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  1. #1
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    2 Piston Rear, 4 Piston Front

    I am going to try this on my Fugitive with my 785 XT brakes. I will install a 4 piston caliber on the front and leave the rear alone for now. I may bump up the rear rotor to 203mm from 180 to match the front, although I am happy with the rear brake as is. I occasionally want a bit more power up front, not every ride, but it happens.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  2. #2
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    Interesting. I wonder if you'll feel a significant difference between the front and rear. Give us some feedback!
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  3. #3
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    common setup option for Hope brakes.

    Now that shimano has some wider adoption of 4 piston calipers (I wonder if this means that Saint/Zee are getting phased out?), it's something you can do with them and maintain the same finish.

    I might do similar on the bike I'm building now. I also feel like 180mm/2 piston rear has been plenty sufficient for me, but occasionally would like more from the front (203mm/2 piston front on my current bike).

    So long as you're maintaining the same levers, the lever feel should be consistent.

  4. #4
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    What 4 piston caliper.....9120, 8020, 820. 640, 520?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobba View Post
    What 4 piston caliper.....9120, 8020, 820. 640, 520?
    8020 seems the logical choice without the $$$ of 9120 or switching hoses/fittings with the others.

  6. #6
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    We've got 8020 calipers in the shop ready to go.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  7. #7
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    While you'll get a minor bump in overall 'power', going with more contact affects modulation and heat dissapation more. The amount of force being generated at the lever doesn't change, so the benefits are mostly felt on really big runs where fade can have an effect. Been running 4 piston front, 2 rear maguras since they released the new series and going between them and my 2x2 setups it's the same power, but the fade is definitely less noticeable on the bigger caliper setup.

  8. #8
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    Adding to the conversation in case anyone comes across this and is on the fence with respect to this type of a setup.

    I have had two sets of Magura MT Trail for all of 2018 so far on two bikes (Warden and Insurgent) and I give the setup a thumbs up -

    The initial setup was 180 mm front (4 piston) and 180 mm rear (2 piston) rotors.

    I shifted the Insurgent to a 200 mm front rotor as it felt like I was pushing enough speed on the Insurgent to need/want some extra stopping power there.

    Maybe just a security blanket as the Insurgent feels like hell on wheels...

    I just started another test with a 4 pistion MT7 caliper on the rear with 180 mm rotor front and rear to see if that is a more balanced feel.

    If I had to go straight 4 up front and 2 in the rear I would say that with Magura and my preferences the 200/180 front/rear rotor setup was pretty close to perfect.

  9. #9
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    Ordered 2 sets of Front M640 Zees.
    Figured I should have the same setup on both my Stache and ST Stumpy

    4 piston F and 2 in the rear makes a lot of sense.

  10. #10
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    I did it on my Heckler, with a Guide R in front and a Level TL in the rear. Felt great.
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  11. #11
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    this is currently my set up with the TRP slates on my spez fuse...4 piston front and 2 piston back, works well!

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  13. #13
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    I have a Viral Skeptic in the shop right now with Magura brakes set this way.

    I've ridden it twice and nothing really stands out about the braking. Wouldn't have noticed if not for the visual difference when in the stand.

  14. #14
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    I think the setup stands out during sustained descents.
    At least that's the outcome I'm hoping for

  15. #15
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    I ride Saint with 203 on the front and Xt with 180 on the rear. Feels a little more balanced less skippy locking of the rear.

  16. #16
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    2 Piston Rear, 4 Piston Front

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I ride Saint with 203 on the front and Xt with 180 on the rear. Feels a little more balanced less skippy locking of the rear.
    Pretty much same here. XT 4 piston and 203 front with XT 2 piston and 180 rear. No complaints.
    Last edited by SoCal-Rider; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:11 AM.

