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  1. #1
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    What size brake rotors are all you Clydes running?

    Like the title says, what size brake rotors are all you big boys running?

    I started out with a 180 front and 160 rear. Then, I moved up to a 180 front and 180 rear. That was with running Avid Elixir 1 brakes.

    Now, I just bought a new set of Shimano XT brakes, and I'm thinking about running 203 front and 180 rear. What do you think about that? Should I just stick with 180 front and 180 back instead? Everyone says the Shimano XT brakes have much more grip. So, I dunno...

    For reference, I'm about 6'1.5" tall and weigh around 250ish all decked out with ride gear. I ride mostly XC-type stuff, and a bit of general trail riding. No aggressive downhill, jumping, thrashing, etc.

  2. #2
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    I'm 185mm/185mm but could easily run 185mm/160mm. In fact, new bike I'm building will be 183mm/160mm. I'm getting Hope M4 for the front, X2 for the rear. I'm 268 pounds as of this mornign and do XC riding.

    If you're not having issues current, no need to change. Also, make sure your fork can handle 203mm if you decide to do that size. Some forks have a limit, usually 183mm/185mm, but I've seen them as low as 160mm on the cheaper forks.

  3. #3
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    I run 203mm front and back, but will be bringing the rear to 180. I have XTR on mine, and I find the rear locks up more than I want, thus the desired change. Moral of the story, wait for a reason to change. Not braking fast enough, up the size, or even just changing your pads could help.
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  4. #4
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    I weigh 225 and run 203mm both front and rear. Bigger brakes is better heat dissipation.

  5. #5
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    True but the point is, it's overkill. For the riding the OP is doing, it's not needed. I mean I guess there's no hard to having a couple pie plates attached to your wheels, but you don't need them. 185mm/185mm stops me perfectly fine, even when I was 320 pounds.

  6. #6
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    True, but it all costs about the same. It wouldn't be worth doing an upgrade if the bike already has brakes, but if not there is no good reason not to go big.

  7. #7
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    203 up front on all my bikes, 203 on the rear of the Heckler, and 160 on rear the Klein & Monkey.

    I noticed a drastic improvement switching to the 203 from 160 on the Klein. The fade with the 160 was pretty scary on some longer steep sections. It's all but gone with the 203.
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  8. #8
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    I'm running 203 front and 160 rear and I'm about 250ish in my birthday suit. I was running 160 front but it wasn't enough for the riding I was doing.
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  9. #9
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    I can't think of a reason to run less than 200 front (other than fork limit, but my clyde philosophy is a part with those sort of limits has no place on a clyde's bike). It might be overkill, but it's not hurting anything either, and you might get in a situation where it's just enough kill. If you are worried about the weight difference... you shouldn't be. If you are worried about "too much" brake, learn how to ride - there is no such thing as too much brake, only poor braking technique.

    I run 180 rear on all my bikes, because again I don't see a point to having the same size front and rear, since the rear brake hardly does anything.

  10. #10
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    225 geared up, maybe 230. 180 front and 160 rear with 2012 Shimano XT. Have considered swapping the rear for a 180 as the 160 can fade a bit on fast, long descents. I ride a Niner with big, heavy Kenda Nevegals front and rear.

  11. #11
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    203 is probably an overkill for xc riding. I Guess to much is better than not enough. I recently put together a trail bike with xt brakes 180 front 160 rear. I am what you say an aggressive trail rider love the downhill and 180 front was an overkill. Xt's are really good brakes I would go with 180 front 160 rear

  12. #12
    some know me as mongo
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    I am currently running 200 front and 180 rear on my All mountain bike and weight about 270 gears up. on my new XC/trail bike I will be 180 front and rear. I could go for 160 on the rear but with drag breaking I figured that a little but more would help in hte long run on longer downhill sections.

    For purely XC I would sitck with a 180 front and 160 rear.
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  13. #13
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    I'm 6'3 290 and run SLX Ice tech 180mm front and 160mm rear on my Trek Stache 7. All XC/trail riding in the northeast. Works great for me.

  14. #14
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    What size brake rotors are all you Clydes running?

    I don't have disc yet, but I can tell you when I do buy a new bike it won't be 160 front and rear. I demoed a bike on some easy XC trails with SRAM XO discs this weekend, and I wasn't impressed with them over my V brakes.


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  15. #15
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    I'm 300# on a heavy heckler riding some moderate trails. I run avid codes 200 front 180 in the back. Real happy with that set up.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by askibum02 View Post
    I don't have disc yet, but I can tell you when I do buy a new bike it won't be 160 front and rear. I demoed a bike on some easy XC trails with SRAM XO discs this weekend, and I wasn't impressed with them over my V brakes.


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  17. #17
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    I run 203f 180r w/ xtr on my mtn, and 203f 160r on my 9zero. I don't do it for the heat dissipation, I do it for the modulation. A lot less pressure needs to be applied to a 203 rotor vs. A 160. Then when you need the power......it is always there.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for all of the replies! Lots of varied opinions on this subject, too. Seems like there's a "why not go big as possible up front" crowd, and a "stick with what's typical" crowd. Well, I've opted for "middle of the road." I decided to just stay with 180 mm both front and rear. I'll be installing a new Shimano XT complete set-up real soon, and got a little spooked over the possibility of a 203 mm rotor up front being a little too much, power/aggressive-wise. Anyway, I'll try the 180s and see how they do; can always change it up somewhere down the road.

