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  1. #1
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    Hydraulic Disc Brakes?

    I have a Salsa Mukluk 2. It came with avid BB-7 cable brakes. They dont seem as strong as
    Hydraulic Disc Brakes. I know alot of fat bikes use the cable brakes, but what are the down sides of using a quality hydraulic brake? Thinking Avid Elixar Cr, Xo, XX, or formula r1....
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished."...Dean Koontz

  2. #2
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    I run hydros on mine and have only had problems when it gets really cold ( -30) . At extreme cold temps the brakes have a slow return and tend to drag a bit. I still prefer them to mechanicals .

  3. #3
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    Down sides

    Putting hydos on a Fat bike will increase braking strength but there is one negative. I have found that most hydraulic brakes make more noise during winter riding than mechanicals. The noise is not ussually super bad but it dose get annoying. I think it has to do with the big tires kicking up the powdery snow into the caliper. Once the snow is in the caliper it melts to the rotor and creates an effect like you are riding through a never ending stream crossing. I am not sure why this is magnified on hydros vs mechanicals, I just know it is. For my own personal bike I still choose Avid hydros. If you don't ride in the snow then I could not tell you of any other real negatives. If you do ride in the cold I would recomend sticking with something that uses DOT fluid instead of mineral oil. In my shop we have experimented with different brakes and how they react to cold and most of the mineral oil systems we have tried we unacceptable. I have heard that some of the high end maguras and shimano's are winter fatbike compatible but since we rarely if ever see them I can't vouch for there effectiveness.

  4. #4
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    hyrdos with DOT for sure...

    i have had bad luck with the shimano stuff in the cold. a set of last gen xt and xtr both puked out mineral oil through the seals on the calipers. not sure if it was the seals or the mineral oil. switched out to a set of older Hope M4's and trouble free since.
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  5. #5
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    How are the brakes set up? Got avid speed dial levers? Good reports of improvement with avid flak jacket cables or some other full length type system.

  6. #6
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    I have a Muk2.....and got the BB7's working very good.
    Make sure you start with clean rotors.
    Make sure your caliper is aligned.
    Bed in the pads in a parking lot or road.
    Realign the calipers ( you may have to dick with the red knobs)
    I didn't have much hope for them....but they do work well when set up....almost too strong

  7. #7
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    Second winter here on Avid Elixir R's, they work great. Rarely noisy, and if so, a rotor cleaning fixes it.
    Jason
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  8. #8
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    I thought the BB7's on my Muk 2 with the Speed Dial's were great, until I rode them in the snow. They were dialed in perfectly in fact. One ride in the snow and I am replacing them with my old 180mm Elixir CR's. (They have been great for me)

    I went down a few fairly easy hills, and they just did not want to stop like I wanted them too. A lot of it could be the fact that they were only 160mm, and were attempting to stop an XL frame and tall dude all winter geared up.

    It doesn't get super cold where I live, and I am way to much of a puss to ride anything 10 degrees or below! So, I am not too worried about the cold.

  9. #9
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    I run a hope x2 m4 combination and the rarely make a noise
    The modulation is awesome
    Bb7s on group rides always let you know the are behind you

    Sj
    I am slow therefore I am

  10. #10
    is buachail foighneach me
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    I was anti-bb7 brakes till I finally learned how to set them up correctly last winter. Set up properly, they stop my 215lb self very well. They still don't feel as nice as Formulas or Maguras at the lever, but stopping is more than sufficient. I recently switched to bb7's as I don't have the motivation to rebuild my Oro's. Both of them need it. Why can't hydraulic discs be as simple as Magura HS33's???

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowerJoe View Post
    I run a hope x2 m4 combination and the rarely make a noise
    The modulation is awesome
    Bb7s on group rides always let you know the are behind you

    Sj
    All hope brakes make noise. My V2's squawk like mad when I brake heavily. I will agree that the modulation with hopes is impressive.

  12. #12
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    My hopes are quite
    I do use formula rotors
    I think the stock floating rotors are terrible

    Sj
    I am slow therefore I am

  13. #13
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    BB7s benefit from good quality cables and levers. The less flex and compression in the anciliaries like those, the better the brake works.

    I run my cable through aluminium tubing instead of an outer cable. One benefit is you can have the pads further from the disk for mud clearance because there's less wasted lever travel flexing a lever or compressing a cable outer.

    Here's a bike with that done. You can see the alloy tube on the cable run along the frame and on the fork lowers.



    Edit: I should add I have a set of Avid Juicy Ultimates and also Marta SLs. With the cable running through alloy tubing, there's not much difference between the BB7 and those (when I'm using flat bar levers).
    Last edited by Velobike; 01-26-2012 at 06:46 AM. Reason: add info
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  14. #14
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    I replaced my normally bombproof Hayes HFX Mag XC hydraulics with BB7's because corrosion from salt was preventing the caliper pistons from fully retracting. Other than that they had been working very well.

  15. #15
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    Bb7'S work well when set up properly, but the feel of my hope x2 is so nice I had to swap.no portions with the hydraulic brakes.

