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  1. #1
    Not because I'm fast.....
    Reputation: 2farfwd's Avatar
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    Brakes - Hydraulics vs. Mechanical?

    I am going to put discs on a new bike, but can't decide on hydraulic or mechanical. I only have experience with Avid mechanicals on the front of my SS and I like them a lot, they are easy to set up, adjust, etc. So..what would be the benefit of hydraulics over mechanicals? I can't seem to think of any. Mechanicals seem to offer a wider range of personal adjustment options, they are less expensive, they use cables and will never leak fluid or leave you stranded with a broken hose, you don't have to bleed them, etc. I know hydraulics have a lighter lever feel and might reduce finger fatigue, but that's all I can think of. Are hydraulics significantly lighter?

    Opinions are appreciated????

  2. #2
    Contrarian
    Reputation: AndyArmstrong's Avatar
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    Avid cable disks are great brakes full stop but hydro disks tend to have better modulation and require less effort at the lever. Open hydraulic systems are self adjusting whereas your cable disks have to be tweaked to compensate for pad wear.

    I've just reviewed Avid Juicy Sevens for a mountain bike mag in the UK and came to the conclusion that, if they prove to be durable and reliable, they're the best disk brakes on the market. In particular their combination of power and modulation is unbeatable.
    Last edited by AndyArmstrong; 04-26-2004 at 08:23 PM.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: scottms33's Avatar
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    Good job! Mechanical

    i used to have hayes hydro on my trek, but i had problems with one of the cylinders in the lever. so i got rid of them all together, i am using avid sd7 rim now, i guess avid would have a lot more adjustment in the mechanical than other hydro brakes but a lot of guys like hydro cause of the bling factor.

    Scott

  4. #4
    34N 118W
    Reputation: Hollywood's Avatar
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    Smile

    aka 'Can of Worms' (nm)

  5. #5
    glyphic bacon
    Reputation: Ziggy-Stardust's Avatar
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    I have both...

    ...a set of Hope Minis and a set of Avid Mechs. I like the Avid mechs better (not even considering the price differential). Dont get me wrong, the Hopes look nice and if they happen to be set up juuuuusttt right they are very sweet. But the caliper adjustment system is very, very lacking compared to the Avids (you have to use these annoying little washer shims). And I had to buy a fancy disk frame mounting tab facing tool to get the Hope to mount perfectly square on my frame. Also, with Hydros, you cannot adjust the individual piston/pad position as they wear (as you can with Avid mechs using their red knobs). I've found that on my Hopes, one piston moves much more than the other, so it can be a little tricky to keep them properly centered over the disk as the pads wear. Plus if you have horizontal dropouts on your frame, a mounting/adjusting system like the Hopes is far inferior to the Avid mechs.

    All in all, strictly regarding a "real world" day to day biking assessment, my Avid mechs surpass the net performance of my Hopes. And that's not even considering the Hopes are twice as much as the Avids. The main thing that the Hopes have (and all other hyd systems) is great lever feel and excellent modulation. But those qualities in no way override the adjustability and ease of setup the Avids offer. I also used to worry the Avid mechs would experience problems in the face of all the mud I ride in...not so, they perform beautifully in the muck, no problems there either. (although the stock Avid pads are crap and melt away in no time)

    I haven't tried the new Avid Juicey's...but I would think that based on what Avid knows about making excellent mechanical brakes, there is probably a good possibility their hydraulic is the best as well. Might want to investigate that, otherwise stick with the tried and true.



    Quote Originally Posted by 2farfwd
    I am going to put discs on a new bike, but can't decide on hydraulic or mechanical. I only have experience with Avid mechanicals on the front of my SS and I like them a lot, they are easy to set up, adjust, etc. So..what would be the benefit of hydraulics over mechanicals? I can't seem to think of any. Mechanicals seem to offer a wider range of personal adjustment options, they are less expensive, they use cables and will never leak fluid or leave you stranded with a broken hose, you don't have to bleed them, etc. I know hydraulics have a lighter lever feel and might reduce finger fatigue, but that's all I can think of. Are hydraulics significantly lighter?

    Opinions are appreciated????

  6. #6
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
    Reputation: eSSq's Avatar
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    Bikes - Gears v. Singlespeeds?



    5 characters.
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  7. #7
    SS Madness
    Reputation: xjohnnyx's Avatar
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    What Pads do you recommend?

    I have looked at a few replacement pads for my Avid mechs. Not wanting to run through all the different combos. What do you recommend?

