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  1. #1
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    V brake hold out needs help... Disc blasphemy!

    At times I feel I'm the last guy out here who still prefers Vs on his SS. I'm starting to worry that someday manufacturers will see no significant market damand for Vs and stop making them, leaving me out in the cold. So I'm here to try and convince some folks to at least question the necessity of disc brakes on a SS. Whenever I bring this issue amongst my current riding partners it's regarded as blasphmey. Don't turn a deaf ear so quickly. There's a point to be made here.

    Simplicity and durability are the fundamentals of SSing. That it's greatest appeal; at least in my opinion. After almost 15 years of riding I've yet to have a V brake malfunction and I've got a lot of miles under my belt. I've yet to spend more than 5 minutes fiddling with the setup or pad changes. No breakdowns on the trails. No fluid leaks to ruin twenty dollar disc brake pads. I'm riding the same Avid levers and Vs since '98 and they work just fine. Most folk will say "my disc's run great". Sure they do when they are working properly. When a disc brake fails you are done, period. If you are out on the trail forget it. You're ride is done. Go home and do the bike maintenance dance for the next hour just to get your disc running again. Hasn't happened to you yet... It will. Hopes, Hayes, even Avid Mechs have died on me. Never has a V let me down in anything less than freezing conditions.

    Why did you start to ride a SS in the first place? I know I did to get away from all the gizmos and gadgets. To step away from the constant bike maintenance dance. I did it to keep it simple. Simple and durable. Just look at the cost to benefit factor, it's painfully obvious... 5 times the cost, more weight, more maintenance, higher failure rate, and relatively fragile for maybe 10% increase in performance.

    V's do not stop as quickly in muddy weather. This is true. Big deal! I live and ride in the Northeast and have had my best times in races, in the rain, using a bike with Vs. Besides, is it really about being the fastest? As we all know it's not really about being the fastest; because if we really wanted to be the fasted we'd all be riding FS gearies. On second thought, I often am the fastest on rides on my SS as I'm not the guy messing with malfunctioning parts like, derailures and other fancy components.

    Vs are cheaper. Way cheaper. They are can handle far more abuse. Throw the bike in the back of the pickup and no whining such as.... oh, oh, oh... you're bike's bumping my bike's rotor... ooooo, your gonna bend it, your gonna break the lever, oooooo!!!!

    Vs allow a stronger wheel build. Less dish. Stiffer wheel. This holds in theory, and in practice as well. Been there, done it. Don't give me the BS about wearing out a rim. Yes, it does happen, but while it takes me about 4 years to wear through a rim, I've never had even a pro built disc rim hold up for more than 3 seasons before it comes so badly out of true that it is unrepairable.

    Vs are easier to repair. Take your bike on say, a fishing trip, in northern Canada. There is very little you can't repair on a V set up with some basic tools. On the other hand if your Juicy's get, well, juicy with leaking break fluid, you're done. End of story.

    One for the discs. Are discs needed on DH rigs and even FS trailbikes? You bet. I'm all for that and have 3 sets of those god awfull squealers. Two on big bikes and one on a winter commuter. I'm hoping some day to rid myself of those evil, money sucking, never-ending-maintenance-requiring, DH pig bikes. Really now. I'm not totally unrealistic. Discs do have thier place. However for everyday SS riding I just don't see how their disadvantages outweigh their benefits. Are you really going that fast on your SS to need discs? Especially if you are fully rigid. One thing that made me create this post was seeing all the recent posts about EBB's. I would argue that if it weren't for discs the whole EBB issue, would not even be an issue. We'd all be happy with our rediculously simple, inexpensive, no hassle, creak-free track style dropouts.

    Don't get me wrong... I'm not telling you what to ride. Ride, fiddle, tweak, break, buy... whatever you like. Hopefully enough out there will see this matter from a similar point of view and continue to buy Vs. I just do not want the V market to disappear.

    You're right, I should be out riding.