  16. #16
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    When I first got my fatbike the conventional wisdom was you needed cable brakes, OR if you were thinking hydros they needed to be DOT fluid. So I ran BB7s for the first 3 winters, which are OK brakes but let's face it they are not as good as a decent set of hydros. Tried running Nokon housing and also flak jackets to make them better.

    This winter I've tried two sets of mineral oil brakes, Magura Marta SLs and now running some Shimano brakes (Saint calipers with XTR levers). Both sets are about 4 years old, I've run them at temps as low as -40. Also done things like leave them outside all day at those kind of temps. They have worked really well.

    The Maguras started to leak in one lever but I hesitate to pin that on the cold. It's not the first problem I've had with those brakes, but it will be the last as I am selling them for being too unreliable and on top of that they cannot be serviced.

    I am NEVER going back to cable brakes.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreater View Post
    i have had bad luck with the shimano stuff in the cold. a set of last gen xt and xtr both puked out mineral oil through the seals on the calipers. not sure if it was the seals or the mineral oil. switched out to a set of older Hope M4's and trouble free since.
    Same for me. I blew out two XT (775?) calipers last winter. Happy now with BB7's on my SS and BB5's on my fat bike.

    That said I wouldn't switch my Hope X2 Race's on my summer bike for anything.

  18. #18
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    I have to agree with Anthony D about Maguras. I'm running the same Marta SL's on my Muk2 (they were spares in the garge and red ano, so good timing) and they are way better than the BB7. But, getting a shop to bleed them correctly is almost impossible. No one has the bleed kit, and since they were never OEM, very few shops have ever worked on them. For now they're great, and I'm hoping to get some more life out of them.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by b2b2 View Post
    what are the down sides of using a quality hydraulic brake?
    Only one down side, the cost.

    If you got the cash get them!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickyB View Post
    I have to agree with Anthony D about Maguras. I'm running the same Marta SL's on my Muk2 (they were spares in the garge and red ano, so good timing) and they are way better than the BB7. But, getting a shop to bleed them correctly is almost impossible. No one has the bleed kit, and since they were never OEM, very few shops have ever worked on them. For now they're great, and I'm hoping to get some more life out of them.
    These are very easy brakes to bleed, IMO one of the easiest. They can be a little messy if you push the fluid too quickly from the caliper up through the opened reservoir. You bleed them very similar to the new MT series but you take off the reservoir cover rather than a screw. On the MT series, you put a syringe into that hole and that becomes the reservoir you draw from once it gets filled from the caliper syringe. It's just really easy to squirt fluid out of the Marta reservoir once the cover is off. You have to fillit alot too and keep it very steady because it's so small but very doable by anyone.

  21. #21
    @adelorenzo
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    It's not bleeding that is the problem, it's that they can not be serviced. Any other brake, if you have a minor problem your shop can service it and get parts from the manufacturer.

    One of my Marta SLs developed a sticky piston. Worked but it was always rubbing the rotor. Tried to get it rebuilt (probably just dirt in there). Uh-uh, no way. Gotta send it back and they sent me a new caliper.

    Then I damaged a brake lever after it got dragged on a road. The reservoir cover was messed up and wouldn't seal anymore. Replacement part? Not a chance, had to buy a whole new lever.

    Final straw was when I got a small leak in my lever this winter. Probably just a little o-ring or seal, any other company my shop would be able to rebuild it for me. Magura? Nope, send it back and they send me a new lever.

    On one hand a 5-year leak-proof guarantee seems pretty awesome, but I'd rather get pay to get my brake rebuilt and be back on the trails the next day, rather than waiting for the turnaround of getting a whole new caliper or lever sent up.

  22. #22
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    Resevoir covers are definitely available for Maguras. No sure why they don't stock small parts for their disk brakes. You can get just about any part you want for their rim brakes.

  23. #23
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    I Have a Magura Pro bleed Kit, but sold my Marta brakes. If anyone is intrested PM ME.
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished."...Dean Koontz

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach View Post
    Resevoir covers are definitely available for Maguras. No sure why they don't stock small parts for their disk brakes. You can get just about any part you want for their rim brakes.
    They might be but I've never seen one. They were unavailable to my LBS or myself at the time and I just tried a pretty thorough on line search with no results.

    From their website: "any attempt to disassemble brake lever and/or slave cylinder/caliper" voids your warranty.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo View Post
    They might be but I've never seen one. They were unavailable to my LBS or myself at the time and I just tried a pretty thorough on line search with no results.

    From their website: "any attempt to disassemble brake lever and/or slave cylinder/caliper" voids your warranty.

    Disc Brake Spares

    Removing the res cover is part of bleeding, and wouldn't void the warranty. But, I'm agreeing with you that it's strange and annoying that they don't offer small parts for rebuilds.

