Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 36
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    32
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Hydraulic vs. Cable disc brakes for commuting?

    One of my bikes has hydraulic disc brakes and the other has cable disc brakes. I really don't have a preference in terms of riding/stopping, so I guess that means I would lean towards cable since they are easier.

    But if you were building a bike, would you spend the extra time and hassle for the hydraulic brakes?

  2. #2
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Palisade, CO
    My Bikes
    Singular Gryphon fully rigid 29er multi-use. Nuvinci N360 IGH
    Posts
    4,236
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by seansimp925 View Post
    if you were building a bike, would you spend the extra time and hassle for the hydraulic brakes?
    Personally, no. Especially in a commuting context. I do all of my own maintenance, so this is part of it. Cables are simple, fast and easy to work with.
    Hydraulics are very nice, but add another dimension of maintenance when it comes time to service them IMO. My BB7's work fantastic in combination with my speed dial levers, and I do not need to go buy more tools to maintain them.
    My wife's bike came with hydraulics, and they are very nice. I guess I need to learn how to work on them.
    Currently one bike: Singular Gryphon do-it all bike with Nuvinci N360
    Coming soon (winter project) Ciocc Designer '84 mod build
    Temporary (on loan from a buddy): 1985 Raleigh Prestige

  3. #3
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Burnaby, BC
    Posts
    4,144
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No, I like BB7s as well. They work well and are easy to fix/maintain.

  4. #4
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    England / CPH
    My Bikes
    2010 Cube Acid
    Posts
    5,513
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I went with hydraulics. Three years and not one drop of maintenance, not even pads. Based on my experience, I'd figure that cables will corrode/rust or require adjustment much more frequently than that.

    Set it and forget it.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    North of Boston
    My Bikes
    Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,
    Posts
    2,115
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I like my BB7'S, have them on 3 bikes. I'm assuming you are using flat bars? +1 on the speed dial levers.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    32
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I went with hydraulics. Three years and not one drop of maintenance, not even pads. Based on my experience, I'd figure that cables will corrode/rust or require adjustment much more frequently than that.

    Set it and forget it.
    That's pretty amazing. If you ever broke the seal, is it like bleeding automotive brakes? Those can be a pain and I figured it would be especially difficult with the tiny reservoirs that are mounted on the brake levers.

  7. #7
    Commander, UFO Bike K'Tesh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Subject to change
    My Bikes
    Giant, Trek
    Posts
    1,334
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've used both BB7's and Hydraulics. I've found that the hydraulics are far better for winter riding. My old BB7's cables would get wet, and then freeze during the coldest commutes, locking them up.

    I've never had that problem with the hydraulics. I've never had to anything to maintain the hydraulics, except for replace the pads... My caveat, this is only the 2nd winter on hydraulics. I did have to replace the rear when someone knocked my bike over and snapped off the lever, and wasn't able to locate the a replacement lever for the brand that was OEM.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    3,194
    Mentioned
    46 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One advantage to Hydraulics self adjusting for pad wear ..

    and the same seal that holds the oil behind the piston,
    keeps the oil from being contaminated by road crud.

    Yes, if air gets in, you have to bleed the lines, just like on a car.

    BB7 gets a lot of sales.. they are OK,
    the high end engineering focuses on Hydraulics.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-03-13 at 03:00 PM.

  9. #9
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Beaverton, OR
    My Bikes
    2013 Kona Jake, 2008 Kona Major Jake, 2013 Kona Jake the Snake, 1999 Kona Muni Mula, 2012 Ridley Excalibur, 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker
    Posts
    7,022
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I went with hydraulics. Three years and not one drop of maintenance, not even pads.
    You need to ride more.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    32
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    You need to ride more.
    Maybe he rides a ton but just doesn't ever slow down!

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    3,194
    Mentioned
    46 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Maybe he should see how much friction material is left? the downside of auto pad wear adjustment
    is It will keep moving the backing plate towards the disc, even if no friction material is left.

    [that and auto adjusting to fill the gap if you touch the brake-lever when the wheel is Out.]

