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  1. #1
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    What separates the good brakes, mediocre brakes and bad brakes?

    I'm pretty familiar with car brakes (as I'm a car junkie). I'm not that familiar with bikes and the braking systems.

    So within the old V brake category and the newer and better disc brake category (both mechanical and hydraulic) what separates the good from the bad? I've seen some bikes that have brakes of similar specification but members of the forum (and others) will say brake X is not very good at all, I'd rather have mechanicals...yet brake Y with similar specs (different brand) is considerably better. For example the difference in brakes on the Cannondale SL2 and SL3. One has Tektro hydraulics the other has Shimano, disc sizes are the size, both are hydraulic...yet the Shimano is widely regarded as a very good brake set...

    What gives?

  2. #2
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    In no particular order
    Weight: Lighter brakes are nice if they don't give up power, but not necessary.
    Power: There's no such thing as too much power as long as you can modulate
    Modulation: good brake can be modulate or finesse to get the right power on at the right time.
    Performance: It's a big picture thing.
    Adjustment: Top shelf brakes usually offer with all kinds of adjustment, lever reach, pad contact, ect.
    Price: Cheaper brake usually has less function, less power or modulation.
    Technology: You name it, Avid has one with elixir, Shimano with the servo wave.
    Reliability: Magura warranty 5 year leak proof.
    Warranty: Customer service, some good some bad.
    Looks: to some it's important.
    Fit: how does it fit with other brand's shifter or on your handle bar.
    Materials: alu, mag, ti, carbon, steel pick one or two.

  3. #3
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    As a rule, anything Tektro is probably crap.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    In no particular order
    Weight
    Power
    Modulation
    Performance
    Adjustment
    Price
    Technology
    Reliability
    Warranty
    Looks
    Fit
    Materials
    Good response. Sadly, brake manufacturers make all kinds of claims so it's hard to tell a good brake from a bad one looking at the box they come in or the spec sheet.

    Personally I asked my ridin' buds what's best, then asked here on mtbr, which (thankfully) supported what my buds said. This was after I bought some popular & expensive brakes that did not perform up to their claims.

    --sParty
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    you wanted to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilonpill View Post
    As a rule, anything Tektro is probably crap.
    sorry im new to this sport.But i have tektro on my trek since it came with them, should i replace them? What makes them bad?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Good response. Sadly, brake manufacturers make all kinds of claims so it's hard to tell a good brake from a bad one looking at the box they come in or the spec sheet.

    Personally I asked my ridin' buds what's best, then asked here on mtbr, which (thankfully) supported what my buds said. This was after I bought some popular & expensive brakes that did not perform up to their claims.

    --sParty
    So true, well that's their job to sell and promote their products. Word of mouth is better, demo them yourself is best

  7. #7
    NWS
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    Mimi gave you a great list.

    I have one bike with Avids (Juicy 3) and one with Hopes (V2 front, X2 rear), and the only things not in Mimi's list are pad retraction and noise. When I'm not touching the Hope levers, the pads don't touch the rotors at all. With the Avids there is always an audible rub - not noticeable when riding, but it's there and occasionally audible, which is annoying. Both were set up by the same mechanic (me). And when the brakes are engaged, the Hopes are almost silent whereas the Avids are obnoxiously noisy.

    But Avid makes better brakes - the Juicy 3 is a budget hydraulic brake. Hope only makes 3 models of brake and they're all spendy. So these differences have more to do with price point than with brand:

    Hope V2 = crazy strong. Avid Juicy 3, meh.
    Hope levers = adjustable reach and bite point. Avid, J3, no adjustments.
    Hope = $$. Avid J3, $.

    Both have good modulation. Hope X2 has fantastic modulation, but it's also not particularly strong.

  8. #8
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    Response to CLOTHody:

    I wouldn't worry about replacing your brakes until your skill progress to the point that your brakes...or any other components, or even the whole bike...no longer meets your needs.

    I am not a skilled rider by any means, at least not compared to riders I often see pushing their limits, but I feel like my skills improve the most when I'm nearing the limits of whatever equipment I'm using are. And it doesn't seem to matter if we're talking about an active sport like biking, or something as mundane as painting the garage. You'll know when your tools are becoming inadequate, but you may never be able to get the most out of the best tools without the learning progression.

    perhaps when you have identified your brakes as being marginal, you;ll also notcie your tires, wheels, suspension, drivetrain, etc. are also marginal...its a lot more cost-effective to replace the whole bicycle than piecemeal one from new parts. Bike-shop people that have access to used parts, take-offs, and employee discounts build their own custom bikes. Seasoned riders with a lot of knowledge and experience build their own bikes, and wealthy riders who want to have a totally one-off piece build (or have them built) their own bikes. Again, you;ll know if you fit into that category.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CtotheODY View Post
    sorry im new to this sport.But i have tektro on my trek since it came with them, should i replace them? What makes them bad?
    My 09' rockhopper came with 160mm tektro aurigia comps and they weren't bad for the first season. Then bleeding became an issue, as did the crazy long levers. I'm going bb-7 203f/185r sd7 levers and jagwire cables. Best mechanicals out there, the set-up is crazy adjustable and NO bleeding.

    +100 for a complete, quality system that works without worries, mechanical or hydro.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWS View Post
    Mimi gave you a great list.

    I have one bike with Avids (Juicy 3) and one with Hopes (V2 front, X2 rear), and the only things not in Mimi's list are pad retraction and noise. When I'm not touching the Hope levers, the pads don't touch the rotors at all. With the Avids there is always an audible rub - not noticeable when riding, but it's there and occasionally audible, which is annoying. Both were set up by the same mechanic (me). And when the brakes are engaged, the Hopes are almost silent whereas the Avids are obnoxiously noisy.

    But Avid makes better brakes - the Juicy 3 is a budget hydraulic brake. Hope only makes 3 models of brake and they're all spendy. So these differences have more to do with price point than with brand:

    Hope V2 = crazy strong. Avid Juicy 3, meh.
    Hope levers = adjustable reach and bite point. Avid, J3, no adjustments.
    Hope = $$. Avid J3, $.

    Both have good modulation. Hope X2 has fantastic modulation, but it's also not particularly strong.
    Good info on hope brakes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWS View Post
    Mimi gave you a great list.

    I have one bike with Avids (Juicy 3) and one with Hopes (V2 front, X2 rear), and the only things not in Mimi's list are pad retraction and noise. When I'm not touching the Hope levers, the pads don't touch the rotors at all. With the Avids there is always an audible rub - not noticeable when riding, but it's there and occasionally audible, which is annoying. Both were set up by the same mechanic (me). And when the brakes are engaged, the Hopes are almost silent whereas the Avids are obnoxiously noisy.
    I have the Juicy 3 brakes and have the same problem with my front brake. I have to center the wheel perfectly and still have a very slight rub. Probably doesn't affect the rolling resistance and can't hear it when riding. But annoying none the less. The bike is fairly new so hoping as the pads wear a bit it stops.

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