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  1. #1
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    STI Brifters to Avid BB7 Road Disc Brakes- Cabling Question

    Hey guys and possibly girls-

    Admitted noob on the forums, but I have searched this and figured the Cyclocross section would have the most expertise in this area. While I`m not going to lie to you that I have aspirations to begin racing, I would love some of your advice for a pretty specific project.

    I am converting the flat bars on my Kona Dr. Dew to drops. Unfortunately, that means replacing my beloved Hayes hydraulic discs with some Avid BB& Road mechanical, as I am set on STI brfters (barcons are not an option for me).

    My question is: what would the best cabling set-up be for my 105 STIs to the discs. I was thinking Jagwire as I understand I will want a very efficient pull from the levers to the BB7s, but should I go with the road Racer kit, or buy separate derailleur and mountain brake (Ripcord) cables?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ah another Should imperitive ..

    The Road caliper short swing, is sold for road brifter aplications.
    try the low priced coiled square wire brake housing first, and see if its adequate.

    If not , then you only need to buy a short section for the front brakes anyhow.
    the rear will skid pretty easily anyhow, as most force is the front brake ,
    because inertia is always with you.

    then keep an eye out for the cable to hydraulic cylinder mechs,
    the early stuff is way up there in price, as early adoption usually is,

    as demand raises, mass production kicks in, the cost will come down.

  3. #3
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I've got a BB7 on the front of my Kona Jake and use it with Ultegra (6600) STI levers. I use the bulk coils of cable from REI. I think Jagwire makes them, but it's not one of their fancy models. I get decent performance out of this setup. I've never tried the fancier stuff. I suspect that comparing them to hydraulics you'll be disappointed regardless of your cabling. Get an old bike and ride around with cheap cantilever brakes for a while, then switch to the mechanical discs and you'll like them much better.

  4. #4
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    I also have the BB7 road version with Ultegra STI levers on my cyclocross bike. I used the cheapest cables that I could find and they work fine. I find the hardest part about mechanical brakes is swapping wheel sets I have to make minor adjustments to the pads. Normally this would not be a problem but as it turns out I keep different tires on my spare set of wheels and I find myself swapping them out quite often.

    I did not install any in-line barrel adjusters that were recommended. I didn't want to create another cable segment for more areas of flex and sloppiness. Does anyone have a good reason to use the in-line barrel adjusters with BB7 mechanical brakes?

  5. #5
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    It's my understanding that you'll want road brake cables because road vs mtb cable designation is important only at the lever and you're using a road lever so that Jagwire Racer kit is what you'll be wanting. Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  6. #6
    L-time Cat4 & proud of it
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    Bout the only thing I know of to make braking better are either Yokozuna or Gore cable sets. Yokozuna's are spiral wound housings like the shifters so *shouldn't* compress as much. Gores are just slicker and slide nicer.

    HTH

    M

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I ended up buying a Jagwire Racing kit, and think I will use my Dremel to cut them as I just can't stomach another $30-40 one-off specific tool.

    I think I'm going to be a bit dissapointed with mechanical brakes after the hydraulics, but I just can't stand flat bars on the road. This is turning out to be a lot more expensive an endeavour than I first anticipated. Between the Avid BB7 Roads, Easton EA30 Aero bars, Jagwire cables and STI shifters, I'm for about $330, and I haven't even considered bar tape yet.

    That said, I'm pretty jacked to get my 'new bike' together!

  8. #8
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    You may find that the brakes feel a little "mushier" than you're used to, especially the rear. Cable housing does matter. For mechanical brakes a compressionless cable housing like Jagwire's Ripcord can help. Here's a little secret. The mechanical brake cable kit that Nashbar sells for $7 or $8 uses Jagwire's Ripcord housing.

    himespau is right. You won't be able to use the inner cable with your road levers but that doesn't matter. Just use whatever cable you already have with the new housing.

  9. #9
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    I contacted Jagwire and they said the the Ripcords aren't compatible with STI, and unfortunately, my current cables are Hayes hydraulic lines, so they're out.

