don't work, like in my case, they are a screaming pain in the arse. I adjusted my brakes just about every ride, either before or after the ride. There were plenty of times where I had to stop and fiddle with them in the middle of a ride. The amount of time I have put into these BB7's compared to my old hydraulics brakes is negligible. I don't know how many times I brought the bike to a shop but it was a bunch. They would adjust the brakes and I would go out and ride, within 4 or 5 miles they were dragging again.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dm1333 View Post
    ncfisherman,

    When hydraulic brakes WORK they may be less maintenance intensive but it isn't like BB7's are all that hard to set up or to adjust once the pads start to wear. And when hydraulics don't work, like in my case, they are a screaming pain in the arse. I adjusted my brakes just about every ride, either before or after the ride. There were plenty of times where I had to stop and fiddle with them in the middle of a ride. The amount of time I have put into these BB7's compared to my old hydraulics brakes is negligible. I don't know how many times I brought the bike to a shop but it was a bunch. They would adjust the brakes and I would go out and ride, within 4 or 5 miles they were dragging again.
    I hear ya. I'm only trying to point out that there are a lot of hassle free hydro disc brakes out there, but yes, some may require more detailed set up. I can't remember the last time that I had to fiddle with the disc brakes on any of my personal bikes - the two bikes that I ride the most have Hope Tech m4's and Magura MT8s(which I haven't touched since setting up 7 months ago). Trust me, the last thing I want to do is work on my bike, when I have worked on other people's bikes all week.

    Anyways, good luck to the OP with whatever he goes with.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncfisherman View Post
    I hear ya. I'm only trying to point out that there are a lot of hassle free hydro disc brakes out there, but yes, some may require more detailed set up. I can't remember the last time that I had to fiddle with the disc brakes on any of my personal bikes - the two bikes that I ride the most have Hope Tech m4's and Magura MT8s(which I haven't touched since setting up 7 months ago). Trust me, the last thing I want to do is work on my bike, when I have worked on other people's bikes all week.

    Anyways, good luck to the OP with whatever he goes with.
    Do you think any of these are easier for the novice to setup?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahheadgear View Post
    I've threatened before, but I'm about to do it for real this time. I'm ready to give up on Hydros and go with BB7's.

    I've about had all the fun I can stand with these Elixir 5 brakes. I want to like them and I admittedly have yet to try all the tricks that people have shared on this forum (have tried some), but it seems like these brakes are simply more hassle than they are worth. I've also considered higher end hydros. Maybe that's the right answer too, but it just seems to me that the BB7 mech's might just be a lot more hassle free.

    Talk me off the ledge boys! Give me a good reason not to do it!
    Chances are that if you get a new set of hydros, they will be better. Some are just problematic, but most are not.

    Seems to me that in most cases, hydros work great, and when they do, they are essentially maintenance free, because they self adjust, and the lines can go a LONG time without bleeding. However, you can, on occasion, get an issue (or issues) that can drive you insane. So they are usually great, but in rare cases they are a nightmare.

    BB7s need more ongoing attention, but it is really simple, and I am not aware of anything that is not a pretty straightforward fix. So while they are more maintenance, they seem more reliable to me.

    Turned my back on a set of hydros that were constant trouble 10 years ago, got a set of bb7's and have never regretted it. I've ended up buying several more sets for additional bikes. I'd like to give hydros another shot sometime, but can never bring myself to drop the $. I've used hydros plenty of times, and the do feel nicer, but I never see any real difference in overall performance. It might help that I use Ripcord cable/housing and know how to run them.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  32. #32
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    Thought I'd follow up on this. Better late than never, right?
    Anyway, I stuck it out with the Elixirs and through much trial and error have finally got them running very nicely. It was a big learning curve, but probably worth the hassle. Gotta get the air out! That's the key, and its easier said than done. When I got it though.... They work!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahheadgear View Post
    I've threatened before, but I'm about to do it for real this time. I'm ready to give up on Hydros and go with BB7's.

    I've about had all the fun I can stand with these Elixir 5 brakes. I want to like them and I admittedly have yet to try all the tricks that people have shared on this forum (have tried some), but it seems like these brakes are simply more hassle than they are worth. I've also considered higher end hydros. Maybe that's the right answer too, but it just seems to me that the BB7 mech's might just be a lot more hassle free.

