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  1. #1
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    thinking of upgrading...

    my 2012 Trek Marlin, can use some better brakes.

    Not a weight issue, I'd just like some better performance.

    I am a total newb to upgrades. My last bike was purchased used and already topped out.

    What do I need? can I keep my 160mm rotors if I bought, say a set of BB5's?

    Do I re-use my stock cable?

    Is it a PIA to swap a brake set?

    Are they bike specific, or universal mount?

    What brake set would you recommend for a 30 lb. 29er these days...(rider on a budget)

    Thanks all!!
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  2. #2
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    If you are going to get mech, go BB7. You cannot beat it. Make sure you get the MTB ones.

    As for rotors - depends on what you are currently running, but they should work.

    I would personally use fresh cables.

    Swapping a brake set is easy. If you have not done it before, just take it slow, have patience and learn. It is good knowledge to have.

    Universal mount - could be either post mount or IS. Make sure you get the correct ones or adaptors.

    Any modern brake set should do well. If mech, go BB7 (as said above). Otherwise, you could do worse than trying SLX/XT or lower end Elixirs.

  3. #3
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    "What do I need? can I keep my 160mm rotors if I bought, say a set of BB5's?"

    As Shalom noted, if you going mechanical pony up and go BB7. The BB5s won't be much of an upgrade over the stock Tektro Novelas that came on the bike to begin with. Also Avid brakes come with rotors. The BB7 comes with the G2 Clean Sweep rotors in your choice of size. I would use them. They are better than the rotors that come with the Novelas. Some rotors are compatible between manufacturers. But until you know what to look for when checking for compatibility it's better to go with the specific rotors that come with a given manufacturers brakes.

    "Do I re-use my stock cable?"

    Most likely not. Different mechanical calipers are different shapes. They all basically work the same. But the cable and the rear housing run for your current brakes will likely be different than what you would need for another brake design. It would be a good idea to have at least enough housing on hand to replace that rear run if needed and new cables.

    "Is it a PIA to swap a brake set?"

    Only if you don't know what you are doing. You WILL need a torque wrench, a 5mm allen socket and a T25 Torx bit to fit the wrench. Torque spec is critical on BB7 brake calipers, adapters, and rotors. Also the ability to follow directions to the letter is a good skill as well. The other critical aspect of installing disc brakes is set up. And when it comes to performance BB7s are sensitive to proper set up. A good 85% of the problems that most people have with BBs due to improper initial set up.

    "Are they bike specific, or universal mount?"

    The mounts on the frame and fork are standard. The fork on the Marlin uses the industry standard post mount system, which means the caliper will mount directly to the fork without an adapter if you stick with a 160mm rotor. The rear on the Marlin is a standard IS mount and will require an adapter. The correct adapter will come with the brakes if you buy new.

    "What brake set would you recommend for a 30 lb. 29er these days...(rider on a budget)"

    I am assuming you mean a 130 lb rider, yes? A 30 lb rider wouldn't need disc brakes and likely wouldn't even fit on the smallest Marlin made! As noted above, I'd recommend the BB7. Relatively easy to set up, highly adjustable, easy to maintain, and very reliable. The biggest plus, other than the performance increase, is that both inboard and outboard pads are adjustable. This means that you don't have to loosen the mounting bolts to adjust the brakes for pad wear, and you can adjust the distance of both pads from the rotor to give the brakes the exact pad contact point and feel that you want.

    Your call.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  4. #4
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    I'm kinda in the same boat as Limey...... I have a 2011 Giant Revel 1 and the Tektro IO brakes aren't terrible, but I have had to mess around with them quite a bit to stop the pads from rubbing on the rotors. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get BB7's.

    Couple questions: If I just want to upgrade one brake at a time, should I replace the front or the rear first? Currently I have 160mm rotors. What are the pros/cons of upgrading to 180mm?

    Thanks for the input.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt A View Post
    Couple questions: If I just want to upgrade one brake at a time, should I replace the front or the rear first?
    No issues with doing one at a time. Either one will work. If you are having issues with power of the brakes, I would go with the front one first. If it is just upgrade-itis, either or.
    Currently I have 160mm rotors. What are the pros/cons of upgrading to 180mm?
    Increasing the rotor size helps with heat dissipation, reduces brake fade (if it is a problem for you) and will provide more power in braking. The only downside I can think of is that it is easier to tweak the rotor out of true...

  6. #6
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    Don't cheap out on the cables. My husband got a bike that came with BB5's and complained that they felt spongy. An upgrade of the cables fixed the problem. Personally, I like Jagwire Ripcords, but there are lots of good cables out there.

