One finger stoppers aka which brake on the front ?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    One finger stoppers aka which brake on the front ?

    Hey all,

    need some help since my experience is quite not so good in this field. I'm having difficulties choosing a front brake. The thing is - I want a brake that can stop me and my bike by using only one finger. I'm willing to spend round 150$ or 100.

    My experience - my SLX can't give me enough power with resin pads and 185mm disc to brake with one finger. Brothers Juicy 7 (stock pads) with 185mm and 160mm rotor has more power to do it without a sweat.

    I've also tried the Elixirs and those brakes are as powerful as Juicy's, so they also come in play.
    Don't get me wrong, I like my SLX cause it has great modulation, is reliable and easy to bleed, never had problems like pad rubbing the disc or squealing (like my bro's Juicy's tend to), but they lack power which I need since I'm getting a lot faster as my bike skills improve. I can get to raise my back wheel (stoppie) with 2 fingers on the lever and using much power in them.

    What about Magura ? Marta or Louise ? I've read the reviews, everything is great, but there again, people have been sayin' that SLX have great power, yet they are average to my in term of power (but on the top when it comes to modulation and reliability). After all I've read on the internet, these brakes have great power, use mineral oil (maintenance free maybe then ?). Are they what I'm looking for ?

    Hayes Stroker Ace maybe ? No bad review here on MTBR, four piston, some guys are having them on their DH bikes, so I figure they are strong. CRC has them for ~110.

    Formulas and Hopes are out of my league cause of the price.

    So the criteria should be - 1. power (one finger braking), 2. modulation, 3. weight and price is ~150$/100 (one brake).

    And one thing to say - I know that there are many people that have issues with any brake manufacturer, Avid, Shimano or any other (even I tried 4-5 pairs of Elixirs and 2-3 wheren't bleed properly and had low power). I'm talking here about brakes that are bleed well, function properly - just like they should.

    Thanks in advance for all the help I can get

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuco
    Hey all,

    need some help since my experience is quite not so good in this field. I'm having difficulties choosing a front brake. The thing is - I want a brake that can stop me and my bike by using only one finger. I'm willing to spend round 150$ or 100.

    My experience - my SLX can't give me enough power with resin pads and 185mm disc to brake with one finger. Brothers Juicy 7 (stock pads) with 185mm and 160mm rotor has more power to do it without a sweat.

    I've also tried the Elixirs and those brakes are as powerful as Juicy's, so they also come in play.
    Don't get me wrong, I like my SLX cause it has great modulation, is reliable and easy to bleed, never had problems like pad rubbing the disc or squealing (like my bro's Juicy's tend to), but they lack power which I need since I'm getting a lot faster as my bike skills improve. I can get to raise my back wheel (stoppie) with 2 fingers on the lever and using much power in them.

    What about Magura ? Marta or Louise ? I've read the reviews, everything is great, but there again, people have been sayin' that SLX have great power, yet they are average to my in term of power (but on the top when it comes to modulation and reliability). After all I've read on the internet, these brakes have great power, use mineral oil (maintenance free maybe then ?). Are they what I'm looking for ?

    Hayes Stroker Ace maybe ? No bad review here on MTBR, four piston, some guys are having them on their DH bikes, so I figure they are strong. CRC has them for ~110.

    Formulas and Hopes are out of my league cause of the price.

    So the criteria should be - 1. power (one finger braking), 2. modulation, 3. weight and price is ~150$/100 (one brake).

    And one thing to say - I know that there are many people that have issues with any brake manufacturer, Avid, Shimano or any other (even I tried 4-5 pairs of Elixirs and 2-3 wheren't bleed properly and had low power). I'm talking here about brakes that are bleed well, function properly - just like they should.

    Thanks in advance for all the help I can get
    Unless you are really heavy the 7" rotor should provide good stopping power with SLX brake. You don't really need a new brake, may be change the pad to metallic and/or get the 8" rotor in the front. SLX should have the same power as XT and that has a lot of braking power already.

    Magura Louise Bat would be my choice if you need to get a new brake

  3. #3
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    Metalic pads will make a huge difference, then check where your brakes engage to where your fingers are If your finger is to far out at a hard pull it will not be great for power and also vise versa.

    I was playing around on my dads bike which had xt levers with xtr calipers and he has them set way way to far out I can't even ride them like that or lock a front wheel on the bike now that they are in further no troubles at all.

