Hydros or cable disc brakes?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Hydros or cable disc brakes?

    Recently bought a well loved SIR 9 frame and fork for a smokin' deal.

    Gonna make it my daily commuter about 10 miles RT with little rolling hills.

    So the question becomes do I run hydros (XT) or cable disc brakes (Avid BB7/Pauls Klamper).

    Not terribly fast speeds, average 15mph on the flats, around 20ish MPH on the short rollers.

    I am all ears!

  2. #2
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    Deore works as well as XT does.

    If theft is a concern I'd put cheap stuff on it. If not, hydros.
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  3. #3
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    Power and modulation, you'll miss it when you ride a bike with it and have to go back to mechs. Definately hydro.

    The Klampers look really nice, but that price, oh my. Is that $180 for TWO, or just ONE? Even if it's two, you can get the caliper that uses the pad the Klampers borrow, (Avid Elixir), at the same price for two, in hydro.
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  4. #4
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    I have BB7s on 1 1/2 bikes(commuting MTB & fatbike), and have been very happy with them. I have XT hydros on my trail bike and I like those too. Either disc brake is so much better than non-discs that I'd recommend either one. Personal preference, meaning you can spend more but it's not necessary. There were questions about hydros in super cold weather, but I don't know if they have since proven themselves or if you are planning on using it in the cold.

  5. #5
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    I have both and would choose hydros. A bit more pain to install (shorten hoses) but so much easier to setup calipers and they feel nicer. Even the cheap Shimano brakes are excellent. I recently bought dirt cheap Shimano Acera BR-M395s and they are excellent, they feel just like the XTs on my other bike. Just a bit more heavier (and beefier).

  6. #6
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    I've never had any issues with my BB7's. I found them easy to install and they have required almost zero maintenance once adjusted properly. I have had zero experience with the XT hydros.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by verrocchio100 View Post
    Recently bought a well loved SIR 9 frame and fork for a smokin' deal.

    Gonna make it my daily commuter about 10 miles RT with little rolling hills.

    So the question becomes do I run hydros (XT) or cable disc brakes (Avid BB7/Pauls Klamper).

    Not terribly fast speeds, average 15mph on the flats, around 20ish MPH on the short rollers.

    I am all ears!
    gonna ride wet rainy roads, cool frosty mornings, dusty hot days.....long cold winters....anything like that drives you to hydro.

  8. #8
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    I have BB7's on my commuter right now. It's a drop bar bike and I didn't really have many hydro options when I built it. And the ones I DID have were top shelf and $$$ very expensive.

    All the mtb's I've ridden for the past 13 years or so have had hydros. I strongly prefer them when possible. Mostly because of the lever feel equation. They function much more smoothly and take a lot less effort to pull the lever. My current ones (Shimano XTR Trail), offer true one-finger braking, which gives me better control of the bike in chunky stuff by giving me more grip on the bars.

    I have my eyes on a couple of options for upgrading my commuter bike to hydros. The BB7's work, so it's not a huge priority at the moment.

  9. #9
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    BB7's are bombproof. I have them on two bikes, including the main commuter. Hydros are better, and I've never had an issue with a leak or a problem with sub-zero temperatures (F). I've had Hayes, Avids, and Shimano Deores. Hayes get the reliability vote (6 years with only pad replacements, no bleeding or fluid changes), Shimano gets the performance vote (modulation is sooooo good...way overkill for the commute, awesome on the trail bike), and Avids come in 3rd because so many friends have had problems with them. I only had one pair and no drama. Avid appears to be better at making mechanical brakes than hydraulic ones

    I vote BB7s for the commute just because of ease of roadside maintenance. If you need more brake for the commute, you need to slow down
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    BB7's are bombproof. I have them on two bikes, including the main commuter. Hydros are better, and I've never had an issue with a leak or a problem with sub-zero temperatures (F). I've had Hayes, Avids, and Shimano Deores. Hayes get the reliability vote (6 years with only pad replacements, no bleeding or fluid changes), Shimano gets the performance vote (modulation is sooooo good...way overkill for the commute, awesome on the trail bike), and Avids come in 3rd because so many friends have had problems with them. I only had one pair and no drama. Avid appears to be better at making mechanical brakes than hydraulic ones

    I vote BB7s for the commute just because of ease of roadside maintenance. If you need more brake for the commute, you need to slow down
    TRP Spyke and good quality compressionless cables. Way less maintenance than BB7, no issues with mid & snow slush, less weight, no drag.

