Cheapest Cyclocross disk brake setup- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cheapest Cyclocross disk brake setup

    I am converting an old SS 29er Karate Monkey into a monstercross bike and I am lost trying to find a cheap set of disk brakes that will work with drop bars.

    So far I can only find shifter/brake lever combos in the 2-300 dollar price range.
    Which sucks when I can get a cheap pair disk brakes for my mountain bike for less than $40

    Are there any cheap hydraulic brake sets that work with a drop bar set up?

  2. #2
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    If you're considering mechs at all the TRP spyres are solid, way better than avid or any other mechs I've used.

    Can't think of any super cheap road hydros though, $100 - $130 per set for trp or shimano hydros is about as cheap as I can think of.
    WTB: Med Bontrager Ti Lite, PM Me...

  3. #3
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    Avid BB7?

  4. #4
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    TRP Hylex might be the cheapest way to get hydraulic brakes on drop bars, but then you are single speed/bar end shifters/down tube shifters/some other kind of bodge job. I like bar ends tho, and Microshift makes a decent quality bar end for almost any drivetrain you want to run.

    Also worth a look at Gevenalle - they have good looking options based on the TRP Hylex also.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedyStein View Post
    TRP Hylex might be the cheapest way to get hydraulic brakes on drop bars, but then you are single speed/bar end shifters/down tube shifters/some other kind of bodge job. I like bar ends tho, and Microshift makes a decent quality bar end for almost any drivetrain you want to run.

    Also worth a look at Gevenalle - they have good looking options based on the TRP Hylex also.
    To add to this-

    I have hylex + barcons on my gravel bike. The hylex brakes are EXCELLENT, once they're set up. Tons of power, really comfortable, crazy smooth. They can be shimano-grabby or sram subtle, depending on how you pull the levers. They're pretty bad-weird in lots of little ways which i'll elaborate on if asked.

    I was all fired up for gevenalle+hylex, but was super turned off by them in use. If you're going fast and in the drops, the reach for the gear lever sucks. I don't like doing pedaly descents on the hoods, either. The barcons, otoh, are seamless if you can give up shifting while standing. When i'm on the hoods i don't mind moving my hand down to shift, and when i'm in the drops i can almost shift while braking- it's a small adjustment in hand position.

    For me, gevenalle might be an option for racing CX (but i'd just pony up for GRX), but that's it.

    Either way, the best thing about going with a microshift shifter is you can run either mtb or a road cassette. They made it possible for me to run a compact double and 11-40, without any bodges. Another nice detail is you can shift as many gears as you want, even the whole cassette, in 1 hand motion. They're really fast.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post

    They're pretty bad-weird in lots of little ways which i'll elaborate on if asked.
    What do you mean here? I will eventually pull the trigger on either Hylex or Shimano GRX/Ultegra, but want to have a good understanding of the quirks of Hylex before deciding. There aren't very many reviews out there from folks who use them on a regular basis, just lots of magazines that had them for a day. I'm very familiar with Shimano MTB hydraulic brakes, have them on 3 bikes with different rotors and pad compounds, and hope that Hylex have a similar feel with right pads/rotors. I really want to go with Hylex because I already have bar-ends, and basically resonate with everything you said about them above, but I gotta make sure that the braking is gonna be on par before making my investment. Currently running Spyres/TRP levers/compressionless housing/Shimano pads and rotors, hoping to find more power in Hylex.


    I was thinking that same thing about the Gevenalle shifters - they just seem like they would always be in the wrong spot. Definitely would like to ride a set to feel for sure though, just to satisfy my curiosity.

  7. #7
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    These are some of the best mechanical (road-friendly) disc brakes I've tried:

    https://www.gravelbike.com/second-lo...x-disc-brakes/
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedyStein View Post
    want to have a good understanding of the quirks of Hylex before deciding
    -The biggest problem with hylex is the hoods. They're VERY easy to tear when installing/removing, and they need to be removed to bleed/top-up the mineral oil. They're rubber and wear out quickly, there's no aftermarket alternative, and i worry that replacements won't be available in the long term. They cost 20$ and i get ~5k out of them assuming i don't tear one. (i don't mind the short service life- they feel amazing in your hands!)

    -the caliper doesn't have an adjustable banjo. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it was for me. TRP sold me a parabox caliper (very cheaply) which fixed the problem, but it's worth noting.

    -there's a huge hole in the 'housing' of the lever behind where the hose connects. Right where the heels of your hands sit. I filled it in with some cork, but until i did so it felt terrible under your hands, and was liable to cut the delicate hoods.

    -the lever reach adjustment is just a threaded rod, and can move after you've adjusted the reach a few times and worn away the threadlocker. Gotta add more threadlocker. This is extra relevant cuz you really should remove the lever to remove the delicate hood.

    -it might be a problem with my TRP bleed kit, but i can't pull a vacuum on the hylex brakes w/o introducing air. Push only.