    As others have said, BB7's are the best mechanicals.

    180mm will give you more stopping power than 160mm. If you want a little more stopping power, go 180 in the front. If you are able to lock up your wheels, you probably don't need to go larger.

  7. #7
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    OK. One more question..... I think my wheels may be slightly out of true right now. Should I get them trued before I install the new brake(s)?

  8. #8
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    If you are installing disc brakes, it is not necessary to have a perfectly trued wheel.

    However, it is generally good practice to keep your wheels well trued. It saves a lot of trouble further down the road.

  9. #9
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    Thanks to all. I'll be going with the BB7's

    As for the weight...I was just talking bike...I'm 175 on a 30lb. bike.

    I'll need to shop for cables...the set I found does not come with cables.
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  10. #10
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    upgrade complete! Thanks to all who recommended the BB7's.

    Great brakes. not quite broken in yet but a ride tomorrow will fix that.

    I have a general disc brake question...I have a singletrack loop that my GF drops me off for, and she pics me up at the bottom. I loop about 8 or 9 miles, then a road downhill for better that two miles.

    It's a CRAZY fast downhill...better than 35 mph sometimes...pavement...LOTS of braking.

    My stock brakes got pretty hot on the run last week.

    Can I harm these (BB7's) if I do this run weekly? I'm guessing the MTN versions were not designed for this type of braking.
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  11. #11
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    sidenote:

    My bb7's came with g3 rotors. I read everywhere it should have been g2.

    Is this good, bad, or no matter?
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  12. #12
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    One of the design briefs of discs is how they react to extended braking and heat. Cable avoid the biggest problem of fluid expansion, and the pads will lose a bit of performance. Other than that is business as usual. You'll know if you exceed the design limits as the brakes will drop in performance significantly by the end. An increase in rotor size will be the ticket if this is the case
    Rimmer - "There's an old human saying - if you talk garbage, expect pain"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limey Johnson View Post

    Can I harm these (BB7's) if I do this run weekly? I'm guessing the MTN versions were not designed for this type of braking.
    If you notice discoloration of the rotors and glazing over of the rotors or pads, that means you're doing a bit of damage. They're not going to explode or anything but it does degrade your braking performance.

    As was said, if you're getting these issues then you can switch to a larger diameter rotor.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  14. #14
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    a bit discouraged.

    near the end of a 8 mile ride today, the rears started to squeek.

    Only a bit while feathering, it went away when I applied more pressure. I guess this is common? Did I set something up wrong?


    edit: read this morning that the G3 rotors are of a different design... for the BB7's.

    the LBS told me they'd be okay
    .
    Last edited by Limey Johnson; 09-14-2011 at 05:00 AM.
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limey Johnson View Post
    a bit discouraged.

    near the end of a 8 mile ride today, the rears started to squeek.

    Only a bit while feathering, it went away when I applied more pressure. I guess this is common? Did I set something up wrong?


    edit: read this morning that the G3 rotors are of a different design... for the BB7's.

    the LBS told me they'd be okay
    .
    Disc brakes squealing while feathering the brake is very common. Remember your rubbing a metalic brake pad against a metal disc and it's all bolted to a conglomeration of welded together metal tubes. It's really a miracle when they don't squeal or squeak. If that's the only time they squeak for you, you did just fine!

    As for the G3 rotors. They were specifically designed for the Elixr and XX brake. However they'll work okay with the BB7. Not the optimal rotor for them. But as long as your pads are making contact with the braking track of the rotor properly, i,e, the pads don't extend past the outside edge of the rotor, and don't extend to far down the onto the spokes of the rotor, you should be fine. Just take a look. Take a heavy rubber band and wrap it a few times around the brake lever so that the pads make contact with the rotor. Then look in to the caliper and note where the top of the pads are in realation to the rotor edge. As long as the pads are even or slightly below the edge of the rotor, your fine. Then take a look at the track marks that the pads make on the rotor as they burnish it. As long as that burnished track only extends a few mm onto the the spokes of the rotor, your good to go. Those are the only two important considerations, other thatn correct rotor diameter, when using a different rotor with any brake. Unless of course you are trying to use Shimano rotors. Some of their rotors are designed for resin/organic pads only. So you have to take that into condideration as well. But in your case it doesn't matter obviously.

    Bottom line is, as long as your pads are contacting the rotor correctly, you shouldn't have problems using the G3's with your BB7s.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

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