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  1. #1
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    best kids MTB brake

    I'm building up a new trailcraft 24" for my son and I'm not a fan of Shimano brakes which is all they offer right now. I'd like to see what everyone else has used for their kids. If I have to go Shimano I will but I'd really like to try something else. I know Tektro seems to make what they refer to as junior levers for a couple of its brake sets. Brett at Trailcraft is looking into these for me. I'm curious if anyone has tried hope race evo brakes. they generally have good adjustability on their larger master cylinders but I've never seen a set of of the race evos in person. Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Kids specific brakes are often the worst for kids old enough to ride a 24". Simply because they are actually like a 4 finger moto lever. Its dumb. You ideally want a nice 1 finger lever that is shorter. Also integrating with the shifter would be nice as it gives more adjustment options without shifter interference (those cheap tektro clamps have a huge bulge that bumps into our shifter on our spawn).

    SRAM Guides aren't a bad brake for kids. I have a set of guide RSC on my own bike. Love them but I should have put on some Codes instead for the power and modulation...not enough power, tho on par with my old xt brakes. But for kids, the guides are pretty nice and you could fix them too the shimano shifter using the mismatch solution or whatever called.

    My guess is that the fancy Magura 1 finger lever would be ideal but I'm just speculating tho it looks the part! Brett is a ultra sharp dude tho,I'd bet he can fix you up tho.

  3. #3
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    if money is not an issue, get XT brakes, you can setup the lever high plus you can reuse it on the next bike for your kid later.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by regiobike View Post
    if money is not an issue, get XT brakes, you can setup the lever high plus you can reuse it on the next bike for your kid later.
    XT are the best I've tried .... if you actually follow the counter initiative instruction bite point actually works and the levers are as small as any. SLX work as well if you replace the safety screw.

    Brakes are pretty personal and bit of what you get used to... and it's not like grip shift where 95% of people detest... but more 50/50.... It doesn't seem to be genetic... Jnr certainly sets his up different to mine... but I'm not going to switch to something with long levers which seems a lot like chucking out the baby with the bathwater.


    However ... My opinion is also that unless you are a millennial snowflake then learning to bleed your own brakes is part of MTBing... and quite honestly I don't trust my now 9yr old with DOT fluid....

  5. #5
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    I just fit some new/secondhand Shimano XTR race brakes to my son's bike. Cheap due to being an older model but nothing much has changed in Shimano's brakes since and they don't have the servowave feature so aren't so bitey like typical Shimano's. Light and a proper 1 finger lever to help discourage any bad habits from old 2 finger cable V brakes on his last bike.

  6. #6
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    You haven't seen the massive Guide fail threads have you? Haven't had to deal with sram warranty yet either?

  7. #7
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    I've found hope to be pretty good for small hands. Shame about the price.

  8. #8
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    Guides definitely had some early issues. The sticky piston thing was the most notable that I've seen. The rev B guides are OK I think unless I've missed some new issue. I have guide rsc on my bike and they have been great, tho I'd like a bit more power out of them like a Code I think.

    Not to say I wouldn't rather have magura 1893's tho.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    You haven't seen the massive Guide fail threads have you? Haven't had to deal with sram warranty yet either?
    Is that still an issue? Warranty replacements on my son's Rokkusuta have had no issues in over a year. Warranty process was super easy through my LBS. Obviously YMMV in that regard.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by POAH View Post
    I've found hope to be pretty good for small hands. Shame about the price.
    I thought they might be but I dont have a set on hand to test. And obviously I'd rather not make that investment if they dont work well for my son

  11. #11
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    People are still buying guides today that are failing. It's an ongoing problem.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRPABT1 View Post
    People are still buying guides today that are failing. It's an ongoing problem.
    Yup, problems for at least 5 years now. I have a set of Guides on one of my bikes which have been fine, a few friends have had the "brakes in sun/hot cars issues" though.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/g...1011229-8.html

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    Is that still an issue? Warranty replacements on my son's Rokkusuta have had no issues in over a year. Warranty process was super easy through my LBS. Obviously YMMV in that regard.
    Warranty doesn't make up for a weekend's lost riding though ...

    I gave a pair to a friend and last summer we were at a race ... and he ended up having to pour iced water over the brake levers before his lad raced... (and it wasn't even that hot and the bike had been transported on the back of the car)...
    He just about got through the race and we set off after the race and it locked up after 10 mins... luckily I had a spare bike in the car so we could borrow a brake for the rest of the day otherwise he would have ended up driving home with his younger kid and him not having been able to ride that day.

    We looked at fixing it... but as he said he'd just be waiting for the other lever to fail...

  14. #14
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    I agree that the kids specific brakes can be junk. Especially if you use the pads they come with.

    I swapped to salmon koolstop pads and significantly improved the quality of the braking.

    The other kids bike has avid bb5 and it's a great setup for him.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    XT all the way. Affordable. Bomb proof. Fully adjustable. Parts are easily available.

