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  1. #1
    11 is one louder than 10
    Reputation: Green Giant's Avatar
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    So, who has ditched hydraulic brakes and gone back to mechanicals?

    I've had juicy ultimate on my Ti Motolite for a couple of seasons now. When they are working, they are great. But between squeeks and warbles, and bleeding hell I'm starting to think it's not worth the 50 or so grams per wheel and just go back to Avid Mechanicals and Avid Ultimate V-Brake levers.

    I'm running some beat to hell mechanicals with my Ultimate levers on my singlespeed and they just work.

    Between work, 2 kids (and number 3 on the way), family obligations as the kids get older I'm just starting to think it's not worth my time to deal with bleeding etc. While I know how to bleed brakes it still seems that it takes me 1-2 attempts per brake to really get it right (I consider getting it right when I can turn the bike upside down and not get any brake lever to grip issues). Between dealing with DOT fluid and losing that hour or so to bleeding, I'm thinking I'd rather be doing other things like riding.

    My thought it that if I really nerded out on them I could do some Ti bolt tuning and find some light rotors and just go with it.

    Of course I'm extra frustrated because I had to rebuild both of my ultimates since the O rings broke down at the banjo bolt (heat?) and gunked up the lines. The resulted in a complete tear down and rebuild that sucks. I had to shorten my lines a bit, and now they are a shade too short.

    As I get older I'm finding that I just want crap that works so I can spend my precious little free time riding. (As I lost most of last season to a hip injury and back issues). My hip while not perfect is on the road to recovery and I'd rather be riding than working on my bike.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  2. #2
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    Try some Formula Hydros. Avid pretty much sucks IMO.

  3. #3
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    The may issue of BIKE had an interesting article on the Formula R1 in which they interviewed the designer. He said they bench marked it against the Magura Marta, which they felt was the best XC brake on the market. So I would think either of those two would be good. A lot of people seem to like the Marta, including some top pros who could probably run a different brake. I run cheap shimano LX hydros and have been happy enough. The rear piston is prone to stick some in really nasty weather but I keep them better maintained now and have eliminated that issue.

  4. #4
    what's that rattle?
    Reputation: Blofeld's Avatar
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    We're it not for your rant about local shops I'd suggest you take your brakes to a good mechanic and have the lines replaced...

    The riders I know are in one of two categories when it comes to their brakes: They do their own bleeding and have to make an evening of it a couple of times a year, or they never do anything to their brakes other than changing pads. I think this is partially because of how difficult it is to bleed brakes properly and partially because of differences in how well each brake is sealed. In any case, it's sucks being in the first category.

    I've got a set of Hayes Purples that AFAIK haven't been bled in 8 years and I've got some Codes that always like to do that lever trick when the bike goes upside down. When they're working right, hydros are more powerful than mechanicals and require less maintenance because you don't have to adjust and replace cables. When they're not working right, maybe it would be easier to just get rid of them.

    Sorry to hear that your Juicies have been such dogs and congrats on the bun in the oven!

  5. #5
    11 is one louder than 10
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    I hear you...

    Problem is I am 99% confident I am a better mechanic than most local shops (I worked in a shop for years).

    I also believe that many, many shops do not do a proper bleed. I have a lot of friends that after getting a bleed done at a shop, end up asking me to re-bleed them within a month or two.

    You are correct, it's really tough to do a proper bleed. I'm a firm believer of the "upside down" test.

    At my age and point in life I would actually let a local shop do my brakes for me, if I trusted them...

    I will tell you that for years I ran Hayes Mag's, while tough to bleed they stayed bled much longer and better than anything I've owned. Magura's were the worst, but the last maggies I tried were Marta's back in about 03.
    Last edited by Green Giant; 05-03-2009 at 01:37 PM.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  6. #6
    what's that rattle?
    Reputation: Blofeld's Avatar
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    It's definitely tough to find a good mechanic! A few weeks ago some grom told me that it was going to be $55 to have a headset installed...walked out of there pretty damn fast. I'd much rather buy a tool and learn something than pay a shop, although if I did pay for something and found out it wasn't done right, I would certainly try to make them do it again. How else are they going to learn anything??

