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  1. #1
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    Worth going from BB5 to Shimano 445 hydraulic?

    So, I've got a bike I've ridden for two years with Avid BB5s. I believe I set them up well, and they have performed fairly well for me over the last two years. I have ridden primarily XC style riding with some big descents thrown in.

    There are lots more big descents to be tackled though and I wouldn't mind some slightly more responsive brakes as I ride them.

    Question is, will the Shimano m445 hydraulic be an improvement in braking modulation and power? The cost is essentially negligible after I sell the BB5s and levers; and the bleed process does not worry me.

    I know there are similar threads but ultimately cost and service enter the equation; that's not a part of my equation for going from strictly from the BB5 to the M445.

    I'm only thinking power/modulation. Thanks

  2. #2
    dru
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    The BB5 is a very nice brake, but a bit of a pain to adjust compared to the BB7. I doubt lower end Shimano 445s will be any improvement at all.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  3. #3
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    Way better. The best mechanical brakes won't hold a candle to a reasonably good hydraulic brake.

  4. #4
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    The reason I asked about the M445 specifically is that people seem to like them, as opposed to the other non series brakes like the, M575. And they run a bit cheaper than Tektro Aguila, Magura MT2, etc.

  5. #5
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    yes... I'm not a big fan of hydro brakes but they will be an improvement over the BB5's.. but then just getting BB7's will be a nice improvement also.

    I personally hate hydro's as everyone talks about "modulation" and I find hydros to be very On-off with little actual modulation. Yes the mech's need a bit more force to lock up but have WAY more in-between. But then I do construction and work with my hands so my grip is probably way above normal and I do kinda "death grip"..

    I also don't like hydros for service and repair as if you crash and brake the levers or what ever you're walking, with Mechs I've more than once crashed and damaged the lever, you can still use it to get home and replacement is like 10 bucks.. not hundreds...
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    SLX have the same in performance as XT and XTR. These will make a big difference.
    I would go right for these. Bikecomponents.de has a good price.

  7. #7
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    M445, probably not worth it. It works, but it's an entry level brake and it's really nothing to write home about. It works well for hybrid commuter bikes but for serious mountain bike use I'd go up to at least the M596 and preferably the SLX, especially since you mention big descents.

  8. #8
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    Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. I'll probably hold on to the BB5s. Though I appreciate the recommendations, the Avid Elixir 1, is the only other hydraulic I've found in the price range of the m445. I haven't really put much money in to my bike yet since purchasing it; so I'm trying to do so judiciously.

    Definitely not going to go BB7s, I'm sold on hydraulics if I'm putting money on the table...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    SLX have the same in performance as XT and XTR. These will make a big difference.
    A set of new M445s are going for less than $70 shipped on eBay!

    Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakeset BL M505 BR M445 160mm 1400 800 Bike New | eBay

    I have the SLX M666s, which are great, but I'd be tempted by the M445s at that price. They look good to me, and look like an upgrade over th BB5s.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilthemeal View Post
    Though I appreciate the recommendations, the Avid Elixir 1, is the only other hydraulic I've found in the price range of the m445.
    Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, DO NOT get the Elixir 1. Friend of mine owns a bike shop and they've had nothing but trouble with Elixir 1 & 3 brakes. Over half the sets had to be bled and/or sent back for warranty straight out of the box.

  11. #11
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    BB5s work and are easy to fix/maintain but I like the on/off you get from good hydraulics. M445s are not good hydraulics. Scrounge the few extra bucks and get SLX or XT. Don't go cheap, you already have cheap BB5s.

  12. #12
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    jsilva, those are the ones I was looking at. Like I said, its really not a matter of money; I'd sell the BB5s for close to the cost of the 445. Its more of the fact that I don't want to go through the rigamarole of installing the new brakes, selling the old ones and then wanting new brakes right away.

    aerius, I had no intention of getting Elixir 1, which is why I didn't ask about them.

    maxforce, thats what I'm doing; saving pennies for something better.

  13. #13
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    I swapped out my stocker craptastic mech discos for BB7's. I looked briefly at the BB5's but had to have the adjustability of the 7's. Hydros are a pain in the ass for my non-mechanical self and I'd rather ride than deal with hydros. I'm a straight weekend warrior though so no need for burly brakes.
    -----
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  14. #14
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    You may want to consider the M596s. Personally, I've only read good reviews of them. Here's one on these forums:

    2012 Shimano Deore M596 Brakes - User review

    They are $120/set shipped (to the US) from Chain Reaction Cycles.

  15. #15
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    I have been using them for a year and I use them hard and they havent failed to me: reliable, cheap and good power

  16. #16
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    I'd go either BB7 or M596, nothing wrong with M445, but I think BB7 are marginally better if set up well, but M445 are less hassle. I'd go for 596 every time or SLX if you have enough $$$.

  17. #17
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    My 2012 GT Force 3.0 came spec'd with M445's. They are my first disc set and my old Trek had rim brakes. I just rode my buddy's bike and he has BB5s, so I luckily can do a comparison for you. First of all, someone said that hydros don't have the modulation that everyone says, I tend to agree with them. the 445's are very sensitive, compared to the BB5's, but they also dish out way more power.

    I've had absolutely no issues with them, but the rear is due for a bleed. this is something to keep in mind. maintenance is no longer just adjusting the calipers. you need to bleed them, make sure there's no leaks and it a more complex world.

    That being said, 445's are on the low end of the spectrum. if your BB5's are working and don't need any TLC right now, I'd wait a bit and get a better set.

  18. #18
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    Actually there are more parts in a mechanical calliper than a hydraulic. Less complex. Bleeding can be challenging though but once you figure to out it is really easy particularly some systems. Avid/SRAM have a rep for being difficult. They can be even with the proper bleed kit. I just bled my XTR set. Took maybe 20 minutes for both. Took longer to find my bleed kit.
    Last edited by someoldfart; 05-05-2013 at 06:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    To add to someoldfart's thoughts, it seems that some people have more maintenance issues with hydros than others. I've had my M666s for two years and I haven't had to bleed them, ever, and I even shortened the hoses when I first got them (I did follow Shimano's idea of pushing out the pistons and then pushing them back in after the cut). They are nice and tight at the lever with good modulation.

    Though I did have M665s previously and I had to bleed them a couple of times. But then again, they were my first hydros and I was just learning about them.

    I am interested in what neilthemeal has ended up with...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by someoldfart View Post
    Actually there are more parts in a mechanical calliper than a hydraulic. Less complex. Bleeding can be challenging though but once you figure to out it is really easy particularly some systems. Avid/SRAM have a rep for being difficult. They can be even with the proper bleed kit. I just bled my XTR set. Took maybe 20 minutes for both. Took longer to find my bleed kit.
    Just saying, as a disc noob, a brake bleed is something I've never done before. So that is great news!

    Granted, it's literally the only thing on my bike that hasn't been replaced or completely torn apart.

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