  17. #17
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    Please post a photo of the 3 piston XT.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Please post a photo of the 3 piston XT.
    Doh! Haha

  19. #19
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    I have a 4-piston/2-piston Zee/XT setup on my trail bike and I've been very happy with the results. More info on the parts used and photos here:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/br...l#post13844342

    2 Piston Rear, 4 Piston Front-1220007d1539122854-brakes-zee-vs-saint-vs-xt-img_2471.jpg
    Dave

  20. #20
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    Adding to the thread i mixed my br-m640 zee and br-m785 xt brakes a long long time ago. I have 200x200 rotors on my FS bike and 200x180 rotors on my beefcake hardtail. Both feel awesome and there's no real difference at the levers. The hardtail is the big win- usually the rear is too grabby with a >160 rotor, but this is totally natural. The feel at the lever is the same, or close enough i can't tell.


    I'm a big guy and can overwhelm 2 pot XTs, regardless of rotors. Both these set ups feel really powerful and never overwhelmed.
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  21. #21
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    Has anyone ever gone one step further and mixed different brands front and back?
    I have Guide's on my current bike, but am tempted to switch over to Zee's. But the rear brake works well enough. Would Zee front and Guide back be a bit too different?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by offroadcmpr View Post
    Has anyone ever gone one step further and mixed different brands front and back?
    I have Guide's on my current bike, but am tempted to switch over to Zee's. But the rear brake works well enough. Would Zee front and Guide back be a bit too different?
    The levers are going to be different and will likely feel weird.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    The levers are going to be different and will likely feel weird.
    Yup, i had to put M8000xt levers on both calipers didn't feel right and they were the same brand.

  24. #24
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    I think riding DH when things get real steep (like when using max braking ability doesn't slow you down) you need just as much braking power in the rear. In extended super steep sections you need to still be able to steer with the front and attempt to keep the speed under control. You'll be on the rear brake a lot and you'll need a powerful brake to save hand strength to be able to control the bike. This isn't an issue on normal singletrack. Also, if you really need more brake you'll know it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I think riding DH when things get real steep (like when using max braking ability doesn't slow you down) you need just as much braking power in the rear. In extended super steep sections you need to still be able to steer with the front and attempt to keep the speed under control. You'll be on the rear brake a lot and you'll need a powerful brake to save hand strength to be able to control the bike. This isn't an issue on normal singletrack. Also, if you really need more brake you'll know it.
    I agree, trail riding with a fast rolling rear tire too much just locks it out. High speeds and grippy rear more brake the better.

  26. #26
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    MT5 with 4 piece pads on the front and MT2 rear with EBC resin pads, with 180mm rotors on my Nutrail. Great modulation and seem pretty fade resistant even when I can smell the brakes are hot, compared to the original MT2 front caliper.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by offroadcmpr View Post
    Has anyone ever gone one step further and mixed different brands front and back?
    I have Guide's on my current bike, but am tempted to switch over to Zee's. But the rear brake works well enough. Would Zee front and Guide back be a bit too different?
    Yes i recently put a Zee on the front of my sb5.5 because the stock Guide brakes would become overwhelmed on extended descents. Left the Guide on the rear for economy sake (and it's much more difficult to swap due to internal routing).
    Feels very balanced after getting the levers adjusted, and is a huge improvement in brake control. Visually comparing the two calipers is a joke, the Guide pistons are so small the caliper looks like a toy compared to the Zee.
    All of that said, now that I've realized the improvement of having the larger caliper up front i do plan on replacing the rear with a m8000 XT to keep my brake fluid to a single type.
    Fwiw 203 front/180 rear before and after.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimitrin View Post
    Yes i recently put a Zee on the front of my sb5.5 because the stock Guide brakes would become overwhelmed on extended descents. Left the Guide on the rear for economy sake (and it's much more difficult to swap due to internal routing).
    Feels very balanced after getting the levers adjusted, and is a huge improvement in brake control. Visually comparing the two calipers is a joke, the Guide pistons are so small the caliper looks like a toy compared to the Zee.
    All of that said, now that I've realized the improvement of having the larger caliper up front i do plan on replacing the rear with a m8000 XT to keep my brake fluid to a single type.
    Fwiw 203 front/180 rear before and after.
    That all makes a ton of sense to me. Guides are functionally really nice 2 piston calipers, whereas hope/shimano/code/magura are something else. Never been impressed by guides, or any sram brake, but i'm a clydesdale and usually assume sram product is marketing driven, so i keep my opinions to myself mostly. My wants/needs are not mass market bla bla, so who am i to judge?