  4. #4
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    Even a properly set up bb7 with 180mm rotor gives me enough one finger stopping power.

  5. #5
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    I had the BB7's on my GF Rig and thought the stopping was excellent. The only thing that I didn't like was coming the power. It felt much harder to disengage the BB7 than a comparable hydraulic system,this is an issue if you're doing a downhill run. You need to get on the power quickly however it's also important to be off the power or else you could go OTB,especially during high speed deceleration.

    So far my favorite brake has to be Shimano's Saints, they're extremely powerful and have a very linear power curve. What this means is that you can slam on the brakes and you won't experience an unexpected boost in braking power. The Code 5's are great but it's easier to overdue the power, the Code R's are suppose to address this issue.

    I have the Hayes Stroker Ryde's on my Trance X1, and dislike them,they easily go maximum power with minimum input and have a comparatively low maximum power threshold compared to the Code 5's and especially the Saints.

    However Hayes is suppose to address this issue with their new Prime series of brakes which are suppose to have a more linear power curve. Unfortunately Hayes doesn't have a four piston model out yet.

    Hayes however does have an advantage over Avid and Shimano because their levers are symetrical and it's possible to use a rear lever/caliper on as a front brake. Whereas with Avid and Shimano you need to pull the hose and rebleed the brake if you're going to use a rear brake caliper/lever combo as a front brake. So in theory if you found a good deal on two Hayes Stroker Ace brakes you could use them as a proper set,although there would still be the issue of cable length.
    Last edited by mefistofeles; 12-03-2010 at 04:39 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885
    Unless you are really heavy the 7" rotor should provide good stopping power with SLX brake. You don't really need a new brake, may be change the pad to metallic and/or get the 8" rotor in the front. SLX should have the same power as XT and that has a lot of braking power already.

    Magura Louise Bat would be my choice if you need to get a new brake
    I'm 84kg, the bike is ~14kg (FS, so lifting the rear wheel should be even easier since the shock rebounds). Rotor is Avid 185mm (also have a Shimano 160mm, but with it the power is even less of course). No go. Stoppie only with 2 fingers and hell a lot of finger power. One finger and I can't even brake hard enough.

    8" rotor is something that I'm not fond of. The brake is on a QR fork (Recon 351) and even though it supports 210mm discs, that would be my last option.



    Quote Originally Posted by The Beater
    Metalic pads will make a huge difference, then check where your brakes engage to where your fingers are If your finger is to far out at a hard pull it will not be great for power and also vise versa.

    I was playing around on my dads bike which had xt levers with xtr calipers and he has them set way way to far out I can't even ride them like that or lock a front wheel on the bike now that they are in further no troubles at all.
    Hm, I always had a feeling that organics had more bite than metallic ? Yet pad life is on the metallic side.

    I've pulled the lever closer to the bar, but if I put it closer, then power gets even lower.

    While bleed, there wasn't air in the hose. All I can say, that it feels like my pads/rotors are having low friction. Yet the pads and the rotor is new and no grease/oil on them.

    Of all the reading, I'm deciding between Elixirs and Magura, probably Louise. Also have an offer for Code for 100 used, but almost new.

  7. #7
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    Metalic pads provide the best overall power with less fade due to heat. Organic have a decent intial bite but fade quick. The better braking comes at the price of wearing out the rotors with the metalic.

    As for the lever position try moving them out a little. Your finger is strongest when the part between the 1st and 2nd knuckle is paraelle to the bar when the brake is engaged completely.

    I had metalics on my XTR'S and they were good switched to organic to give them a try did 3 rides on them and threw the organics out. They did not have the bite of the metalics did.

    Also I just read that you were saying your rotors and pads are new? IF so have you bedded the pads with a bout 40-60 hard stops to full? That will make a huge difference.

    My saint brakes stopped well before the bedding was done but after it was insane.

  8. #8
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    despite your dislike of 8" rotors dont forget that the bigger brake will be more consistant and last longer as its using less of its full capacity than a smaller brake. Once you get used to them, its hard to fault 203mm brakes and if you ever get to do some serious mileage/speed downhill you will also appreciate the lack of fade....
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  9. #9
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    Yeah, but here fading isn't a problem, since I get the brakes warm and even then they don't brake.
    I'll try to move the lever front and back. Somehow I'm sure that isn't the problem, but will try to experiment with it.
    Nevertheless, which brake to substitute it ? Now I'm much closer to Magura Louise, and Elixir R.

