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  1. #1
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    mechanical versus hydaulic disc brakes on a fat bike?

    I have always liked the hydraulic brakes over mechanicals. I am looking at a fat bike with mechanical disc breaks. Upgrade the brakes or not worry about it?

  2. #2
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    Mechanicals work fine on fatbikes. Hydros do too. Pick what you like!
    Jason
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  3. #3
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    My buddy rode his Mukluk2 all winter with BB7s and no issues. Mechanical will be fine for most all conditions. I've had no issues with hydraulic on my Beargrease.

  4. #4
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    BB7s are powerful enough for fatbiking, even singletrack riding approaching all-mountain riding. They're also drop-dead simple to maintain and set up. Hydros can be more powerful, but are more fiddly to set up and maintain.

  5. #5
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    I find that the 180 mm rotor for the BB7's is a bit small for epic descents. The other week I went down 1500 m fully loaded and my thumb got screwed up. I am going to put on a 200 mm rotor.

    However, if you aren't going down huge mountains on a fully loaded bike then 180 mm will probably suit you just fine.

  6. #6
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    I'm with ya I have tried bb7's more than once and I just don't like the feel. I have had no problems with DOT hydro's.
    And I love beer!!

  7. #7
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    if going hydro on fatbike for winter use, opt for DOT fluid and avoid mineral oil.
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  8. #8
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    The big thing with cable brakes is the feel, and that's entirely dependent on the cables and the levers.

    Get those nice and solid and cable brakes can have that solid feel usually associated with hydros.

    I use alloy tubing for the stationary parts of the cable outer and that does not compress like conventional outers.

    If you look at the cable on this bike, you'll see what I mean.

    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  9. #9
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    Well...

    I personally don't understand the cable brake thing. I don't see the point, frankly. There is NO advantage in servicing. I know people that do more fiddling with mech brakes than I've EVER done with my hydros. I rarely ever have to do any maintenance, and then it is just a pad change every 3-4 years, or aligning the caliper to stop rub. There's no mech brake that has the power to stop my honkin arse without blowing out my carpel tunnel, radialis, and everything else. Nope, I just don't see the point.

    I liken it to King headsets and Thompson stems. n'I got hemp underwear 'n a bike chain tattoo 'n nails on top'o my peddles. I'm hard core. Whatever....

    But... if they work for you....
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  10. #10
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    Cool bike VB!
    When I built up my Pugs with BB-7's, I didn't have high hopes for them. There's the crappy looking painted cast metal construction, the cheesy red plastic adjusters and the fact that only one pad moves.

    But they work pretty darn well, in some ways better than Avid's top of the line hydraulic brakes. Ride 'em and see.

  11. #11
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    Mechanical is great for winter riding but the additional power of hydro's are the way to go for summer fun.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNBN View Post
    Mechanical is great for winter riding but the additional power of hydro's are the way to go for summer fun.
    I have yet to figure out what advantages mechanical brakes have in the winter. Personally I could care less what people run it's their choice but this doesn't make any sense to me.
    And I love beer!!

  13. #13
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    BB7's have a good rep. All mech brakes are not BB7's.

  14. #14
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    My mechanicals (BB7) have frozen solid in the not all that cold Michigan winters more than once so don't go thinking they are a bomb proof winter setup.
    Whatever floats your bike, dude

  15. #15
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    I don't mind the mechanical brakes and they are adequate most of the time.

  16. #16
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    agreed. I tend to use a 203 up front and a 160 in back. Works great!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    I have yet to figure out what advantages mechanical brakes have in the winter. Personally I could care less what people run it's their choice but this doesn't make any sense to me.
    I have used both in winter and have had no issues but have heard that some people have had problems with hydros in cold weather?

    As for summer riding I find that the hydro's provide far better stopping power which = a better riding experience.

  18. #18
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    What about if you throw your bike on a bus in Namibia and the cable get rubbed through? That's my concern. IF you were to have a problem, how are you going to fiddle around with hydro fluid in the middle of nowhere?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNBN View Post
    I have used both in winter and have had no issues but have heard that some people have had problems with hydros in cold weather?

