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  1. #1
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    who makes best mechanical disc brakes?

    Currenty have BB5's on a trek 6000. Looking to upgrade but still stay mechanical. I know BB7's are a step up but who else makes good mechanical disc brakes. I want to stay mechanical only due to I don't want the mess of maintenance bleeding etc that goes with hydraullic. I see Shimano offers mechanical disc brakes on the Trek 3 series but those would probably be a step down. Does Shimano offer any high end mechanical brakes?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: SteveUK's Avatar
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    I believe that BB7 is the best you're going to get. At the risk of starting a discussion, I'll point out that hydraulic maintenance doesn't necessarily mean more maintenance; just different. Timewise, bleeding is no different - even quicker sometimes - to replacing cables (the equivalent task), and it's only messy if you're cack-handed. Preventative maintenance (cleaning) is also very simple with a hydraulic caliper. I'm not saying that you should choose hydraulics, just that you shouldn't disregard them on the grounds of fallacy.
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  3. #3
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    I agree with Steve that...

    (a) the BB7 is on top of the pile. There's a reason it has been around for 10 years (in three revisions)

    (b) that hydro "mess of maintenance" is not really a valid reason to choose mechanicals. I think most riders that really appreciate their BB7s (me included) like their simplicity and full range of adjustability, but realize that they are a "hands on" brake with a basic requirement of understanding how pad spacing affects performance (as with your BB5s). However, a properly installed, quailty hydro can be less day-to-day maintenance.
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  4. #4
    Former Bike Wrench
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    It's not even a contest...the Avid BB7 is the clear winner with others left in its dust.

    Shimano mechanicals are turds.

  5. #5
    IdontShootPeopleAnyMore
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    +3 for bb7 (one for each set I own)
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  6. #6
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    No doubt , BB7 ...............................

  7. #7
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    BB7 currently would be the best mechanical disc.

    I am just in the process of replacing mine on my commuter with a pair of hydraulics though.....

  8. #8
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    Another Vote for BB7's. Used them on a couple of bikes, and the simply work. They do require a bit more attention than a hydraulic because you have to stay on top of pad wear and adjust the brake accordingly. When set up properly they have amazing power however.

    happy trails...

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  9. #9
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    BB7's are the best mechanical disc brakes that I've used.
    Originally Posted by Vtolds/Dremer03---- "assume any bikes left unlocked and unattended are free to take"

  10. #10
    Live 2 Ride
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    I want to stay mechanical only due to I don't want the mess of maintenance bleeding etc that goes with hydraullic.
    You don't have to bleed them as often as you think. As another poster pointed out hydros actually have less maintenance than mechanicals.
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  11. #11
    irideablackbike
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    BB7's are by far and away the standard for mechanical brakes. They just plain work. Having said that, I sold mine and got some hydros. I have yet to put a season on them, but they're fun to work on, and from what I understand now that I have them set up, I don't have to touch them again for a while.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the feedback. Looks like I have some learning to do on hydros. I'm sure I can probably find a few topics on hydros vs mechanicals. I'm sure it's been beat to death. I had thought (bad assumption on my part) that hydros were a lot of work.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by timberstone
    Thanks for the feedback. Looks like I have some learning to do on hydros. I'm sure I can probably find a few topics on hydros vs mechanicals. I'm sure it's been beat to death. I had thought (bad assumption on my part) that hydros were a lot of work.
    Yeah finding a few threads on the ol' mechanical vs hydraulic thing should be easy.

    Well, I'd say my BB7s are easier to deal with overall than my Elixir CRs and can be tuned finer for preference with the proper levers. Adjusting a pad for wear occasionally on the BB7 isn't a big deal. Bleeding/shortening hoses, at least the Avids, is not as easy as dealing with standard cable/housing for setup, and running full runs of housing it's not much of an issue for my BB7s. My Elixirs did not come properly bled, either, so I basically had to do that out of the box and it is a bit messy dealing with the fluids and all compared to cable/housing. YMMV.
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  14. #14
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    BB7's are by far the best mechanical available. I have BB7's on one bike and Hayes HFX 9 hydros on the other. The hydros are definitely messier and more of a PITA to deal with when they do need attention. The only advantage is that they self-adjust for pad wear, so there's not really any day-to-day maintenance. The power and modulation is about the same.

    Verdict: go with the BB's unless you think you need the self-adjusting capabilities. Research any of the old threads for more info.

  15. #15
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    Going to resurrect this old thread. Does this advice still hold true. Are the BB7's still the best mechanical brake 4 years later?

  16. #16
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    pretty much. most people are on hydraulic brakes with a lot of great options out there hydro wise. no one is putting much r and d into mechanical disc brakes so avid still on top

  17. #17
    Merendon Junkie
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    I just installed bb7s on a beater bike and I am truly impressed with the power. I could say that they have about the same power as shimano slx brakes, maybe slightly less, and way more power than elixirs. The only minor downside is the constant adjustments for pad wear. Its not a big deal as its very easy to give a few clicks in on each adjuster.