    My road bike has as Spyre in both ends with not so great cables. Totally maintenance free, no drag, no whining.

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  11. #11
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    ^^ less maintenance than BB7's... not sure how that would look... do they actually fix other parts of your bike while you sleep at night?

    I haven't heard of those... but they look awesome! Quick look at the description...both pads actuate? That would be a superior design to the BB7's for sure. Not that I have any complaints about the BB7...
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  12. #12
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    Tektro (TRP) has been doing wonderful things lately. The HY/RD is also quite excellent, if you don't want to give up hydraulics, but would like easier maintenance.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhelander View Post
    TRP Spyke and good quality compressionless cables. Way less maintenance than BB7, no issues with mid & snow slush, less weight, no drag.
    I like mechanicals, and if I was buying some I'd go for Spykes too.

    I've got BB7s, and can only assume that the Spykes have to be an improvement. The BB7s aren't bad, and they work really well, but they are randomly SO loud (organic pads and no amount of cleaning will fix it), and the pads cant inwards which make tight adjustment more painful that it should be (or more painful than some junky Hayes that I've got).

    I would have already replaced my BB7s with Spykes, except for the stupid canadian dollar.

  14. #14
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    The one thing that pisses me off about BB7's is that the pads tilt inwards when you let go of the levers. To the point that the top of the pads actually move closer together even while the bottom part of the pads move farther apart. I like my brakes tight, and I definitely agree that it makes tight adjustment more painful than it should be.

    These are what I have my eye on:

    Hydraulic Shifters - Gevenalle

    Based off of the TRP Hylex brake system. But of course, this is a drop bar setup.

    My shop's got a bike with TRP HyRd brakes on it. Now those are pretty nice. Better feel than pure mechanical brakes. Most of the simplicity of a cable actuated brake. If I was going to buy a purely cable actuated brake, the Spyre/Spyke are NICE with the dual actuated pads and I'd buy them in a heartbeat.

  15. #15
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    I ran BB7s with Speed Dial levers for years as well as several hydros.

    The BB7s require a little more time and work to set up perfectly but once you put in the time, the modulation is almost as good as a hydro and the power is comparable to Shimano XTs. I really liked them a lot.

    However, once set up, good hydros are less work. With mineral oil based brakes like Shimano all you have to do is change pads when they wear out and every few years replace the fluid. I originally got the mechanicals because I thought they were more reliable and easier to fix on the side of a trail if something went wrong but after owning both that's just not the case. Still, you can't go wrong with BB7, just remember that they are not a set and forget brake like hydros are.

    One thing to remember is if you're looking at Shimano, all of their Deore and up 2 piston brakes have the same power and modulation. All you get in the higher end models is less weight and more features like tool free reach adjust and contact point adjust which really does nothing. Personally, I would go with Deore because they're cheaper than BB7s and they work just as well as the higher end Shimano brakes.

    It's not until you get to the 4 piston Zee and Saint brakes that you actually get more performance. The Zees can be found for about $160 for a pair. They offer lots more power than the 2 piston brakes while giving much better control and modulation. They're just a better all around brake but will cost a few bucks more. I would run them even on a commuter as long as I have the money for them because they have less of an on/off feeling and it's nice to have all the power you could ever want with just one finger.
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  16. #16
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    personally prefer hydraulic brakes...a lot easier to maintain and install, cable are more fiddly and messy, too much time tightening the wire.

    but its up to you, ive always prefered the hydraulic brakes
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    Tektro (TRP) has been doing wonderful things lately. The HY/RD is also quite excellent, if you don't want to give up hydraulics, but would like easier maintenance.
    I don't get it. You have a cable and a hydraulic system to maintain. You have the downsides of both and I'm trying to understand the upside. Maybe the hydraulics give a little more power but the BB7s were plenty to put me (240lbs) over the bars.

    You still have the maintenance of a hydraulic system including fluid changes and all of the same moving parts as well as maintenance of the cable system and the fact that the cable obviously only works in tension so you will never have the feel of a hydro.

