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  1. #1
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    Who makes the strongest 2 piston hydraulic disc brakes?

    I'm looking for the strongest 2 piston hydraulic brakes. I'm about 300 lbs. I have Hayes Stroker Rydes but they don't lock up the rear wheel when I need it the most. I know a 4 piston will work but like to use a 2 piston. Does any one know?

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    I can't think of a situation where locking the rear wheel is your best course of action. Are you using your front brake? That's where around 70% of your braking force comes from.

    Changing your rotor size will have a much greater change in braking power than changing the brake its self. Will your bike accept a larger diameter rotor? You might also consider going to a softer brake pad compound, less life but better braking.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

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    Amount of pistons is completely irrelevant to braking force. Two of of the strongest brakes are 2 piston designs - namely Formula The One and Hope V2. Besides - why do you need '2 piston' design anyway?

    Anyhoo. Before you go on spending frenzy start with 203mm rotors front/back. Depending on the fork you can even go for 225mm front disc.

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    Buy 4 piston Avid Code brakes and dont hesitate to have the braking performance. I am 235 and saving 89 grams on a 2 piston vs 4 piston is beyond silly. A half a glass of water in my diet is 89 grams in my daily grind. Why would you skip performance?

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    I had 160 mm rotors on the bike first. Then I switched to 185 mm rotors the two pistons calibers still didn't change as for stopping power by changing the size of the rotors. But when I tried my four piston calibers the stopping power WOW was amazing.. So amount pistons does make a difference.



    Quote Originally Posted by uzurpator View Post
    Amount of pistons is completely irrelevant to braking force. Besides - why do you need '2 piston' design anyway?

    Anyhoo. Before you go on spending frenzy start with 203mm rotors front/back. Depending on the fork you can even go for 225mm front disc.

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    Here's where Bikeradar.com tested some popular 2011 brakes to compare how powerful they were:

    How We Test Hydraulic Disc Brakes - BikeRadar

    I've attached the Bikeradar 2010 and 2011 test results as pictures below because the page appears to have changed to only show 2011 brakes.

    You might have to be a bit careful comparing between the 2010 and 2011 figures. It looks like something could have changed in their testing procedure. The same brakes get different results in each table. The 2011 Hope brakes should be the same as the 2010 Hope brakes for example. The Shimano brakes in the 2010 table are the older M775 XT and M975 XTR models. The Shimano XTR Race M985 brakes in the 2011 table are the new version.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Who makes the strongest 2 piston hydraulic disc brakes?-2011_bikerada_brake_test.jpg  

    Who makes the strongest 2 piston hydraulic disc brakes?-2010_bikeradar_brake_test.jpg  

    Last edited by WR304; 10-25-2011 at 09:10 AM.

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    Honestly, what I put in bold confuses me. A bigger rotor means more leverage for the caliper to stop the wheel.

    Amount of pistons can make a difference, but I'd believe that bigger rotors would be the first step. I'll agree that Avid Code and Shimano Saint brakes are powerful, but I think the bigger rotor makes the biggest difference. DH riders still use bigger rotors (203mm/180mm seems to be common on Saint setups that I've seen) so I don't see much credibility in your post when you discredit the power of a rotor upgrade.

    Furthermore, what kind of riding do you do that requires you to lock the brake up? That's something you usually don't want to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    I had 160 mm rotors on the bike first. Then I switched to 185 mm rotors the two pistons calibers still didn't change as for stopping power by changing the size of the rotors. But when I tried my four piston calibers the stopping power WOW was amazing.. So amount pistons does make a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    I had 160 mm rotors on the bike first. Then I switched to 185 mm rotors the two pistons calibers still didn't change as for stopping power by changing the size of the rotors. But when I tried my four piston calibers the stopping power WOW was amazing.. So amount pistons does make a difference.
    The bolded part seems to indicate that problem with your brakes may somewhere completely elsewhere.

    They seem to:
    - leaking -> rebuild / replace / warranty them
    or
    - need bleeding -> bleed them
    or
    - have contaminated pads -> clean pads and discs. If that does not help, then replace pads and clean discs one more time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    Here's where Bikeradar.com tested some popular 2011 brakes to compare how powerful they were:

    How We Test Hydraulic Disc Brakes - BikeRadar
    I'm a bit skeptical about these tests.
    for one thing, they are comparing one brands XC/AM brake against other brands DH-specific brake. Not surprising the code came out on top, since it (and the hope M4) are really the only DH brakes tested- no saints or formula ones..

