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  1. #1
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    Front only disc brakes, yay or nay?

    I ride a 97 Obed that I still love. I'm a whole lot heavier now than when I built it up in my 20's back in 1997. As a heavier rider, brake fade was always present to some degree but was never a problem that I thought needed solving until I hit 200 lbs. I've looked into having rear disc tabs welded but that seems like way too much trouble. I'm curious how much of a performance gain I can hope to see with front only discs and old V-Brakes in the rear. With front brakes doing most of the work in any brake setup, is there an issue with a strong disc brake up front? Anybody care to share their thoughts on this setup?

    6-7 yrs ago, I used to see lots of these old HT's with discs up front only but it's a rare sighting to spot one in the wild these days . The rare HT that I do see on the trail is almost always disc equipped anyway.

    I will certainly face the of mechanical vs. hydraulic issue well but that topic is covered so thoroughly elsewhere in the forums. With that said, if there are things that you know now that would have saved headaches then, please feel free to share. I'd love to hear your experiences.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    I'm running a mechanical disc in the front with a v-brake in the rear. Works great.

  3. #3
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    You can always get the brake therapy or A2Z. I've tried both though my Merlin has some fitting issue with A2Z I was running with 180mm rear, but luckily I also have a hope 140mm IS caliper so it fit 160mm on the rear just fine now.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick_b View Post
    6-7 yrs ago, I used to see lots of these old HT's with discs up front only but it's a rare sighting to spot one in the wild these days . The rare HT that I do see on the trail is almost always disc equipped anyway.
    I also remember that when discs first came out in the late 90's they were generally set up front disc, rear rim probably to keep cost down. If it worked then why not now?
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  5. #5
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    The brake therapy conversion works well. I ran it on my Merlin and now it's on a Cannondale. You just need to make sure your hub is on the list of the hubs which they make an axle adapter for.

    You might want to consider the mechanical brakes since you can use your existing v-brake levers. As for stopping I have Juicy's and BB7's and with the same pads on each they stop just as well. The only thing I don't like about the BB7's is the fact the brake operates on a spring and the levers have springs. So any time you pull on the lever you have to fight the spring tension. I noticed my forearms get a good workout with the mechanicals.

    Is your v-brakes using stock pads? Initially on my Merlin I had XT V's with Kool Stop pads and, to me, the power was just as good as a disk. The down side was they stopped working when the wheels were wet and rim trueness is important.

    You might want to consider a modern frame which can take a longer travel fork. I recently retired my Merlin since I got a Lynksey Ridgeline LT which can handle a 140 mm fork. I really love the ride compared to my 80mm travel forked Merlin.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaukaRunner View Post
    The brake therapy conversion works well. I ran it on my Merlin and now it's on a Cannondale. You just need to make sure your hub is on the list of the hubs which they make an axle adapter for.

    You might want to consider the mechanical brakes since you can use your existing v-brake levers. As for stopping I have Juicy's and BB7's and with the same pads on each they stop just as well. The only thing I don't like about the BB7's is the fact the brake operates on a spring and the levers have springs. So any time you pull on the lever you have to fight the spring tension. I noticed my forearms get a good workout with the mechanicals.

    Is your v-brakes using stock pads? Initially on my Merlin I had XT V's with Kool Stop pads and, to me, the power was just as good as a disk. The down side was they stopped working when the wheels were wet and rim trueness is important.

    You might want to consider a modern frame which can take a longer travel fork. I recently retired my Merlin since I got a Lynksey Ridgeline LT which can handle a 140 mm fork. I really love the ride compared to my 80mm travel forked Merlin.
    Thanks for the great feedback all.

    I also put Kool Stop's on my XT V's and like you said, they work great until it gets wet/muddy.

    I'm still running a 63mm fork! It's a late 90's Manitou SX-Ti. At my age, I'm not hucking drops or anything and find the travel to work well 90% of the time. The only thing I'd like to change is the brake performance.

    Again, appreciate all the help folks.

  7. #7
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    Patrick - Who did you find to add a rear disk brake mount?

    I'm looking into adding that to my '98 unicoi & replacing the Judy SL with a new fork that runs disks.

    Thanks for any info.
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  8. #8
    6x7=Dont Panic!
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    Rock the mullet! I run an avid mech disc on the front of my Klein hardtail with a V on the rear. Great setup. I've been told that the front brake offers upwards of 70% of overall stopping power, so it would make sense to have a more powerful front brake.
    Herro prease

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