Sucky disc brakes help?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    el Camino
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    Sucky disc brakes help?

    My avid disc brakes (running on SS rigid 29er) have started to really suck. They're worse than the cantis on my cross bike. I need like three fingers to pull them hard enough to lock brakes, which means I have to take those three fingers off my grips, which feels really dicey on an otherwise awesome rigid fork. What do I need to do to get back to one finger braking?

    I've taken them off and sanded the pads, but doesn't help much.

  2. #2
    Life's a Garden, dig it!
    Reputation: chuckha62's Avatar
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    Are they Avid BBs (cable Actuated)? If so, your cables are probably dirty in the sheaths and need to be cleaned or replaced.

  3. #3
    el Camino
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    OK. Is that more of a cable housing (i have some spare) issue, or new cable (would need to buy) issue? Or should i just do both at once?

  4. #4
    Life's a Garden, dig it!
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    Change the sheaths. Then clean the cables with solvent, then water, then dry them off good. You should be good as new as long as the cables aren't frayed. If they're frayed, replace them at the same time.

  5. #5
    el Camino
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    ok, thanks.

  6. #6
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    Change them both, the cable is the cheap part. Even if the old one looks perfect it will often have noticeably more stiction compared to a new one.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Are they BB7's?

    This guide made my mediocre BB7's into awesome one-finger-braking monsters:

    Avid BB7 mini resource - How to set up the Avid BB7

    Also, check that the pads are seated 100%. One of my issues was one of the pads was not clicked into place, hence it didn't contact the rotor properly. It was really fiddly to get into place, but once it was okay, the procedure was easy.

  8. #8
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    I finally got fed up with my BB7's and went with some shimano 615 and have never looked back. My rear brake always felt like a turd but the front was rock solid. I realize the cable is much longer on the rear but I could never get them close. Good luck. The article above was very useful back when I was running mine

  9. #9
    SP Singletrack rocks
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    easy solution is to throw money at.....$50 dollars a wheel is actually cheaper than getting BB7 to work the right way.

    Shimano Deore M615 Disc Brake | Chain Reaction Cycles

    same function as XTR fractions of the price. The only other brake I would consider is SRAM Guides but they are much more expensive.

  10. #10
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    I don't understand.. the BB7 works the right way for... zero money.

  11. #11
    The Original Suspect
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    Change the cables, they are only a couple bucks each. BB7's are good brakes when set up properly.

  12. #12
    RAKC
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    Did everyone forget the possibility of contaminated pads or rotors??? Unless I missed something he didn't say the brakes are hard to pull, just have to pull really hard to get them too stop.

  13. #13
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    It's awful hard to go wrong with Shimano hydros....but BB7s work just fine when they're set up right.

  14. #14
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    A few turns off the wrong way on the adjusterknob, and they're hard to get wheel-lock.

  15. #15
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    BB7 is a great brake if you like doing your own work, and like getting things set up just so.

    I have Deore hydros on two of our bikes, and once they are set up, they are hands-off and work well. In particular, hydraulic brakes self-adjust to pad wear. You'll have to notch mechs in little by little to account for pad wear (wonder if that's not your issue?)

    So hydro's are nice and all. But, I'm not eager to start working on them. For one thing, I hate bleeding brakes. When it works it's cool but when you get an air bubble in there it's a pain in the fanny getting it right sometimes. Maybe bicycles are better than cars or motorcycles (try bleeding a VFR sometime). I dunno. My rear brake doesn't engage right where I want it to, has a bit more slack than I want before it bites, and doesn't match the front brake. Stuff like that aggravates me and I suppose I should re-bleed it or something, but... if that bike had BB7's, that would be a five minute job to dial it in.

    You can get BB7s dialed in just so perfectly, and you can make adjustments anywhere with pocket tools. The "Fix-it sticks" that have a T25 bit are perfect for the job.

    Key is the initial setup. Speed dial levers are the bomb. Get the very best cable you can find, the top-of-the-line Jagwire cable works great. Teflon coated cables. Run your sheathing carefully and don't chop it up, just one continuous run from lever to brake. Cut the sheath carefully, get decent cable cutters or dremel it. Get some mini-files, ream and smooth the cuts carefully. Make the cut perfect. Follow the instructions on the BB7 mini-resource carefully.

    Only thing I would add, is pre-stretch the cable. You have the jaws clamped down on the rotor, you snug down the bolts, attach the cable and snug that down. Before you back off on the calipers, squeeze the ever-luvin bejeebus out of the lever, stretch that cable best you can. Re-adjust the cable clamp, and then back off and adjust the calipers.

    Once you figure out how the system works, you can fine-tune initial bite and ramp-up (assuming you're using speed-dials) to where you like it just right. If you're perzackety about your brakes, it's kinda hard to beat that action. Guess if I really understood bicycle hydro's, had the tools and patience to work on them, I could do the same. But I don't.

  16. #16
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    Shimano M675s here. I will never go back to cable discs after experiencing these. And once set you can forget.

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