    P.S. My last organics lasted ~1200-1300km. I've got this almost 300km, so if they aren't burn in, then all hell brake loose

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuco
    Yeah, but here fading isn't a problem, since I get the brakes warm and even then they don't brake.
    I'll try to move the lever front and back. Somehow I'm sure that isn't the problem, but will try to experiment with it.
    Nevertheless, which brake to substitute it ? Now I'm much closer to Magura Louise, and Elixir R.

    P.S. My last organics lasted ~1200-1300km. I've got this almost 300km, so if they aren't burn in, then all hell brake loose

    If you are attempting Stoppie, I assume your braking skills is good. I'd first go with the metallic pad, then if it doesn't work then go from there. Maximized your leverage by moving the brake inward toward the stem so at the normal riding grip your index finger extend to the hooking end of the brake lever.

    I have Hope mini, Louise, Elixir, and XT, XTR brake and have tried with different rotor combo, I can't say that your SLX would be that much less power with 7" rotor than all brake I mentioned. If you have hope mini I'd understand, even with hope mini I'd have no problem stopping with one finger, and it's by far the weakest brake I own.

  11. #11
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    I know you did not mention the brakes fading I was just putting in there one of the big differences between metalic and organic.

  12. #12
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    Vuco,
    I have some experience with your situation. I run XT's and went from a 180 front 160 rear to 203 front and 180 rear. It made a big difference stopping my 215 pounds with gear and 34 pound bike. I have my levers inboard and can use only one finger to pull lever. On trail I rarely want more power with this set up. However, if you are trying to do stoppies, the 203 XT will not quite do it. That is the one thing that is good and bad about these brakes. They will stop you just fine and not throw you over the bars on the trail. However they do lack that last little bit of power you need to do things like stoppies.

    My next set of brakes will be Saints. They have the stopping power you are looking for. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think you could just get a Saint caliper and use your SLX lever with it?

    Cheers,
    Portland Off Road Navagators

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubba13
    Vuco,
    I have some experience with your situation. I run XT's and went from a 180 front 160 rear to 203 front and 180 rear. It made a big difference stopping my 215 pounds with gear and 34 pound bike. I have my levers inboard and can use only one finger to pull lever. On trail I rarely want more power with this set up. However, if you are trying to do stoppies, the 203 XT will not quite do it. That is the one thing that is good and bad about these brakes. They will stop you just fine and not throw you over the bars on the trail. However they do lack that last little bit of power you need to do things like stoppies.

    My next set of brakes will be Saints. They have the stopping power you are looking for. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think you could just get a Saint caliper and use your SLX lever with it?

    Cheers,
    Can't imagine more power But there's no such thing I guess, That's a great advice actually, going with Saint caliper.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885
    If you are attempting Stoppie, I assume your braking skills is good. I'd first go with the metallic pad, then if it doesn't work then go from there. Maximized your leverage by moving the brake inward toward the stem so at the normal riding grip your index finger extend to the hooking end of the brake lever.

    I have Hope mini, Louise, Elixir, and XT, XTR brake and have tried with different rotor combo, I can't say that your SLX would be that much less power with 7" rotor than all brake I mentioned. If you have hope mini I'd understand, even with hope mini I'd have no problem stopping with one finger, and it's by far the weakest brake I own.
    My brake setup is just like you mentioned - away from the grip to have more leverage and force with one finger braking .

    Can you do a one finger stoopie with your XT or XTR brakes (and is it with ease, medium hard or you need to pull really hard) ? Which rotor do you have on your Shimanos ?
    It's not the problem to brake with one finger. But it's impossible for me to do a stoppie or lift my rear end when hitting on the brake hard, with one finger . So, power is definitely is an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Beater
    I know you did not mention the brakes fading I was just putting in there one of the big differences between metalic and organic.
    Didn't mean anything bad .
    Quote Originally Posted by bubba13
    Vuco,
    I have some experience with your situation. I run XT's and went from a 180 front 160 rear to 203 front and 180 rear. It made a big difference stopping my 215 pounds with gear and 34 pound bike. I have my levers inboard and can use only one finger to pull lever. On trail I rarely want more power with this set up. However, if you are trying to do stoppies, the 203 XT will not quite do it. That is the one thing that is good and bad about these brakes. They will stop you just fine and not throw you over the bars on the trail. However they do lack that last little bit of power you need to do things like stoppies.