    IMO things that make or break a brake (no pun intended);
    can you get replacement parts? Can you get them same day in downieville, Bend, Moab etc?
    How easy is it to get a quality bleed?
    How are the ergonomics with your preferred brand shifters?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    I'm looking for the strongest 2 piston hydraulic brakes. I'm about 300 lbs. I have Hayes Stroker Rydes but they don't lock up the rear wheel when I need it the most. I know a 4 piston will work but like to use a 2 piston. Does any one know?

    What size piston, is it a monoblock design or 2 piece caliper organic or metallic pad? The point is like uzurpator mentioned it has nothing to do with it. It' much easier to find you the strongest brake in your budget. Beside the Rydes what other brake have you tried so far?

    Why rear wheel lock?

  11. #11
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    I have a Hayes Ryde F/R set and a Hayes ACE F/R set. Stock pads. Everything is clean. I rather have rear lock then front lock. I ride x country and downhill/free ride.



    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    What size piston, is it a monoblock design or 2 piece caliper organic or metallic pad? The point is like uzurpator mentioned it has nothing to do with it. It' much easier to find you the strongest brake in your budget. Beside the Rydes what other brake have you tried so far?

    Why rear wheel lock?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    I have a Hayes Ryde F/R set and a Hayes ACE F/R set. Stock pads. Everything is clean. I rather have rear lock then front lock. I ride x country and downhill/free ride.
    Good riding means that you use both brakes and you don't lock either up. Again, 70% of your braking (some people say even more) comes from the front brake. Stop being afraid of it and start using it. If you shift your weight back over the back wheel just a little bit then you can do all your braking with your front brake if you wanted (though I'd use both).

    A skidding wheel gives less slowing force than a wheel that is braking right at the edge of skidding (still turning, not locked up). I looked up the coefficients of friction for static (slowing tire) and kinetic (skidding) tires on pavement (cars were easier to find info for) and came up with one site approximating static at 1.0 and kinetic at 0.8. That means if you lock up your wheel you are only getting 80% as much stopping power as if you were to keep the wheel turning as it stops.

    Add in the enormous amount of damage skidding can do to some trails along with the loss of control of a skid and you can see why people are suggesting you don't lock up your brakes on purpose.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  13. #13
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    Answer me this young padawan. Then why do companies make four piston calibers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    Answer me this young padawan. Then why do companies make four piston calibers?
    Marketing?

    Because their 2 piston calipers are not as good as other companies 4 piston calipers?

    Marketing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    Answer me this young padawan. Then why do companies make four piston calibers?
    What the guy above me said, and also this: bigger caliper takes longer to get hot enough to fade on a long downhill.

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    So a bigger caliper would be better. The more I read a four piston would be better for me. I do weigh 300 lbs.


    Quote Originally Posted by comptiger5000 View Post
    What the guy above me said, and also this: bigger caliper takes longer to get hot enough to fade on a long downhill.


    And for what zebrahum said. I do understand but with my FAT A$$ coming down the mountain it be safer it I used four piston disc brakes.


    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Good riding means that you use both brakes and you don't lock either up. Again, 70% of your braking (some people say even more) comes from the front brake. Stop being afraid of it and start using it. If you shift your weight back over the back wheel just a little bit then you can do all your braking with your front brake if you wanted (though I'd use both).

    A skidding wheel gives less slowing force than a wheel that is braking right at the edge of skidding (still turning, not locked up). I looked up the coefficients of friction for static (slowing tire) and kinetic (skidding) tires on pavement (cars were easier to find info for) and came up with one site approximating static at 1.0 and kinetic at 0.8. That means if you lock up your wheel you are only getting 80% as much stopping power as if you were to keep the wheel turning as it stops.

    Add in the enormous amount of damage skidding can do to some trails along with the loss of control of a skid and you can see why people are suggesting you don't lock up your brakes on purpose.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    The more I read a four piston would be better for me.

    ...safer it I used four piston disc brakes.
    WHY? Look at the Hope Tech website. Their 4 pot caliper (Tech M4) is rated below their most powerful brake (a 2 pot, the Tech V2). The number of pistons does not equate to power. Seriously, try the two out if there is anyone even remotely near you who has them. The V2 is far more powerful.

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    To answer the original question. I'm not sure there is a strongest two piston brake. If you can find a set of Magura Gustav's which are now discontinued, you'd have one of the all time strongest two piston brakes ever made. I love mine. In fact I recently bought another set just to have.

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    I already have a 2 piston Hayes Ryde and a 4 piston Hayes Ace. Why waste money on a set of Hopes. But you did answer my question who makes the strongest. Thank you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shalom View Post
    WHY? Look at the Hope Tech website. Their 4 pot caliper (Tech M4) is rated below their most powerful brake (a 2 pot, the Tech V2). The number of pistons does not equate to power. Seriously, try the two out if there is anyone even remotely near you who has them. The V2 is far more powerful.
    Last edited by chuck732; 10-26-2011 at 11:00 AM.

