Potential Disc Brake Newbie Travel/Maintenance- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Potential Disc Brake Newbie Travel/Maintenance

    Guys,
    Please indulge me in all your wisdom.

    I like V-Brakes, because I do not know any difference. When I return to the States, I am going to have my bike rebuilt. I am giving a second look at disc brakes because it looks like high end front forks, to include the ones I want, only are available for disc brakes. This is fine as long as a few concerns I have are addressed.

    I would probably get XTR brakes because my complete setup is XTR.

    1. Does anyone know how disk brakes travel? Example. I have a hard case for my mountain bike. It is tight and I am wondering how this would effect the rotors? I do not want the rotors to get bent out of shape. I guess these could also be taken off before travel. Could I do this by taking the bolts off the hub? Easy?
    2. I work overseas normally in 3rd world areas for one to two year stretches, so I do not have access to a bike shop. How is the maintenance on disk brakes? Is it pretty easy? I know it must be a little more than v-brakes. Do I need to carry yet another tool kit to bleed the brakes or do other maintenance matters.
    3. Normally how sturdy is the brake lines? I ask this because sometimes when I am braking my bike down for travel the lines can get some tension on them. I will ask the bike shop to give me a wee bit more slack to work with.
    4. Even if there may be some answers I do not like, should I go ahead, in your opinion, take the plunge. Looks like disc brakes are the norm now for high end. Am I wrong?

    Thanks in advance for the information. Cheers...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by InAfrica
    Guys,
    Please indulge me in all your wisdom.

    I like V-Brakes, because I do not know any difference. When I return to the States, I am going to have my bike rebuilt. I am giving a second look at disc brakes because it looks like high end front forks, to include the ones I want, only are available for disc brakes. This is fine as long as a few concerns I have are addressed.

    I would probably get XTR brakes because my complete setup is XTR.

    1. Does anyone know how disk brakes travel? Example. I have a hard case for my mountain bike. It is tight and I am wondering how this would effect the rotors? I do not want the rotors to get bent out of shape. I have a bike box and the disk fit in there just fine I guess these could also be taken off before travel. Could I do this by taking the bolts off the hub? Easy?Shimano XTR has two options centerlock has a lock nut that holds the rotor onto splines, the same tool that removes the cassette removes the rotor, or you can go 6 bolt, like most other brakes
    2. I work overseas normally in 3rd world areas for one to two year stretches, so I do not have access to a bike shop. How is the maintenance on disk brakes? Is it pretty easy? I know it must be a little more than v-brakes. Do I need to carry yet another tool kit to bleed the brakes or do other maintenance matters.Bleeding brakes is easy Shimano no extra tools required, takes mineral you can buy it in Drug stores if nowhere else, should not have to bleed your brakes for a couple of years anyway, XTR's and most brakes get sticky pistons easy to fix remove wheel push the pisitons out with the lever clean up with iso propyl alcohol and push back in
    3. Normally how sturdy is the brake lines? I ask this because sometimes when I am braking my bike down for travel the lines can get some tension on them. I will ask the bike shop to give me a wee bit more slack to work with.not a problem
    4. Even if there may be some answers I do not like, should I go ahead, in your opinion, take the plunge. Looks like disc brakes are the norm now for high end. Am I wrong?

    Thanks in advance for the information. Cheers...
    Most bikes nowadays are going hydro disks...

    They also have cable actuated disks.

  3. #3
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    Jeff,
    Thanks for the info. I will keep looking around. Pretty fun topic. I am starting to think that the price may be my only concern because of all I am about to spend for this rebuild anyway. May be better to go all the way though and include disc. With the future of the industry moving to disc, I may need to go ahead and take the plunge.

    Thanks for the info...

  4. #4
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    If hydraulic disc brake performance is something you desire or need, I think it's a great way to go. The benefits definitely outweigh the bit of learning needed to adjust and maintain them. They are mostly maintenance free once setup. Just buy the associated bleed kit, fluid and extra pads, should be good for a 1-2 yr duration.