  26. #26
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    Dot fluid brakes (hope, avid, formula,hayes) will work ok in really cold temps, but you do have to worry aboot the seals shrinking/cracking and depending on the material the pistons are made of, they might deteriorate as well. magura and shimano use mineral oil, so any where below aboot 0 C the fluid contracts and your lever will pull to the bar. you can fight this off by using a water/anti freeze mixture in place of the mineral oil. IMO the hydros are more potential hassle than they are worth (in the cold). Buy some bb7, a good set of levers (like XT) and good cable and housing. if you don't like the weight there are a shit ton of bolts that can be replaced with Ti, and if you need more power up your rotor size
    your 29er may float over roots and rocks, but my superlight 26 just plain floats

  27. #27
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    @Sean

    Ah, so there you go, could have replaced that part. I still have the old lever so maybe I'll do that and sell it.

    @lamard

    If you read my earlier posts you'd see I'm running mineral oil brakes down to -40 and they are working perfectly. I've heard that idea of using anti-freeze before but my brakes are working just fine.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    BB7s benefit from good quality cables and levers. The less flex and compression in the anciliaries like those, the better the brake works.

    I run my cable through aluminium tubing instead of an outer cable. One benefit is you can have the pads further from the disk for mud clearance because there's less wasted lever travel flexing a lever or compressing a cable outer.

    Here's a bike with that done. You can see the alloy tube on the cable run along the frame and on the fork lowers.



    Edit: I should add I have a set of Avid Juicy Ultimates and also Marta SLs. With the cable running through alloy tubing, there's not much difference between the BB7 and those (when I'm using flat bar levers).
    Those housings are a diamond in the rough. Where did you find them and how did you bend them?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by atom29 View Post
    Those housings are a diamond in the rough. Where did you find them and how did you bend them?
    Agreed! I have some buyer's remorse with some Nokons (I thought they came as a complete length).
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  30. #30
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    I was looking into Nokon myself. How do you mean they don't come complete length? Dang it all.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo View Post
    @lamard

    If you read my earlier posts you'd see I'm running mineral oil brakes down to -40 and they are working perfectly. I've heard that idea of using anti-freeze before but my brakes are working just fine.
    i'm not talking theory, but rather experience.... that seems rather odd since mineral oil has a freezing point of aro -30... and i've noticed a significant lever travel right around zero centigrade

    MAGURA Community > Winter conditions?
    your 29er may float over roots and rocks, but my superlight 26 just plain floats

  32. #32
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    atom29: They come with enough segments to set up housing where the straight sections of cable would be exposed, relying on frame cable stops. Like a classic road frame I guess.

    I generally run full length housings. Fewer entry points for grime.

    I knew off the bat that Nokons were expensive, but I was expecting literally twice as many segments as what showed up. That's why I agree that Velobike's setup looks so tits.

    EDIT: Well I'm actually partially wrong here. The liner for Nokons is full length. But, I still like full length housing for the occasional cable snag.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  33. #33
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    for nokon, the kits are expensive but you can buy expansion kits for a reasonable price. did that for a Ti fatback last year
    your 29er may float over roots and rocks, but my superlight 26 just plain floats

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamard View Post
    i'm not talking theory, but rather experience.... that seems rather odd since mineral oil has a freezing point of aro -30... and i've noticed a significant lever travel right around zero centigrade

    MAGURA Community > Winter conditions?
    I can only base mine on experience as well. There was too much conflicting information on the internet about whether they would work or not so I just stuck 'em on my bike and they worked fine, until one started to leak. Now my Shimanos are working a treat.

    Interesting response from the Magura guy. You can see he talks about the mineral oil getting thicker, which makes sense. That would be consistent with how my brakes feel at those temps, they are a little sluggish. I definitely don't experience additional lever travel.

    Although, at those temps you are going so fucjing slow brakes are almost unneccessary...

  35. #35
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    if the fluid gets thicker, and the pistons are slow to return, than it it would reason that the fluid has contracted in the lines...
    your 29er may float over roots and rocks, but my superlight 26 just plain floats

  36. #36
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    If the fluid contracted, there would be play in the lever or extra lever travel. It could just be thickening, not contracting. I've heard Marvel Mystery Oil works as a mineral oil substitute in interior AK temps, but I've never tried it myself.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by atom29 View Post
    Those housings are a diamond in the rough. Where did you find them and how did you bend them?
    Hardware store for about £2 per metre (say $4), and I got liner tubing similar to the Nokon stuff from a air tools shop, can't remember the price - it was not significant.

    I bent the tubing carefully by hand (basically using thumbs). Start from the end closest to the curves.

    The total cost was much less than buying a quality outer.

    The tricky thing is you'll need to work out a way to join the flexible outers to the rigid tube. I've got lots of old cable ends etc so it's easy for me. I bought a slightly larger tube to cut up to make these joints as well.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  38. #38
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    I wasn't thrilled with the brake feel on my BB7s on the Muk 2, either...

    So I did a $20 upgrade and switched the levers out for Avid SD-7 Speed Dials. Huge difference in feel, and far more adjustability. With the levers set up for maximum cable pull, you'll have way more brake than you need...

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