  20. #20
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    Hope V2 is the strongest mtb brake bar HS33 rim crushers, if you fit one it will stop you like a brick wall.

    In fact, before you fit a set of V2s check with the manufacturer of your frame it's ok to do so. I've seen a number of rear triangles cracked by V2s running big discs. Yes, they really are that powerful.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    I already have a 2 piston Hayes Ryde and a 4 piston Hayes Ace. Why waste money on a set of Hopes.
    Why?

    Because in five years time when neither makes the current line up anymore and you brake a lever, Hayes will tell you to buy a new brake. Or they'll make you ring-aound-the-rosie contacting every bike shop on the planet looking for a spare.

    Hope will say certainly, it's in stock in our spares catalogue, that's $25 please sir.

    On Piston numbers, a number of companies used to make 6-pot calipers, Clarks used to make an 8(!!!) piston unit. They abruptly stopped not long after the Hope Moto and Avid Codes came out around 2007, piston numbers mean little to end power. Piston size and pad contact area with the disc are important ones.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    I'm a bit skeptical about these tests.
    for one thing, they are comparing one brands XC/AM brake against other brands DH-specific brake. Not surprising the code came out on top, since it (and the hope M4) are really the only DH brakes tested- no saints or formula ones..

    IMO things that make or break a brake (no pun intended);
    can you get replacement parts? Can you get them same day in downieville, Bend, Moab etc?
    How easy is it to get a quality bleed?
    How are the ergonomics with your preferred brand shifters?
    Bikeradar generally have seperate written reviews for individual brakes once they've been printed in their magazines. They're often not particularly detailed though.

    There aren't that many published "apples to apples" comparisons of disc brakes around. I think the intention here was to compare the relative power of different brakes, regardless of whether they're marketed as XC/AM or DH brakes. The 2011 test has fewer models than the 2010 test (perhaps they didn't have the other models available at the time? ).

    Being able to look at results like these helps to provide an objective idea of how all the different brakes compare. You can see for example that the Hope Tech V2 brakes are more powerful than the other Hope brakes, including the four piston Hope Tech M4 brakes. You do have to be careful of the obvious anomalies in these test results though. The Avid Code brakes in the 2010 test (dry results are listed in Post #6) clearly weren't working properly. They should be one of the stronger brakes, as shown in the 2011 test.

    If you look at the 2010 results I posted they have far more brakes tested, including Formula The One and Shimano Saint brakes. It's a shame that they've removed the 2010 results (they were on the page that has now been updated with the 2011 tests) as I didn't save a copy of the wet test results.

  22. #22
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    4 pots does not equal more power, quite the opposite, you've got more seals, more drag, smaller pistons and in so you lose much of the force from your brake level the Code's are well known for looking good, but being weak but very well modulated.

    I find it hard to believe Elixir 3's are stronger than Elixir R's which I thought was the same brake but newer coding.

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    Well in my case 4 piston is more power. My Hayes Stroker Ace 4 piston stop my wheels. I mean lock them up. But my Hayes Stroker Ryde 2 piston brakes cannot lock my wheels when needed.

    And with the 4 piston the pads are bigger that would mean more contact with the rotor then my 2 piston which is smaller pads.



    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd View Post
    4 pots does not equal more power, quite the opposite, you've got more seals, more drag, smaller pistons and in so you lose much of the force from your brake level the Code's are well known for looking good, but being weak but very well modulated.

    I find it hard to believe Elixir 3's are stronger than Elixir R's which I thought was the same brake but newer coding.

  24. #24
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    Does everyone forget basic physics?

    HowStuffWorks "A Hydraulic System"

    Doesn't matter how many pistons something has, force is determined by the piston surface area comparison between the master cylinder piston and the caliper piston(s). Yes there are small differences with seal drag, caliper stiffness, hose rigidity, and so on, but the major driver of brake force is simple hydraulics.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd View Post
    4 pots does not equal more power, quite the opposite, you've got more seals, more drag, smaller pistons and in so you lose much of the force from your brake level the Code's are well known for looking good, but being weak but very well modulated.

    I find it hard to believe Elixir 3's are stronger than Elixir R's which I thought was the same brake but newer coding.
    Oddly, IME elixir 3 is stronger. I think there was a sacrifice in power for weight savings

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd View Post
    4 pots does not equal more power, quite the opposite, you've got more seals, more drag, smaller pistons and in so you lose much of the force from your brake level the Code's are well known for looking good, but being weak but very well modulated.