    I'm surprised that sram/shimano brakes can be made to play nice together since the levers are really really different. That said, i ride my friends' bikes and wonder how they deal with the levers engaging at different points. Seems like how we interact with our brake levers is an individual thing for most people. My impression is that experts all want the same behavior... but i don't feel like making polarizing generalizations today.


    IMO the weight penalty for 2 piston calipers is pretty small and it's nice to have brakes that are impossible to overwhelm--- i'd be tempted to run zee front and back. I'm running shimano 4 pot/2 pot, but only because it was an experiment that turned out to be awesome.
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  29. #29
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    I think Shimano should offer 4F/2R setups as the new Standard for Trail Bikes.

    For me, Rear Braking Performance has never been an issue (even on extended descents).
    Last edited by mr_manny; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:37 PM.

  30. #30
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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to mr_manny again.

    You sir, are absolutely correct.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  31. #31
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    Front Zees arrived...can't wait to get them installed
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2 Piston Rear, 4 Piston Front-zee.jpg  


  32. #32
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    I just did something similar on my old motolite...Formula the one M/C's with a the one caliper up front and an RX out back. The one has 24mm pistons and the RX has 22mm pistons. I wonder if I should use the same pad compound F & R? Thoughts?

  33. #33
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    I just tried that with E4 in front and X2 rear.


    Good idea !!!
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  34. #34
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    First ride with the front Zees.
    Trail was more XC, but the brake combo felt great.

    Looking forward to long Descents.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2 Piston Rear, 4 Piston Front-bigrock.jpg  


  35. #35
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    I have Magura MT Trail Sports(MT5f/MT4r) now, and they replaced problematic SRAM Guide RS brakes. I never had a problem with the front brake on my Guides, only the rear, and temporarily used a 2 piston Level TL in its place.
    The idea always made sense to me, and it works great in practice

  36. #36
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    My main bike has a Hope M4 in front and X2 in the rear, with 180/160 rotors, and the balance feels right. One of my others has identical Formula brakes (I forgot which model, they were used and the price was right) and I went with 203/160 rotors to balance them.

    I tend to use my rear brake by itself for fine-tuning my speed, which isn't very demanding. When I want to stop I grab them both, and the harder I brake the lighter the back gets, so the less brake it takes to lock it up, so more rear brake wouldn't really improve things.

  37. #37
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    Well, I picked up a pair of Deore 4 piston brakes a coworker took off his new bike. I swapped the front caliper on the front of my FS from XT 785 and will test it tomorrow. I have an one set of SLX brakes that I bent both levers on (badly) and am going to install the Deore levers and sell the set. Only fly in the ointment is that the shop didn't have any sintered pads so I am going to have to use resin for a bit.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  38. #38
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    The resin pads weren't the end of the world, and the brakes worked very well. I plan on converting my hardtail asap, and already have a buyer for my old SLX callipers, and Deore levers.

    If I were a product manager I would spec bike with this setup.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  39. #39
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    I have been running a Saint M820 front and SLX rear for about 5 years now. I went straight from the OEM Elixers to this set up though because I am not a small rider and wanted some power to be able to actually stop. LoL I love the set up and it will be moving to my new frame in a couple of weeks.
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  40. #40
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    Why you prefer having less braking power and less modulation in the back? I never liked the 2 pistons on\off feeling... I tried a friends bike with 2 piston XT setup after a full season with Guide R (i know many people dont like them, but they working well for me), and it felt so sketchy spacial in the back, its a powerful brake but with zero control on the amount of braking power...

    I wonder how's the Shimano 4 piston XT or Saint compare to Sram Guide or Code in term of power and modulation?

  41. #41
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    I have been on XT 785s for 5 years and never noticed the on/off feeling. I have no trouble modulating, even on wet rocks. With 4 pistons front and 2 rear the braking felt quite even so far. I work PT in a shop and the other guys like Sram Codes, they are good brakes. I won't ever use them because I prefer the ease of bleeding and mineral oil. I can bleed a Shimano brake in the time it takes to degas Dot fluid.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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