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  1. #1
    650b me
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    Ultimate BB7 setup

    Please share your ultimate Avid BB7 setup:

    Pads?
    Levers?
    Cables/housing?
    Rotors?

    Thanks in advance. I'm just looking to maximize performance of the best mechanical discs on the market at this time.

  2. #2
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    Check out blueskycycling. They had a combo with a pair of bb7's, g2 cleansweeps, and xtr cables, and speed dial 7 levers. All for like 120....hell of a steal.
    07 Epic
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  3. #3
    251
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    Here's my setup:

    BB7 calipers (2009)
    Cleansweep X rotors (185F/160R), Ti bolts
    Avid sintered pads (will be trying out some Kool-Stop sintered pads shortly)
    Paul's Love Levers
    SRAM Straight Jacket cables/housings





    Dave
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy
    Please share your ultimate Avid BB7 setup:

    Pads?
    Levers?
    Cables/housing?
    Rotors?

    Thanks in advance. I'm just looking to maximize performance of the best mechanical discs on the market at this time.
    I've been running them for almost a decade. While I haven't tried everything (not even close), here's what I found I like (and/or dislike):

    Pads - The stock sintered pads are pretty good. I prefer the Goodridge G-star semi-metallic pads by a slight margin. If I'm buying a new set, I'd run the stocks pads down first before switching - no need to waste money.

    Levers - I prefer SD-7 levers over Ultimates (I own both). To prevent the Ultimate's wedge/barrel adjusters from constantly jiggling, you have to put too much cable tension on the brakes. With the SD-7, I don't have to make that compromise - I can adjust for light cable tension and get no rattle. I also like the feel of the SD-7 better. Then there's the price difference ...

    Cable/housing - Again, I might be strange but I've found the regular QBP housing (what most shops have in file boxes) and non-coated Stainless steel cables to work great - if you cut them square and prep the ends flat and square. I absolutely hated the Avid Flak Jacket setup - way too much money, tons of friction, and the housings were super abrasive on my frames - like 3 rides and they had a huge gouge cut into the frame. Telfon coated cables just seem wear/flake off the coating which helps to gum up the housings. Also, go full housing if possible, large smooth bends, don't pinch the housing with overly tight zip ties.

    Rotors - Not much experience here with other brands, but the G2 are pretty good and way more quiet than G1. Size is key here. I run 160 rear, 185 front on my bikes. Dual 160 doesn't cut it for me (and I'm under 150 lbs.). I tried 185 rear but had trouble modulating (lock ups were too easy) so 160 rear it is. Bigger rides or people who run long, steep, extended downhills (miles at a time) might want to consider larger rotors.

    Even with all the "best" stuff, setup and tuning makes all the difference between a crappy feeling brake system and a high performing one. The BB7 calipers and SD-7 levers give you tons of adjustment - for the good or for the bad.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy
    Please share your ultimate Avid BB7 setup:

    Pads?
    Levers?
    Cables/housing?
    Rotors?

    Thanks in advance. I'm just looking to maximize performance of the best mechanical discs on the market at this time.
    BB7 Road calipers
    Galfer pads
    Galfer wave rotors (185/160)
    Shimano Dura Ace STI (9-sp) levers
    Nokon full length housing
    Jagwire Teflon coated cables (no lube)
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  6. #6
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    I have a some what odd set up for sure.

    2010 BB7 road calipers
    avid sintered pads
    Very old avid ultimate levers - cantilever ones with Ti hardware and anodized red that is faded to pink.
    180 ashima air rotor upfront with filed down magura IS adapter.
    160 ashima air rotor in back.

    Shimano housing and jagwire stainless cables.

    I very much agree with stiney on cables.

  7. #7
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    Thanks, everyone.

    @251: How well do the Cleansweep X rotors work with BB7 calipers? I was under the impression from the Avid website that they are incompatible, or at least not recommended. Also, how do you like the Love Levers?

    @Steiny: Thanks for your impression on SD-7 levers vs Ultimates. I am considering Ultimates, but I have some SD-7's lying around, so maybe I'll go with those.

    @Shiggy: Why road calipers and levers? What is your bike setup?

  8. #8
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    I run them on a couple of bikes and really like them. The only reason I have a pair of Ultimate levers is because I snagged 'em for $50 on a popular internet auction website.

    Pads? stock
    Levers? Ultimate's and SL's
    Cables/housing? Jagwire 5mm Ripcord w/stainless cables
    Rotors?160 G3 FR & RR

    - Chris

  9. #9
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy
    Thanks, everyone.

    @251: How well do the Cleansweep X rotors work with BB7 calipers? I was under the impression from the Avid website that they are incompatible, or at least not recommended. Also, how do you like the Love Levers?

    @Steiny: Thanks for your impression on SD-7 levers vs Ultimates. I am considering Ultimates, but I have some SD-7's lying around, so maybe I'll go with those.

    @Shiggy: Why road calipers and levers? What is your bike setup?
    All of my bikes have dropbars. Dropbars require dropbar levers. And IME the BB7 Road with road STI levers have more power and control than any mtb setup.
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  10. #10
    251
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy
    @251: How well do the Cleansweep X rotors work with BB7 calipers? I was under the impression from the Avid website that they are incompatible, or at least not recommended. Also, how do you like the Love Levers?
    I can see no functional difference between the G2/3 rotors and the Cleansweep X rotors, or any reason why they wouldn't work. I haven't had any rotor-related issues. One potential drawback of the alloy-hub Cleansweep X over an all-steel rotor could be difficulty straightening it if it were to bend, though this is just a guess.

    The Love Levers are nice, though I'd be tempted to go with the SD7 levers for the reduced cost and additional adjustments. On the other hand, I prefer the levers on the Paul's brakes and they feel great with the BB7s.
    Dave
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  11. #11
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    Wow, great thread. I was just poking around here as I was looking for some information on Formula R1s, which I currently have on my 953 650B SS. After several rides, I'm switching back to BB7s. I'm going to run the stock setup with Paul Components Compact Love Levers. I had a set on my Ted Wojcik a couple of years back and really like it:





    Anyway, I got some great ideas for upgrades here, so looking forward to going back to the BB7s!

  12. #12
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    I would just like to add that I really like the Avid FR5 levers. Really cheap, and really light.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  13. #13
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    BB7 mountain calipers
    Avid brake pads (sintered)
    Alligator Wind Cutter rotors (180 front/rear)
    Jagwire Ripcord cables - full length housing
    Avid Speed Dial 7 levers.

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    excellent thread,I'm building a bike and ordered BB7's for it.would be nice to get more photos just to get an idea which way to go.this thread can be stickied if we get enough pictures.

  15. #15
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    " width="549">
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by frdfandc
    BB7 mountain calipers
    Avid brake pads (sintered)
    Alligator Wind Cutter rotors (180 front/rear)
    Jagwire Ripcord cables - full length housing
    Avid Speed Dial 7 levers.
    Let's see... The only thing I have different is a 160 in back. What adapter did you use for your 180mm rotor?

    I find the Windcutters to shudder a little, but I really like my brakes set up this way.

    I also have the Ultimate levers, and I also prefer the SD7's for the exact reason steiny mentioned!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdangerpants
    Wow, great thread. I was just poking around here as I was looking for some information on Formula R1s, which I currently have on my 953 650B SS. After several rides, I'm switching back to BB7s...
    Can you tell me more about why you are switching? I've been thinking of getting Formula RX's, but my BB7's are working great (just not light). Should I not do it???

  18. #18
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    I am running

    Brake--09 BB7 custom ceramic coated with ceramic bearings (just cause) and full Ti bolts

    Rotors--Alligator Windcutter 160/160mm TiNi coated (work much better once the coating wears off)

    Levers--KCNC VB-1 (super light at 46g for the pair, and surprisingly not too flexy)

    Housing--Full length Nokon with teflon cables (will be running pure stainless non coated soon)

    so far they are working amazing and don't have any thoughts of replacing them any time soon, ridden hydros and prefer the mech, had a set on my DH bike and they worked great as well
    my DH set up was
    BB7's
    FR-5 lever
    Shimano 5mm SIS full length housing
    203/203 rotors
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by scooter916; 09-07-2010 at 10:03 PM. Reason: add pictures
    Quote Originally Posted by thefuzzbl
    aluminium has a tendency to fail when you need it most. i.e. you end up with a bad day.

