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  1. #1
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    V-BRAKES - any way to get them as powerful as discs?

    HI,
    I am running rim brakes on my 26" hard-tail with a fox fork up front. Is there a way to get the v-brakes to run as good as disc brakes? I am able to run a disc up front, should I just do this, or try and re-caliberate the v-brake?

    Also, it seems as if with a front rim brake, the fork bobs down when braking, more so than with a disc...does this sound right?

    Any advice is appreciated...

  2. #2
    i call it a kaiser blade
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    if your wheels are trued right, you can run them really close to the rim and then crank up the tension on the cable--you will lose some modulation this way.

    better wheels (like higher end mavics) have machined rims that are specially coated to bite down really hard, too.

    but in the end it's an uphill battle since the best braking 'force' you can get out of a rim brake is only equal to a 160 rotor--and the physical advantage of a 180/185 and 203 become apparent.

  3. #3
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    to balance out the braking power, you could rub the oils from you hand all over the rotor and recheck...repeat if necessary.
    Eventually the disc brakes will have the same power as your V's (more oils may be necessary if trying to match the brakes in wet conditions)
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  4. #4
    i call it a kaiser blade
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    to balance out the braking power, you could rub the oils from you hand all over the rotor and recheck...repeat if necessary.
    Eventually the disc brakes will have the same power as your V's (more oils may be necessary if trying to match brakes in wet conditions)
    i just jam a french fry between the pads.

  5. #5
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Quote Originally Posted by eat_dirt
    i just jam a french fry between the pads.
    Yeah...I guess you could... I've just always used hand-oils...It's not good to mix and match oil types IMO. Plus I usually have my hands w/ me on the trail - I sometimes might forget to bring fries

    *Edit - I also wonder if the potato starch would counter-act the oil...what kind do you use? Ore-Ida home baked? In-N-Out? Mickey-Dee's?
    Last edited by highdelll; 03-15-2009 at 12:55 PM.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  6. #6
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    ...?

  7. #7
    Former Bike Wrench
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    There are some V-brakes that produce quite a bit of power, but they tend to cost as much as disc brakes.

    You don't mention which brakes you have but solid compression less cable housing, good brake pad compounds, and good levers can go a long way. In wet weather its hard to beat Disc brakes...but in the dry a good v-brake setup can be very good.

  8. #8
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    oren, you don't seem to get the joke.

    there are at least 2 ways to make 2 things that are unequal, equal.

    1. make one better
    2. make the other worse

    you're implicitly asking how to #1
    the joke is how to do #2

  9. #9
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    ...promax with tektro levers...should I even bother, or just put a disc up front...the rim brakes do look better and cleaner on this frame tho...

  10. #10
    Former Bike Wrench
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    You could upgrade to a set of Avid Speed Dial 7 levers and Single Digit brakes for around $60...then get a nice set of quality housing and cables for another $25

    That would be a significant improvement over Tektro and Promax brakes

  11. #11
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    lol...now I get it...

    so pretty much, either upgrade the V-brakes or add a disc up front, right? Also, is it just me, or does the shock compress under front braking with rim brakes more so than with a disc?

  12. #12
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    I dunno about up-grading "V's" - There is only one design as far as I can tell... Leverage, Material, and rim condition are the factors for the brakes. I'm sure someone will say that their XT V's kick ass over the Tektro V's. THEY DON'T...

    Brake levers change the leverage ratio...
    Some have the ability to be changed
    Pads do make a difference. Cable housings do too - that's it
    So does a straight rim...'clean' as well

    *Edit - I forgot to add a smiley
    Last edited by highdelll; 03-16-2009 at 07:49 AM.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  13. #13
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    xt's only advantage is prob parallelogram makes it easier to adjust pads to be square w/ rim. my old tektro Vs had that too

  14. #14
    Former Bike Wrench
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    I dunno about up-grading "V's" - There is only one design as far as I can tell... Leverage, Material, and rim condition are the factors for the brakes. I'm sure someone will say that their XT V's kick ass over the Tektro V's. THEY DON'T
    That makes about as much sense as saying Tektro LO disc brakes are just as good as Avid BB7 disc brakes...they're pretty much the same design.

    I'm sure you know better than that!

    Different V-Brakes absolutely make a difference in power and control. Cheap V-brakes use cast arms and sloppy bushings. They have way more flex and therefore you cannot generate as much power as you pull the levers. Quality V-Brakes used forged arms and tighter bushing tolorances (or bearings in the super nice ones). Levers themselves not only affect leverage ratio, but they also can provide modulation and control. Again, cheap levers will have lots of flex at the pivots, body, and lever itself. Good levers are also forged, have tight bushings (or bearings) and solid levers, providing more power with less hand effort.

    My last V-Brake setup had huge amounts of controllable power...and in dry weather could easily lock up both wheels or send me flying over the bars.

  15. #15
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    ^^^ Ahhh yes, I do know better...I just forgot to add the smiley last night (Drinkin' )
    I did reference 'material' as a determining factor as far as quality goes.
    I was merely trying to say that the margin in quality, as far as V's go, is much narrower than that of discs. ...so they don't "kick ass" over each other as much...-not sure if I'm making sense
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  16. #16
    EvilRider
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    As someone else said, Avid single digit 7's and Sram Flak jacket cables are the way to go! That being said good pads KoolStop MTB pads are awesome, they made a huge difference on my setup. You do need to do some work to keep any rim-brake working well. Try this first before making any investment.