    I wonder if it would be helpful to squeeze a few brakes in the shop after they've sat in their display boxes for a while. If it feels spongy before being installed, could be a sign that it has seal problems and will need bleeding more often. I don't know...it works for oranges.

    I've never used Maguras but they seem to have some warranty against leaking now. Might mean their QC has been stepped up a notch.

  7. #7
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    http://www.speedbleeder.com/ I am not sure they make sizes small enough for mtb calipers but I have friends who like them well enough for automotive uses. Bleed brakes before each race with pretty expensive fluids. The only draw back to these is that the red sealant around the threads wears out. I have always had good luck vacuum bleeding automotive brakes. I wonder if the syringe in the shimano kit is a just a simple way to vacuum bleed. So far just doing a traditional bleed on shimano LX has been pretty easy. (2 sets, 5 bleeds) The hardest thing is the reservoirs are so small. Are you guys getting moisture or air in your systems?

  8. #8
    NOT Team Sanchez
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    I've run hayes hydro, avid seven's, hope m4's (best hydro if you want to run hydro IMO, scary powerful) and my favorite brakes are the Avid BB7, I've been running them for the last three years and have put them to the test at multiple resorts, and some gnarly local dh trails with no problems............replace cables, and pads once a year for about thirty bucks and you're set, plus they cost one third what a hydro does!
    I like bikes.

  9. #9
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    I have two different sets of Hope's. The original Mini ~circa 2000~ and a set of 2005 Hope Mono M4s. I have a combined 10,000+ miles of violent off road miles on them and they have been flawless.

    They get used from -10 F to +100 F.... with no problems. They have been well maintained.... I re-bleed them once a year and replace the pads when necessary. I've yet to replace the seals, brake lines or rebuild the levers or master cyclinders.

    I'm building up a Fatbike for next winter and they too will have Hope brakes.

    I'm stick'in to Hydros.

    Regards,

    EndUser
    My advice and $3 will buy you nothing more than a tunafish sandwich.

  10. #10
    Off the back...
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    I don't think I would ever trade in my hydraulic brakes for mechanicals. At present I have BB7 on my commuter and XT on two other bikes, Juicy 7 on the wife's Racer-X and Juicy 3 on her winter commuter. I think the biggest flaw with mechanical discs is the need for a proper setup. Compressionless cable housing, low-friction cable, straight cable routing, a quality lever - for mechs to match the performance of hydraulic brakes, all these things have to be damn near perfect. With hydraulics, it's the bleed - that's all there is to it. There isn't really anything else to do. That's their flaw - a bad bleed kills the performance of the brake. I can't comment on whether shops in general do a bad job of bleeding brakes. I do wish that manufacturers would settle on a standard system though.

  11. #11
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blofeld
    I've never used Maguras but they seem to have some warranty against leaking now. Might mean their QC has been stepped up a notch.
    Since 2006 (as far as I can remember), they have a 5 year leak warranty. Their CS in the USA is second to none. Simply, the benchmark.

    My 2002 Julies were a pain in the bleed dept but they also developed a leak in the Master Cylinder. Lever replaced in 2006 by Maggie under warranty. That was their budget brake warranted after 4yrs to a second user with int'l shipping.

    My Louises 2007 need a bleed after two years. I can live with it.

    BB7's are a nice brake. I wouldn't go back to them on my trail bike, but I'm considering those for another build.
    Check my Site

  12. #12
    11 is one louder than 10
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    Well, I'm going to give the Juicy Ultimates one more whirl here. Ordered up a new line for the rear, and going to use the rear line for the front as I had to trim both and it left both short.

    So, here is hoping things go well this time around. I'd love to save the cash.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Giant

    I will tell you that for years I ran Hayes Mag's, while tough to bleed they stayed bled much longer and better than anything I've owned. Magura's were the worst, but the last maggies I tried were Marta's back in about 03.
    The older Martas are definitely one of the trickier brakes to bleed if you are not familiar with them.