    My next set of brakes will be Saints. They have the stopping power you are looking for.
    Cheers,
    I probably should try 8" rotor just like you and mimi1885 said. Will try to find some 203 rotor just for a test.

    The thing is, if I buy a 8" (203) rotor, than that money + sell my SLX = maybe more than a new brake with a rotor. That's my view. But I need to do the calculations of course .
    Quote Originally Posted by bubba13
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think you could just get a Saint caliper and use your SLX lever with it?
    Indeed, great remark if true
    Will find some info about this. Thanks.

  15. #15
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    My next set of brakes will be Saints. They have the stopping power you are looking for. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think you could just get a Saint caliper and use your SLX lever with it?

    I have XT levers with one set of Saints and although they work do work and they work well the connectors are different so the bike stop charged me $40 for the connectors alone,note that they billed me by the piece. Make you sure you find the proper connectors first I think they should be no more than $20.

  16. #16
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    There is no good reason why your SLX aren't hands down better than Juicy 7s in all measurements; I'd suspect contaminated rotor or destroyed pads.

  17. #17
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    Pads are almost new, rotor isn't, but it isn't contaminated either. Tried the same rotor with my brother Juicy 7 brakes - and everything stays the same. Juicy's 7 need almost double the less finger power than SLX for even a try to fly me over the bar.

    Maybe your Juicy's weren't working like they should. I know that my bro's are working extremely well (except the noise in wet).

    I'll will be probably getting an Elixir 5, or Magura Louise. Louise is more expensive (by almost 50$), and I don't get the rotor/adapter.

  18. #18
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    one finger stooper eh?
    try this on your fingers

    honestly, why not use 2 - 4 finger if you have them all?

  19. #19
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    I don't understand all the connector suff with XT levers driving New Saint Calipers. I just hooked them up and they worked.

  20. #20
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    If it's taking more lever squeeze to stop vs the Juicy could someone look at the bleed of the brake? I imagine the Juicy probably has more fluid in the line.

    Aren't the new SLX (I assume they are new) Servo-Wave? So doesn't it naturally require more lever (modulation) to engage since they provide larger disc clearance?

    I'm not a great brake setup mind, just to point that out.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RheXtian
    honestly, why not use 2 - 4 finger if you have them all?
    The rest can be on the bar for better control .
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57
    If it's taking more lever squeeze to stop vs the Juicy could someone look at the bleed of the brake? I imagine the Juicy probably has more fluid in the line.

    Aren't the new SLX (I assume they are new) Servo-Wave? So doesn't it naturally require more lever (modulation) to engage since they provide larger disc clearance?

    I'm not a great brake setup mind, just to point that out.
    Yes, my SLX are the one with Servo-wave. And yes, it gives a lot of clearance between the pads and the rotor which is great yet the brakes get very fast on the rotor and start braking.

    Can't say why, but simple, Avids have a better pad bite, and can do numerous stoppies in a row without breaking a sweat. With one finger ofcours.

    On my SLX, the first stoppie can be done hard with one finger (and even that stoppie is rather "poor" ). More than that, very difficult or even impossible.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RheXtian
    one finger stooper eh?

    honestly, why not use 2 - 4 finger if you have them all?
    4 fingers are reserved for Klunkers

  23. #23
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    Just to once again thank everyone for their help and to tell that I'm in possesion of a Magura Louise brake now. Got it for the same money that I sold my SLX, so no expense really.

    Initial impressions - again not powerful than Elixir brakes (or at least not that grabby), but more power than SLX brakes, definitely. The thing is, I thought that Shimano had great modulation (and it has), but the Maguras are one step ahead. It's even nicer.

    For the power thing, the pads are almost new. Got ~15 had stops to brake them in (I'm aware that I need 30+ like Magura says). And for now I'm using them with a Avid G2 185 rotor and adapter, and the lower part of the pads doesn't "catch" the rotor. So, when I get a proper rotor, the thing will be even better, and when the pads brake in - another plus for the power.

    Can do a stoppie with one finger easier than with the SLX, yet not so easy like with the elixir. But thing can only be better as I ride the brake .

    P.S. No rubbing of the rotor, no what so ever problem. Great brake
    Just need to get another rotor.

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