Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Inside the beltway
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Lots of brands and styles, but the main differences are the length and angle of the arms. You got yer old style, wider profile types, like the old Mafacs, original model Shimano XTs, and copies like Paul retros. These generally allow your pads to be a good distance from your rims, with smaller mechanical advantage (stopping power), which also depends on the length of your straddle cable. Then you got yer newer, low-profile types, like Avids, Tektro Oryx, etc. These have less of an angle on the arms, and don't stick out as far as the wider profile types. You are less likely to smack your ankles on these while dismounting (I've done it- it hurts!) and you have a little more stopping power all else remaining equal (like straddle cable length and lever model). So theres no best model, everyone has their favorites. And by what I've seen at cross races, a lot of people haven't a clue as to how to set them up properly, so opinions should be taken with the whole dead sea of salt. The important general parameters are-
Low profile types: greater mech. advantage, don't stick out as far, a little easier for smaller hands/ some women (less force required at the levers)
Wider profile types: greater clearance between pad/rim, easier setup with nearly any road lever
You can of course play with the straddle cable length, and when you do there is some overlap between these two basic types where you really couldnt tell the difference between them at the lever. And of course there are models that fit somewhere in between, neither low or wide profile. There are differences between brakes, but life's too short to spend much time worrying about it. When people report that some suck, or rock it usually says more about their setup than the model. Play around to find the sweet spot. But they all work, and they're all someone's favorites...
Last edited by ZenNMotion; 01-16-05 at 06:01 PM.