    The 2009 Marta is a significant improvement for bleeding (there is a port in the lever you can put a syringe directly into for vacumn bleeding), with no expensive kits needed (two syringes and Magura blood is all you need).

    The 2009 Marta is also a significant improvement, on an already great brake, in terms of both power and lever feel. They also now use the same, larger, pad as the Louise.

    I would never go back to cable-actuated brakes but I am also very picky about which hydraulics I run.

    For me it is the new Shimano XT, Magura Louise or '09 Marta. The Marta being my first choice for both my bikes.

    -D

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewM
    The Marta being my first choice for both my bikes.-D
    I'll throw in for the '09 Marta. Huge improvement over the previous version, in every area. More power, quiter, and better feel than the Formula Puro's I ran for a year as well. The only problem I can see on the '09 Marta is that the reach is long even dialed all the way in. They could be uncomfortable for somebody with small hands.

  15. #15
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    The last time I was up at Whistler, and had to have a wheel rebuilt, the bike shop dude was really dissing my old Schwinn downhill bike and particularly the Hayes mechanical disc brake I have up front. I'd have to say it is plenty powerfuI with the 8" rotor, but does require fairly frequent cable adjustment. Fortunately that is easy enough to do trailside. Originally I considered the mechanical disc brake a temporary economy measure but I have been pleasantly surprised how well it works.

    I think that within a certain riding envelope, BB7s are a very respectable brake, and easy to adjust just right. As with the Hayes mechanical you do have to adjust the brakes to compensate for pad wear. Avid did a great job with the adjusters, making it easy and satisfying to keep them perfectly centered and adjusted

    That said, I have Hayes hydros on my SB and another bike and I definitely prefer them over BB7s. I have always used Hayes (older models, I don't know much about their newer products) and on 2 of my bikes with normal installation, they have really been awesomely reliable. The obsolete 22mm mount rear caliper set up on my old Schwinn has definitely had its share of bleed-need issues.

    I bought a set of Juicy 7s at the bike swap but haven't put them on a bike yet. I'll have to keep my eye out for bleeding issues. Maybe that's why the guy sold them so cheap. Thanks for the tip.

  16. #16
    11 is one louder than 10
    Reputation: Green Giant's Avatar
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    Rebuilt the Juicy Ultimates on a rainy day... I also am trying the G3 rotors, and went with brand new organic pads (I've run organics for a while now, but with new rotors, new pads).

    Thus far things are going great, in fact this is the quietest they have ran in a long, long time. No doubt that one of the big issues I was having were O-rings that broke down and screwed up the lines, and it took a complete tear down and re-assembly to get them cleared out, but so far, so good.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  17. #17
    ballbuster
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    We the people ... Yeah, I gotta say...

    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Ark
    Try some Formula Hydros. Avid pretty much sucks IMO.
    I spent a lot of time fiddling with those goofy avid mechs. I kinda got sick of fiddling with those goofy red knobs to keep the pads from dragging. I first tried some Maguras which were better, but had a leak that would suck air into them once a month, making a brake fail on me. Then I went to Hope Mono Minis and they have been perfect. Way better feel... set and forget apart from changing pads.

    If set and forget is what you;re after, I can wholeheartedly recommend Hope or Shimano. I've owned both, and they have both been great.
    Last edited by pimpbot; 05-15-2009 at 02:45 PM.

  18. #18
    11 is one louder than 10
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    spoke too soon

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Giant
    Rebuilt the Juicy Ultimates on a rainy day... I also am trying the G3 rotors, and went with brand new organic pads (I've run organics for a while now, but with new rotors, new pads).

    Thus far things are going great, in fact this is the quietest they have ran in a long, long time. No doubt that one of the big issues I was having were O-rings that broke down and screwed up the lines, and it took a complete tear down and re-assembly to get them cleared out, but so far, so good.

    Well, I spoke too soon on the noise. 3rd ride out today, the low squeel came back front and rear. No real loud ones though and no turkey warble.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  19. #19
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    I haven't had to touch the Juicy 5 hydros on my 07 Enduro SL. Could probably use some new pads, but I checked them a couple of weeks ago and they weren't bad.

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