    Talk me off the ledge boys! Give me a good reason not to do it!
    DON'T DO IT MAN.... LIFE HAS SO MUCH TO GIVE!!!! Okay, I can't think of any reason not to, I've ridden cables and hydraulics and I've found that under a 45lbs DH bike on a White Bros. fork (S7) riding on Vancouver Island that cables can't dissipate heat very well after ten minutes of down.... Then again I've ridden full hydros on a XC steel frame with a 5" travel fork and after ten minutes on the same trail on Vancouver Island they also can't dissipate heat!!

    The question you need to answer is how much trouble are you willing to put up with.... cables need to be set-up once and only the once. Hydraulics need to be adjusted correctly the first time otherwise they drag like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and will keep doing that because that is how they are broken in.

    It's not gospel it's just experience.....

  34. #34
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    I don't know... I have a fully rigid Kona Unit SS with BB7's and a geared Scott RC with XTR brakes.. I ride somewhat technical single track in SE Missouri... They both work and both have been easy to work with.. But I have to say... My Kona gets about 75% more use...

  35. #35
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    If they were Shimano's I would have offered to take them off you hands, yeah

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahheadgear View Post
    I've threatened before, but I'm about to do it for real this time. I'm ready to give up on Hydros and go with BB7's.

    I've about had all the fun I can stand with these Elixir 5 brakes. I want to like them and I admittedly have yet to try all the tricks that people have shared on this forum (have tried some), but it seems like these brakes are simply more hassle than they are worth. I've also considered higher end hydros. Maybe that's the right answer too, but it just seems to me that the BB7 mech's might just be a lot more hassle free.

    Talk me off the ledge boys! Give me a good reason not to do it!
    I love the Shamino brakes and even own a set of the XT's on my wife's Tranny. Having said that, the Hope brakes are a tad pricy, but are the best brakes in the industry. Nothing is better. I have owned 4 or 5 sets with a ton of parts here and there, and they are a set it and forget it brake. They retract great (no disk rub) tons of power (V and M series) and have a ton of adjustments for the lever. A REAL one finger brake with gobs of power.
    Again it's a tad pricy, but they are just awesome, and great to look at.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dgage View Post
    LOL Do you actually believe that? Any low level hacker could find out more info on you than you even know about yourself! Its just that on this forum, no one really cares to do it.
    Just a idiot from 4chan, ignore him.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahheadgear View Post
    Thought I'd follow up on this. Better late than never, right?
    Anyway, I stuck it out with the Elixirs and through much trial and error have finally got them running very nicely. It was a big learning curve, but probably worth the hassle. Gotta get the air out! That's the key, and its easier said than done. When I got it though.... They work!
    So, did anyone who posted here within the last week even bother to read what the OP posted above??

    He's got the problem solved! His Elixirs are running fine now.

  39. #39
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    I just switched to Hayes Prime Pro's from Elixer 5's and couldn't be happier. Easiest brakes to adjust than I have ever used or seen and pretty darn quiet as well. Get what your happy with, because you'll get a million different opinions here and we all know what opinions are like!

    Good luck!
    2015 Jamis Dakar XCT 650b Team

  40. #40
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    biggest thing with all hydro brakes, if theres air, braking will suck. all my brakes are hydro, i wouldnt have it any other way. from code r to echo tr rim brakes (hs33 knockoffs). my best experience with disc brakes are hopes. the only real problem i had was the lever started leaking on a 8 year old lever. not a huge fan of shimanos except for the old 4 piston xt and of course saints.

  41. #41
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    Ironically I came across this thread trying to find anyone who has problems with Shimano brakes...
    My Jamis Dakota came with 485's and the caliper started sticking. I put a new M446 caliper in its place yesterday and bled it. Lever takes up much faster than it did before, feels great -- but the pads always drag no matter what I do. I did try resetting the pads by opening the reservoir back up and compressing the pistons and starting over.... It seems like the pistons just don't retract enough from the rotor to keep the pads from dragging... Never had this much trouble with the old caliper either; do you have any ideas where to start?

    (I probably just cursed myself by giving the bb7's on my old bike to a friend last week haha)

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