  18. #18
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    TRP is going to be releasing their Spyke mechanical brakes soon. They might be better than the BB7, but only time will tell.

  19. #19
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    I run BB7s on my hardtail as I do quite a few multi day bikepacking trips. Main reason is that they are easily adjusted and if I do get an issue with them I can strip them down with a standard multitool that I carry; maybe psychological but at least I can have a go at fixing them however in 3 years I've never had an issue with them. If I got a hydraulic leak in my XTR's I would be screwed as I certainly don't want to be lugging a bleed kit and attempting to change seals by the side of the trail.
    They have plenty of power with 180 / 160 Alligator rotor and the Kool stop sintered pads for my needs - they are a little more on off than my XTR's but perfectly adequate

  20. #20
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    That's exactly the reason I went with BB7s on my hardtail. I'm running Zees on my new bike and with the cable routing I'm fairly confident I won't have any issues but you never know. I'm probably crazy but I put my Zees through a torture test by running them on my treadmill and dragging for 15 minutes at 10mph. No airflow, and pad fin temps were over 380F. Calipers hit 180F. Rotors were HOT, they pegged my IR gun. I wanted to put them through worse than they would ever experience in real life before I get far away from civilization. I never did this with the mechanicals, I just carried a spare set of pads.

    I'm taking it to Tahoe Sunday and I'm taking the bleed kit with me just in case the altitude has a negative effect. I don't plan on needing it but it's going to take me a while to get full confidence in hydros in all conditions. I realize some of this is just me, not the brakes.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuliusHettig View Post
    TRP is going to be releasing their Spyke mechanical brakes soon. They might be better than the BB7, but only time will tell.
    Just saw a set of the TRP mechanical calipers on a Giant road bike.
    Very nice looking and a true "dual" piston setup so constant adjustments should be a thing of the past.
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  22. #22
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Re: who makes best mechanical disc brakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    Just saw a set of the TRP mechanical calipers on a Giant road bike.
    Very nice looking and a true "dual" piston setup so constant adjustments should be a thing of the past.
    I have been using the BB7 (and BBDB) since day one, and used the TRP Spyre for about a month.

    The TRP is good. Still needs careful setup, and you still need to manually adjust for pad wear. More tolerate of out of true rotors.
    Modulates well, slightly better than the BB7. Power is good but requires more hand effort.

    Overall, I prefer the BB7.
    I would not replace the Spyre if it came on a bike, but I would not choose it over the Avid for a new build.
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  23. #23
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    I think the TRP Spyre's would work well with BB7 levers. Pads can be adjusted with a barrel adjuster as well. Dual piston, less drag, lighter, lower profile, too easy.

  24. #24
    rebmem rbtm
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikenIke View Post
    I think the TRP Spyre's would work well with BB7 levers.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikenIke View Post
    I think the TRP Spyke's would work well with Speed Dial 7 levers.
    I think the latter probably what you meant to say.

    Spyre's are a Road/CX brake made for road brake levers / cantilever brake levers
    http://www.trpbrakes.com/category.ph...1199&catid=206
    http://www.trpbrakes.com/category.ph...1200&catid=206

    Spyke's are MTB brake made for linear pull brake levers / v-brake levers.
    http://www.trpbrakes.com/category.ph...d=184&subcat=0

    There is no BB7 lever but the Speed Dial 7 levers are often used with BB7's
    https://www.sram.com/avid/products/speed-dial-7-lever

  25. #25
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    I ordered a TRP Spyke for the rear of the MTB to give it a test(installation and tuning video coming).

    So... I'm getting another set up for the front, I'm selling my BB7's for $100 for x2 calipers and x2 rotors and 2 sets of Disco Sintered brake pads.

    I have the Spyke set up with a Speed Dial 7 lever and full length housing.

    I will not miss the BB7's, and when people figure out that the Spyke is superior to the BB7 and merely $25 more a set, the Spyke will take a good chunk out of the mechanical disk brake market share... Unless people are scarred to move forward with new tech.

    Once you understand the setup of the brakes, installing and tuning takes less than 5 minutes a caliper. Added bonus, there are no conical washers to mess with since you are not having pitch the caliper to supplement for the degree of rotor pushing and pad wear. Before and after embedding I have not heard one harmonic vibration come from the TRP rotor, though I tend to use a small amount of thick grease on the back side of the rotor, around the screw ports, where the rotor is going to rest against the hub. This helps reduce audible frequencies caused by rotor vibration. The sound of the Spyke caliper pinching the rotor sounds more like a hydro than a mechanical, this is because the rotor is 'almost' evenly pinched by the dual piston caliper, instead of the rotor being pushed inboard against a static pad that will eventually unevenly wear, causing the caliper to need resting.

    I need to end this rant about my new toy.

    The feel of modulation in the Spyke in conjunction with a Speed Dial 7 I had not felt in the BB7 no matter how much I played with its adjustment points.
    Frozen Trails... err

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