  19. #19
    650b me
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    Wow, thanks for the continuing posts and photos. Lots of components for me to investigate...

    I've never seen brake calipers refinished like yours, Scooter916. Looks well done. How WAS that done?

    I too am wondering why Misterdangerpants is switching back to BB7s from Formula R1s. Cuz actually, I bought a set of Formula R1s for a 29'er I'm building up, but I haven't installed them yet. Reason being, I'm not sold on hydros. I have a set of Magura Marta SLs on another bike and the front brake has been bled twice in 300 miles of riding. Then, just the other day, over the course of a 4-mile climb the front brake leaked and completely failed. My LBS is submitting a warranty claim on my behalf, but the bottom line is, I was stuck at the top of the mountain with no friggin' front brake! Mechanical brakes have never completely failed me the way hydros can. Who needs 'em?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Can you tell me more about why you are switching? I've been thinking of getting Formula RX's, but my BB7's are working great (just not light). Should I not do it???
    I just like the BB7s better (i.e. mechanical better than hydraulic). It's purely personal. I've heard nothing but praise for the Formula R1s, so maybe my set is a fluke. They actually stop the bike very, very well. I might drop the bike off at my LBS (they're really good) and see if they can set them up (I gather they can). Anyway, whether or not you should take the plunge, well, you're on your own! If something is working great, it would be silly to replace it, I think.
    Last edited by misterdangerpants; 09-08-2010 at 07:19 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdangerpants
    I just like the BB7s better (i.e. mechanical better then hydraulic). It's purely personal. I've heard nothing but praise for the Formula R1s, so maybe my set is a fluke. They actually stop the bike very, very well. I might drop the bike off at my LBS (they're really good) and see if they can set them up (I gather they can). Anyway, whether or not you should take the plunge, well, you're on your own! If something is working great, it would be silly to replace it, I think.
    Well the R1's cost a lot more than the RX's I was considering. I'm still not sure what I'll do. But for now I'm keeping my BB7's on my main SS.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Let's see... The only thing I have different is a 160 in back. What adapter did you use for your 180mm rotor?

    I find the Windcutters to shudder a little, but I really like my brakes set up this way.

    I also have the Ultimate levers, and I also prefer the SD7's for the exact reason steiny mentioned!

    The Windcutters do shutter a little bit. I don't notice it with the BB7's but I do with the Juicy's on my 29er. Thinking about switching to the CS3's on the 29er. But other than that, stops great.

    I'm using a 180mm post to IS mount from Shimano. On the rear, I was able to file down the Avid 185mm mount. But took too much off the front one. So I bought one.

  23. #23
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    The new ultimate levers must be way different from the 10 year old cantilever ones I have in anodized red. I like my SD ultimate cantilever levers a lot, more than the SD7s and more than XTR of which i have tried both.Trouble is they necessitate road calipers. I am finding the road BB7s to have more bite and grab and more power but much less modulation than the mtb version. I think its because with the leverage in the lever rather than the caliper like the mtb version there is more housing compression. I really need to quite being lazy and go take some photos of my set up.

    Wow scooter916 that bike should have been at the NAHBS would have been a contender for sure.

    @251 cool to see that the X rotors work. Been looking at those. What frame is that, I have the same paragon breezer style drop outs on my dean duke.

  24. #24
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    Pads: Avid Sintered
    Levers: Avid Speed Dial 7
    Cables/housing: full-length Jagwire Ripcord
    Rotors: Alligator Windcutter 180/160
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  25. #25
    251
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay
    @251 cool to see that the X rotors work. Been looking at those. What frame is that, I have the same paragon breezer style drop outs on my dean duke.
    Dave
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy
    I've never seen brake calipers refinished like yours, Scooter916. Looks well done. How WAS that done?
    another forum member Crazy8 re-finishes cranks and does ceramic coatings on cranks/rings/ and cassettes. he did my calipers for me. I have a cassette on my road bike he coated and it shifts awesome.