  2. #2
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    Heck, I still have old Diacompe 986 canti's on my cross bike and I Think they are 5 year old XT V's on my mtb. I do have Avid disc on my other mtb just because I moved some parts from my now defunct(broken stays) Bianchi SISS to that bike. Go V's

  3. #3
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    I've got Avid Single Digit 5's that came on my Schwinn, which I am in the process of SS converting.

    Maybe I could use new pads or something, but even on the short rides I do, I do get a lot of hand fatigue compaired to my disks. Maybe I need to change the cables as well?

  4. #4
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    v brakes rule!

    i hate the rusty gate sounding, brake squeal of misaligned disc brakes... enjoy the single speed silence

    i've got avid arch rivals and they actually stop better than my avid BB mechanical discs with 8inch rotors. lots of stopping power is very important for clydes like me

    then again im just to lazy to have to figure out how to tune disc brakes all the time....
    Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low, that is the tempo.

  5. #5
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    sorry, i didn't read all that. but yes, i prefer Vs.

  6. #6
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    The ONLY reason I went disc was because of snow. I had quite a few snow rides last year and it was unsettling to have no brakes . I feel the dry performance of the Avid mechanicals that I went with do not work nearly as good as the previous XTR V's with Kool Stop pads. I am not a true weight weenie, but definately felt the weight gain in acceleration and handling. So far I'm not sold on disc, but we just got a foot of fresh snow last night,so we'll see what this winters braking performance yields.
    Last edited by kustomz; 12-08-2005 at 09:32 PM.

  7. #7
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    Don't let Padre see this thread!!

    I like V-brakes, old XT cantilevers, and Avid mechanical discs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    ...I just do not want the V market to disappear...
    I can help you. Go down to your local bike shop or shop online and behold the vast selection of V brakes and assorted parts available to you. Why are you worried? If you really are worried, which I doubt, just buy a lifetime supply of pads and parts. That would be cheap and easy, no appeal for public affirmation required
    "The mouth of justice contemplates wisdom."

  9. #9
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    Good point...!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Bob
    I can help you. Go down to your local bike shop or shop online and behold the vast selection of V brakes and assorted parts available to you. Why are you worried? If you really are worried, which I doubt, just buy a lifetime supply of pads and parts. That would be cheap and easy, no appeal for public affirmation required

    Then I'd need to buy spare rims too!

    Yeah, I'm sure Vs will be around for quite some time yet, but I've already seen the effects of the disc brake move. There have been some nice frames up for sale in the classifieds and on ebay. Unfortunately they lacked V bosses. Same thing with some nice used forks that I would have otherwise jumped on. The market shift is not total but it is there and has adversely affected me.

  10. #10
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    Well I guess it's up to me to be the first dissenter in this little V-brake love fest. Honestly though, I've got no problem with Vs, it's just that I like discs so much better. I used to run Avid SD Mags and now I run BB7s. I prefer the discs because of the much better modulation and the consistant performance in adverse conditions(not much of an issue any more now that I've moved to Phoenix). I've had the discs on my bike for a year and a half and have yet to have any squeal problems, however with the Vs I would occasionally end up with glazed pads resulting in lousy braking and loads of squeal. Brake adjustments are easier, pad change is easier, and the one time I bent the rotor, the repair was pretty easy. Also in many years of cantis, Vs, and 1-1/2 of discs I've only had one brake failure and it was with the Vs(this was not a factor in the switch to discs).

    All in all I don't really care what other people ride and so long as they are lighter, the quality V-brake will never die.

  11. #11
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    I was a die-hard v-brake fan untill I rode at Whistler.

    I still think v-brakes are sufficent for 95% of the riding I do (Michigan), but one of my bikes will be built up with disks from now on. I understand now that there are courses where disks are more than a luxury; they are required for maximum performance.

    Joe

  12. #12
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    I've made the similar lamments on the 29er board. Seems like quite a few of SS and big wheel offerings are disc only. I have my Dean currently setup with discs, but have canti- mounts that I use too. My Spot SS is V-only. I really prefer the V-brakes. Disc is too much baggage and complication.

  13. #13
    jmw
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    got V's on both my singles....in fact ones got cantilever brakes on the back.....

    discs on my all mountain FS though
    future nature

  14. #14
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    V-brakes are good brakes, easy to set-up and adjust, good power. Ran them for years with no problem.

