Hydraulic and mechanical brakes on the same bike.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Hydraulic and mechanical brakes on the same bike.

    Hello everybody,
    For my first post I have a question. (new to the forum)
    I purchased a 2010 specialized rockhopper comp disk probably two months ago, about a week after the 2010 specialized bike line started selling at the bike shops. I had been riding it for a while, 50 miles until I had a pretty bad accident. Everything was seemingly fine (had to get a new wheelset), but now the front bb5 is giving me hell. It was never perfect, but I'm sick of readjusting it before every ride. I think I've finally gotten quite good at making them work great for about 2.5 miles (this is all relatively unnecessary background).

    So finally I'm sick of having to adjust them only to lose modulation and get awful squealing after a few short miles down the trail. Basically I want to upgrade. I'm thinking about upgrading to avid elixir cr's or some other comparable hydraulic disk brakes. I'm looking at spending about $160 dollars on them, and I just cant afford to purchase two wheels worth. I'm having no problems with the rear brake so I think i'll leave it. I'm just wondering if it would be too weird having the hydraulic brakes on the front and the mechanical on the back? Does anybody else use a combination of hydraulic and mechanical? The rotor is slightly out of true, but even after the lbs retrued the rotor its still rubbing, so i'm looking forward to getting a new rotor. I just want to be able to get the brakes adjusted and leave them.
    Thanks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hydraulic and mechanical brakes on the same bike.-photos-laura-450.jpg  


  2. #2
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    You can do it, but for me I would not be able to stand having two different levers with two totally different feels when pulling the lever. It would be dang near impossible to make them even feel remotely similar IMO.

    Why not just upgrade both to BB7's?
    Brandon
    09 Santa Cruz Superlight
    00 Diamondback XR-4
    99 Specialized S-Works

  3. #3
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    I thought about the bb7's but i think that one of my biggest problems with the mechanical brakes is the fact that the inboard pad does not move. I hate that in order to have a good firm lever feel you have to dial the inboard pad so that its practically rubbing on rotor. My bb5's develop a chirping sound (which is almost pleasant because it sounds like birds in springtime all the time) whenever the rotors are the least bit unclean.
    I was thinking that it might be difficult to cope with the different lever feels between the front and the rear. Maybe if I get a speed dial seven lever i can match the feel a bit better?
    I'm considering upgrading to bb7 in the rear if i go through with the hydraulic upgrade in the front.

  4. #4
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    couple of things, ive ran both a juicy 3 and an avid v brake with avid lever. avid foes a good job of keeping the levers relatively similar. as far as feel, the rear wasnt as powerful but after a few miles i didnt notice. take your brake to a reputable shop, it sounds like your not setting it up correctly.

  5. #5
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    I'm probably not setting it up correctly, but my lbs doesn't seem to be able to keep it running smooth any longer. I honestly think its my dart 3. The fork just isn't as stiff as i'd like. I have a little station wagon that i use to transport my bike and in order to get it in i have to take the front wheel off and I think that the process of opening and closing the qr that often is resulting in an insufficiently stiff connection. I notice a difference in noise when i make turns or hit a bump. I'm hoping though that with a dual action hydraulic brake will increase the clearance between the pads and the rotor allowing for more lateral movement of the rotor with less noise.

  6. #6
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    The chirping noise is due to the rotor being untrue at high speeds. When you hit a bump or make a turn you are putting torque on the hub which in effect is altering the rotor's position, You can try too get your quick release extremely tight, which may help. At high speeds its just harmonic sound from the rotor and if you search you will find some have similair problems with hydros.

    Just because you buy a new rotor doesn't mean it will be true, in fact most rotors if any are actually true.

  7. #7
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    Fwiw, I've been running a shimano DX rear hydro and an Avid BB7 front for years - no problem. I just bought a cheapo shimano v-lever and it was close enough to the shimano hydro lever. Never noticed any problems with feel or anything like that. Sure, you'll probably notice a difference the first ride or two, but then you'll get used to it and not care.

    Oddly, i did this for exactly the opposite reason - i could never get the hydros to stay quiet when i removed and reinstalled the front wheel. The BB7s have been excellent and easy to use/keep quiet.

  8. #8
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    I just can't see running one mech and one hydro . If you definitely want to upgrade to hydros you can certainly find something cheaper than the CRs. I've got Elixir R's on one of my bikes and they're surprisingly good brakes for the price; I think you can find them for around $220/pair if you look around. Pricepoint.com is blowing out some of last year's Hayes brakes...you can snag a pair of Stroker Rydes for $160 from them, or Magura Julies for a little bit more. You can probably find Juicy 5s or 3s for pretty cheap too. Also, check the classifieds on MTBR for used or take-offs. You might see my Elixirs in there if I can't control my own upgrade fever (Formula Megas look pretty good to me ).