    check it out here
    Quote Originally Posted by thefuzzbl
    aluminium has a tendency to fail when you need it most. i.e. you end up with a bad day.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay
    Wow scooter916 that bike should have been at the NAHBS would have been a contender for sure.
    the original plan with the builder was to take it to the San Diego custom show las year but timing didn't pan out and he couldn't make the show, its now dirty as hell so I doubt it will be any shows
    Quote Originally Posted by thefuzzbl
    aluminium has a tendency to fail when you need it most. i.e. you end up with a bad day.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    All of my bikes have dropbars....
    I've always wondered why you ride drop-bars... you should have an explanation-link in your sig...
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  29. #29
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    Brake: BB7 Disc
    Rotor: 160 roundagons (will be switching to F185, R160 CS shortly.)
    Levers: Avid Speed Dial SL
    Cable: Jagwire
    Pads: stock (too noisy - will be switching to Kool Stop or Jagwire.)

    When I was building up the bike I considered going to Elixir or the like but the cost/performance of the BB7 is too appealing. They stop the bike, where and when I need it.
    Last edited by danec99; 09-14-2010 at 11:27 AM.

  30. #30
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    Levers : Speed dial 7
    Housing : Jagwire with L3 liner
    Cable : Jagwire
    Rotors : Avid polygons (http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...x?ModelID=5448)

    I'll be changing to XT rotors (RT76) this winter most probably. I find the Polygon rotors warp easily and don't have the best power, I wouldn't reccomend them.
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  31. #31
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    Brake: 2008 or 2009 (can't remember) BB7
    Rotor: 185/160 G3CS
    Levers: Avid Speed Dial Ti
    Cable: Jagwire Ripcord, Full-housing F&R
    Pads: Stock Front, OBE/Disco Brakes Semi-Metallic Rear (soon to be front and rear, only cause I have extras)

    I'm looking for a little more modulation. My setup seems to be pretty grabby/on-off. I have the SD dial centered on the lever.

    Any suggested adjustments??

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryank930
    Brake: 2008 or 2009 (can't remember) BB7
    Rotor: 185/160 G3CS
    Levers: Avid Speed Dial Ti
    Cable: Jagwire Ripcord, Full-housing F&R
    Pads: Stock Front, OBE/Disco Brakes Semi-Metallic Rear (soon to be front and rear, only cause I have extras)

    I'm looking for a little more modulation. My setup seems to be pretty grabby/on-off. I have the SD dial centered on the lever.

    Any suggested adjustments??
    Move the SD towards the lever pivot. Will increase the power and increase lever movement. The larger range of motion of the lever can help you modulate the braking.

    If it is still too grabby, move the inner pad adjustor knob out one click. Makes the rotor flex a bit more and softens the initial bite.
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  33. #33
    g3h6o3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryank930
    Brake: 2008 or 2009 (can't remember) BB7
    Rotor: 185/160 G3CS
    Levers: Avid Speed Dial Ti
    Cable: Jagwire Ripcord, Full-housing F&R
    Pads: Stock Front, OBE/Disco Brakes Semi-Metallic Rear (soon to be front and rear, only cause I have extras)

    I'm looking for a little more modulation. My setup seems to be pretty grabby/on-off. I have the SD dial centered on the lever.

    Any suggested adjustments??
    The BB7 is reputably on-off which is something I like about it. Shiggy's suggestions are good, give them a try, but moving the SD towards the pivot won't add power...
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    The BB7 is reputably on-off which is something I like about it. Shiggy's suggestions are good, give them a try, but moving the SD towards the pivot won't add power...
    Moving the SD toward the pivot increases the mechanical advantage of the lever. Increases braking power for the same amount of lever effort.
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  35. #35
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    How can this be when the cable pull ratio lowers when moving the SD towards the bar?
    Last edited by PissedOffCil; 09-16-2010 at 11:40 AM.
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  36. #36
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    Mechanical Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    How can this be when the cable pull ratio lowers when moving the SD towards the bar?
    It makes perfect sense to me. Think about it a bit more.

    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    It makes perfect sense to me. Think about it a bit more.
    Exactly, it takes less force further from the pivot. You're proving me right...

