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  1. #1
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    Making informed decisions about braking power and weight

    This is a open question that I hope some of you can provide answers for. First off, this is not a comparison between different manufacturers, or a debate on modulation vs power vs price. This is directly related to my desire to go for a more powerful braking solution, and not having the information to make that decision.

    I have a large Chilcotin which was built up 'light' and I opted for XTR brakes on 180mm old school (drilled, non "Ice Tech") XT 6-bolt rotors. My big bike was a slacked out DT with a Fox 40 on it. Racing made me purchase a Podium, and the DT was stripped of its parts. The Chilcotin has thus become my 'do-all' bike. I really missed the power of my Saints on the Chilcotin, and found that I was overshooting things at times due to late braking when the power just wasn't there. So, I decided to go for more power, but I still wanted to keep the weight down, and stay within Shimano (mineral oil) brakes.

    I tried to find data, but everywhere I looked there was all this subjective garbage. Manufacturers will say "10% more power" than last year, etc. But I couldn't get data for different rotor sizes. For example, would I have better power per gram if I went with a 203mm rotor and used the XTR brakes, or try to use Saint on 180mm rotors?

    So, in an ideal world there would be a graph like this:

    XT 160mm....100%
    XT 180mm....130%
    XT 203mm....165%
    XT Trail 180...145%
    XT Trail 203...180%
    Saint 180.......169%
    Saint 203.......200%

    If I had that data, I could plug in the grams and know what I was buying. Instead, I get stuff like 'the 2013 Saint with Ice Tech has 20% greater stopping, heat dissipation and reduced brake fade, and 50C less temperature.'

    Maybe there is a German mag out there that actually tests brakes. It should be easy to just strap on a load, apply a constant lever pressure, and measure stopping time/distance.
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
    Washington State, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
    ~~~KNOLLY KNATION RACING~~~

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought View Post
    This is a open question that I hope some of you can provide answers for. First off, this is not a comparison between different manufacturers, or a debate on modulation vs power vs price. This is directly related to my desire to go for a more powerful braking solution, and not having the information to make that decision.

    I have a large Chilcotin which was built up 'light' and I opted for XTR brakes on 180mm old school (drilled, non "Ice Tech") XT 6-bolt rotors. My big bike was a slacked out DT with a Fox 40 on it. Racing made me purchase a Podium, and the DT was stripped of its parts. The Chilcotin has thus become my 'do-all' bike. I really missed the power of my Saints on the Chilcotin, and found that I was overshooting things at times due to late braking when the power just wasn't there. So, I decided to go for more power, but I still wanted to keep the weight down, and stay within Shimano (mineral oil) brakes.

    I tried to find data, but everywhere I looked there was all this subjective garbage. Manufacturers will say "10% more power" than last year, etc. But I couldn't get data for different rotor sizes. For example, would I have better power per gram if I went with a 203mm rotor and used the XTR brakes, or try to use Saint on 180mm rotors?

    So, in an ideal world there would be a graph like this:

    XT 160mm....100%
    XT 180mm....130%
    XT 203mm....165%
    XT Trail 180...145%
    XT Trail 203...180%
    Saint 180.......169%
    Saint 203.......200%

    If I had that data, I could plug in the grams and know what I was buying. Instead, I get stuff like 'the 2013 Saint with Ice Tech has 20% greater stopping, heat dissipation and reduced brake fade, and 50C less temperature.'

    Maybe there is a German mag out there that actually tests brakes. It should be easy to just strap on a load, apply a constant lever pressure, and measure stopping time/distance.
    I'm using xt trails 203 up front and 180 rear. I transferred the non ice techs originally off my dt and switched to the ice techs shortly after. In my opinion it would be cheaper to switch to ice techs and see what you think.

    I have no issues (other than some occassional rotor noise on the back) with this set up, and the ice tech rotors are clearly superior with this system vs the old rt 76 non ice techs or magura rotors.

    I am not convinced the saints are worth the change.

    I'm 220lbs, on a l chilcotin.

  3. #3
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    Did some research when building the Chilli up this year. Came up with Zee brakes, same weight at Sram XO trials. 180 ice tech front and back. Works great on the bike and the wallet.

    On a XL Chilcotin ridden hard, 225lb. geared up.

  4. #4
    Knomer
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    Gosh, I think raw braking power stats are somewhat arbitrary since the minute the system heats up, all the numbers go out of the window! Ok well, not out the window, but heating the system will impact each design differently. I guess what I'm saying is, what's the point of comparing stats between a bunch of cooled braking systems, since they all heat up after 10 seconds of braking(aka almost immediately).

    All this said, I think heat dissipation must be factored in: rotor size, rotor design(2 piece vs. 1 piece), rotor vents, max fluid levels possible within each system, pad material, etc. All this crap is designed to suck the heat away. Since it sounds like you are set on Shimano brakes(good choice), I don't think you need to worry too much about fluid levels, since they all probably run on the same amounts in the lever/reservoir, and the brake line will remain constant no matter which brake system you choose.

    For me, it's all about bite/point. I like a nice firm initial bite that let's me know the these damn brakes are gonna stop my 210lb carcass when needed. This usually comes in the form of sintered metal pads. Organic pads are just too mellow for me.
    Global Director of Sales: Knolly Bikes

  5. #5
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    this thread ends like this:

    xtr trail levers, xt calipers, 180-200mm xt ice tech rotors, sintered pads, goodridge braided hoses....job done....irrespective of whether you've got an endo, chili or podium.
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  6. #6
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    I had the new Saints on my Chili, and have XTR trails now. The Saints were a stronger and had more modulation, but not tons. I'm completely happy with my XTR trails now.

    I'd still have the Saints though, if I hadn't had an issue with the bite point constantly changing, which is a known issue with those brakes (see the 4 or 5 page thread over at Ridemonkey.) Shimano warrantied them with the XTR trails.
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

  7. #7
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    I just made the switch from the last gen Saints with 203/180 rotors to new XT with 203F/180R Ice Tech rotors. I made the switch on the Endorphin first and just went XT on the Chilly. I usually weigh in around 205 minus gear and very happy with the new XT / ICE combo. So far I have not needed more power and have not noticed fade on long DH/trail runs yet. What I really like about the new XT is the feel of the levers and the resulting control. For me, power is very close to if not equal to the older Saints.
    Portland Off Road Navagators

  8. #8
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    I am just about to upgrade my Magura MT8 brakes from 180 / 160 Storm SL rotors to 200 / 180. Hope to see an increase in stopping power, especially on steep slopes. I will also change tyres since my Conti Mountain King have been disappointing in rocky terrain (and probably for braking too).

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