    That said, all my MTB's including the SS I'm currently building are outfitted with hydraulic discs.

    I have a Magura Louise that was put on the bike back when Magura only had one disc model available. Been 5 years at least. It was bolted on and setup and hasn't been touched since. I have Hayes hydraulics that while a little more labor intensive for setup, have also been problem free for over 5 years. Pad change takes thirty seconds. No leaks, no broken hoses, only minimal adjustment to the pads. Certainly don't require the amount of maintenance that the V's my brother in law has me adjust everytime I'm up in Jersey.

    Better power, less stress on the hands and forearms, and consistency in any weather. For me there is no question, discs are it.
    Last edited by demtbiker; 12-09-2005 at 06:52 AM.

  15. #15
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    Rode my Avids for about six years front and back. Still use the levers and the front brake. An unfortunate accident forced me to buy an XTR rear V-brake and I hope to use it for six years. After 200 miles, I haven't had to adjust it or anything and it still stops me just fine.
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  16. #16
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    I've got V's on on both my bikes. I've got no reason to upgrade (if you want to call it that) to discs, so why spend the $400?? Maybe if I lived in the Pacific NW where trails are continually wet & muddy, or if I lived somewhere it snowed, but in AZ my braking has never been affected by the elements.

    Besides, I'm poor as hell!

  17. #17
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    My old bike has XT Vs on it and they're alright, but certainly nothing to write home about. That said, I've ridden multiple SS with well tuned Vs and they worked fine. Still, I'd never own them on purpose.

    For me, the break point came when I got sick of truing my wheels so much. The only way to have a well tuned V brake is to have a perfectly true wheel. For me, that can be a rarity. Once I got them, I knew I'd never be going back. Avid mechs are the simplest things on the planet to dial in. Turn the knobs and you're good to go. With Vs you have to move those spacers around, adjust your spring tension so both sides match perfectly, check and double check to make sure the pads have the right angle of attack on the wheel, blah, blah, blah. I got tired of it, but that's just my preference. I can see the value of Vs, I suppose, but they're not for me.

    Don't worry, as long as horizontal drop-outs are around, there'll be a market for antiquities like V brakes.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=as long as horizontal drop-outs are around, there'll be a market for antiquities like V brakes.[/QUOTE]

    Exactly! On a bike with track ends, wrestling with your disc calipers just to fix a flat tire is ridiculous. And IMHO, the EBB "answer" is also ridiculous (more blasphemy!) It's what Tom Ritchey meant when he used to speak of the bike industry's habit of coming up with "hundred-dollar-solutions to ten-cent problems."

  19. #19
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    hmmm...

    Miker J,

    I was in your camp for along time, but no more. My avid mech discs have required no maint for 2 years(not even pads)! I use to put new pads on my V's 3 times or more per season(yes, we have alot of grit on some trails). Large tires also are problematic with V's. Snow rides, sorry, they suck with V's.

    Good luck with your rant.

    MC



    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    At times I feel I'm the last guy out here who still prefers Vs on his SS. I'm starting to worry that someday manufacturers will see no significant market damand for Vs and stop making them, leaving me out in the cold. So I'm here to try and convince some folks to at least question the necessity of disc brakes on a SS. Whenever I bring this issue amongst my current riding partners it's regarded as blasphmey. Don't turn a deaf ear so quickly. There's a point to be made here.

    Simplicity and durability are the fundamentals of SSing. That it's greatest appeal; at least in my opinion. After almost 15 years of riding I've yet to have a V brake malfunction and I've got a lot of miles under my belt. I've yet to spend more than 5 minutes fiddling with the setup or pad changes. No breakdowns on the trails. No fluid leaks to ruin twenty dollar disc brake pads. I'm riding the same Avid levers and Vs since '98 and they work just fine. Most folk will say "my disc's run great". Sure they do when they are working properly. When a disc brake fails you are done, period. If you are out on the trail forget it. You're ride is done. Go home and do the bike maintenance dance for the next hour just to get your disc running again. Hasn't happened to you yet... It will. Hopes, Hayes, even Avid Mechs have died on me. Never has a V let me down in anything less than freezing conditions.