    As for summer riding I find that the hydro's provide far better stopping power which = a better riding experience.
    The only problems I have had with hydros is with a set of xt775's where the fluid got to thick at -15f. Now I have had troubles with the bb7's freezing up around the moving arm and cable. On a few occasions I have come upon one of my friends trying to thaw out their bb7's but that was only under certain conditions. I have yet to have or have I ever heard of an issue with DOT fluid hydros in the cold.
    And I love beer!!

  20. #20
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    Re: mechanical versus hydaulic disc brakes on a fat bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin Mustangs View Post
    My mechanicals (BB7) have frozen solid in the not all that cold Michigan winters more than once so don't go thinking they are a bomb proof winter setup.
    This happens to me on my pugs with bb7 in the winter during Michigan snowy rides. The snow melts on top of the caliper and runs down in it and then refreezes when the brakes are not used much. Have not had this experience with my other fat bike using hydraulic. Could also be the angle the caliper sits and how the melted snow runs down it.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 4

  21. #21
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    Re: mechanical versus hydaulic disc brakes on a fat bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    The only problems I have had with hydros is with a set of xt775's where the fluid got to thick at -15f. Now I have had troubles with the bb7's freezing up around the moving arm and cable. On a few occasions I have come upon one of my friends trying to thaw out their bb7's but that was only under certain conditions. I have yet to have or have I ever heard of an issue with DOT fluid hydros in the cold.
    Bob, what the heck are you doing riding at - 15? I thought us Michiganders were only that dumb.

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  22. #22
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    bringing along some methanol should clear up the BB7 icing issue.

  23. #23
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    Re: mechanical versus hydaulic disc brakes on a fat bike?

    Thread #200 in the hydro vs mechanical debate

    You will never have a problem with DOT fluid in any rideable temps. Its used in cars and there are no problems. Mineral brakes are just fine too.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbrubaker View Post
    BB7s are powerful enough for fatbiking, even singletrack riding approaching all-mountain riding. They're also drop-dead simple to maintain and set up. Hydros can be more powerful, but are more fiddly to set up and maintain.
    Disagree, problems with my BB7s included:

    -Extremely short pad life, only a month or so usually with heavy riding.
    -Pads would glaze-over the rotors, leaving very little braking power available, gets scary on a descent when you are going fast.
    -Pad adjuster would back-out on very rough descents, also ultra-scary while on a descent.
    -Requires adjustments after heavy braking (like a long downhill).
    -Pad adjuster knob flew off, while on a rough descent.
    -Heavy.
    -Requires new cables and housing every so often for acceptable performance.
    -CPS moves when torquing, negating having it "centered" with the lever squeezed, not specific to BB7s, but they had this when I got them.

    Good stuff:

    -Relatively cheap back in the day, now hydros are so cheap it's almost a wash.
    -Can use a V-brake lever, which at least in the past, many people used to have.
    -Way better than V-brakes with the usual disc benefits (not as affected by weather/conditions, don't care about rim surface, stopping power, etc).

    I think a few of the issues I had were related to how avid likes to design "grippy" brakes. This is good for power, but generates immense heat, which I don't think these brakes were able to dissipate. I switched to a bigger front rotor (203), but the problems didn't entirely go away either. I find the "well you can repair it on the trail" argument to be pretty worthless, as people typically do not carry cables with them and a cable break on both systems would be just about as disastrous. I've seen both as a bike shop mechanic (broken brake cables, broken hydro cables). I still think the avids are a good way to go if you don't have much money for brakes and the price is right, they are disc brakes and worlds better than V brakes, but if you can afford decent simple hydros, those are usually better IME, with just a couple brands to avoid.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    The only problems I have had with hydros is with a set of xt775's where the fluid got to thick at -15f. Now I have had troubles with the bb7's freezing up around the moving arm and cable. On a few occasions I have come upon one of my friends trying to thaw out their bb7's but that was only under certain conditions. I have yet to have or have I ever heard of an issue with DOT fluid hydros in the cold.
    Not sure what you can do about that. This was a similar problem in AZ and took out my front D. Just don't let water get on it! (when it gets colder, it shouldn't be as much of a problem, but there'll be a range where there's liquid water present and where it will freeze quickly, 15F was probably pretty close to the temp here.mechanical versus hydaulic disc brakes on a fat bike?-dscn1421.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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