    The question I'm wondering now, is where do I route the cables? Exposed or wrapped? I love how neat wrapped cables are, although I am thinking if I want maximum braking efficiency I might want to leave the brake cables exposed.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Propfrwrd View Post
    I contacted Jagwire and they said the the Ripcords aren't compatible with STI...
    The Ripcord cables are not compatible, but the housings are and it's the housings that make the difference. Just use a cable that is compatible, - which I assume you already have, with the Ripcord housings.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 01-13-12 at 02:00 PM.

  11. #11
    tsl
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    As much as I love my BB7s (105 levers, Shimano SLR cables) there's no need to go mechanical.

    Hope and several others are now making cable-actuated master cylinders for fitting integrated levers to hydraulic disk brakes. The unit mounts under the stem. Cables to the master cylinder, hoses to the calipers.

    Of course, if you're willing to wait, in 2013 both Shimano and SRAM will be coming out with integrated levers for hydraulic brakes.

    And for the sake of completeness, Magura is rumored to be adding hydraulic shifting to the mix, with fully hydraulic (brake and shifter) integrated road levers.

    If you decide to stick with cable and BB7s, I've had best performance with fully sheathed cables. I run housing end-to-end on both front and rear.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Of course, if you're willing to wait, in 2013 both Shimano and SRAM will be coming out with integrated levers for hydraulic brakes.
    This is news to me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    As much as I love my BB7s (105 levers, Shimano SLR cables) there's no need to go mechanical.
    Current drop bar hydraulic options are (1) pay lots and lots of money for no weight loss and marginally better (if at all) performance, or (2) wait two years.

    I'm sure you'd agree, BB7s work great, are super-easy to adjust, and very affordable. Swapping rim brakes for disc brakes is the true performance enhancement.

  14. #14
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    On my mtb's (that run mountain BB7's) and my Vaya (road BB7's and Dura-Ace STI levers), I run Jagwire Ripcord housing and cables. For the Vaya, that means buying a set of Ripcord brake cables/housing that only come w/ mtb cable ends, using the housing, and buying separate road-ended inner wires. I keep the unused mtb inner wires as spares, so it' not a big deal. Ripcord housing is awesome w/ BB7's.

  15. #15
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    Any good bike shop, like mine, will have Ripcord housing in bulk so you can simply purchase what you need. Anyway, the results of my experience in installing dozens of road BB-7's on drop bar bikes are:

    -Start with good quality, stiff brake handles with smooth cable-end attachment pivots
    -If the rear caliper mount on the frame will allow, use the 140 mm rotor
    -Smoothly route the housing from the brake handles and along the bars
    -Use Ripcord or Yokozuna Reaction (The best but only available in kits) housing, good quality stainless cables, & machined endcaps (Important)
    -Minimize the amount of housing and, if need be, use the steel tubes from Avid Full Metal Jacket kits to aid in doing this (I've achieved some really zooty set-ups using various combinations of stuff)- careful with the heat shrink tubing
    -Install inline adjustors to allow fine tuning, but monitor them to ensure there is always good cable tension to keep the cable ends well seated and that the adjusters aren't screwed out past half-way.
    -Exchange the pads for the light-weight organic ones

    If you spend a a bit more to get the best stuff and are careful with the installation, you will get performance which is "very" close to hydraulics, at less weight, cost, & complexity and with much easier serviceability. And you won't have to worry about squeezing your brake handles when the wheels are off.

  16. #16
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    Wow! Thanks for the great advice!! I had no idea!

    I've got everything swapped except for the cables, which I will get my LBS to do for me. I'll keep you posted with the results.

  17. #17
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    Just got the Dr. Dew back from the LBS. Unfortunately, we've had some preety good freeze-thaw in Vancouver, so I only did a short test and a ride on the trainer. First impressions:

    - shifts beautifully, even with the Deore rear derailleur
    - the Jagwire Racer cables are smooth
    - the Avid in-line barrel adjusters will be necessary, as the BB7s are nowhere near the power of the Hayes hydraulics (as predicted)
    - the rear brake is pretty mushy

    I'll give a better report when the ice clears and we get back to some normal cool, wet January weather

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