    I see it as having the downsides of both with none of the upsides. Even the reviews tout them as having "almost" the power and modulation of a hydro. I can see them being for those that already have cable actuated brakes and don't want to bother with the full hydraulic install even though it's a 30 minute job including hose shortening and bleeding. If they're marketed toward those that don't want to change their levers I can see the benefit in that. But that's it. You just added more weight and a fluid that can boil, bringing in another potential failure point where with a fully mechanical system you only have to worry about pad fade and not fluid boiling. They cost more than a decent hydro. What am I missing?
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post
    I don't get it. You have a cable and a hydraulic system to maintain. You have the downsides of both and I'm trying to understand the upside. Maybe the hydraulics give a little more power but the BB7s were plenty to put me (240lbs) over the bars.

    You still have the maintenance of a hydraulic system including fluid changes and all of the same moving parts as well as maintenance of the cable system and the fact that the cable obviously only works in tension so you will never have the feel of a hydro.

    I see it as having the downsides of both with none of the upsides. Even the reviews tout them as having "almost" the power and modulation of a hydro. I can see them being for those that already have cable actuated brakes and don't want to bother with the full hydraulic install even though it's a 30 minute job including hose shortening and bleeding. If they're marketed toward those that don't want to change their levers I can see the benefit in that. But that's it. You just added more weight and a fluid that can boil, bringing in another potential failure point where with a fully mechanical system you only have to worry about pad fade and not fluid boiling. They cost more than a decent hydro. What am I missing?
    They probably won't last much longer now that there are true road hydro brakes on the market. The real driving force behind the HY/RD calipers is that you can use existing road levers with them. No, they're not as good as a pure hydraulic system. They're not as simple as a pure cable system, either. But when all that existed for drop bar bikes were cable actuated calipers, these boosted performance, even though they did sacrifice some simplicity for it. They were an intermediate step towards a hydraulic road lever.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    The one thing that pisses me off about BB7's is that the pads tilt inwards when you let go of the levers. To the point that the top of the pads actually move closer together even while the bottom part of the pads move farther apart. I like my brakes tight, and I definitely agree that it makes tight adjustment more painful than it should be.
    Those angled pads really are a design flaw.

    On my #3 bike I've got this set of crappy OEM Hayes, and because of vanity every so often I think I should "upgrade" to BB7s. And then I remember that the Hayes are completely painless, compared to the ching-ching-ching of well adjusted bb7s.

    Grrr. This just makes me want to blow money on Spykes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    They probably won't last much longer now that there are true road hydro brakes on the market. The real driving force behind the HY/RD calipers is that you can use existing road levers with them. No, they're not as good as a pure hydraulic system. They're not as simple as a pure cable system, either. But when all that existed for drop bar bikes were cable actuated calipers, these boosted performance, even though they did sacrifice some simplicity for it. They were an intermediate step towards a hydraulic road lever.
    That makes sense, thanks.
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  21. #21
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    Wait, you guys hear a light "ching" sound when you adjust your BB7's to good braking performance?!? Wow, I thought I was just that friggin bad at wrenching on the bike.
    dang

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    Yep. For me, best performance was always with the stationary pad as close to the rotor as possible. Even if it means a little noise with every revolution. I'm more prone to set them up that way when I'm doing more downhill or technical riding where I don't notice the sound. If I'm riding around the neighborhood for fun it will annoy me until I adjust it.
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    Half the time with my bb7s, I'll actually move the pads in closer, so that the noise becomes a constant whirr. It's much less annoying than the periodic ching-ching-chinging, and it's still not really causing much drag.

    But after my complaining in this thread, I did decide to get a set of Spykes. And the pads do sit straighter, so it's easier to get them in really tight. Not sure they're worth 2x the price of the bb7s, but I like having them on my "main" bike, and the bb7s demoted to my backup.

  24. #24
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    Great that means it can stop bugging me. I don't mind a little noise but I do at least try to fix noises which I think might lead to other problems. Actually I haven't ridden the mtb much lately because of it. Hmm... Winter's coming up though!
    dang

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    I never got along well with bb-7's, if not for lack of component choices I'd choose v's over them all day long. Hydros ftw.