    As mentioned prev post, mechanical or cable actuated discs are a good option if you feel diving into full hydraulics is a bit much. Avid BB7's.
    Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"

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    The thing you may run into....

    in 3rd world contries is the availability of parts should you need them. Try and find a hydro line in Iraq or Somalia! Or try to find Shimano Mineral Oil brake fluid or a suitable substitute. Probably ain't gonna happen. So, while not as blingy or pretty, I'd suggest a mechanical disc brake like the Avid BB7. No fluid, no bleed kit required, no special tools for maintenance or installation, reliable, durable, easy to maintain (very low learning curve) and perform as well if not better than some hydro brakes. Though the XTR are a stellar brake and would perform better. The key here is sustainability. A hydro brake would be fine if you never had a problem. But should you need parts....nuff said! I've got a 3 (almost 4) year old set of BB7s that have had nothing done to them except pad and cable replacement. The biggest advantage to them would be the lack of (likely) uncommon repair/maintenance parts. Cables are cables and I've never been anywhere that you couldn't find them, or a couple of sets in the bike bag don't take up much space. Brake pads are the same story, two or three sets of spares take up very little room. Though you'd likely be just fine with one set of spares.

    You'r call of course, but a mechanical disc brake is going to be easier to keep running. Like I said, when it comes to 3rd world travel, sustainability is everything. You're choice.

    Oh and as a side note, I'd remove the rotors from the hubs for travel. They'd be more likely to arrive straight that way.

    Good Dirt
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squash
    in 3rd world contries is the availability of parts should you need them. Try and find a hydro line in Iraq or Somalia! Or try to find Shimano Mineral Oil brake fluid just go to a drugstore and get some meineral oil there no probor a suitable substitute. Probably ain't gonna happen. So, while not as blingy or pretty, I'd suggest a mechanical disc brake like the Avid BB7try finding a new housing in Iran???Geez Shimano does not even sell in Iran I bet, or Somalia for that matter, they pay attention to US prohibitions. No fluid, no bleed kit required, no special tools not required for Shimano eitherfor maintenance or installation, reliable, durable, easy to maintain (very low learning curve) and perform as well if not better than some hydro brakes. Though the XTR are a stellar brake and would perform better. The key here is sustainability. A hydro brake would be fine if you never had a problem. But should you need parts....nuff said! I've got a 3 (almost 4) year old set of BB7s that have had nothing done to them except pad and cable replacementBingo I got a pair of Shimano hydros, only every needed pads and some mineral oil. The biggest advantage to them would be the lack of (likely) uncommon repair/maintenance parts. Cables are cables and I've never been anywhere that you couldn't find them, or a couple of sets in the bike bag don't take up much space. Brake pads are the same story, two or three sets of spares take up very little room. Though you'd likely be just fine with one set of spares.

    You'r call of course, but a mechanical disc brake is going to be easier to keep running. BS let alone all the warbling problemsLike I said, when it comes to 3rd world travel, sustainability is everything. You're choice.

    Oh and as a side note, I'd remove the rotors from the hubs for travel. They'd be more likely to arrive straight that way. Really why is that

    Good Dirt
    Just pack the bike box right and you will have zero problems.

  7. #7
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    my vote would be for the BB7's simply because they are feild servicable.
    Req. Disclaimer: I sell Giant, Trek, and Electra bikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by ErrantGorgon
    The no-brainer store called, they want their question back.

  8. #8
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    Guys thanks for the advice. Think I am starting to lean towards the BB7's. Reason is the price and these brakes are field serviceable. Going to do some more research because I am still on the fence. I am concrete now in that I am going disc, but now I have to choose from XTR or the BB7's.

    Major question now. I am correct that BB7's will work with XTR shifters right? If so does anyone no if there is any drawbacks in going this route?

    Again thanks to you all. Wish I would have started following this forum many moons ago. Have learned a ton. Cheers...
    Last edited by InAfrica; 12-03-2009 at 12:42 PM.

  9. #9
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    Hows the mtn. biking in Africa ? Any pics ? Where in Africa ?

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    Where in Africa? I grew up in Burkina Faso and went to school in Cote d'Ivoire.

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    Biking in Africa is great. Go outside your place and you are on a trial. I am currently in Burkina Faso. Only bad thing about this place is it is very flat. Still nice tracks though. Check out this link for some of my rides with photos. Or just go to my Flickr page at the link below in the signature. 90% of the photos were taken while I was out on rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus
    Where in Africa? I grew up in Burkina Faso and went to school in Cote d'Ivoire.
    Too cool I am in Ouagadougou right now. Have never been to Cote d'Ivoire though. Small world huh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by InAfrica
    Biking in Africa is great. Go outside your place and you are on a trial. I am currently in Burkina Faso. Only bad thing about this place is it is very flat. Still nice tracks though. Check out this link for some of my rides with photos. Or just go to my Flickr page at the link below in the signature. 90% of the photos were taken while I was out on rides.

    Thanks for the link . Ride safe .

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    Quote Originally Posted by InAfrica
    Too cool I am in Ouagadougou right now. Have never been to Cote d'Ivoire though. Small world huh?
    Eh beh. I lived in Tougan and Bobo-Dioulasso and have friends in Ouaga. I miss seeing the mopeds going down the main drag from Bobo to Ouaga completely covered in chickens. I haven't been to Burkina in years, but my sister was out visiting friends a summer or two ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InAfrica
    Biking in Africa is great. Go outside your place and you are on a trial. I am currently in Burkina Faso. Only bad thing about this place is it is very flat. Still nice tracks though. Check out this link for some of my rides with photos. Or just go to my Flickr page at the link below in the signature. 90% of the photos were taken while I was out on rides.
    If you ever find yourself down in Bobo or Banfora, you can find some pretty good hills. I used to ride a motorbike on the trails outside Bobo around the cliffs we called "The Rocks."

    I checked out your site. Did you get a chance to ride in Guinea? The Fouta Djallon has some nice mountains I was dying to ride, but had no bike. A few summers ago, my wife and I went out to Dakar, drove to Timbi Madina (near Labe) in Guinea, then eventually drove to Conakry and flew back to Dakar. Beautiful.

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    Unfortunately, due to my work I am pretty much stuck around the capital city I work. Still fun and I make it a point to get out of the city and to the country as much as I can.

    Guinea is where my wife is from and too bad Guinea is having all the political problems because I would love to go there soon. Dakar has pretty good trails outside the city, but a lot of sand traps though. West Africa is beautiful both in land and the people.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by InAfrica
    Guinea is where my wife is from and too bad Guinea is having all the political problems because I would love to go there soon.
    It looks like it's going to blow up a little more here soon. What a mess.

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    Man...my opinion would be to keep your bike as simple as possible......even the BB7's you are gonna require to change out the pads every once in a while......don't know how easy it would be to get those if you are out in the boonies....

    If it was me.....I would be looking at keeping the V-brakes and possibly going SS or 1 X just to minimize the number of parts/things that might require maintenance...

  19. #19
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    I still think that when your home, just stock up on spare parts. Not sure how often or hard you ride over there, but most components, even disc brake pads can have a pretty good life span.

    I think it also comes down to familiarity with components like disc brakes. If I were in your situation, wouldn't hesitate to go with hydraulic or mech discs, because I fiddle with them less than my previous v-brakes....but I also know how to maintain them (which is not rocket science).
    Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"

  20. #20
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    osmar & HTail
    Yea, this decision is making me go mad. I keep going back and forth. At least I have one more month before I need to place the order.

    Here I am doing 450 miles a month. Many of that is my commute to work and I try to do at least 50 miles on Sunday.

    I alway bring spare parts and this would not be a problem. I want to get disk now because the fork I want only is made for disc and I think most decent rims out there are now for disc.

    BB7 is really looking good. XTR hydraulics are still on my radar, but looking at the reviews I am nervous. The price of XTR disc looks rough too.

    I think I am going into circles right now.

  21. #21
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    It took me a couple steps to make the disc leap. I went from XT v-brakes to Avid BB7's then finally Avid Juicy hydraulic. Once on the hydraulic brakes, never looked back and never will. Hindsight, it did take some learning, trial/error to fiddle with discs, but most are pretty easy to maintain now- just basic tools and a bleed kit. Once setup, pretty much maintenance free till your pads wear out, or the line needs bleeding (rare unless you have a leak).

    Performance wise, discs can't be beat, no question. BB7's will give you more power and less fade than v's, but hydros, with lack of cable, have a nice light snappy feel and super power that can only come from hydro lines. Plus discs are way less prone to dust and mud given they are away from the rim/tire. If you deal with wet weather? Discs, depending on the pads can be noisy enough to wake up the safari tho!
    Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"

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    Traveled much JeffScott??...

    "Just pack the bike box right and you will have zero problems."

    Not quite. If you think about how rotors sit on a hub they are the first thing to take a whack when the box takes an impact, which they certainly will on a plane. Unless it is a VERY good hardcase the rotors are more likely to get bent when attached to the hub and the wheel is not installed in the frame, wheel removal is common when packing a bike in a box or travel case that is desinged to be within airline specs for lugage.

    "go to a drugstore and get some meineral oil there no probor a suitable substitute."

    Not quite, Shimano mineral oil contains addatives that increase the boiling point dramatically over "drugstore" mineral oil. Not the same thing and a very poor substitute.

    "Geez Shimano does not even sell in Iran I bet, or Somalia for that matter, they pay attention to US prohibitions."