    1. Clean the rims with Simple Green and a brush, then wipe down with a white rag.
    2. Clean the rim surface with #00 steel wool till it shines.
    3. Sand the pads with 120 or so grit paper, use a block to keep it flat.
    4. Lightly wipe the pads down with Acetone.
    5. Run it on the street (Dry/Clean) up to speed and apply the brakes hard 5-10 times to bed-in the rim surface.

    This is pain in the ass, but unless you're riding muddy/wet all the time you shouldn't need to do it often.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyD442
    As someone else said, Avid single digit 7's and Sram Flak jacket cables are the way to go! That being said good pads KoolStop MTB pads are awesome, they made a huge difference on my setup. You do need to do some work to keep any rim-brake working well. Try this first before making any investment.

    1. Clean the rims with Simple Green and a brush, then wipe down with a white rag.
    2. Clean the rim surface with #00 steel wool till it shines.
    3. Sand the pads with 120 or so grit paper, use a block to keep it flat.
    4. Lightly wipe the pads down with Acetone.
    5. Run it on the street (Dry/Clean) up to speed and apply the brakes hard 5-10 times to bed-in the rim surface.

    This is pain in the ass, but unless you're riding muddy/wet all the time you shouldn't need to do it often.
    Agreed.
    I think it's worth repeating the importance of fresh, clean, good quality cables for a V-brake set-up.
    Good quality cables means less compression in the housing which means more power, better feel and better modulation.
    Clean cables means lower friction. The importance of this to get the full power out of a cable actuated system cannot be overstated. Everywhere there is a curve in the cables the inner cable is sliding directly on the housing with pressure proportional to the amount of force you are applying. More force -> more pressure -> more friction. When cables get dirty enough you can actually feel how the braking force increase become less the harder you squeeze the levers.

  18. #18
    the mountian is within
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    Try Aztec or Jagwire cable and housing sets-compressionless.Clean rims with alcohol.Try pads the Koolstop mountian in salmon or Ritchy in red.Be sure to set them up properly-brake arms vertical when pad touchs rim.
    Or go "mullet" 160 cable disc in front,V in rear.
    We also have found the long Deore levers work well-position inboard so you can get 2 fingers on the lever tip for max leverage.
    Bz
    i own a bikeshop in WV thetruewheelwv.com

  19. #19
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    V brake power

    Check out any of the trials bike sites, trials is all about rear brake power and very few trials riders use discs on the rear. Magura hydraulic rim brakes are standard but many extol the virtues of v brakes. It is hard to beat the physics of having an 11 inch lever verses a 3 inch lever, the rest is friction and flex. reduce the flex, brake boosters, increase the friction, pads, and you will have more power than you will know what to do with, that is until it rains or you run through a puddle, then all bets are off.

  20. #20
    rebmem rbtm
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    Quote Originally Posted by c-rider
    Check out any of the trials bike sites, trials is all about rear brake power and very few trials riders use discs on the rear. Magura hydraulic rim brakes are standard but many extol the virtues of v brakes. It is hard to beat the physics of having an 11 inch lever verses a 3 inch lever, the rest is friction and flex. reduce the flex, brake boosters, increase the friction, pads, and you will have more power than you will know what to do with, that is until it rains or you run through a puddle, then all bets are off.
    You mean these rim crushing brakes: http://www.magura.com/english/produkte_static/produkt_2009_hs33.htm

  21. #21
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    The best way to improve V-brake power on par with disc is to add a wheelset with ceramic brake surface along with ceramic brake pads.

  22. #22
    EvilRider
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    Brake Pads

    FWIW there is no comparison between the Ritchey reds and the Koolstop mountain in salmon/black.....KoolStops kick ass. I've run both in all conditions and the KoolStops excel even in wet mud.

  23. #23
    cbx
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    You might try the setup I am running now. I have XTR levers mated to Avid Single Digit SL's with the Ti hardware. Pretty light...I think in the neighborhood of 160 grams. I picked them up off ebay for 32 bucks a set. Total steal and they modulate great with great power. I am running Mavic Crossmax's with a now worn ceramic coating but still perform well. I run Jagwire red compound pads and standard shop housing. I might try the housing recommendations here. Great weight/price ratio. With disc being all the rage now, v brake hardware is cheap!

  24. #24
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    i would stay away from the ritchey red pads. i currently have had them on the bike for 1-1/2 months and i don't like them at all. my xt pads were doing as good of a job as these and were well worn. as a point of refrence, i ride in dry, dusty conditions.

    i am looking at upgrading my 98' xt v-brakes to a set of avid sd 7 brakes and levers. you can get the full set for $60 at most places. i looked at the sl's but the only difference i found was weight and not performance, and the 50 gram difference i found between complete sets (2 sets of brakes and levers) wasn't worth the additional $80-$100 to me.

  25. #25
    Braaaapp!
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    The KoolStop pads were a MASSIVE improvement in braking power on my bike (which runs Promax Vee's with Tektro levers). Every few rides I'll clean my rims with a Scotch-Brite pad and some Simple Green. I keep my rims trued and run the pads very close. In dry conditions the braking is great, in my opinion.

    They do have an initial "grab" that can be sketchy on loose trails. My other bike has 160mm discs and engages much more gentally. I really prefer the Vee's doing around town urban stuff.

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