Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,828

    talk me out of it- BB7s to SLX hydros

    I have been on BB7s forever and I think I want to get something with more power. I have no problem bleeding and adjusting mtb brakes, I do it all day at work. I have Avid SD Ultimate levers, 180mm front and 160mm rotors, plain ol Shimano housing and organic pads currently. I can get the SLX 675 brakes relatively cheap, but it's still a lot of money to spend on something I don't "need" in any sense. Should I try them with some better cables like Jagwire Ripcords (now called Mountain Pro) or will I get that much more out of hydros?

    by the way, am a middleweight rider and I ride XC on a steel SS bike with a rigid or suspension fork depending on the terrain and my mood. I climb well but I feel like I am severely lacking downhill cornering skills. i don't expect brakes to fix this for me, but it might help, plus there's the bling factor of hydros.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 05-10-2013 at 07:59 AM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    21
    if we're talking about new SLX hydros, I am gonna vote for change.
    I was never big fan of mechanical disc brakes on XC bikes.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    96
    I have both, so maybe I can help. My thoughts are that the SLX is probably a bit lighter weight and has more power (hydraulics normally, but not always do). However, I love my bb7s and I feel like they have better modulation. I would try to upgrade to compressionless cables since you seem to be mostly satisfied with the BB7s. I got some nashbar disc brake cable that is actually branded Jagwire ripcord. I think it was $20 with shipping.

    You'll probably also get 1000 people saying that hydros are always better. I don't buy that though. If you upgrade the housing and don't like it you're only out $20 and can pick up a set of SLX. My 2 cents.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,828
    I think you are right. I will have to try a new cableset and maybe fiddle around with cleaning the internals of the brake. I have also read something about using a metallic sintered pad on the inside and an organic resin pad on the outside piston. might be worth a try! anyone know where I can get some ti bolts for a BB7 caliper?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    96
    i run the sintered pads that came with mine and they have good power and are not loud as sometimes happens with sintered pads. Might be worth a shot - I think EBC makes a nice brake pad.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: GTscoob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    2,144
    I've gotta have some welding done to my custom frame and can let you borrow the SLX brakes on it for a few weeks if you want to try them out. Not a strict SLX setup but it's newer servo wave SLX levers matched to older XT calipers - pretty much the same as the pre Ice-Tech SLX setups.

  7. #7
    Just Ride!
    Reputation: kustomz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,010
    I too have been on BB7's forever and am tired of the squeel, clean, silence routine. Also I am not a fan of hitting bumps and then hearing the pads start dragging and having to squeeze the lever to re-seat the pads.

    I am probably not telling you anything new with all of that blather, but I did just purchase Shimano Deore XT BR-M785 for $236.97 shipped. They said the sale will run through midnight.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,828
    Kustomz : that is a very unique problem. Mine work just fine and i have never heard of such a thing. I think your brake is missing a spring or something.

  9. #9
    Just Ride!
    Reputation: kustomz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,010
    New springs and pads almost every year since new, and always the same results. When they are clean they work great, but when caked with dirt and grit they are less than stellar. I also dislike that there is only one active piston. I would have purchased the MTB version of the TRP Spyre, but they will not be available until later on in the year. XT for me, can't wait!

  10. #10
    human dehumidifier
    Reputation: wv_bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    5,037
    Every time I think about going to hydros from BB-7s, something goes wrong to remind me why I like the mechanicals so much.

    The latest was a switch from BB-7s on my Canfield to a set of Elixir CRs off my Salsa. I'd never had the first bit of trouble out of those Elixirs until I put them on the Canfield, and they immediately went to crap when I installed them. The problem seems to be that the pistons are sticking, so they drag all the time. I took them right back off and put them back where they came from.

    Spent the biggest part of today futzing around with cleaning them up, and while I got the pistons to retract, they still rub all the time, I think because of a problem in the master cylinder, because I can mess with the lever adjustments and the problem gets better then worse. No such headaches with the BB-7s. If something goes wrong with them, there's no guessing what's wrong, it's right there plain to see.

    So there, I tried to talk you out of it.
    When you get older, much of your hate comes from knowledge and experience, which is why really old people hate everyone

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    402

    talk me out of it- BB7s to SLX hydros

    Coming at this from a slightly different angle, you really know bb7 brakes. Why not do the ultimate cable upgrade and see what these suckers can really do. Then you can tell your customers how to max out their mechanicals.

    Hydros are nice, but all are not created equal, and they are still futzing around trying to get them perfect. Ever wonder why bb7's still mostly look the same? I think cause they nailed it from the gate.

    I did the ultimate cable upgrades on my bb7's, and followed every good tip I could find to make these things stop. Results are fantastic IMHO. I've never, ever felt I've not had enough brakes.

    Bill

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,828
    Bill- i have read the forum's BB7 threads to death. I had my wisdom teeth yanked out last Wednesday and spent all week on Hydrocodine, Netflix, and MTBR.com. So here's my plan:
    1. Overhaul calipers. Re-grease bearings with Dura ace grease.
    2. Replace generic cables with Jagwire Mtn Pros aka Ripcord
    3. Go back to SD7s, experiment with some Paul levers, sell SD Ultimates.
    4. New rotors?
    5. New pads: EBC, koolstops, or Jagwires...

    What do you prescribe?

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: lew242's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    494
    I used BB7s for about 2 years and I honestly think they are great brakes, mostly because I love how you can set the pads just to the right position with the dials on the caliper. I also may not have been the most careful owner so maybe never got the best out of them. My experiences with hydraulic brakes in the form of Hayes Stroker Rydes and 2011 Elixir 5s really had me missing my trusty old BB7s, because I hated both those brakes passionately. That was until servo wave Shimanos.

    IMHO if you live somewhere fairly flat or ride mostly XC stay with the BB7s, if you really ride steep tech terrain with over 300 meter vertical drop think about M596 Deore or 666 SLX, shouldn't be a problem on your current rotors unless you front is a 183mm, but a few washers could fix that. I might even have a look at the Zee brakes too.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: GTscoob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    2,144
    EBC Golds and Shimano XTR housing bring the BB7s to another level. The golds are a little noisy but worth it for the increase in power - much more consistent lever feel as well, like the EBC pads are stiffer than the stock Avid pads in addition to being grabbier and more powerful.

    Just wish a shop in town had bulk XTR housing as the kit doesnt sell it long enough to wrap around the drop bars, across the top tube, and down the NDS seadstay on my cross bike. . .

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,828
    Ordered some EBC Golds and Jagwire cables. Keeping the G3 rotors for now. Overhauled my calipers with Shimano SP-41 grease.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    402
    Sounds good. I think the best advice i followed was running a full lenght of casing for the rear cable. It just seemed to really up the power.

    I think an above poster was right, if you are mostly XC or live where its kinda flatish, BB& are an awesome choice. But if you live where there are actual mountains, then hydros make sense also.

    billl

  17. #17
    OSM
    OSM is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OSM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    129
    when I ran BB7's and even juicy7's I was only happy with running SWISS STOP pads. The green DH race compound was very grabby and the painted green looks cool too. They cost a few more bucks, but I averaged about 100 hours of aggressive race training including a handfull of super D races with each set of pads and would replace them twice a year(200 hours) a year is easy on trails for me. side note: metal radiator finned pads just lasted me 220 hours in 10 months and weren't totally dead yet.
    Bicycles D'opinion/ COMMENCAL /Principat D'Andorra

  18. #18
    Just Ride!
    Reputation: kustomz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,010
    I just installed my new set of XT servo waves and the difference is incredible! In the past I had always avoided hydros for simplistic sake and now realize that I have been cheapening my experience all these years. The XT's were much easier to install and set up than my old BB7's with night and day difference in stopping power by one finger. If you still love your mechanicals after a switch, that's fine, but I am converted.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails talk me out of it- BB7s to SLX hydros-xtfr.jpg  


  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    346
    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    The XT's were much easier to install and set up than my old BB7's with night and day difference in stopping power by one finger. If you still love your mechanicals after a switch, that's fine, but I am converted.
    It seems to me that people's hesitation in switching to hydraulics is usually due to the "unknown" regarding setup and/or maintenance. I've read repeatedly how people have had easy setup and little to no maintenance with their newer Shimano hydraulics (I'm sure there is success with other brands/models as well). My own experience concurs with this. With the M596s being so cheap (and well reviewed) it seems like a no-brainer to me if someone's considering an upgrade.

Similar Threads

  1. Good rotors for old BB7s?
    By KevinGT in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-27-2013, 04:38 PM
  2. XT 785 or bb7s for new bike?
    By Billinsd in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-16-2012, 08:15 AM
  3. Questions about Avid BB7s
    By getagrip in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 01-30-2012, 06:23 AM
  4. BB7s vs. Hydros?
    By myitch in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 127
    Last Post: 01-31-2011, 09:50 AM
  5. Promax Hornets Hydros or BB7s?
    By millsj2 in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-26-2011, 07:00 PM

Posting Permissions

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