    I find it hard to believe Elixir 3's are stronger than Elixir R's which I thought was the same brake but newer coding.
    I thought it was interesting that the Avid Code brakes didn't do that well in the 2010 tests, but then the Avid Code R brakes were one of the strongest in 2011. Apparently the 2011 Avid Code / Code R is a new design though, which could explain why the results were so different.

    Old Avid Code (have a look through the comments below the short review)
    Avid Code Disc Brake Review - BikeRadar

    New Avid Code R
    Avid Code R Disc Brake Review - BikeRadar

    .

  27. #27
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    Formula The Ones //discussion

    These are by far the most powerful two piston brakes and actually show to be the second strongest brake tested between 2010 and 2011 after the Saints. They are also some of the lightest at sub 300 grams and use DOT4 fluid which is more stable when heated. Downsides are price and the fact that they need to be bled every 6 months or so.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Does everyone forget basic physics?

    HowStuffWorks "A Hydraulic System"

    Doesn't matter how many pistons something has, force is determined by the piston surface area comparison between the master cylinder piston and the caliper piston(s). Yes there are small differences with seal drag, caliper stiffness, hose rigidity, and so on, but the major driver of brake force is simple hydraulics.
    Let's add PSI of the friction surface and friction materials to this.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    ... when I tried my four piston calibers the stopping power WOW was amazing.. So amount pistons does make a difference.
    whatever those were, buy them and be done with it.

    all the testing aside, you need to have confidence in your brakes, regardless of the reason.

  30. #30
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    Do You Really Want to Know?

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    Answer me this young padawan. Then why do companies make four piston calibers?
    Mainly, because ignorant people will buy just about anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck732 View Post
    I'm looking for the strongest 2 piston hydraulic brakes. I'm about 300 lbs. I have Hayes Stroker Rydes but they don't lock up the rear wheel when I need it the most. I know a 4 piston will work but like to use a 2 piston. Does any one know?
    I am 240 LBS and ride a 29er hard tail. My bike came stock with 160MM Juicy 5's. I had a problem with the brakes not having enough power. I was going to buy a whole new brake set and went to the local bike shop. The owner of the shop told me to get bigger rotors first cause its a fraction of the price. I ordered some 203's front and back and I can now do a stoppy on the front or lock the back up and rip a 180 if I need to. Its cost 48 bucks and it was a major improvement. Try this first unless you have a bunch of money in your pocket to burn and want to splurge for a new brake set. A 4 Piston set is pretty heavy duty that puts you in the down hill range. A 2 piston with the bigger rotors will give you the power you need for trail and all-mountain.

  32. #32
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    Another test for folks to armchair debate how they'd have tested it better.
    Velotech.de disc brake test
    --------- __o
    ------- _`\<,_
    ------ (*)/ (*)
    ******************
    Running is for prey.

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    I had 160mm rotors on and tried 185mm rotors and saw not much of a difference. I got a use Hayes ACE rear brake coming.


    Quote Originally Posted by parafly View Post
    I am 240 LBS and ride a 29er hard tail. My bike came stock with 160MM Juicy 5's. I had a problem with the brakes not having enough power. I was going to buy a whole new brake set and went to the local bike shop. The owner of the shop told me to get bigger rotors first cause its a fraction of the price. I ordered some 203's front and back and I can now do a stoppy on the front or lock the back up and rip a 180 if I need to. Its cost 48 bucks and it was a major improvement. Try this first unless you have a bunch of money in your pocket to burn and want to splurge for a new brake set. A 4 Piston set is pretty heavy duty that puts you in the down hill range. A 2 piston with the bigger rotors will give you the power you need for trail and all-mountain.

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    Magura Gustav M

    Plenty of good information already provided. Here are few numbers, to more or less match the fine charts posted, regarding the previously mentioned two piston floating caliper brake Magura Gustav M:

    "Deceleration in m/sec≤ according to DIN 79100 (100N handforce): 7,9m/sec≤."

    That is with a stock 210 mm rotor and a system weight of 100 kg. A 190 mm rotor provides you a deceleration of 7,5 m/sec≤. Numbers gained from Magura support forums. Not the lightest option out there. Discontinued item.

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    I believe all you are looking for is a set of Magura Gustav with big rotors. These should do the job nicely.

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    Gustav's not just a mega stopper. It's got excellent modulation. Pity Magura saw fit to discontinue them. More profit in the MT8 no doubt. A cautionary word. They are discontinued, but can be found. I recently bought a set from France. Don't deal with Bike Parts USA. They advertise them, but they're a rip off company IMO. Don't believe me just do a search. Caveat Emptor (!)

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