  19. #19
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    185 front, 160 rear, G3 rotors, BB7 with Jagwire Ripcord and SD7 levers.

    220 lb, rigid ss. Since I'm not bombing down the hill on rigid, 185 front BB7 is plenty.
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  20. #20
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    160/160 on the CX bike
    180/180 on the DJ bike
    203/180 on the AM bike

    I had 180/160 on my old rigid XC bike and that was fine for as fast as I was comfortable going on a rigid XC bike but definitely upgraded to the next size up in rotors when building my Paradox.

  21. #21
    some know me as mongo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    SRAM brakes suck. That's why.
    Sram brakes deffinitally dont suck. granted there are ones that are fickle or noisy as hell but in generally Sram/Avid brakes are pretty good. sometimes it requires changing the pads (two piston models mainly) but the newer 4 piston brakes rock right out of the box! I have no complaints aout the codes I ran in the past or th current XO trails on my bike now.
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  22. #22
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    160/160 Shimano XT Icetech Rotors/Breaks.

    I'm 250ish and don't need anything more then that for XC and trail.

  23. #23
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    What size brake rotors are all you Clydes running?

    I am running 203 in the front and now notice the weakness with the 160 in the rear. Plan to go 203 back there and eventually upgrade the brakes.

  24. #24
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    Re: What size brake rotors are all you Clydes running?

    240# all kitted up.
    Avid elixir r 180f/160r
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  25. #25
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    160/160


    I want to go larger up front, but I don't know what adapter I need. I have tektro Draco brakes. Reba rl fork.

  26. #26
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    Re: What size brake rotors are all you Clydes running?

    275 lbs before gear. Avid bb7s with 180mm ashimu airotors f and r. Debating on dropping to 160 rear as back locks up a bit easy. I ride 29er and at my weight havent found anything that I needed more. Fade no issues and enough power to send me otb if I lay on brakes hard enough.
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  27. #27
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    What size brake rotors are all you Clydes running?

    I upgraded my Dixon from 180/160 to 200/180 before I even picked it up from the shop. I have gotten used to the braking on my Flatline (200 front and rear) and so anything less doesn't feel right. I'm 6'1.5" and 300lb here so can definitely generate a lot of brake heat!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sir_crackien View Post
    Sram brakes deffinitally dont suck. granted there are ones that are fickle or noisy as hell but in generally Sram/Avid brakes are pretty good. sometimes it requires changing the pads (two piston models mainly) but the newer 4 piston brakes rock right out of the box! I have no complaints aout the codes I ran in the past or th current XO trails on my bike now.
    So... basically... 90% of their line sucks. Got it.

  29. #29
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    160/160 stopping my 120kg mass :-)

    I might get better stopping out of bigger rotors but I've never felt like I needed them.

  30. #30
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    I am 250 lbs. geared up and running 203F/180R on Formula ORO K24 brakes. I figure I might as well be prepared for any situation especially if you travel a lot and don't know the area well.

  31. #31
    some know me as mongo
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneBadWagon View Post
    So... basically... 90% of their line sucks. Got it.
    Where did I say that? On my commuter bike, which I ride the crap out of, I am using elixir 9's, one of the brakes that people think suck. Granted I did break them in properly and am very careful with the setup, but even they preform very well. They are noise when they get wet and where temper mental during setup but once I got them dialed they have stayed that way, and that is with the stock pads.

    That being said, I am not fan of the BB7's and BB5's. I have had great luck with luck with older Shimano brakes, though I have had problems with the past 2 generations (inconsistent lever feel no matter the bleed, sometime they would pull a little and other times they would pull alot). I have also have Formula Oro's k24's and k18's in the past and those where quite nice.

    Really most all the upper end brakes and other components on the market are great if you are willing to take a bit of time to dial them in. Sometime that means taking more times with some part than others.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SasquatchSC View Post
    I noticed a drastic improvement switching to the 203 from 160 on the Klein. The fade with the 160 was pretty scary on some longer steep sections. It's all but gone with the 203.
    This. There was one long, fast descent in particular on my favorite, closest ride that got especially hairy at the bottom. With the 160 on the front, at the bottom of the hill where I needed control the most, I found myself nursing fade versus speed/control and likely pain and suffering should it all go wrong. 203 on the front fixed that good.

  33. #33
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    275lbs.

    RIP9 all-mountain bike: 203mm front, 160 back.
    EMD9 rigid city bike: 180mm front, 160 back.

  34. #34
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    Since you mentioned XC, 160/160 is fine.

  35. #35
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    240 before gear. Wife is about 180 at the moment.

    All of our 29er bikes are set up 203 front; 185 rear. Makes for easy wheel swaps as we have a variety of types to choose from.

    My Pugsley build will use 200s front and rear.

    I don't know where we'll be going or what we'll be doing with any of our rides so they've all been set up "worst case". While a good portion of our normal riding is done on bike trails, some of them have long hilly sections and the reserve braking power comes in handy at times.

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