    Not to mention it's not the same thing as your pic. For a given stroke, moving the SD closer to the pivot pulls less cable. Less cable = less piston movement and therefore less power. No?
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    Exactly, it takes less force further from the pivot. You're proving me right...

    Not to mention it's not the same thing as your pic. For a given stroke, moving the SD closer to the pivot pulls less cable. Less cable = less piston movement and therefore less power. No?


    It may pull less cable but it does it at a higher mechanical advantage . Less piston movement only means that you have to pull the lever slightly farther , it is still at a higher leverage .

  39. #39
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    God I suck at physics... should have taken those classes so many years ago

    I have a hard time visualizing why a longer lever stroke yields more power but when Sheldon says so I'm not arguing.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  40. #40
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    So i just won a set of BB7 calipers with rotors on eBay for $67 and picked up a pair of Speed Dial 7's for $21.49. Now I need cables and will get Jagwire but what is the difference between the Brake DIY kit and the Brake Cable kit? Also, to I need 2 sets of brake cables or is there enough in there to do both brakes? This is the one I am looking to pick up.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash
    So i just won a set of BB7 calipers with rotors on eBay for $67 and picked up a pair of Speed Dial 7's for $21.49. Now I need cables and will get Jagwire but what is the difference between the Brake DIY kit and the Brake Cable kit? Also, to I need 2 sets of brake cables or is there enough in there to do both brakes? This is the one I am looking to pick up.
    Ripcords are great. Go for it!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash
    Also, to I need 2 sets of brake cables or is there enough in there to do both brakes? This is the one I am looking to pick up.

    Yes ...

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by floydlippencott
    Yes ...
    I need two or one is just fine?!

  44. #44
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    One , description of product :

    INCLUDES 3 METERS OF HOUSING, 2 TEFLON COATED CABLES, AND HIGH QUALITY END CAPS

  45. #45
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    Sweet. thanks guys, paying for everything now! Not too bad considering I got the calipers, rotors, cables, and SD7 levers for a little over $100.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    God I suck at physics... should have taken those classes so many years ago

    I have a hard time visualizing why a longer lever stroke yields more power but when Sheldon says so I'm not arguing.
    Think of it like your crank set. Finger (foot), cable (chain), Lever pivot (BB).

    Small ring, more chain tension, less chain displacement.
    Big ring, More chain displacement, less chain tension.

    Cable far from pivot, think big ring.
    Cable close to pivot, think small ring.

    W=FxD Force and Distance inversely proportional.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    I would just like to add that I really like the Avid FR5 levers. Really cheap, and really light.
    X2 on that.
    The FR-5s are made specifically by Avid, to use with their Mechanical disk setups.
    They have a variable leverage ratio, designed into a "ramp" on the lever.
    Traditional v-brake levers will work OK, but are a bit more prone to grabbiness with the BB-7s.
    Communist Party Member Since 1917.

  48. #48
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jack_read's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    44
    I upgraded my bike a couple weeks back from SD7 v-brakes to BB7s, and I am thrilled with the change. Getting the setup PERFECT is key, in my opinion, as are fresh cables and a clean cable routing job. I had older Speed Dial levers but I wasn't thrilled with them- they were a little wiggly at the pivot and one of them was hanging up slightly when I released the lever. I replaced them with a pair of Cane Creek Direct Curve levers I had hanging around and I'm as happy as could be. The BB7s are silent, powerful, and super easy to modulate.
    Jack

    '95 Independent Fabrication Deluxe
    '96 Voodoo Bizango
    '08 Rocky Mountain Solo CXR Team
    '92 Trek 930 SHX

  49. #49
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy
    Please share your ultimate Avid BB7 setup:

    Pads?
    Levers?
    Cables/housing?
    Rotors?

    Thanks in advance. I'm just looking to maximize performance of the best mechanical discs on the market at this time.

    my setup

    Pads = Avid Hard Ceramic (RED)
    Levers = Avid SD7 or Ultimate
    Cables/Housing = Gore RideOn Sealed
    Rotors = 180/160 Formula R1's

  50. #50
    Fueled by Tigerblood
    Reputation: mtnbikecrazy55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    325
    you need one set - 2 cables

    send a link to look at and ill tell ya

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