  12. #12
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Village, New York City
    My Bikes
    too many
    Posts
    20,761
    Mentioned
    112 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by seansimp925 View Post
    Maybe he rides a ton but just doesn't ever slow down!
    Or maybe he coasts to his stops, always where he is facing uphill. :-)
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  13. #13
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    England / CPH
    My Bikes
    2010 Cube Acid
    Posts
    5,513
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by seansimp925 View Post
    That's pretty amazing. If you ever broke the seal, is it like bleeding automotive brakes? Those can be a pain and I figured it would be especially difficult with the tiny reservoirs that are mounted on the brake levers.
    it looks really easy and kits are very cheap.

    and they can't freeze in the winter
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    pdx
    My Bikes
    2007 carpe diem frame custom build, trek 7.9 frame custom build, custom built chinese carbon fiber road bike, shopping bike
    Posts
    3,301
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think the only reason to buy a mechanical is if you can't afford a hydraulic and/or ride a drop. Basically development of mechanicals has been frozen for many years while hydraulics keep on getting better and lighter.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
    My Bikes
    I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes
    Posts
    2,540
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I like Avid BB7 cable discs the best. I have used Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes and I had problems with the rear brake blowing seals during winter riding. Had them rebuild and the same problem again, seals would leak during very cold weather. We get a lot of road salt around here and I think that's one of the things that kept corroding the seals, the rear brake gets most of the road salt on it., front not so much...So now I have cable discs on 2 of my bikes, never had any problems with them yet.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    pdx
    My Bikes
    2007 carpe diem frame custom build, trek 7.9 frame custom build, custom built chinese carbon fiber road bike, shopping bike
    Posts
    3,301
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I find bleeding hydraulics to be far easier than changing brake cables. If you use a hydro with mineral oil (shimano and magura) there is no need to bleed unless the system opens up.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bent Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Lake County IL
    My Bikes
    Trek Domane 5.2 Giant Frankenbike Trek Utopia Canondale 3.0 Sun Easy Racer Tadpole Schwinn Tandem Cheap Unicycle
    Posts
    296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by seansimp925 View Post
    But if you were building a bike, would you spend the extra time and hassle for the hydraulic brakes?
    I dont understand where the hassle and extra time comes from.
    How often does a person work on the brakes on there car or motorcycle.
    I can see if a person hits the brake lever when repairing a flat with the wheel off
    but even that is just a minor annoyance

  18. #18
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    PA
    My Bikes
    92 Giant Sedona ATX Custom
    Posts
    1,672
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    I like Avid BB7 cable discs the best. I have used Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes and I had problems with the rear brake blowing seals during winter riding. Had them rebuild and the same problem again, seals would leak during very cold weather. We get a lot of road salt around here and I think that's one of the things that kept corroding the seals, the rear brake gets most of the road salt on it., front not so much...So now I have cable discs on 2 of my bikes, never had any problems with them yet.
    I have been using Deore Hydros for almost a decade now with no problems winter/rain/mud/etc. Everyday use regardless of weather, only an occasional centering adjustment. I've had more problems with my car's brakes by a long shot. One change I made however was when I rebuilt them for the sake of it after 5 years of racing, I used ATF/Hydraulic oil instead of shimano brake fluid(upon recommendation of a reputable mechanic) and it apparently hasn't been a problem, perhaps a help?

    The mechanical ones on the other hand have had far more maintenance requirements in my experience. That goes for Avid BB5 BB7 and Formula mechanics. To each their own, but the hydraulic mechanism is sealed much better. For cost reasons my lesser commuter bike has BB5s and yes they work, but would I want them in continual wet/frozen... not as much.
    Aviation Mechanic, Bike racer, Fitness Equipment Restorer

    http://pedalmybike.com/userTrackies/myTrackie4758.jpg[/url]

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    32
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bent Bill View Post
    I dont understand where the hassle and extra time comes from.
    How often does a person work on the brakes on there car or motorcycle.
    I can see if a person hits the brake lever when repairing a flat with the wheel off
    but even that is just a minor annoyance
    Have you had to bleed yours? I used to be a test technician during college and would setup six dynos to run braking tests. Bleeding was always the worst part and I had an unlimited reservoir going into the system. Typically a two-person job on autos. Those tiny reservoirs with fairly big lines is what concerns me. Bleed, refill, bleed, refill, etc.