    The OP lives and works in Africa for 1 to 2 years at a time. Ever been there? Pretty much the same situation, same part of the world. In many 3rd world countires there are lots of things that we take for granted that they simply do not have, or if they do they are very expensive. You have to consider this heavily when specing a bike for overseas travel. The OP lives and works in a capital city, which may help a bit. But even then there can be availability issues.

    "Bingo I got a pair of Shimano hydros, only every needed pads and some mineral oil."

    Like I said, sustainability. You'd be amazed at what is NOT available in third world contries! It would actually be easier to find Dot 4 brake fluid than it would mineral oil in many places. You have to go with stuff that you can find where you are going or that is reliable enough that you simply won't have to worry about it. Or you have to go with stuff that repair parts are easily taken along. Try getting a bottle of mineral oil on a plane! With the new security regs it ain't gonna happen!

    " Really why is that"

    See the first paragraph above.

    Good Dirt
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squash
    "Just pack the bike box right and you will have zero problems."

    Not quite. If you think about how rotors sit on a hub they are the first thing to take a whack when the box takes an impact, which they certainly will on a plane. Unless it is a VERY good hardcase the rotors are more likely to get bent when attached to the hub and the wheel is not installed in the frame, wheel removal is common when packing a bike in a box or travel case that is desinged to be within airline specs for lugage.

    "go to a drugstore and get some meineral oil there no probor a suitable substitute."

    Not quite, Shimano mineral oil contains addatives that increase the boiling point dramatically over "drugstore" mineral oil. Not the same thing and a very poor substitute.

    "Geez Shimano does not even sell in Iran I bet, or Somalia for that matter, they pay attention to US prohibitions."

    The OP lives and works in Africa for 1 to 2 years at a time. Ever been there? Pretty much the same situation, same part of the world. In many 3rd world countires there are lots of things that we take for granted that they simply do not have, or if they do they are very expensive. You have to consider this heavily when specing a bike for overseas travel. The OP lives and works in a capital city, which may help a bit. But even then there can be availability issues.

    "Bingo I got a pair of Shimano hydros, only every needed pads and some mineral oil."

    Like I said, sustainability. You'd be amazed at what is NOT available in third world contries! It would actually be easier to find Dot 4 brake fluid than it would mineral oil in many places. You have to go with stuff that you can find where you are going or that is reliable enough that you simply won't have to worry about it. Or you have to go with stuff that repair parts are easily taken along. Try getting a bottle of mineral oil on a plane! With the new security regs it ain't gonna happen!

    " Really why is that"

    See the first paragraph above.

    Good Dirt
    Squash,
    You are correct on many points. Over the past week I have went through some bandwidth researching this topic. I have come to the conclusion on these points.

    1. Hydros are not ready for what I am asking. O how I wish they were. Cannot take the risk of having a malfunction. If I do and get the parts DHL'ed to me I may not be able to service them. Also, the reviews I have read about the XTR BR-M975 have not led me to have much confidence. I would go with it if I was in the states.
    2. If I decide to go disc, mechanical is the way to go in my situation. Avid BB7's would be my choice from what I have read. Many people like them. Since these are mechanical, I could probably get my head around a problem if one occured.
    3. I want to get a six bolt rotor for the the Mavic Crossmax ST's that I am going to get. I have a great bike case for travel, but I know the rotors would be screwed if I left them on even before I arrived to the airport. I will need to take them off prior to putting in the case.

    With this said above, I may even stay with V-Brakes and not get the fork I want. But, if I do decide to go disc, Avid BB7's will be what I get and have the XTR duel control working with them.

    Learned a lot from this thread. Thanks for all the advice...

  24. #24
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    What about just taking the plunge and getting some nice hydraulic disc brakes, but pack your old v-brakes along with you? That way if your hydros ever do tear up to the point you can't fix them, you can always swap your old v-brakes back on.

  25. #25
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    If you go with discs and V brake backup you need to get wheels with braking surfaces on the rims. These were common a few years ago and I picked up a set of Sun Rhyno Lites that have worked well for the past ~4 years. Now they are a little harder to find but you could always have them built if you had to.

    The only thing I've had to do with the BB7s while I've been running them is change pads and tighten one screw.

  26. #26
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    [QUOTE=archer]If you go with discs and V brake backup you need to get wheels with braking surfaces on the rims. These were common a few years ago and I picked up a set of Sun Rhyno Lites that have worked well for the past ~4 years. Now they are a little harder to find but you could always have them built if you had to.

    The only thing I've had to do with the BB7s while I've been running them is change pads and tighten one screw.[This is why I am going to get the BB7's. Should not have a need for V brakes anymore. /QUOTE]

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