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  1. #1
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    One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.

    Okay, one full race season of disc brakes under my belt. Want to know what I think?

    Overkill. Disc brakes increase bike weight by a pound and offer hardly any actual benefits to racing. They have extreme power, but that isnt used in cross. If you are slamming on your brakes every turn, you are doing it wrong.

    A positive is decreased mud/grass buildup. But honestly, are discs shaving a whole pound of mud and grass off your bike? If not, you are still carrying extra weight with discs.

    Ill probably continue to use my cross bike with discs, but If I did it again, I would go with cantis or Vs.

    At least I can pretend like I have the fanciest tech at all the races.
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    Awesome. Thank you. I was going to ask if anyone had been racing/riding on them long term and their thoughts. What is your bike? BB7s?

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    No problem. This is only one mans opinion. Im sure there are racers out there that feel the opposite.

    My setup is a 56cm Dirty Disco set up with BB7s, farsports 50mm carbon tubbies, and 2009 sram force group.

    I dont have a picture of the bike, but this was at USGP Derby City SS class.
    " width="549">

    If you notice, Im in the drops.... More on that later.

    One of the issues with BB7s on drop bar levers, is that the throw is not adjustable like a BB7 and a SD7 mountain bike lever. The lever stroke with my Sram Force shifters was very long. So long, that if I am braking on the hoods, the shift lever would bottom out on the knuckle of my ring fingers (wrapped around the hood)
    The only option for braking was doing so, on top of the hood without gripping it with my fingers, or braking from the drops.

    The latter was the only way for me to control the bicycle adequately.

    A great thing about cantilever brakes, is that you can adjust them to the exact lever feel you prefer. I could have set the throw short and been 100% happy.

    But that was impossible. I will say, now that my UCI sanctioned race is out of the way, I switched the setup a little bit.
    I went to flat bars, XT hydraulic brakes, and a 1x10. Illegal by UCI standards, but I can finish up my local series just fine.

    Here is a pic
    " width="549">

    But that is a different thread in its entirety.

    Anyone else with a whole season on them have any opinions on the matter?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    One of the issues with BB7s on drop bar levers, is that the throw is not adjustable like a BB7 and a SD7 mountain bike lever. The lever stroke with my Sram Force shifters was very long. So long, that if I am braking on the hoods, the shift lever would bottom out on the knuckle of my ring fingers (wrapped around the hood)
    The only option for braking was doing so, on top of the hood without gripping it with my fingers, or braking from the drops.
    Hmmm, that's not good. If you let your canti brake pads wear out and get too thin the same thing happens. That drives me insane. It's easily fixed. You make an adjustment or put on new pads.
    There's nothing you can do to fix your disc lever problem? That wouldn't work for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Hmmm, that's not good. If you let your canti brake pads wear out and get too thin the same thing happens. That drives me insane. It's easily fixed. You make an adjustment or put on new pads.
    There's nothing you can do to fix your disc lever problem? That wouldn't work for me.
    Here are some solutions in no particular order.

    Find/make some longer pull levers

    Use a shorter pull brake caliper

    Tighten your brakes up so much they there is hardly any clearance. Your rotors will probably rub.

    File down the back of your shift lever for more finger clearance.

    A hydro converter may work...

    Retroshift

    Flat bars

    Learn how to ride in the drops or without wrapping fingers around the hood
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  6. #6
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    I run Rival controls w/bb7's, I agree the lever throw is long even w/pad clearance tight, and the shifter does touch the bar under hard braking altho not an issue.

    I ride from the hoods most of the time with my hands wrapped around them, and I brake with the index and middle fingers. I don't think I keep any fingers wrapped around the bar when I brake from the hoods, my hands are resting on them and the other fingers are just out of the way I guess, never thought about it tho.

