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  1. #1
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    Jun 2018

    Best Fat Bike Brakes & Rotor Size

    So I recently did a long shuttle ride over 2.5 hours downhill on my fat bike and my Shimano Deore brakes just weren't cutting it. I have 180mm rotors and usually they work just fine, but by the end of this ride they were squeaking and I lost a lot of my stopping power.

    Thinking of replacing them with some Hope Tech 3 E4 Brakes. From the reviews I have read they seem to be pretty awesome though more expensive than most, Any one have experience with these or any other brakes that work well stopping the massive wheels that we use? I figure with the extra weight of our wheels and tires we may need some all mountain type brakes to do the job well enough. Any opinions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Unless you plan to do that ride every day and ride nothing else, I'd get new pads and new, larger rotors for your current brakes. No reason they can't work just fine. Be sure to bed them in properly to start.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BlueCheesehead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    If you have not asked this question in "Brake Time" you may want to.

    I am not expert but I would go one step at a time:
    1.) New pads (semi metallic)
    2.) Larger rotors
    3.) Look at new calipers

  4. #4
    fading away
    Reputation: Leopold Porkstacker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    “Best” is a personal preference, however, having ridden ONLY Avid BB7 mechanicals since 2009/2010 (160/160 and 180/160 setup F/R), I recently upgraded to TRP Spyke (mechanical yet two-piston actuation) 180/180 (F/R) with TRP 180mm rotors and I swear this is the missing link – dual-piston actuation, and no mineral oil or brake fluid to boil. I am contemplating upgrading to a 200mm rotor in front to see how much more awesomer it might be, as my current fatbike is set up for rather aggressive trail riding (slacker front end thanks to 120mm Bluto fork on a frame designed for non-suspension-corrected rigid fork, coupled with 35mm stem and 780mm bar, and so I could possibly benefit from a larger rotor up there.
    goodbye cruel world. I am leaving you today.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by Fattyrider38 View Post
    Any one have experience with these or any other brakes that work well stopping the massive wheels that we use?
    I have Zees with 180/160 RT81s
    Best Fat Bike Brakes & Rotor Size-f.jpg Best Fat Bike Brakes & Rotor Size-r.jpg

    The bike isn't that heavy but 4 piston brakes + 4.8" rubber offers a braking experience like no other. Proper brick wall effect as in 'I've just run into a...'

    Quote Originally Posted by Fattyrider38 View Post
    Thinking of replacing them with some Hope Tech 3 E4 Brakes
    Hmm I have some E4s as well and they are pretty good but different to the Zees. The Hopes have a meatier lever pull, and compared to the Zees they have less bite - some might say less grab - but once you're used to it they're just as effective. The Zees are good for comfort braking and kind of steadying the ship whereas the Hopes are a bit wooden at very small lever movements. In terms of absolute power they're identical but the Hope's heavier pull does get a bit distracting on long descents. Personally I like them both. The Zees are basically Deore levers and Saint calipers with less expensive fittings whereas the Hopes are superbly machined and generally nicer to look at. Functionally I prefer the Zees but the Hopes are more bling

  6. #6
    All fat, all the time.
    Reputation: Shark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Hope V2 and 203 rotor.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mr Horse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Obvious lowest cost option to the problem is to put 203s on your front and leave the back at 180.

    I have 203s on the front of all my bikes, mostly because of the spare parts I have laying around from running DH rigs. The stopping difference is noticeable regardless of what brakes I'm using.

    ....that said, any excuse needed to buy some Hope Tech bling is legitimate in my opinion.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    Apr 2017
    I've replaced the Shimano Deores on my 2017 Fatboy Comp Carbon with TRP Slate 4 calipers. Four piston, differentially sized, on 180/160 rotors. Superb feel and control, amazing stopping power. I'm a big guy (255 lbs) and I ride mostly on the street where you get high traction. I can be pounding down a hill at maximum warp (28 mph) and stop for a sudden obstruction almost instantaneously, yet I can feather the brakes at a walking pace in my bottommost gear with exquisite precision and delicacy.

    Can't say enough about them ... they're just great brakes! They're better than any others I've tested.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Farley 9.6 with Mastodon Pro. Didn’t like stock Levels. Got Guide Ultimate 180/160. Works great but going to sintered pads.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    I'm running Magura MT7 with 203 Shimano Ice-Tech rotors and have never experienced brake fade.

  11. #11
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Depends how big a boy you are as well. I always ran 180 rear, 203 front on my regular bikes. When I built my first fat bike, I was misled into thinking it was a crawler so I went 160-160. Didn't even slow me down. Went 180 up front, slowed me down but didn't stop me. Finally went 203-180 and all is well.
    My son recently surpassed 200 pounds and on his last bike I gave him 203-180. He said this is the first time in a long time he's had good brakes.
    I like turtles

  12. #12
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    I got a pretty massive difference in heat-resistance when changed to icetech rotors. Go RT99 if you can. This made the "extended crawling down crazy steep stuff" possible without fade/overheating/glazing the rotors. I generally don't need this in the winter, but the few times I have DHed in the winter (ski resort) with my winter-rotors overheated them in seconds. On my racing 29er XC bike I use the 6" RT99 rotors and it's amazing what they'll handle without overheating, given their relatively small size.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
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    May 2008
    I just went from Sram "Level t" to Magura "MT Carbon Trail" - Besides my Mastodon, this has been the best upgrade to my bike so far. Surly ICT. Already had 180mm rotors.

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