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  1. #1
    Back in the Saddle Again!
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    New question here. A Tough Decision: BB7's vs Ultimate's?

    I am just building my first bike after being off the saddle for 17 years! I will be riding mostly XC type stuff this year, mostly smooth trails etc to get fit again before I get into some more serious riding next year.

    I am putting together a 29er and have ordered everything already. The rest of the components will be delivered on Monday and I have started second guessing as to whether I should have gone with the Avid Ultimate's vs a BB7/Speed Dial 7/Full Metal Jacket set-up. Money isn't a huge concern but I don't want to spend money for nothing if you know what I mean...

    My questions being:

    1.) Will the Ultimate's clearly out-perform the BB7's? Will this increased performance really benefit me and how?
    2.) Does the weight of the Ultimate's include the levers and lines?
    3.) Maintenance wise, which is superior?

    Any thoughts or comments are appreciated...

    To give you an idea of my build this is what I have and will be receiving on Monday...(sorry for the poor formatting, I just pasted this over).

    Bike Build

    Part Brand Model Specifications Weight (grams)

    Brake - Front Avid BB7 185mm 318
    Brake - Rear Avid BB7 185mm 318
    Brake Levers Avid SD7 Mica/Black 180
    Cassette SRAM PG-990 11-34T, 9 Speed 305
    Chain SRAM PC 991 9 Speed, Hollow Pin 279
    Crankset Truvativ Stylo SS 1.1 GXP MegaEXO 175mm, 32T 848
    Derailleur - Rear SRAM X.O Medium Cage, Carbon Fibre 197
    Fork White Brothers Rock Solid 29ers Carbon Fibre, 465mm 725
    Frame Astrix Rook 29er Large 1814
    Grips Titec Hellbent Lock On 120
    Handlebars Axiom C7 660mm, 1.5" Rise, Carbon Fibre 165
    Headset Chris King No ThreadSet Red, 1 1/8" 98
    Hub - Front Hope XC Disc Black 200
    Hub - Rear Hope XC Disc Black 385
    Nipples DT Swiss Standard Aluminum Silver 20
    Pedals Shimano MD-540 SPD 352
    Rims DT Swiss TK-7.1D Disc , Black 1080
    Saddle Terry Firefly Black 276
    Seatpost Thomson Elite 30.9mm, 410mm, Black 263
    Seatpost Clamp Hope QR Black 52
    Shift Levers SRAM X.O 9 Speed, Carbon Fibre 115
    Spokes DT Swiss Competition Butted 2.0-1.8mm, Silver 382
    Stem Axiom C7 120mm, 31.8 Clamp, Carbon Fibre 160
    Tires Geax Saguaro 29x2.2 1220
    Tubes WTB Lightweight 29x2.125 340
    Wheel Skewers Hope QR Black 114

    10,326 grams

  2. #2
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    1. No, not at all.
    2. No.
    3. Draw, though you will never wear through the rim sidewalls with discs.

    Also you do not need the Full Metal Jacket housing. Any good housing, full length, works as well or better.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for quick reply shiggy, I appreciate that.

    I already have the FMJ housing so I might as well use it but thanks for the head's up!

    Bike technology has certainly improved since the late '80s!

  4. #4
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    I can only answer (1). I have BB7s on one bike and Formula K18s on two others.

    The BB7s are really good brakes. The K18s are much better, in terms of modulation and feel. They are a bit better in terms of stopping power. If it's stopping power you're concerned about, just upgrade the rotor from 160mm to 185mm.

    I do really like the BB7s.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkheadedbug
    I can only answer (1). I have BB7s on one bike and Formula K18s on two others.

    The BB7s are really good brakes. The K18s are much better, in terms of modulation and feel. They are a bit better in terms of stopping power. If it's stopping power you're concerned about, just upgrade the rotor from 160mm to 185mm.

    I do really like the BB7s.
    Thanks for your input, I am checking the K18's out. Stopping power was main concern so it sounds like the BB7's will work for me, I did order the 185mm rotor's so it sounds like I got hat right.

    Maybe I will upgrade to the Avid Ultimate brake levers...hmmmm decisions, decisions....

  6. #6
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    i would get the ultimates over the bb7. I have juicy's now, i had bb7's before and all i can say is, hydro rules! no more faffing around with cables, always adjusting them, instead it really is fit and forget. i also prefer the modulation on hydro brakes, and the fact you aren't pulling as hard as you can like you are with cables, i also lost the bolt that holds the cable to the calliper and had to make one up, i was then forever suffering from cable slippage

  7. #7
    Anytime. Anywhere.
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    I switched from BB7's to Juicy's and while I like the feel better if I had it to do over again I would stick with the BB7's. I would rather install new cables and housing once a year than deal with bleeding and a leaky piston seal. BB7's modulate great if set up properly with good levers. I still may go back yet if there are any more hassles. With my BB7's the only problem I had in 4 years was worn pads.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  8. #8
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomzo22
    i would get the ultimates over the bb7. I have juicy's now, i had bb7's before and all i can say is, hydro rules! no more faffing around with cables, always adjusting them, instead it really is fit and forget. i also prefer the modulation on hydro brakes, and the fact you aren't pulling as hard as you can like you are with cables, i also lost the bolt that holds the cable to the calliper and had to make one up, i was then forever suffering from cable slippage
    Hmmm...good point. When I read "Ultimate" I thought V-brake, not the new disc brake.

    I prefer and have had ZERO issues with cable discs, though. Very light touch, good power and modulation, no failures in 7 years of use.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle
    I switched from BB7's to Juicy's and while I like the feel better if I had it to do over again I would stick with the BB7's. I would rather install new cables and housing once a year than deal with bleeding and a leaky piston seal. BB7's modulate great if set up properly with good levers. I still may go back yet if there are any more hassles. With my BB7's the only problem I had in 4 years was worn pads.
    Thanks for your reply. That's exactly what I was wondering about with regard to maintenace issues, the BB7's are looking better all the time...

    What levers did you use with yours?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Hmmm...good point. When I read "Ultimate" I thought V-brake, not the new disc brake.

    I prefer and have had ZERO issues with cable discs, though. Very light touch, good power and modulation, no failures in 7 years of use.
    OK - Now your "Draw, though you will never wear through the rim sidewalls with discs." comment makes more sense now!

    Looks like I will stick with the BB7's...

    That brings up another question though, will upgrading to the Ultimate levers bring a noticeable difference in performance, ie; feel...?

    Cheers!
    Last edited by neilvan; 03-11-2007 at 12:55 PM.

  11. #11
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilvan
    OK - Now your "Draw, though you will never wear through the rim sidewalls with discs." comment makes more sense now!

    Looks like I will stick with the BB7's...

    That brings up another question though, will upgrading to the Ultimate levers bring a noticeable difference in performance, ie; feel...?

    Cheers!
    The Ultimate disc weights do include the levers and line.

    The Ultimate cable levers are very good but any of the SpeedDial levers work great.
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  12. #12
    Anytime. Anywhere.
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    I used Avid Speed Dial but was considering the Ultimates. I may go that way yet.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  13. #13
    Meh.
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    XTR and Paul levers are also worth taking a look at.

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