    SRAM..nope. Hope. Sure I guess. They are certainly nice. But I can't see the hype and I haven't seen anything that tells me they are exponentially better than a standard ol' XT brake system.

  16. #16
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    Either of the 4 pot hopes are better than the twin pot shimano. There is no difference between deore, slx and xt. The levers are not well suited to small hands and not the greatest design full stop. That being said hope are stupidly overpriced. I have xt, slx, zee, saint and hope on my bikes/kids bikes.

  17. #17
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    Iíve got the race evoís paired with e4ís. Far less adjustment than the tech 3ís but they did the job for about a year.

    I took them off my mountain bike and put Ďem on my commuter because I can.

    I am 90kg so Iím now riding v4ís.

    If it were me, Iíd pair the race evos with x2ís.


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    Yup, problems for at least 5 years now. I have a set of Guides on one of my bikes which have been fine, a few friends have had the "brakes in sun/hot cars issues" though.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/g...1011229-8.html
    Wow, good to know. That makes me not want to buy anything from SRAM on principle alone.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    Wow, good to know. That makes me not want to buy anything from SRAM on principle alone.
    Welcome to the club

  20. #20
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    Fwiw I had a pair of the faulty 2016 guides, sram swapped me out for current guides and I haven't had a problem with them. I love the way they preform. Great power and adjustability. I think they would be great for kids as the levers and bite point are super adjustable. Also very easy to bleed.

    I have old school hope Enduro 4s on my DH bike and love them. Bombproof and just feel great.

    I'll be trying some magura trail carbons on my son's new bike. I don't have previous experience with them so we'll see how it goes. If the levers don't work well for little hands I'll put them on my bike and give him my Guides.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikePilot1 View Post
    I think they would be great for kids as the levers and bite point are super adjustable. Also very easy to bleed.
    When you say the levers are adjustable how do you mean ? Can you can buy a shorter lever and replace the existing one ?

  22. #22
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    I mean in and out relative to the grip. You can move the levers static position over a pretty wide range and also move the bite point in and out. This is for guide rsc and above, lower end models are less adjustable.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  23. #23
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    Have you seen/tried the brakes on the Pine Ridge up close? I know as adults we get stuck in brand preference due to our own experiences but a 70 lb rider on a 22 lb bike will be a completely different animal. The stock Shimano brakes on Si's Pine Ridge are awesome. They've got a nice, short, 2 finger lever that is easy for him to reach. Then you compare that to the POS Tektro brakes (cable) on little brothers 20", so ridiculous. The levers are twice as long, not adjustable (without a hack) and too far away. I need to heat the levers with a torch and bend them. It makes me loathe even putting him on that bike, but he's not big enough for the 24 yet. I was dubious about the stock rotors on the 24" getting it done, indeed there isn't much there, but modulation & stopping have been a total non-issue.

    Anyway, sorry if it sounds like I'm doing a sales pitch for Brett & Ginger, but the TC is a well sorted bike out of the box. Good luck with the build, whichever way you go. The kiddo is going to love it!

  24. #24
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    I haven't, which Shimano brakes does it have?

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  25. #25
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    You can get XT or M396 depending on the build. Siís has XT. Hereís pic off the web of what the XT looks like on the Pine Ridge.

    https://mtbwithkids.com/trailcraft-m...ake-detail-01/

  26. #26
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    Nice, thanks!

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  27. #27
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    I am also moving my son's shimano XT brakes from his 20 inch plus size bike to the new pineridge from trail craft we are building up. my son really likes the XT brakes. 2 finger action and lots of adjustments for small hands.

    has anyone tryed drilling holes in some avid or shimano rotors to make the rotor a little lighter?
    I was thinking of drilling equal size holes,180 degrees away from each other trying to get the weight down.
    Then use a larger drill bit to make a chamfer on the rotor.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasontech17 View Post
    I am also moving my son's shimano XT brakes from his 20 inch plus size bike to the new pineridge from trail craft we are building up. my son really likes the XT brakes. 2 finger action and lots of adjustments for small hands.

    has anyone tryed drilling holes in some avid or shimano rotors to make the rotor a little lighter?
    I was thinking of drilling equal size holes,180 degrees away from each other trying to get the weight down.
    Then use a larger drill bit to make a chamfer on the rotor.
    Just buy lighter rotors, the Ashima work well with kids weight.

  29. #29
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    +1, buy Ashima. I'd be afraid that you might induce stresses into the rotor or that you might create a weak/failure point.

  30. #30
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    Heh, drillium will never die.

  31. #31
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    I just got a used Pineridge and I have to say, the stock setup is really solid...Deore brakes & 160mm Ashima rotors. With my 180lbs aboard it still stops like crazy, and the levers are quite small actually.

    That said, the Magura Trails are really excellent as well. I run the non-carbon Trail Sport and am very impressed...one-finger levers (I much prefer the alloy over carbon), great modulation, plenty of power (using 180/160 Magura HC rotors).

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