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    My hydros always freeze up and get stiff during the winter. They still work, but they behave differently. I really like my BB7's.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by native29er View Post
    My hydros always freeze up and get stiff during the winter. They still work, but they behave differently. I really like my BB7's.
    Hmm, interesting. I was all set to spring for Hydros since, on my last couple of rides, the rear mechanical froze up. Huge difference in price.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by z1r View Post
    Hmm, interesting. I was all set to spring for Hydros since, on my last couple of rides, the rear mechanical froze up. Huge difference in price.
    I have ridden Shimano XTR hydro brakes for over 10 winters in a row....down to -36C...

    The brakes have never frozen up...I have had some leaks in the cold and I have had the disks freeze....

    But the mineral oil thickening up is a fantasy.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    I have ridden Shimano XTR hydro brakes for over 10 winters in a row....down to -36C...

    The brakes have never frozen up...I have had some leaks in the cold and I have had the disks freeze....

    But the mineral oil thickening up is a fantasy.
    Yep. The seals get stiff and they feel different, but they work.

    One of these days, my commuter will wind up getting hydros. It's not a high priority for me right now, but it will happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    I have ridden Shimano XTR hydro brakes for over 10 winters in a row....down to -36C...

    The brakes have never frozen up...I have had some leaks in the cold and I have had the disks freeze....

    But the mineral oil thickening up is a fantasy.
    I don't think I would exactly call it a fantasy. That implies that one would want it to freeze up. The point is, it really doesn't matter what's actually happening, the brakes FEEL significantly different, stiffer, sluggish and it sucks.

    I've used them in -20F degrees, and yah they still work. But why would you want to spend all that money, set up hydro (PITA), and then have something that modulates differently (and IMO feels like shit) depending on the daily temperature on your commute?

    Like anything, I suppose it's only a matter of preference. I've had both and I've never been happier than I am with the BB7.

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    Quote Originally Posted by native29er View Post
    I don't think I would exactly call it a fantasy. That implies that one would want it to freeze up. The point is, it really doesn't matter what's actually happening, the brakes FEEL significantly different, stiffer, sluggish and it sucks.

    I've used them in -20F degrees, and yah they still work. But why would you want to spend all that money, set up hydro (PITA), and then have something that modulates differently (and IMO feels like shit) depending on the daily temperature on your commute?

    Like anything, I suppose it's only a matter of preference. I've had both and I've never been happier than I am with the BB7.
    I've had both. Loved the BB7s. Love the hydros even more. I'm still amazed that people think setting up hydros is hard. For me, it's harder to properly set up the BB7s for best performance than it is to do hydros. Even cutting a hose to length can be done very easily and without bleeding and I've never had to spend more than 5 minutes on a bleed. The best thing is once it's done, it's done until you wear out the pads. No adjustments in between to compensate for pad wear and while I hate to admit it, the feel of the BB7s changed as the inboard stationary pad wore. Not just more lever travel but the modulation is hurt when the rotor has to bend more to contact the stationary pad. As I said, I loved my BB7s but for me, hydros have been more reliable, easier to set up, and less maintenance. Then again, I've only owned Shimano hydros.


    The feel of my hydros does not change from 32F to 400F which is the extreme on either end they see so my hydros do not change based on the weather. Obviously I've never had mine in serious cold but weather is a non issue for the majority of us.
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    Replaced the old BB7s with new BB7s & more stainless hardware. Happy

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    Quote Originally Posted by z1r View Post
    Hmm, interesting. I was all set to spring for Hydros since, on my last couple of rides, the rear mechanical froze up. Huge difference in price.
    Tektro Draco hydraulic discs are $50 a wheel and that includes the brake lever, caliper, pre-bled hose, and bleed kit. BB7s cost $50 just for the caliper.

    I have the Draco brakes and they are as good as my Shimano M615.

    In BikeRadars 2015 MTB brake test the Clarks M2 scored 4.5 stars, better than XTR, equal to Zee. A complete front and rear set including levers, calipers, hoses, and rotors is $70.

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    They are in no way equal to Zee unless you do some funky star rating system, don't get the facts straight, and factor in RETAIL price when Zees can be found at half of retail fairly easily.

    You should mention the Zees have DOUBLE the power according to their test while having extremely good modulation. The magazine is wrong in saying the Zees come with non finned pads, they come with finned pads, all 3 sets I've installed from 3 different manufacturers. Then they mention something about rotors not being Icetech when rotors are usually ordered separately.

    The Deore/SLX/XT/XTR brakes have considerably more power than the Clarks as well and XT is the least power I'm willing to accept.