    Why did you start to ride a SS in the first place? I know I did to get away from all the gizmos and gadgets. To step away from the constant bike maintenance dance. I did it to keep it simple. Simple and durable. Just look at the cost to benefit factor, it's painfully obvious... 5 times the cost, more weight, more maintenance, higher failure rate, and relatively fragile for maybe 10% increase in performance.

    V's do not stop as quickly in muddy weather. This is true. Big deal! I live and ride in the Northeast and have had my best times in races, in the rain, using a bike with Vs. Besides, is it really about being the fastest? As we all know it's not really about being the fastest; because if we really wanted to be the fasted we'd all be riding FS gearies. On second thought, I often am the fastest on rides on my SS as I'm not the guy messing with malfunctioning parts like, derailures and other fancy components.

    Vs are cheaper. Way cheaper. They are can handle far more abuse. Throw the bike in the back of the pickup and no whining such as.... oh, oh, oh... you're bike's bumping my bike's rotor... ooooo, your gonna bend it, your gonna break the lever, oooooo!!!!

    Vs allow a stronger wheel build. Less dish. Stiffer wheel. This holds in theory, and in practice as well. Been there, done it. Don't give me the BS about wearing out a rim. Yes, it does happen, but while it takes me about 4 years to wear through a rim, I've never had even a pro built disc rim hold up for more than 3 seasons before it comes so badly out of true that it is unrepairable.

    Vs are easier to repair. Take your bike on say, a fishing trip, in northern Canada. There is very little you can't repair on a V set up with some basic tools. On the other hand if your Juicy's get, well, juicy with leaking break fluid, you're done. End of story.

    One for the discs. Are discs needed on DH rigs and even FS trailbikes? You bet. I'm all for that and have 3 sets of those god awfull squealers. Two on big bikes and one on a winter commuter. I'm hoping some day to rid myself of those evil, money sucking, never-ending-maintenance-requiring, DH pig bikes. Really now. I'm not totally unrealistic. Discs do have thier place. However for everyday SS riding I just don't see how their disadvantages outweigh their benefits. Are you really going that fast on your SS to need discs? Especially if you are fully rigid. One thing that made me create this post was seeing all the recent posts about EBB's. I would argue that if it weren't for discs the whole EBB issue, would not even be an issue. We'd all be happy with our rediculously simple, inexpensive, no hassle, creak-free track style dropouts.

    Don't get me wrong... I'm not telling you what to ride. Ride, fiddle, tweak, break, buy... whatever you like. Hopefully enough out there will see this matter from a similar point of view and continue to buy Vs. I just do not want the V market to disappear.

    You're right, I should be out riding.

  20. #20
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    The point of SS is you can ride whatever you want, because people will always tell you you should change this or that. There's alot of pressure to change from platforms to clipless pedals too - but you don't have to do what they tell you.

    However:

    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    After almost 15 years of riding I've yet to have a V brake malfunction and I've got a lot of miles under my belt.
    After 15 years of riding, I've seen many V & canti failures - broken cables, seized cantis, the the worst is the exploding rim from wear - one of the loudest "bangs" I've heard to date.

    I have to service my V-brakes more often then my discs.




    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    When a disc brake fails you are done, period. If you are out on the trail forget it. You're ride is done.
    No disc user in our group has ever ended a ride because of a disc brake issue, even with a cleanly snapped off line - it's no different than a broken V cable. Just finish the ride with one brake. Infact one of the guys broke a crank clean off, and finished the ride with one crank - on platforms.




    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    Don't give me the BS about wearing out a rim. Yes, it does happen, but while it takes me about 4 years to wear through a rim, I've never had even a pro built disc rim hold up for more than 3 seasons before it comes so badly out of true that it is unrepairable.
    My last V-brake rear wheel lasted 5 months (Winter + wet Slatyfork week) before the rim wall separated. I was replacing rims once a year on my daily commuter/winter trail bike with V's & cantis. I have not replaced a disc wheel yet (7 years?) except one that was crashed and taco'ed hard. I think you need a better wheel builder - flange offsets on the rear wheel (the most likely to go out of true) is the same for disc & non-disc hubs.