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    I think it depends on your race conditions. I was telling people how my braking was totally uneffected during this race, using disk brakes:

    Gallery: Cyclocross races at Mt. Ogden Golf Course - November 10, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    I think it depends on your race conditions. I was telling people how my braking was totally uneffected during this race, using disk brakes:

    Gallery: Cyclocross races at Mt. Ogden Golf Course - November 10, 2012
    I personally have never raced or ridden in snow. How were peoples Cantis working for them that day?

    Any complaints?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    I personally have never raced or ridden in snow. How were peoples Cantis working for them that day?

    Any complaints?
    People were telling me they had their canti's on full force, and barely stopping. Lots of hand cramps that day.

    But then again, races this fun are very, very few. We might get a sloppy race this weekend (it's raining right now, and snow projected), but most have been summer conditions with moist dirt/grass.

    This past Saturday raced in short sleeves at 9:30AM, which is crazy for December in utah.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    People were telling me they had their canti's on full force, and barely stopping. Lots of hand cramps that day.

    But then again, races this fun are very, very few. We might get a sloppy race this weekend (it's raining right now, and snow projected), but most have been summer conditions with moist dirt/grass.

    This past Saturday raced in short sleeves at 9:30AM, which is crazy for December in utah.
    Interesting. I have never had problems in mud with cantis, but again, I have never raced in snow.

    I wonder if those riders complaining about power were using suitable pads for these harsh conditions?

    If they were using the proper equipment and still having trouble, you may have a point with the discs.

    They definitely do have a lighter actuation than rim brakes which can be a benefit to people with grip/hand/wrist problems.
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    were you using bb7-road or bb7-mountain??
    usually sovles the whole cable pull issue right there.
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

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    Disk or cantis, you look way too happy jumping those barriers.

    I raced disk all season, but don't have enough experience to compare. I didn't have the mud jamming issues my buddy had though. He said he could really feel the drag and I barely noticed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts View Post
    were you using bb7-road or bb7-mountain??
    usually sovles the whole cable pull issue right there.
    BB7 roads as shown in picture 1. BB7 mountains are black
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsqueri View Post
    Disk or cantis, you look way too happy jumping those barriers.

    I raced disk all season, but don't have enough experience to compare. I didn't have the mud jamming issues my buddy had though. He said he could really feel the drag and I barely noticed.
    Haha, you should have heard what the guy with the megaphone was saying. I was happy, third behind two of the fastest guys in the state with a healthy gap on 4th. Easy pedaling to the finish.

    I think it is a fine system, just overkill. Cantis work well, are way lighter, and more adjustable.

    Hear what J-Pow says:
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/AYJHBXe-piI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    He says he loves them but I am not completely convinced. Anytime someone says "Im not just sayin' that", it usually means they are lying.
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    I used the shimano calipers with tektro levers on this bike... the feel is very good. Although, no better than my old school Avid SD7 levers with road BB7s on my fatbike.



    ride on purpose: Update on the Steel SS Disc Cyclocross bike
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.-newold.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    But that is a different thread in its entirety.
    I'd rather hear about this. Thoughts on the flat bars?

    I've got a few seasons on CX disc brakes, but none on flat bars for CX. The mountain biker in me thinks it would be better and lighter. I switched my drop bars out to 46 cm bars for extra leverage (singlespeed). I'm happier with the wider bars for control and leverage, but still think a flat bar would be ideal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 88 rex View Post
    I'd rather hear about this. Thoughts on the flat bars?

    I've got a few seasons on CX disc brakes, but none on flat bars for CX. The mountain biker in me thinks it would be better and lighter. I switched my drop bars out to 46 cm bars for extra leverage (singlespeed). I'm happier with the wider bars for control and leverage, but still think a flat bar would be ideal.
    I like them. I only have one race on them so far. It was a highly technical race and they felt great. Not to mention my bike lost a pound of weight. 17.0 lbs for a geared, disc cross bike built for stiffness isnt too bad!