    The Zees can be found for about double the price of the Clarks but you literally get double the power, modulation, heat rejection/fade resistance second to none, and excellent reliability. I hate tests like this that are incredibly skewed, leaving the enormous performance gap unmentioned.

    I also think I remember the Draco brakes having considerably less power than Deores. You can get the Shimano M355 hydros for under $100 front and rear with rotors and they have good power, modulation, fade resistance, and reliability. Far better than any other cheap brake I've used.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post
    They are in no way equal to Zee unless you do some funky star rating system, don't get the facts straight, and factor in RETAIL price when Zees can be found at half of retail fairly easily.

    You should mention the Zees have DOUBLE the power according to their test while having extremely good modulation. The magazine is wrong in saying the Zees come with non finned pads, they come with finned pads, all 3 sets I've installed from 3 different manufacturers. Then they mention something about rotors not being Icetech when rotors are usually ordered separately.

    The Deore/SLX/XT/XTR brakes have considerably more power than the Clarks as well and XT is the least power I'm willing to accept.

    The Zees can be found for about double the price of the Clarks but you literally get double the power, modulation, heat rejection/fade resistance second to none, and excellent reliability. I hate tests like this that are incredibly skewed, leaving the enormous performance gap unmentioned.

    I also think I remember the Draco brakes having considerably less power than Deores. You can get the Shimano M355 hydros for under $100 front and rear with rotors and they have good power, modulation, fade resistance, and reliability. Far better than any other cheap brake I've used.
    I have Zee, M615, and Draco. Yes, Zee is the best! But, you are wrong about Draco, they are great, every bit as good as M615. That's something to be happy about, cheap and cheerful and good hydraulic discs. From my experience with Dracos it is not hard for me to believe that the Clarks are good. If I needed some brakes I would certainly give them a try. That 70 bucks includes 180 and 160mm rotors and adapters. One thing about Zee, though. Mine came with the finned metallic pads and I hated them. As equipped they were not as good as the Dracos. I changed the pads to unfinned resin and that unlocked their greatness. The Clarks come with metallic pads but I'd bet they'd be better with resin. I paid $180 for a set of Zees, the cheapest price by far that I could find. One thing I like about the Dracos is the long brake lever. I like the Shimano lever too but not as much.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    I have Zee, M615, and Draco. Yes, Zee is the best! But, you are wrong about Draco, they are great, every bit as good as M615. That's something to be happy about, cheap and cheerful and good hydraulic discs. From my experience with Dracos it is not hard for me to believe that the Clarks are good. If I needed some brakes I would certainly give them a try. That 70 bucks includes 180 and 160mm rotors and adapters. One thing about Zee, though. Mine came with the finned metallic pads and I hated them. As equipped they were not as good as the Dracos. I changed the pads to unfinned resin and that unlocked their greatness. The Clarks come with metallic pads but I'd bet they'd be better with resin. I paid $180 for a set of Zees, the cheapest price by far that I could find. One thing I like about the Dracos is the long brake lever. I like the Shimano lever too but not as much.
    I'm also a resin pad user, including long, steep, high speed downhills with 250lbs to stop with the finned resins in the Zees and no issues. I haven't use the Drakos but I have a very hard time believing they have the power of the Deores.

    No matter how good the Clarks may be, they don't have much power. Maybe if there's a weight or usage limit such as <160lbs attached, they might be ok. According to the mag test, they literally have 1/2 the power of the Zees.

    My Zees came with finned metallic as well and I also switched. I went to finned resins. The metal pads were fine, the only reason I switched was when the bike sat for a day or two, I lost 80% of my braking power and I would have to ride the hell out of the brakes going downhill for several minutes to get the power back. It's like they were corroding while sitting. Obviously a pad problem, not a brake problem, and there's a whole thread on the issue, mostly metal pads and mostly the smaller 2 piston pads. Otherwise, the Zees with metal pads were great. You have to get the caliper alignment spot on with the metal pads which is harder with the Zee's wider pads. I made that mistake and had very little power and lots of noise at first. Once I got it properly aligned I had more power than I could ever need and not a sound from the brakes with finned metal pads.

    It's a bit misleading to say that the Zees are not as good as the Dracos out of the box and must have unfinned resin pads to unlock their greatness. Mine have worked very well with finned and non finned metal and finned resins which is all I've tried in them. If the metal pads didn't work for you, either the pads were faulty or the installation was not done correctly. I've seen metals behave horribly and resins perform great in the same brake. But when you dig deeper, the calipers were not aligned correctly and the resin pads quickly wore so that they were flat and true to the rotor where the metal pads, not wearing as quickly, had issues. Fins or no fins make no difference until you're well into a sustained downhill run and I've never been able to fade the metal or resin pads. You have to look into installation first and foremost when there's an issue and you have to qualify "not as good". Is it power, noise, feel, modulation, wear, what is it? That article put the Clarks right there with the Zees even though they don't have as good of modulation and they have half the power. I think most on this forum would not say they're equal based on those criteria.

    When you look at the brakes objectively, the Zees just run over everything else. Modulation is more objective than I think people want to believe while feel is subjective. I say that because a linear ramp up will generally give the most control, especially for first timers. I love the feel of the short lever, many people do, but some also like the longer levers and there's nothing wrong with that. I will say that I haven't felt another brake with the modulation of the Zees. The Guides come really close but their power is on par with XTs. At times I like the longer lever of the Guides as well. Where I have the problem is statements that are based on half truths because the person never got to the bottom of the issue which could have very well have been an installation error or a bad set of pads and now people may think that Zees don't work with finned metal pads which likely make up the majority of happy Zee users. If I had not dug deeper I would also be saying that they only work with resin but I later discovered I had made an error during setup and later I had a bad set of pads. You only stated that you hated the metal pads with no reason why or anything you tried to fix the problem.

    The only true problem I've had with every set of Zees is that they need to be bled out of the box. All 3 sets, 6 brakes, have needed to be bled. It's not a big deal and it only took up 5 minutes of my time but that's one thing I tell people is to be ready to bleed them when you get them.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
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  38. #38
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    I said I hated the finned metallic pads of the Zee and that is a fact. If I said they were no good then I could be criticized. I fiddled and fiddled with them to no avail. I finally got on the Internet and found people with the same problem who switched to resin. It was a no brainer what to do, get resin pads. I'm having no problem with unfinned pads on the Zee just as I have no problem with unfinned pads on the Draco and M615. I ride cross country in mountainous terrain.

    I replaced the Dracos with the Zees. Not because the Dracos were inadequate but because I wanted to try the Zees. The Zees were a great disappointment with the metal pads, inferior to the Dracos, I considered putting the Dracos back on. OTOH, the Dracos were a great surprise.
    Furthermore, I think the Dracos have better modulation than the M615 which are more on/off.

    I'm telling it like it is from actual experience with each of these brakes. I don't know what the bike blog hype is on these brakes. A lot of times the hype is based upon something other than actual experience. In other words, complete bull.

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    I will second the m355. They are the best brakes for the money hands down. They have great feel and surprising awesome power. I can one finger brake in all but the sketchiest sections. They lack adjustability in lever feel but honestly mine were perfect for me. Nice and firm with not much lever movement before the pads engage.

  40. #40
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    So much consternation over brakes.

    I adjust my brakes every couple months, can change a wheel without re-adjusting, install a new set of pads once every two years and replace a rotor--oops, rim--once every 3 to 5. Cable actuated with great modulation (w/e that marketing term means) and effective stopping power-pull levers, bike stops.

    It's commuting by bicycle. Do people obsess over the highest performance brakes for the family sedan? I don't see many people carriers sporting Brembo brakes with ceram-o-crab0n discs.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    So much consternation over brakes.

    I adjust my brakes every couple months, can change a wheel without re-adjusting, install a new set of pads once every two years and replace a rotor--oops, rim--once every 3 to 5. Cable actuated with great modulation (w/e that marketing term means) and effective stopping power-pull levers, bike stops.

    It's commuting by bicycle. Do people obsess over the highest performance brakes for the family sedan? I don't see many people carriers sporting Brembo brakes with ceram-o-crab0n discs.
    Nothing wrong with rim brakes. In fact, dual pivot calipers are the most trouble free brakes and the control is excellent. I have two road bikes, one with dual pivot calipers and one with hydraulic discs. The one with discs is so much better to ride, better control, less effort, more confidence. It's not just about performance, riding is just better. Hydraulic road discs are expensive at the moment but it will trickle down, just as it has with mountain bikes. If I were presently building a bike I'd go ahead and get hydraulic and skimp on the rest of the build. It's that worth it.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    So much consternation over brakes.

    I adjust my brakes every couple months, can change a wheel without re-adjusting, install a new set of pads once every two years and replace a rotor--oops, rim--once every 3 to 5. Cable actuated with great modulation (w/e that marketing term means) and effective stopping power-pull levers, bike stops.

    It's commuting by bicycle. Do people obsess over the highest performance brakes for the family sedan? I don't see many people carriers sporting Brembo brakes with ceram-o-crab0n discs.
    My daily driver Acura TL has a Stoptech big brake kit, 13" rotors, 4 pot calipers. 11.2" rotors on a 3,500lb nose heavy car is not enough. 13" is barely enough for spirited mountain back road driving even with only 250hp. It's just my 4 door daily driver that rarely gets driven hard but overkill is never a bad thing.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
    '09 Epic Comp
    '14 Trance SX -

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    I said I hated the finned metallic pads of the Zee and that is a fact. If I said they were no good then I could be criticized. I fiddled and fiddled with them to no avail. I finally got on the Internet and found people with the same problem who switched to resin. It was a no brainer what to do, get resin pads. I'm having no problem with unfinned pads on the Zee just as I have no problem with unfinned pads on the Draco and M615. I ride cross country in mountainous terrain.
    You STILL have not said why you hated the Zees with finned metallic pads. You STILL have not said what this "same problem" is that everyone else is having. Is it a secret? I also ride cross country in mountainous terrain, along with some great downhill. The metal pads worked great in pure cross country use as well as downhill just as the resins do.

    The Zees work great with finned metal pads, they're just less forgiving to a less than optimal caliper alignment than resins are. The resins will wear in more quickly to hide a bad alignment while metals will protest with noise and less than optimal power for a long time. Do you really think fins vs no fins with the same friction compound make a difference in how the brakes work? Then again, for all I know with the information you've given, maybe it was the look of the finned metal pads that you didn't like.
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    I replaced the Dracos with the Zees. Not because the Dracos were inadequate but because I wanted to try the Zees. The Zees were a great disappointment with the metal pads, inferior to the Dracos, I considered putting the Dracos back on. OTOH, the Dracos were a great surprise.
    Again, I guess it's a big secret as to why the Zees were a great disappointment and why they were inferior to Dracos. I guess as long as you never say what the problem was you can continue saying they were a disappointment or they were inferior to Dracos. If you gave a reason why, you might be challenged so I get it.
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    Furthermore, I think the Dracos have better modulation than the M615 which are more on/off.
    Maybe they do but you need to post details with a brake comparison such as the type of pads being used, whether or not they were tested with the same rotors or not, maybe even the reason why you didn't like a certain brake which apparently is too top secret to disclose.
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    I'm telling it like it is from actual experience with each of these brakes. I don't know what the bike blog hype is on these brakes. A lot of times the hype is based upon something other than actual experience. In other words, complete bull.
    You're telling us your subjective opinion. You have not stated a single fact, nothing objective that would describe anything wrong with the Zees. Just your feelings. Speaking of hype, you hype up brakes with literally half the power of the Zee and with poorer modulation as being equal. What criteria do you use to compare brakes? I haven't used Draco brakes, never will, but that's not necessary to know that Zees work great with metal pads. In the beginning when my Zees had no power and were noisy as hell it was because I did a poor job of aligning the caliper to the rotor. Instead of jumping ship straight to resins, I got to the bottom of the problem and had them working great on the finned metal pads. Since Zees are marketed as a downhill brake, most come with finned metal pads and since just about all reviews are positive I figured I had done something wrong in the setup which was the case. After spending a little time aligning the caliper better, they worked great with metal pads. I later went to resins for other reasons but Zee brakes work very well with finned metal pads, finned resin pads, pretty much any pad Shimano makes for them, unless you do a poor job of setting them up. You probably did the right thing by going with resins.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
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  44. #44
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    ...Draco, they are great, every bit as good as M615.
    Wholeheartedly agree. Bought a set when Jenson ran a sale on them (49 bucks a wheel). Totally impressed me. They've got substantial reservoirs, use Shimano mineral oil and bleed like Shimanos too. The workmanship on them is top-notch, right down to little things like the caliper being tapped for a 3mm pad retention bolt instead of a cheapo split pin.

    Quote Originally Posted by native29er View Post
    ...set up hydro (PITA), and then have something that modulates differently (and IMO feels like shit) depending on the daily temperature on your commute? I've had both and I've never been happier than I am with the BB7.
    I have BB7s on my XC rig and hydros on the commuter. Honestly, setting up hydraulic disc brakes is every bit as much of a doddle as setting up mechanicals. If you can do one, you can do the other. For those (like me) who work on their own bikes, and are no strangers to overhauling hubs or sizing and installing chains, they'll discover that brake work is not challenging. Yes, hydraulics can be temperature sensitive, but any change at the lever is pretty insignificant, and most importantly, they still work. I do agree with you that BB7s are a very capable brake, and it's surprising how excellent they are when compared with a number of hydraulics.

    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    So much consternation over brakes...It's commuting by bicycle.
    +1. Enjoy the positive rep.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonez68 View Post
    Wholeheartedly agree. Bought a set when Jenson ran a sale on them (49 bucks a wheel). Totally impressed me. They've got substantial reservoirs, use Shimano mineral oil and bleed like Shimanos too. The workmanship on them is top-notch, right down to little things like the caliper being tapped for a 3mm pad retention bolt instead of a cheapo split pin.
    Yes, I noticed that too, the screw for the pads instead of a cotter pin. And, the star nut reservior plug that won't strip as easily. Another thing I like, compared to Shimano, is the ergonomics of the reservior, all smooth, nicer to drape the hands over.

    You have the Draco II, I have the OEM Draco. I don't know the difference but they are plenty good.

    Lever, caliper, hose, pre-bled, bleed kit all for $49, the price of BB7 calipers only. As good as BB7s are, the Dracos are much better yet and much cheaper.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    Yes, I noticed that too, the screw for the pads instead of a cotter pin. And, the star nut reservior plug that won't strip as easily. Another thing I like, compared to Shimano, is the ergonomics of the reservior, all smooth, nicer to drape the hands over.

    At least you're getting a little specific. I have a couple questions though. What advantage does the screw have over the cotter pin; in what way does the screw benefit you? I stole the screw from my XTs and put them on my Zees because I like that looks better but that's pretty subjective, cosmetic, and did nothing for performance.

    How many reservoir plugs have you or anyone EVER stripped out? I know I've never come close. Use the correct tool, insert to the full depth, no problems. Plus, with Shimano you will rarely ever have to remove that screw.

    I was with you on the ergonomics of the reservoir as a valid reason (even though I don't agree) until you said the reason why. Do you drape your hands over the reservoir regularly? I can't say that I do or ever have. The only part of the master my fingers touch is the levers. Maybe your brake placement needs to be adjusted because reservoir comfort on hands should never be a thought.

    I'm glad you gave reasons this time but with one being subjective, one being a problem that doesn't exist, and one amounting to a misadjusted lever, it just wouldn't sway me to try your brakes. Especially when you leave out the important stuff like modulation, power, heat tolerance, reliability, and feel, the stuff that counts.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    As good as BB7s are, the Dracos are much better yet and much cheaper.
    I don't know which one is "better" so no argument from me there but there you go again saying Dracos are "better" than BB7s without a reason why. Is it because you don't like letter "B" in BB7 or some other reason. So I'll ask, how are Dracos "much better" than BB7s? Back up your opinion with your facts so people can get some useful info from someone who has used both.

    Avid Juicy 5s are better than everything. Trust my opinion. See how that might sound a little funny? I'm done, I've made my point. Continue posting baseless opinions. Almost forgot, blue is better than yellow.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
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  47. #47
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    I've had shimanos freeze up on me in cold weather so i don't like them. Also when its time to bled its a hassle.
    I've also had formulas with dot fluid and those really need bleeding once a year, or they will push the pistons out and lock up while the bike is resting. Seems finicky and air/moisture gets in sooner or later.

    Now i run bb7 roads and they are more maintainence but its done with a hex/torx wrench. So i prefer that. but mostly you just adjust the barrel adjusters once a month or so. Sure not as powerful or good feeling as good hydros. But I can run these with road levers, time trial levers, mtb levers and so on. And if you grab them hard they will definitely stop you as quickly as anything else.

    Only downside with the bb7s is that you need to figure out how to initially set them up or they will never be good.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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