    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    Vs are easier to repair. Take your bike on say, a fishing trip, in northern Canada. There is very little you can't repair on a V set up with some basic tools. On the other hand if your Juicy's get, well, juicy with leaking break fluid, you're done. End of story.
    That's why some people like the mechanical discs - if you can't fix that, you won't be fixing a V on a fishing trip.




    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    I would argue that if it weren't for discs the whole EBB issue, would not even be an issue. We'd all be happy with our rediculously simple, inexpensive, no hassle, creak-free track style dropouts.
    Track dropouts don't prevent you from running discs, plus they usually cause you to re-adjust your V-pads when you adjust chain tension. Not a big deal, but eBB's make V-brakes simpler too.



    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    I just do not want the V market to disappear.
    Neither do I.

    Ride whatever works for you and your area/ride style/whatever, and don't tell anyone what they "need" to do. (I'm not saying you'er doing that...)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    I've got Avid Single Digit 5's that came on my Schwinn, which I am in the process of SS converting.

    Maybe I could use new pads or something, but even on the short rides I do, I do get a lot of hand fatigue compaired to my disks. Maybe I need to change the cables as well?
    Hopefully my comments here may help, I know what you mean. The right type of brake shoes for your rims certainly make a difference, but I find that being maticulous about the cable and housing installation helps, as well as the brake levers you use. I have had the best luck with levers where you can adjust the fulcrum, such as Avid Speed Dial type levers. Shimano XT and XTR levers have plastic wedges that can be removed to adjust this as well. It makes the lever pull less linear, and in the case of my Avid Speed Dial levers, requires less effort to pull the brake lever. Also found it really helps to have your lever pull into the grip so your first finger joint is about 90 degrees when the pads apply, your finger is stronger there and you can ride with your wrist in a more normal possition when not reaching out as far for the lever. Try adjusting your levers in toward your grips, should really help.

    And about cables and housing, I like the teflon lined housing (almost all is these days), and I do not use grease or bare cables, I use the teflon coated cables. They do not gunk up and drag, they stay clean even when wet. You do not need grease in teflon lined housing with teflon coated cables, grease collects dirt and gums up your cables! Without grease, they can even get wet inside and not gunk up. I usually use the Quality brand teflon coated cables sold at REI. The housing brand doesn't seem to matter, just cut the ends straight, file or grind if necessary. Check your v-brake noodles too. If you cannot pull a cable smoothly through them and they bind at all, that is most of your problem with tight or spongy rim brakes. And the housing furrels seem to matter, I use good ones, spun aluminum of some type, not the thin stamped metal ones that smash and bend, that causes spongy brakes too. Check your v-brake return springs. Pop your brake noodles out and see if the brake arms have enough and equal spring force on each side to keep your brake shoes off your rims, but not so hard that you need to squeeze the blood out of your hands to apply your brakes. You can adjust them, move the spring pins to a different hole in the frame or fork brake boss or even bend them to get better tension. All this together should give you awesome working v-brakes. Mine work as good as my disk brakes. I have one SS with an Avid mechanical disk on front and an Avid Single Digit SL rim brake on the back. And they both have the same lever feel and work complimentary.

    Yes, mud and snow will wear your pads and rim faster, but that's a different discussion.

    Good luck, let us know how much better your brakes work!

    Cheers,

    Dave
    Just Passing Through: eatin' dirt & crappin' dust

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    Same thing with some nice used forks that I would have otherwise jumped on. The market shift is not total but it is there and has adversely affected me.
    I noticed RockShox 2006 Reba models are available with v-brake bosses, last years were not regardless of notes in the specs. And Specialized and others are still specing v-brakes and forks that have v-brake bosses on them on some of their high end XC bikes because (not by much in some cases anymore) they are lighter. I photographed the Mountain States cup series and the World Cup in Angelfire, New Mexico this year and from what I see on all the race bikes, rim brakes are far from dead.