    The only disadvantages are 1. fit 2. lack of aero positions. and 3. legality

    1. Typically you need to add about 30mm onto a stem to get your hands in similar positions as the hoods. This can be hard if you have long arms(like me) or long torso. I was already running a 120mm stem with my drop bars. Any long people will know, you cant find a 150mm stem with O.S. 31.8mm clamp. Only 140mms. So I tried a 140mm and it felt short. Now I have a old school 150mm on the way and a matching handlebar to try out. The fit should be way better when I set it all up!

    2. On super windy days or courses with fast road or hardpack sections, you will not have an escape from the wind. Hardly a disadvantage in my opinion. Only a few extra watts are wasted on those sections. If you are more comfortable for the rest of the race, its wattage well spent.

    3. Flat bars are UCI illegal. So no racing any big races with them. Your local series should be fine with it, as long as bar ends are removed.

    4. Oh yeah, prepare for heckling. I have become the "hybrid guy" in my series.
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    Cahaba Cycles, eh? A few of us in Atlanta were thinking to head out to the race at Sloss Furnaces on the 15th. Looks like a rad race venue.

    If you see a bunch of folks with Sopo Bikes jerseys, I'll be the really tall guy wearing a blue jersey on a Soma Double cross w/ red trim. I'll probably be taking up last place but having a blast.

    FWIW, I'm also running BB7s on my road bike with Rival controls and have the same issues. I do have the pads set so tight that they are almost rubbing and swapped in EBC Gold pads for added stopping power.

    I love the modulation on the discs compared to v-brakes (never spent much time on cantis) and particularly love how you can adjust the outer knobs on BB7s for a consistent brake feel on both levers despite the difference in housing length.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTscoob View Post
    Cahaba Cycles, eh? A few of us in Atlanta were thinking to head out to the race at Sloss Furnaces on the 15th. Looks like a rad race venue.

    If you see a bunch of folks with Sopo Bikes jerseys, I'll be the really tall guy wearing a blue jersey on a Soma Double cross w/ red trim. I'll probably be taking up last place but having a blast.

    FWIW, I'm also running BB7s on my road bike with Rival controls and have the same issues. I do have the pads set so tight that they are almost rubbing and swapped in EBC Gold pads for added stopping power.

    I love the modulation on the discs compared to v-brakes (never spent much time on cantis) and particularly love how you can adjust the outer knobs on BB7s for a consistent brake feel on both levers despite the difference in housing length.
    Some of yall came over for the Anniston race right?
    And dont yall have a race that overlaps with Sloss? Its definitely a sweet venue. Rumor is that its haunted! Lots of steel workers lost their lives there. It sure looks like it could be.

    What does the Sopo kit look like? Yall come on! We need a big turn out for our season finale!

    John
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post



    3. Flat bars are UCI illegal. So no racing any big races with them. Your local series should be fine with it, as long as bar ends are removed.

    .
    That only applies if you are racing the Elite classes.

    BTW....interesting take on the disc thing. I know we don't "need" them for racing....but the industry looks like it's going to force them on us eventually.

    And...your problem with your levers hitting the bars. The MTB BB7 calipers may solve this....":may" being the operative word
    Last edited by the mayor; 12-07-2012 at 10:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    That only applies if you are racing the Elite classes.

    BTW....interesting take on the disc thing. I know we don't "need" them for racing....but the industry looks like it's going to force them on us eventually.

    And...your problem with your levers hitting the bars. The MTB BB7 calipers may solve this....":may" being the operative word
    Elite as in Pro? Or 1/2 as well?

    I actually think MTN bb7s make the problems worse. Pairing a long pull caliper with a short pull lever would cause bottoming out on the bars definitely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    Elite as in Pro? Or 1/2 as well?

    I actually think MTN bb7s make the problems worse. Pairing a long pull caliper with a short pull lever would cause bottoming out on the bars definitely.
    At a UCI event...there is Elite men and women races.....these are the only races that are effected by the "no flat bar" rule.

    As for the calipers.....it doesn't make sense....but I know with Ultegra levers, the mtb calipers work better. Same with some flat bar levers...the road caliper works better. I'd say it's more because of "WHERE" the lever pulls more or less cable in it's throw ( levers tend to pivot/pull in an arch )

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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    At a UCI event...there is Elite men and women races.....these are the only races that are effected by the "no flat bar" rule.
    Dont forget U23...

    As for the calipers.....it doesn't make sense....but I know with Ultegra levers, the mtb calipers work better.
    No it doesn't seeing as I am use Dura Ace 7900 shifters with BB7 Road calipers and despite a good bit of slack between pad and rotors, have yet to bottom the levers on my drop bars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ms6073 View Post
    Dont forget U23...

    .
    I didn't.....U23 is part of the elite mens race ( except at Natz )

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    Does everyone have this problem with the levers being so close to the bars? Red wouldn't be any better than Force or Rival?

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    I'm having that issue with my BB7 road calipers and SRAM Apex levers. After some screwing with them a bit they are better but they still don't seem to have the power of my BB7 mountain setup on my other bike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    I'm having that issue with my BB7 road calipers and SRAM Apex levers. After some screwing with them a bit they are better but they still don't seem to have the power of my BB7 mountain setup on my other bike.
    Are your pads contaminated? Thats what I would guess. Same size rotors as your MTB?
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Does everyone have this problem with the levers being so close to the bars? Red wouldn't be any better than Force or Rival?
    After what has been mentioned in earlier posts, im starting to think that some shimano models are "longer pull". Some models work better with BB7 mountain calipers. So if you were to swap the BB7 MTN for a BB7 road, the lever throw should be nice and short. Perfect for two finger braking on the hoods. Granted, if you can derive enough power out of them.
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    Sheepo or anyone else that wants to answer, would you rather have a RED bike with BB7s or a Ultegra Ui2 with MiniVs or Avid Ultimates

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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Sheepo or anyone else that wants to answer, would you rather have a RED bike with BB7s or a Ultegra Ui2 with MiniVs or Avid Ultimates
    For racing? If so, like I said earlier the discs are about a pound heavier for lifting the bike over barriers.

    And honestly, I wouldnt put super nice parts on a race bike unless you are made of money and can afford to replace them. CX racing is pretty hard on components.

    If you have extra money to spend and are looking for the best performance upgrades for the money, get 3 sets of tubular wheels. One with file treads, one with all arounders, and one with mud tires. And spend the rest of the money on a cheap used group off ebay.

    Having the correct tire for every race will make you way faster than a fancy group with crisp shifting!

    Probably not what you wanted to hear...
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    Yeah but let's say the bikes are identical. You can have as many tubulars wheelsets as you want. Would you rather have a BB7 bike with RED or same bike but with Ui2 and V's or Ultimates?

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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Yeah but let's say the bikes are identical. You can have as many tubulars wheelsets as you want. Would you rather have a BB7 bike with RED or same bike but with Ui2 and V's or Ultimates?
    All money aside?

    Ui2. Why? Because its neat and Cantis work fine. Red is a great group and BB7s work fine too.

    But Ui2 has some extra "cool factor" IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    All money aside?

    Ui2. Why? Because its neat and Cantis work fine. Red is a great group and BB7s work fine too.

    But Ui2 has some extra "cool factor" IMO.
    You don't "need" Ui2....and it's not for everyone....but if you try it, you will probably want it.
    When I first saw the electric systems...my first thought was "who needs it?" Then I rode it and had to have it.
    Got it on my new road bike....and now shifting my mechanical Dura Ace equipped cross bikes seems hard. Real First World problems....
    Now...if Shimano could make a hydro Ui2 set up......

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    They will.

    Plus I have a wonky left thumb. I crashed hard this summer and it's still not healed. No one seems to be able to figure out why it hurts. I go see a doctor tomorrow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    Are your pads contaminated? Thats what I would guess. Same size rotors as your MTB?
    I doubt the pads are contaminated. The bike has about 100 miles on it and I haven't touched it with any solvents, lubricants, etc. The combination of the pads wearing in and my adjustments have mad the brake power a bit better than it was out of the box but I still feel it is lacking. Only the rear rotor is 20mm smaller than my mtn bike setup, but even then there wouldn't be that big of a difference with the stuff I ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    I doubt the pads are contaminated. The bike has about 100 miles on it and I haven't touched it with any solvents, lubricants, etc. The combination of the pads wearing in and my adjustments have mad the brake power a bit better than it was out of the box but I still feel it is lacking. Only the rear rotor is 20mm smaller than my mtn bike setup, but even then there wouldn't be that big of a difference with the stuff I ride.
    What kind of housing? If the housing is compressing a lot, could that rob power?

    Maybe you need more bedding in of the pads.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    Now...if Shimano could make a hydro Ui2 set up......
    Screw the Sram crap brakes. This^ will definitely be sweet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    What kind of housing? If the housing is compressing a lot, could that rob power?

    Maybe you need more bedding in of the pads.
    Possibly right about the pads. Thinking back I don't do a whole ton of braking. Housings are Jagwire.
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    I raced cantis that day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    I personally have never raced or ridden in snow. How were peoples Cantis working for them that day?

    Any complaints?
    Stock pads on Avid Ultimates, which are pretty decent. Braking power was virtually non-existant, but it really didn't matter. I was in the first heat and it was more about keeping going in 8 inches of snow than worrying about stopping. If you wanted to slow down I just veered off into deeper snow for a bit. After a lap or two when the course got packed down a bit, it really was pretty fun. Braking was the least of the worries though, my front derailleur was totally iced up, and I was down to about three gears in the rear, and snow packing in the cleats was a major PITA, even with egg beaters. It was the State Championship as well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.-picture-030.jpg  

    One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.-picture-029-1.jpg  

    One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.-mt-ogden-snow-fest-2012.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Yeah but let's say the bikes are identical. You can have as many tubulars wheelsets as you want. Would you rather have a BB7 bike with RED or same bike but with Ui2 and V's or Ultimates?
    BB7 with Red.

  41. #41
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    Little OT but curious about one thing w/the electric shifting. Why use traditional shifter paddles under the brake lever, I mean isn't their purpose so there is enough cable pull to make the shift? Why not just a couple buttons like on the TT type bikes??

    Hydro brakes w/the electric shifting sounds like the shiz tho, but I'm addicted to my cross top levers so not sure they would work for me. Disc's FTW in the muck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    Braking was the least of the worries though, my front derailleur was totally iced up, and I was down to about three gears in the rear, and snow packing in the cleats was a major PITA, even with egg beaters. It was the State Championship as well.
    Living/racing mostly in the south, I had always wondered why some states stoped cross racing in late November/early December - now I see why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    Stock pads on Avid Ultimates, which are pretty decent. Braking power was virtually non-existant, but it really didn't matter. I was in the first heat and it was more about keeping going in 8 inches of snow than worrying about stopping. If you wanted to slow down I just veered off into deeper snow for a bit. After a lap or two when the course got packed down a bit, it really was pretty fun. Braking was the least of the worries though, my front derailleur was totally iced up, and I was down to about three gears in the rear, and snow packing in the cleats was a major PITA, even with egg beaters. It was the State Championship as well.
    Wow, you had more snow than we did for the championship race. I too had some issues clipping back in, even with crank bros. And braking seemed about the same for everyone. I feel like disc brakes would be overkill in these types of conditions, considering the lack of traction.

    About half the course was covered with snow, some parts got plowed the day before with a atv.