  9. #9
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    It sounds like I have a lot to think about. I agree that i'd want to upgrade both wheels and to be honest I hate the red barrel adjuster on the cr's. for maybe 10 minutes i was even thinking about going to cr mags to avoid that red ano, but if the r's provide the same performance (modulation and power) then there's no reason why I'd have to go all the way up to cr's. (about $80 dollars a pair difference)

    GMF you kind of have me thinking that I should steer clear of hydraulic brakes all together. to be perfectly honest i think i'm looking for things that are wrong with the bike so that i can justify upgrading and I'm just looking for an excuse to go hydraulic. I'm seeking perfection on a budget.

    As for the brands, I suppose i've been focusing on the avids because its what i'm familiar with. i really dont know too much about the hayes or magura brakes, but i do know that i like the geometry of the elixir products. I'm just seeking reliability and performance.

    the best price i can find on elixir r's is on amazon for 96 per wheel

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jem1305
    GMF you kind of have me thinking that I should steer clear of hydraulic brakes all together. to be perfectly honest i think i'm looking for things that are wrong with the bike so that i can justify upgrading and I'm just looking for an excuse to go hydraulic. I'm seeking perfection on a budget.
    My intent was not to dissuade you from running hydros - tons of people do and they are happy. Heck, i'm half hydro. My point was more that, if you aren't the super anal type (nothing wrong with that - it's your bike), running one mech. and one hydro is a non-issue in my opinion.
    I happen to be a very competent bike mechanic who has been riding for a looong time and have stopped caring about having the latest and greatest. I don't mind reaching down and fiddling with a mechanical brake adjuster knob every once in a while. Having said that, my rear hydro just works without any fiddling, so... it's all good.

    In my opinion, most everything made now days is pretty awesome compared to what was available 15+ years ago.

    Good on ya for calling a spade a spade. You want to upgrade - so do it!

    edit: doh - logged in to a different account...

  11. #11
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    I don't think you did dissuade me from buying the hydros. I'm not really the anal type (when it comes to most things) This is my first real nice mountain bike and I seriously like to tinker with things. I like to take things as close to perfection as possible. I dont mind going in and getting my hands dirty adjusting things (i'm even looking forward to bleeding the hydros when they need it), but when I have to loosen the cps bolts and recenter the caliper almost every ride it just seems like there's something wrong. at this point i'm worried about fatiguing the threads on the posts by constantly releasing and reapplying pressure to those bolts.

    At this moment whyaduck has me pretty well sold on the elixir r's which for only $30 extra i can get two wheels instead of just one with the cr's (which may have been a bit of a going after the "latest and greatest"). I don't think i'd mind too much the different types of levers, but while i'm at it i might as well upgrade the whole thing.

  12. #12
    GMF
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    Quote Originally Posted by jem1305
    At this moment whyaduck has me pretty well sold on the elixir r's which for only $30 extra i can get two wheels instead of just one with the cr's (which may have been a bit of a going after the "latest and greatest"). I don't think i'd mind too much the different types of levers, but while i'm at it i might as well upgrade the whole thing.
    Sweet - sounds like you have a good plan. Do your part to keep the economy going and upgrade a lot!

  13. #13
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    I don't think you can go wrong with the Elixir Rs at the prices they're being sold at right now, especially for cross country/reasonable all mountain riding. If you're a clyde, or you run down some longish/steepish descents, you should probably consider going with a 185 mm front rotor (just make sure it'll fit on the fork...the manual should specify a max rotor size). In the end, though, just do whatever will get you out on the bike most!

  14. #14
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    Thanks everybody for the advice! Yeah i'm no clyde at 170 pounds and where i live there's no need to consider any real all mountain. I really want to go up to the 185 rotor but on a dart 3 thats just not possible. fortunately rotors are cheep so when i upgrade my fork the rotor can come too! I was just looking at an elixir cr at my lbs and it just seems that with reach adjust I will never use that contact adjust, especially if the auto gap adjust on the caliper do their job. What i really need to do is get my qr sorted out. I find that if the rotor is dragging and squealing all I have to do is give the front end of the bike a quick pound and it goes back to normal... for a while. I just cant get the qr tight enough. I'm thinking there's something wrong with the knurled/textured gripping surface on the drop outs.

    Perhaps there's another thread there.

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