    Cheers,

    Dave
    Just Passing Through: eatin' dirt & crappin' dust

  23. #23
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    I run avid ultimate vs on both my singlespeed and my geary. Never felt the need for anything different. On both bikes the brakes will break the tires loose without hesitation. I try not to ride when the trails are muddy because its bad for the trails. Those are the days to road ride.

    I am considering building myself a cross bike with discs, still not sure if it is worth the weight though....

  24. #24
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    oxymoronic

    Quote Originally Posted by lucifer
    I run avid ultimate vs on both my singlespeed and my geary. Never felt the need for anything different. On both bikes the brakes will break the tires loose without hesitation.

    I also have Avid Ultimates on my geared bike, and find that they have more than adequate braking power.

    My SS rig has the Avid Ti brakes, which work well (just not as well).

    My first SS build was a bike that was cantilever only. And for SS riding (and racing) I found that it was ideal. My mechanic had them set up real nice.

    My take on it is that singlespeeding is all about momentum. Having huge stopping power seems to go against this. I found that properly set up cantis were just fine for stopping and maintaining momentum..

    Another thing that I think about singlespeeding, the bike should be very simple. While disk provide a 'clean' looking bike, they are not as truely simple as V's or even cantis.

    As it is, right now I am thinking of putting the cantis back on my Ibis SS. It has the handjob*, I might just as well give it 'something to do'.











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  25. #25
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    This one's pretty easy...

    Have I ever had a bad ride because of bad V-brakes? No...

    Have I ever lost a race or even a position in a race because of bad V-brakes? No...

    Can I imagine that I would ever have a better ride or a better race if I used a disc brake? No...

    I'll stay with V's until at least one of those answers become a "Yes"...

    Band-wagons aren't my thing, and in this case there is apparently one for each camp...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  26. #26
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    This debate is how old???

    Who cares! Any serious rider already knows what s/he wants to ride, brake-wise.

    Yes: you definitely need some help if you feel the inclination to rehash this tired subject at such length... you must really need to feel like other riders' share your view. Maybe you're not so sure about the brakes as you say.

    -r
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  27. #27
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    Thanks mtbdirteater...

    I didn't really want to spend a lot of money of this project, however, I probably should just do it for the peroformance benifits.

    I am mechanically inept, but a money spending whore. So I won't mind buying more stuff. My friend parts/bike spedning inept, but can probably figure out any mechanical stuff.

    I've been wanting to break away from my LBS. So I guess a trip to REI or something and then over to my friends house is in order.

    Thanks for your tips and the time you took to respond, and I will respond back on what I do and how it worked.

  28. #28
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    Smile Thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpet
    This debate is how old???

    Who cares! Any serious rider already knows what s/he wants to ride, brake-wise.

    Yes: you definitely need some help if you feel the inclination to rehash this tired subject at such length... you must really need to feel like other riders' share your view. Maybe you're not so sure about the brakes as you say.

    -r
    Thanks for moderating this post and determining it is unfit because it is "old" news.

    Wow, a website moderator and a psychoanalyst! I hope you're getting paid to critique posts and analize the psyche of posters. I know I sure as heck wouldn't want such a miserable job unless I were getting paid really well for it.

    Too much "downtime" off the bike does this to me.
    Last edited by Miker J; 12-09-2005 at 04:54 PM. Reason: ooops

  29. #29
    surlysoul
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by rpet
    you must really need to feel like other riders' share your view.

    -r
    I guess everyone else is above this thats why we are on Mtbr.com Forums > Classic Forums > Singlespeed

  30. #30
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
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    Apr 2004
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    1,984
    i just got my new frame and fork with no disc mounts.

    i don't miss them... got them on my full-sus and like the gears and all the rest of the nonsense on that bike they are all extra hassles that make me love my SS even more.

    mikerj i agree with everything you said, and if v's dissapear i'll be the guy bidding against you for the last sets on ebay

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation: grawbass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    2,044
    What are V brakes?



    I still have cantis on all my bikes.

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