  44. #44
    dcb
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    Stock pads on Avid Ultimates, which are pretty decent. Braking power was virtually non-existant, but it really didn't matter. I was in the first heat and it was more about keeping going in 8 inches of snow than worrying about stopping. If you wanted to slow down I just veered off into deeper snow for a bit. After a lap or two when the course got packed down a bit, it really was pretty fun. Braking was the least of the worries though, my front derailleur was totally iced up, and I was down to about three gears in the rear, and snow packing in the cleats was a major PITA, even with egg beaters. It was the State Championship as well.
    I raced that day as well! Last heat in the SS class but I think most people were effectively SS or close to it that day. As you said, I didn't care much about braking that day. Even in the last heat it was easier to veer off into deep snow on the downhills than try to get any traction while braking. There was none to be had!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.-mud2.jpg  

    One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.-mud3.jpg  


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    I'm running 324 lab adapters with formula R1 hydro brakes on a SS set up. Pretty light going this route. Love the modulation. Any type of wet weather and I had the advantage. Not a cheap set up but I found I could really push guys in corners, whether in front or behind, enough that they would make a mistake. I'm not running a normal set up with a steel frame, belt drive, discs, and tubeless on Stan's crest wheels but being a mtb'r at heart it works and wins for me.

  46. #46
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    I have a set of BB7s on an older set of 105 shifters. I don't race, but I often commute in the snow. I don't have any problems with cable draw and I can easily brake from the hoods. I also have a set of paul cross levers of my bars. They are an older set that lack the barrel adjuster which makes cable set up crucial. I still managed to get a really good set up. If you are having cable pull issues make sure when you start pulling your lever the cable starts moving and there isn't any slack. Housing settling or lack of return spring strength can cause slack, especially on a rear brake as there is so much more cable friction to overcome.
    I have never run a set of avid shifters though, maybe they just don't have as much cable throw.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails One CX season with disc brakes. Final thoughts.-winter.jpg  

    Live fast, Die young, Leave a good looking corpse!

  47. #47
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    Also... Carbon Rotors
    Designed for a better ride. -
    Live fast, Die young, Leave a good looking corpse!

  48. #48
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    True story: Yesterday we had a mud fest of a CX race. It poured all morning and straight through our day of racing. Needless to say, by the time the 1/2s got onto the course, it was nasty.

    Rivers of standing water that you had to pedal through were all over the course, along with thicker mud sections.

    For the record, I switched back to my drop bars and BB7s. After the couple laps of riding in a pack and being forced to use more brakes than I desired, my lever started traveling closer and closer to my bar. By halfway through the race my rear brake lever was bottoming out on my bar and gave me 10% power.

    Starting then and every couple laps there after, I would have to reach down and turn in my pad adjusters as I would run the barriers.

    Needless to say, my pads were literally wearing out before my eyes.

    On the last lap, I flatted a tubular and rode the the pit for a swap. I jumped on my 1985 schwinn cimarron with 1990s XTR Vs and finished the race.

    The XTR brakes on the final lap worked awesome and provided all the power I needed to get around the course fast. Granted, in mud, you dont need to ton of power. Just enough to scrub the smallest amounts of speed to make the corners smoothly.

    I guess this all reinforces my previous post. In yesterdays experience, discs slowed me down more than my Vs(no puns intended!)
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    True story: Yesterday we had a mud fest of a CX race. It poured all morning and straight through our day of racing. Needless to say, by the time the 1/2s got onto the course, it was nasty.

    Rivers of standing water that you had to pedal through were all over the course, along with thicker mud sections.
    I was so glad to be running in the Cat4 at Sloss, that course got really nasty about halfway through our race when the rain picked back up and started flooding several sections of the course.

    I switched to EBC Gold pads on my BB7s a few weeks ago and they handled the mud like a champ but then again I'm a slow noob and was more focused on keeping the bike upright than braking hard.

  50. #50
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    Hmmm, a Super X with Ultegra Di2 and Mini V's is looking better and better.

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