    [QUOTE=Ziggy-Stardust]...I also used to worry the Avid mechs would experience problems in the face of all the mud I ride in...not so, they perform beautifully in the muck, no problems there either. (although the stock Avid pads are crap and melt away in no time)QUOTE]

  8. #8
    Contrarian
    Reputation: AndyArmstrong's Avatar
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    The stock Avid pads last OK now. I believe there may have been a bad batch or batches. I've had at least six months from a set in muddy, wet conditions.

  9. #9
    I speak for the trees
    Reputation: lorax's Avatar
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    . . and will never leak fluid

    and leave you stranded with a broken hose.

    Reason enough right there. my 0.02: Think about that 6-8 hour epic ride where you've been climbing (and climbing and climbing) and you're just about to be rewarded with 12 miles of *****in remote singletrack, but you find that your brake(s) leaked oil and don't function. It doesn't take much of a leak for them to not work. You are now screwed and facing a lot of hiking instead of grins.

  10. #10
    (aka SS_MB-7)
    Reputation: 1speed_Mike's Avatar
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    I've been using hydraulic disc brakes for ~6-yrs. I've owned the following:
    - 2 sets of Hope C2 Pros,
    - Hope Minis
    - Hope Mono Minis (currently using)
    - Formula B4s
    - Formula B4 SLs
    - Formula B4 SL+ (currently using)
    - Shimano XTR/XT

    I have nothing but 100% confidence in using hydraulics since I've really never had any issues with them...with the exception of the XTR/XTs which had sticky pistons, but still worked amazingly well, just dragged slightly.

    IMHO, hydros (once installed and bled properly) are pretty much install and forget. I've rarely had to re-bleed. Pretty much the only maintenance required is a pad change. I've raced my brakes hard and have never had a break line snap, etc. Not to say it can't happen, just hasn't happened to me (knock on wood).

    Now, I've never owned or used a set of Avid mechanicals. But, judging by the excellent comments over the years, and your experiences with them, they are an excellent alternative to hydros.
    Ride Hard,
    Mike B. (MCM# 7.77)
    http://www.one-speed.com

  11. #11
    I am the owl
    Reputation: riderx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorax
    and leave you stranded with a broken hose.

    Reason enough right there. my 0.02: Think about that 6-8 hour epic ride where you've been climbing (and climbing and climbing) and you're just about to be rewarded with 12 miles of *****in remote singletrack, but you find that your brake(s) leaked oil and don't function. It doesn't take much of a leak for them to not work. You are now screwed and facing a lot of hiking instead of grins.
    That's less likely to happen than a cable break, but neither are very likely to happen at all.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  12. #12
    glyphic bacon
    Reputation: Ziggy-Stardust's Avatar
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    EBC Golds have been good...

    They lasted about 5 to 7 times longer than the cheddar cheese Avids. Plus they are only $15 (aebike.com). Avid makes a fantastic brake, but I'll never pay $25 for a set of Avid pads again.

    Good luck


    Quote Originally Posted by xjohnnyx
    I have looked at a few replacement pads for my Avid mechs. Not wanting to run through all the different combos. What do you recommend?

  13. #13
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2farfwd
    Opinions are appreciated????
    I have four disc brake equipped bikes. All have Avid mechs on them. I used to run Hayes hydraulics, but I could not get the rear brake to stop rubbing no matter what I did (only rubbed when standing, fortunately). Mine also developed a bulge in one of the lines but thankfully it never burst, and besides, now you can get steel mesh-wrapped lines so that shouldn't be a problem if you're willing to upgrade. But eventually (after two years) one of my Hayes pistons seized so I traded the Hayes hydros to a friend (who was completely aware of their exact condition) for a brand new set Avid mechs, which I was familiar with by that time because I'd been using them for about a year on yet another bike.

    I never looked back. I just didn't (still don't) see any reason to give up the dependability, ergonomics (I can use any cable lever I like), adjustability, low price, ease of setup, durability, or convenience of the Avid mechs. Yeah, they weigh a little more, but that doesn't keep me from getting or staying in front of anybody I ride with (other things do).

    I live and ride in the Pacific Northwet 52 weeks a year. The Avids handle the mud with aplomb. However, if you want the absolute most performance out of them, I recommend larger rotors (if you weigh 160+ lbs.), as well as painstaking setup of your cables and housings. But if I'm really anal about setup, I'll put my Avid mechs up against any hydro I've ever squoze for lever feel and power.

    --Sparty
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  14. #14
    Not because I'm fast.....
    Reputation: 2farfwd's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    Thank you all for your good comments. I went with the Avid mechanicals this time around. Cables are just more in my comfort zone right now I guess

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