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  1. #1
    Clueless Bastard
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    Hope AVID BB7s - I love you, but I'm not IN love with you.

    I've had BB7s, on a SS road bike (I guess they were actually
    BB5s) and a Bianchi SS MTN bike. In both cases they we pretty decent brakes. Decent, not amazing.

    The Greasy has 'em and I'm not impressed. On several instances, rolling down well packed, swoopy snow covered trail, I feel like I just don't have enough brake. Not sure why, exactly. I suspect its the moisture of snow on the rotor with just the stiffness of the cables in the cold weather?

    So, I spent some time in the garage tonight, pulled the XOs off my Niner and mounted them up on Greasy as a trial run. Damn weight difference was amazing. BB7's 378 grams XOs 208.

    I'm betting a pair of 2 year old XOs will be perform better. Observations welcome....

  2. #2
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    Compressionless housing and proper setup, and the BB7s can be tuned to be incredible brakes. Don't give up on them quite yet.

    Avid BB7 Disc Brake set up and tuning. | Two Wheel Blogs
    Jason
    Disclaimer: www.paramountsports.net

  3. #3
    The White Jeff W
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    Re: AVID BB7s - I love you, but I'm not IN love with you.

    Agreed. Once i figured out how to set them up mine are as good as any high end hydros I've used. I'm 200 lbs and can lock up either wheel with 1 finger. I don't, but I can
    No moss...

  4. #4
    Location: SouthPole of MN
    Reputation: duggus's Avatar
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    I love my hydros. I ditched cable last year. They seem to do a good job.



    (sorry, I already posted this in another thread... but seems fitting )

  5. #5
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    I'm not fast enough on my fat bike to ever need more power than a BB5 provides.

  6. #6
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    Bb5 is a different brake than the bb7, so you should maybe change the title? Make sure you set them ul.with good cables and housings, center the calipers correctly. Also make sure you have decent pads for cold/wet conditions, and that your pads are bedded in properly.

    I am guessing there is something you are missing, as I always get my bb7 to perform under my 255 lbs of fat.

  7. #7
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Choosing between airplane food or hospital food.

    Yep, no clear winner, whatsoever.

    Proper set up, better cables/housing, and perhaps a larger rotor in front, will make those very solid performers. BB5 vs 7, big difference between the two.

    But XO vs BB7? Other than the weight drop? See above.

    Now if you were to toss on a set of XT's? You'd get some tangible improvements....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



    www.mendoncyclesmith.com

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    I've got shelves of fancy now obsolete expensive hydraulics, and that's where they're staying.

    My first disks were BB7s and I thought going to hydraulics would be a step up. In some cases it was temporarily, but the amount of faff involved in keeping them functioning put me off, so a few years back I standardised on BB7s. About the only hydraulic disk I'd consider now is an XT, but they are basically disposable brakes.

    With good quality levers, and compressionless outers, BB7s are as good as I'll ever need on a fatbike. With 30 seconds of instruction you can learn all you need to setup BB7s to be their best, and best of all you need no special tools, and it's not a workshop job.

    There's an awful lot of components fitted to mountainbikes which are really lightweight racing parts. Designed to do the job well for a short time and then get replaced. That's ok for the wealthy or sponsored rider, but it's a limitation on a bike that can take you into the depths of somewhereinthewilderness. Racing is not improving the breed for us.

    So I love BB7s too.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  9. #9
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    HI! Velobike,, what levers do you recommend ?? I have Avid Speed Dial 5.. Thanks
    13 On One Fatty
    08 YETI 575 BLK. C.King Hubs/Hadley
    96 Specialized Stump Jumper FS Tweaked

  10. #10
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    I'm still using an old set of BBDB's. That (BB7) brake set is tough to beat dollar for dollar.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRAIL CRANKER View Post
    HI! Velobike,, what levers do you recommend ?? I have Avid Speed Dial 5.. Thanks
    I think any of the Avid levers is good enough. Basically I want a lack of flex when I haul on the lever hard.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  12. #12
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    Thanks Velobike , avid speed dial 5's do a good job and are reasonably priced.
    13 On One Fatty
    08 YETI 575 BLK. C.King Hubs/Hadley
    96 Specialized Stump Jumper FS Tweaked

  13. #13
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    I still have my BB7s on my Pugsley and to their credit they are going strong despite a lot of abuse, but they are not the most powerful brakes you can get. The braking force you lose by compressing the cable housing is one major problem. You can buy compression-less housing that will help, but it can be quite expensive.

    It would probably be just as easy to swap in some Shimano SLX hydros.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    ...You can buy compression-less housing that will help, but it can be quite expensive...
    You can make your own compressionless outer. I buy alloy tube from my local hardware store and use light gauge teflon tubing as a liner (from local airline supplier).

    Here's a pic of it used on one of my bikes. Flexible outer is only used for the places where you need it to bend.

    The alloy tubing can be bent by hand and is cheap enough to make mistakes.

    The improvement in the braking is dramatic - much better modulation.

    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post

    The improvement in the braking is dramatic - much better modulation.
    Looks good...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  16. #16
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    I never really liked the BB7's that came on my Moonlander. I never tried them with larger rotors though. I also hated the thumb shifters, so Dual Control, XT hydros, and 200 mm rotors and I'm a happy camper.

    I could lock the tires on my first mountain bike that had cantilevers and a U brake, it doesn't mean the brakes were good though.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  17. #17
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    Have just order the latest BB7s from my LBS.

    Hope I have better luck than the cheap Avid 1s that have gone south on me. They hold a firm feel in my garage and as soon as I get out in the cold the levers go to the bar. My LBS has already gone through the whole bleeding procedure twice. A really irritating $200. spent badly.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post

    With good quality levers, and compressionless outers, BB7s are as good as I'll ever need on a fatbike. With 30 seconds of instruction you can learn all you need to setup BB7s to be their best, and best of all you need no special tools, and it's not a workshop job.
    This ^

    For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would need anything more. I have BB7s on my Moonlander, and I've always had more than enough braking power.
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathon marke View Post
    This ^

    For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would need anything more. I have BB7s on my Moonlander, and I've always had more than enough braking power.
    ^ditto

  20. #20
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathon marke View Post
    This ^

    For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would need anything more. I have BB7s on my Moonlander, and I've always had more than enough braking power.
    And some people can't understand why anyone would need a bike with gears or suspension. People are different, terrain varies and folks ride at different speeds.

    So not surprisingly what satisfies one rider might be considered unsuitable to another.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  21. #21
    Clueless Bastard
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    Thanks for the impressions and feedback.

    To recap, today's trial run with my used XOs was the same route I've taken on previous days. A slow climb up a multi use packed trail probably 1000-1200 feet total, bleed off some tire pressure, then off into the trees to follow mixed condition snowy single track.

    Upper sections are kinda rough and postholed, but as the trail moves down the mountain, it becomes fast and firm. The end section swoops down a shallow ravine all the way back into town. In the summer, it's kinda rock chunky. In the winter with snow pack, its fast and fun.

    So, the XOs braking power felt more substantial, and my ability to feather the brake and scrub speed to the turns was better. When talking pure braking power, I won't say the XOs were BETTER at stopping the bike, but clearly at the lever, it took much less effort. No duh.

    The cable housing is jagwire, but at a stock build, I doubt they are anything but entry level quality. The levers are Avid SD7s, just as Salsa speced the bike. So new ripcord housing and maybe doing 180/160 would make a worthwhile difference.

    Thanks for your help....

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I still have my BB7s on my Pugsley and to their credit they are going strong despite a lot of abuse, but they are not the most powerful brakes you can get. The braking force you lose by compressing the cable housing is one major problem. You can buy compression-less housing that will help, but it can be quite expensive.

    It would probably be just as easy to swap in some Shimano SLX hydros.
    The issue here isn't the brake, it's the housing, the caliper itself has nothing to do with it. Compressionless, which can be found with minimal effort, and comparatively low cost to a hydraulic setup, is worth the money. I can (and have) gone over the bars with bb7's running the right rotors/pads for the conditions using 1 finger (came in to a corner a little hotter than I should've on a new trail) It's just a matter of getting things set up right the first time.

    Ultimately, I think it's a preference as to what kind of "feel" you want from your brakes. I can't stand the XT stuff, not because it's cheap/faulty/bad in any way, they are excellent brakes, I just don't like the way they ride.
    do it right, or do it twice....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by WA-CO View Post
    So new ripcord housing and maybe doing 180/160 would make a worthwhile difference.
    housing, yes. If you are going to upgrade to 180 rotors, I'd suggest the HS1's, and the Organic pads... they'll help with the power/modulation issue.
    do it right, or do it twice....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I still have my BB7s on my Pugsley and to their credit they are going strong despite a lot of abuse, but they are not the most powerful brakes you can get. The braking force you lose by compressing the cable housing is one major problem. You can buy compression-less housing that will help, but it can be quite expensive.

    It would probably be just as easy to swap in some Shimano SLX hydros.
    This was exactly what I did on my Mukluk 2... What a great set of brakes, for the money.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    You can make your own compressionless outer. I buy alloy tube from my local hardware store and use light gauge teflon tubing as a liner (from local airline supplier).

    Here's a pic of it used on one of my bikes. Flexible outer is only used for the places where you need it to bend.

    The alloy tubing can be bent by hand and is cheap enough to make mistakes.
    I think that is one of the classiest mods I've ever heard of/seen... Nicely done sir!
    do it right, or do it twice....

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