    But if they don't often go bad then I suppose it's not any extra hassle.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Incheon, South Korea
    My Bikes
    Nothing amazing... cheap old 21 speed mtb
    Posts
    2,835
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My deores have run problem free for 7 months. At first the rear was leaking oil, but it was due to a bad seal on a second hand cable. A simple swap of the internal seal and all was good. I much prefer them on ice - Even at -19c they work perfectly. Thats more than I can say for the v brakes on beater. The cables freeze and then you have to unstick them. Unless you get a leak on the road they are very easy to maintain. just center them every now and then and adjust the levers for however much clearance on the bars you prefer. Now cables.... I had some and they were horrible. Adjusting every week and I never could get them to center right.

    Have you had to bleed yours? I used to be a test technician during college and would setup six dynos to run braking tests. Bleeding was always the worst part and I had an unlimited reservoir going into the system. Typically a two-person job on autos. Those tiny reservoirs with fairly big lines is what concerns me. Bleed, refill, bleed, refill, etc.

    But if they don't often go bad then I suppose it's not any extra hassle. Reply Reply With Quote
    Its a two person job. Get the cover off the reserve, have someone with a syringe of mineral oil at the injection nipple and just put oil into the system until the air is purged. Doesn't take long, but doing it yourself you would need a giraffe neck to see when its clear of air.

  21. #21
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec
    Posts
    4,203
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    After working a fair bit with both - I'd suggest the hydraulics. They're about the level of difficulty to set up initially, but once set up the hydraulics are self adjusting. Adjusting mechanical brake calipers for pad wear isn't all that difficult - except that people just don't seem to do it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
    My Bikes
    I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes
    Posts
    2,540
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikerinpa View Post
    I have been using Deore Hydros for almost a decade now with no problems winter/rain/mud/etc. Everyday use regardless of weather, only an occasional centering adjustment. I've had more problems with my car's brakes by a long shot. One change I made however was when I rebuilt them for the sake of it after 5 years of racing, I used ATF/Hydraulic oil instead of shimano brake fluid(upon recommendation of a reputable mechanic) and it apparently hasn't been a problem, perhaps a help?

    The mechanical ones on the other hand have had far more maintenance requirements in my experience. That goes for Avid BB5 BB7 and Formula mechanics. To each their own, but the hydraulic mechanism is sealed much better. For cost reasons my lesser commuter bike has BB5s and yes they work, but would I want them in continual wet/frozen... not as much.
    I don't know why my Deores gave me so much headaches, maybe it was defective from the factory or maybe just bad luck on my part. But after having seals replaced twice I just gave up and changed to cable discs. I still have those brakes in my parts bin, maybe some day I'll rebuild them one more time and try ATF fluid instead of that super expensive shimano oil.

  23. #23
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    England / CPH
    My Bikes
    2010 Cube Acid
    Posts
    5,513
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I should also note that I have Hayes Stroker Ryde hydraulics if that matters for comparison.
    Last edited by acidfast7; 01-04-13 at 01:44 AM.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  24. #24
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    England / CPH
    My Bikes
    2010 Cube Acid
    Posts
    5,513
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    My deores have run problem free for 7 months. At first the rear was leaking oil, but it was due to a bad seal on a second hand cable. A simple swap of the internal seal and all was good. I much prefer them on ice - Even at -19c they work perfectly. Thats more than I can say for the v brakes on beater. The cables freeze and then you have to unstick them. Unless you get a leak on the road they are very easy to maintain. just center them every now and then and adjust the levers for however much clearance on the bars you prefer. Now cables.... I had some and they were horrible. Adjusting every week and I never could get them to center right.



    Its a two person job. Get the cover off the reserve, have someone with a syringe of mineral oil at the injection nipple and just put oil into the system until the air is purged. Doesn't take long, but doing it yourself you would need a giraffe neck to see when its clear of air.
    Seems to be a one person job to me ...

    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  25. #25
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
    Posts
    11,815
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've not ridden with hydraulics. A couple of things: I find that cheap chinese eBay pads for my BB7s last about twice as long as Avid pads and seem to perform the same.

    Cables freezing depends on your climate. The worst is climates where the temps go above and below freezing. If it stays above, no problem. If it stays well below freezing, also no problem since there's never any liquid water to get into the cables in the first place.

    I replace cables very infrequently. My cheap bike (the only one I have) is pushing 9 years old at this point, and I've replaced the cables once. I probably didn't even need to do that one, they weren't rusty or anything, but I figured it had been 4 years and I probably should replace them.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •