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Old 05-15-05, 06:03 PM   #1
Walipala
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Change from Magura Julie to AVID BB7 disc?

My bike, purchased about two years ago, came with Magura Julie hydraulic brakes, which are Magura's 'entry-level' disc brake system. Even Magura indicates that they are not to be considered for either serious cross-country or downhill usage. Rather, they are mainly for "touring", whatever that means. These brakes are my only experience with bicycle disc brakes so far, so I don't have anything to compare them with. All I can say is that they ARE an improvement over the Deore cantelever brakes on my 15-year old Specialized.

My buddy has the AVID BB7 discs on his Cannondale and really likes them, and I've never read anything except great things about them. AVID rates them as a serious high-performance brake system. Seeing as I can procure all the parts from JensenUSA for less than $200 these days, would they be a significant improvement in stopping power, modulation, fade resistance, etc., over the Julias?
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Old 05-15-05, 07:38 PM   #2
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I can't truthfully answer your question since I don't own the BB7's. However they WILL be my next brake purchase. I refuse to go back to hydraulic's, no matter what the brand is. I have Haye's HFX-9's and Haye's MX1's. I've been using the mechanical's now for the last few months, and doubt I'll ever go with hydro's again. If your Julie's are still working good, I'd use them until they start giving trouble. That'll mean that you can get the BB7's for even less when the time comes. Hydraulic's have great stopping power when they work right. Mine seemed to always give me trouble with one thing or another. Maybe it was just my set, who knows.... The MX-1's have worked flawlessly, and are almost as powerful. They'll stop me on a quarter instead of on a dime....
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Old 05-15-05, 08:14 PM   #3
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Avid is the name in mechanical disc brakes. Ask anyone who has used them. Accept no substitutes.
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Old 05-15-05, 09:11 PM   #4
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i've got a set of magura julies on one bike and hayes hfx-9s on my other bike (the one i ride all the time). i've also had a set hayes hmx-1s (that came stock on the bike that now has the nines). i've also gotten a chance to ride hooligan's bike equiped with avid mechs.

with respect to the maguras, they're definitely not the best hydros you can get on the market, but they're pretty good for all around trail riding. magura mentions the following about their classifications on their website:
Quote:
To answer the question what the best MAGURA disc brake for your bike and riding style is, we firstly recommend that you define how your bike will generally be used.
The chart below will help you to decide.
The situation on the disc brake market for bicycles isn't really different to that of any other consumer products.

In fact it is virtually impossible to offer a disc brake for all possible demands, unless of course the weight factor is not a consideration.

Therefore, it should be obvious, that a featherweight like the Marta SL shouldn't be doing anything on a bike used for free-riding, especially if rider and bike easily weigh in at more than 100kg/220lbs.
The best all-purpose qualities are indicated in the column "Tour". Here the weight to performance values come close to being optimum.
their race cross country class of brakes are ultra-light weight brakes, their freeride/downhill are the not-so-light heavy duty brakes. and their touring brakes are whatever's in between.

of all the disc brakes i've tried/used, i'd say i liked the julies best, mainly because the had the lightest feel at the levers of the ones i've used, and stopped me incredibly well without much effort.

the nines are the brakes i've used the most since they're on the only bike i really ride. i haven't experience any real problems with them other than the adjustment screw coming loose - fixed that with some loc-tite. i'm still trying to get a good feel for them, as i'm not sure i've broken them in properly. they're decent brakes and i'm pretty happy with them thus far (i was hoping to get a set of magura louise fr's, but settled for these cause they were cheaper).

the hayes mechs... forget about them. the suck. i don't know if i didn't have them set up properly or what, but they couldn't stop me if my life depended on it. sure they slow you down, but if i really needed to stop, i'd have to squeeze the levers with my whole hand - and even then they'd just slow me down quickly, whereas i'd only have to use one or two fingers with either the nines or the julies to stop me on a dime.

if you're set on making the switch to mechs, there's only one brand you should be looking at... avid. for a second i though hooligan had hydros on his bike until i looked down and saw they were mechs. damn good brakes that can hold their own against hyrdos. otherwise, i'd suggest sticking with the julies until they start giving you problems or until they bust.
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Old 05-16-05, 12:00 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input all. Sounds like wise advice. I should probably just wait until my brakes, uh, break in some way.

By the way, I should have said in the beginning that my bike's a Cannondale Scalpel. I definitely fall into the cross-country rider category. I haven't really been hurting for more stopping power except maybe on really long decents. The Julie is actually unique in that it has a 170mm front rotor, rather than the standard 160mm, which may help it a little. However, the larger rotor was not used to improve stopping but rather to save money for Magura. The front are rear brake housings are actually the same casting. The only way they could use the same brake for both front and rear was to run a larger front disc. But I digress...

My main issue with my Julies has been that the FRONT brake had a persistent and nasty squeal problem that was really hard to cure. I had it into two shops and none of their efforts really paid off to my satisfaction. Even checking for perfect alignment with Magura's Gnan-O-Mat device, and swapping in new pads, did little to cure it. One mechanic's conclusion was that some bikes, being lightly built tuning forks at heart, are just more prone to resonate than others.

Finally, about a year ago, I pulled the pads out and just ran them across a sheet of fine sand paper (on a flat metal plate) a few strokes and reinstalled them. Amazingly, the brake has been pretty darned quiet ever since. It does let out an occasional squeal, but I think that's normal. In general, it just make a hissing sound, which I asume is a sign of a HEALTHY disc brake.

Last edited by Walipala; 05-16-05 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 05-16-05, 02:15 AM   #6
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Interesting thread. We have Avid mechanicals on our tandem, as they pretty much the only tandem rated mechanical disc brakes available. They work quite well too, with 203mm XT discs. We also have a new set of Julie's, still in the box. I ordered them as Magura has approved them for tandem use when used with braided stainless steel lines. The ratings for tandems have as much to do with heat resistance as stopping power, but I don't see it as being a good use of your cash to swap to the Avid brakes unless your Magura's are no longer working properly.
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Old 05-16-05, 04:56 AM   #7
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Ive got Julies and to be honest, i cant feel much difference in braking power between the julie and my Hope mono m4, the power is the same. Sure they heat up abit quicker, but for 60 what do you think your going to get? I would stick with the maguras.
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Old 05-16-05, 06:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatriate
Interesting thread. We have Avid mechanicals on our tandem, as they pretty much the only tandem rated mechanical disc brakes available. They work quite well too, with 203mm XT discs. We also have a new set of Julie's, still in the box. I ordered them as Magura has approved them for tandem use when used with braided stainless steel lines. The ratings for tandems have as much to do with heat resistance as stopping power, but I don't see it as being a good use of your cash to swap to the Avid brakes unless your Magura's are no longer working properly.
I agree, get the Avids if your Maguras aren't working properly but otherwise, stick with them.
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Old 05-16-05, 03:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walipala
<snip> The Julie is actually unique in that it has a 170mm front rotor, rather than the standard 160mm, which may help it a little. However, the larger rotor was not used to improve stopping but rather to save money for Magura. The front are rear brake housings are actually the same casting. The only way they could use the same brake for both front and rear was to run a larger front disc. But I digress...<snip>
Tell me more. I'm curious after looking at mine the other day. I was curious as to where the difference was coming from front to back. Same tabs, bigger rotor. Must be the caliper. But they look the same. I'm confused.
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Old 05-16-05, 04:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rasheed
i've got a set of magura julies on one bike and hayes hfx-9s on my other bike (the one i ride all the time). i've also had a set hayes hmx-1s (that came stock on the bike that now has the nines). i've also gotten a chance to ride hooligan's bike equiped with avid mechs.

with respect to the maguras, they're definitely not the best hydros you can get on the market, but they're pretty good for all around trail riding. magura mentions the following about their classifications on their website:

their race cross country class of brakes are ultra-light weight brakes, their freeride/downhill are the not-so-light heavy duty brakes. and their touring brakes are whatever's in between.

of all the disc brakes i've tried/used, i'd say i liked the julies best, mainly because the had the lightest feel at the levers of the ones i've used, and stopped me incredibly well without much effort.

the nines are the brakes i've used the most since they're on the only bike i really ride. i haven't experience any real problems with them other than the adjustment screw coming loose - fixed that with some loc-tite. i'm still trying to get a good feel for them, as i'm not sure i've broken them in properly. they're decent brakes and i'm pretty happy with them thus far (i was hoping to get a set of magura louise fr's, but settled for these cause they were cheaper).

the hayes mechs... forget about them. the suck. i don't know if i didn't have them set up properly or what, but they couldn't stop me if my life depended on it. sure they slow you down, but if i really needed to stop, i'd have to squeeze the levers with my whole hand - and even then they'd just slow me down quickly, whereas i'd only have to use one or two fingers with either the nines or the julies to stop me on a dime.

if you're set on making the switch to mechs, there's only one brand you should be looking at... avid. for a second i though hooligan had hydros on his bike until i looked down and saw they were mechs. damn good brakes that can hold their own against hyrdos. otherwise, i'd suggest sticking with the julies until they start giving you problems or until they bust.
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Old 05-16-05, 04:58 PM   #11
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I put Avid Mechs on my new bike and absolutely love them. I've never ridden hydraulics so I have little to compare them to but I can rave about the performance and durability if you'd like.

In 6 months of riding a mix of road and singletrack, I've done zero maintenance and they still stop as fast as I want them too. I've adjusted the pads by simply turning the little red knobs a couple clicks and that's it.

They work perfectly and require less maintenance than any other brake I've had.
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Old 05-16-05, 05:19 PM   #12
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My opinion of the Avid BB7 is well known here.
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Old 05-25-05, 12:07 AM   #13
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Well Eros, like I was saying, it's my understanding that all other disc brakes on the market have a distinct front and rear calipers, which of course cannot not be swapped. (This might just have to do with mounting holes/taps, inboard offset, etc.) However, they can both use the same size rotors, front and rear. I guess this is just how the industry standard decided. By the way, this information came from a bike mechanic I know who is very knowledgable, and friendly with the Magura reps. Magura wanted to make an "entry level" brake set, but were determined to stick with hydraulic rather than designing a mechanical system.

Apparently, Magura cut costs by making a brake system that used the same caliper for both front AND rear. Or it may be more correct to say that they can use a rear caliper on the front. This puts the caliper and pad region in a slightly different place than is standard. So a slightly larger rotor was created to match the different sweap area.

Actually, this raises the question why ALL disk brake systems don't just use the same caliper front and rear, and use a bigger disk up front?? It seems like that would make more sense than designing two calipers.
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