    -the lever is suuuper wide at the base. This appears to be by design, and it's fine if you shim the gap with some bar tape. It makes it difficult for someone with average sized hands to wrap their fingers around the base of the hoods so they don't get bucked off, though. It's an unnecessary design feature that some people will have problems with, so why?


    To be clear, i really like these brakes. No regrets at all. Everything aside from the first point is easily worked around. But it all could have been avoided in the design phase, imo.

    Quote Originally Posted by GRAVELBIKE View Post
    These are some of the best mechanical (road-friendly) disc brakes I've tried:

    https://www.gravelbike.com/second-lo...x-disc-brakes/
    I've used those. They're good. Not sure i'd choose them over BB7r or spires. They're not worth consideration if you can run hylex.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    -The biggest problem with hylex is the hoods. They're VERY easy to tear when installing/removing, and they need to be removed to bleed/top-up the mineral oil. They're rubber and wear out quickly, there's no aftermarket alternative, and i worry that replacements won't be available in the long term. They cost 20$ and i get ~5k out of them assuming i don't tear one. (i don't mind the short service life- they feel amazing in your hands!)

    -the caliper doesn't have an adjustable banjo. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it was for me. TRP sold me a parabox caliper (very cheaply) which fixed the problem, but it's worth noting.

    -there's a huge hole in the 'housing' of the lever behind where the hose connects. Right where the heels of your hands sit. I filled it in with some cork, but until i did so it felt terrible under your hands, and was liable to cut the delicate hoods.

    -the lever reach adjustment is just a threaded rod, and can move after you've adjusted the reach a few times and worn away the threadlocker. Gotta add more threadlocker. This is extra relevant cuz you really should remove the lever to remove the delicate hood.

    -it might be a problem with my TRP bleed kit, but i can't pull a vacuum on the hylex brakes w/o introducing air. Push only.

    -the lever is suuuper wide at the base. This appears to be by design, and it's fine if you shim the gap with some bar tape. It makes it difficult for someone with average sized hands to wrap their fingers around the base of the hoods so they don't get bucked off, though. It's an unnecessary design feature that some people will have problems with, so why?


    To be clear, i really like these brakes. No regrets at all. Everything aside from the first point is easily worked around. But it all could have been avoided in the design phase, imo.
    Great info, thanks for the detailed response. Do you find these require service/bleeding more frequently than Shimano brakes? I think the rest of the items on your list I can work around, just curious if they need frequent fiddling with/bleeding. Thanks again!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedyStein View Post
    Great info, thanks for the detailed response. Do you find these require service/bleeding more frequently than Shimano brakes? I think the rest of the items on your list I can work around, just curious if they need frequent fiddling with/bleeding. Thanks again!
    No. They're super solid, and my impression is that they should be able to go longer between bleeds than shimano/sram. I used a shimano olive/barb on these brakes when i set them up, and it caused me endless headache figuring out why i'd have a spongy lever after 4-5 rides. They didn't leak for my first 1000 miles.

    But yeah- they're great, and if you know about their quirks in advance they're no problem at all. It's just disappointing that such an outstanding product isn't on par with the big S'es because of a bunch of small concerns. This is my 3rd set of TRP brakes, and it's been like that for all of them. Mostly it's frustrating because they SHOULD be a slam-dunk, but they're not.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    No. They're super solid, and my impression is that they should be able to go longer between bleeds than shimano/sram. I used a shimano olive/barb on these brakes when i set them up, and it caused me endless headache figuring out why i'd have a spongy lever after 4-5 rides. They didn't leak for my first 1000 miles.

    But yeah- they're great, and if you know about their quirks in advance they're no problem at all. It's just disappointing that such an outstanding product isn't on par with the big S'es because of a bunch of small concerns. This is my 3rd set of TRP brakes, and it's been like that for all of them. Mostly it's frustrating because they SHOULD be a slam-dunk, but they're not.
    Good to know, use TRP stuff to assemble! Really leaning towards the Hylex, I can live with the quirks. Thanks again for sharing your experience with them, definitely helpful!

  12. #12
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    Why not just keep your converted bike with a flat bar? As you point out you'll have better (and much cheaper) options for brakes. Unless you're looking to be highly competitive in a race, I don't think you lose much of anything by not having drop bars.

  13. #13
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    The only issue Iíve had with my trp hylex brakes was the o-ring on the bleed screw tears immediately and youíre left wondering if itís sealed. (IIRC, the threads or the housing tore it, I canít remember now.). I did struggle to get the rear bled, but I suck at bleeding brakes...donít think it had anything to do with the trpís.

    I run mine with a GX mountain bike 1x11 shifter and a Paul Components clamp. It works perfectly, but obviously you have to take your hand off the hood to shift.
    https://www.paulcomp.com/shop/compon...ifter-adaptor/
    whatever...

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