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What are THE BEST mech. disc brakes currently available in the market place?

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What are THE BEST mech. disc brakes currently available in the market place?

Old 08-21-15, 12:05 PM
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What are THE BEST mech. disc brakes currently available in the market place?

i've grown to loathe the avid BB5's that came with my CX bike (modded into my daily commuter). the damn things will just not ever stay adjusted for more than a couple months or so.

i want to know what are the absolute best mechanical disc brakes currently available in the marketplace for a CX bike with SRAM apex brifters and cross levers. money is no object.
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Old 08-21-15, 12:24 PM
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I don't know, but I've heard TRP Spyre's are really good. I just picked some up to replace BB7s and see how they are.
Paul also has disc brakes now, the Klamper. I don't know how good they are, but they're Paul so they can't be bad.
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Old 08-21-15, 12:45 PM
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BB7s are much better than 5s. But I still kinda loathe the time I know I have to adjust mine. Though I've figured out enough tricks to be able to get them "almost just right" pretty quickly. If you try to go for "just right" you may be kicking yourself for an hour.

Spyres are pretty good in theory, and much easier to set up, IMO. While I haven't ridden them besides short test rides, I'd hesitate to put on bike performance any better than BB7 brakes. But they look nicer, and mechanically I like the dual pad actuation. They will have spoke clearance issues on some wheels, so be wary.

Would love to get my hand on some Paul Klampers. But it's mostly parts-bling at that point, IMO. Especially at the price.
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Old 08-21-15, 01:01 PM
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There is also the TRP HY/RD, which is a cable actuated hydraulic system. Never used them, but I think someone here has reviewed.
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Old 08-21-15, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by AlTheKiller
BB7s are much better than 5s. But I still kinda loathe the time I know I have to adjust mine. Though I've figured out enough tricks to be able to get them "almost just right" pretty quickly. If you try to go for "just right" you may be kicking yourself for an hour.

Spyres are pretty good in theory, and much easier to set up, IMO. While I haven't ridden them besides short test rides, I'd hesitate to put on bike performance any better than BB7 brakes. But they look nicer, and mechanically I like the dual pad actuation. They will have spoke clearance issues on some wheels, so be wary.

Would love to get my hand on some Paul Klampers. But it's mostly parts-bling at that point, IMO. Especially at the price.

I hate my BB5s
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Old 08-21-15, 03:20 PM
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I'm not sure there is anything approaching consensus about the "best" brakes out there. I think that there is very little separating many of the better options, so go for looks, weight, price, or whatever else you might find useful to narrow down. I've used the BB7s, the Shimano CX77, and the Hayes CX-5, and really didn't find any to stand out. All performed as well as could be expected. Based only on what I've read of the Paul brakes, I'm going to guess that they are superbly made, beautiful looking brakes that will work about the same as most others.
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Old 08-21-15, 09:58 PM
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Another vote for the BB7. I love having tool free adjust-ability for either side of pad. I'm still using my factory Tektro brake on the rear of my commuter. Works and stops just as well as the BB7, but it is a hassle adjusting it.
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Old 08-22-15, 07:30 AM
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You should take a good look at the TRP HY/RD. I have never owned bb7's but the hy/rd would be REALLY hard to beat.
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Old 08-22-15, 09:27 AM
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TRP Spyre because the disc does not have to distort to bring both pads to bear as do the BB5 & BB7 calipers.

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Old 08-22-15, 10:09 AM
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BB5 inner pad adjustment is the same as the BB7 , the outer pad wear adjustment is the cable adjuster .
I just swing the arm arc and reclamp it further up to adjust the BB5 outer pads as they wear in the Shop.

BB7 pads are larger, too ..

Don't like paying attention to how the pads wear, and doing something about it, yourself?

then the HyRd is probably what you want , Hydraulics self adjust for pad wear.. its cable all the way to the brake caliper.


Paul Klampers are CNC made in California USA, that is part of the added cost.

the intention with them is those big machined knobs are tool free, quick hand adjustments .

but the pad wear adjustment is still user done.



Oh, another thing.. another approach : cable to hydraulic conversion
with the master cylinders right in front, under the stem.

https://www.hopetech.com/product/v-twin-brake/ From there the brake lines are hydraulic to the wheel caliper.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-22-15 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-22-15, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan
i've grown to loathe the avid BB5's that came with my CX bike (modded into my daily commuter). the damn things will just not ever stay adjusted for more than a couple months or so.

i want to know what are the absolute best mechanical disc brakes currently available in the marketplace for a CX bike with SRAM apex brifters and cross levers. money is no object.
I replaced my front bb7 with a TRP HY/RD. I got sick adjusting the bb7 every week in the winter, and annoyed with having to remount the brake every pad change, and the the front brake was corroded to all hell after three chicago winters, so it needed to be replaced anyway. (Mind you, two of them were unusually snowy and salty.) Works fine. I did have to add about a teaspoon of fluid when I bought it, which greatly improved the lever travel, and need to use a cable pulling pliers when installing it. But even allowing for having mounted it twice, I have in the 5 months or so I've had it, spent maybe two weeks worth of bb7 fiddling. (memo to myself: check the pads...)
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Old 08-22-15, 01:54 PM
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Never had an issue with BB7's. I've built a couple bikes at work with Spyres;the lack of conical washers and adjuster knobs meant they were more fiddly to set up than BB7's. The BB7's washers allow you to cant the caliper at an angle in case the fork mount isn't perfect.

Originally Posted by dscheidt
and annoyed with having to remount the brake every pad change,
Eh? What were you doing? All I've ever done is back out the adjuster knobs and pull the pads. Never needed to remove the caliper. Were you leaving the wheel on?

Originally Posted by dscheidt
and the the front brake was corroded to all hell after three chicago winters, so it needed to be replaced anyway. (Mind you, two of them were unusually snowy and salty.)
Salt will eventually destroy everything. Hosing the brakes down at least weekly would have helped.
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Old 08-22-15, 03:25 PM
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I like BB7s for their simplicity and ease of set up...However, they are not immune to winter road salt. Mine stopped working and seized up due to winter salt. I had to take them off and completely disassemble them to clean and scrape all the salt and corrosion out. I then lubed them and they have been good. In my experience BB7s need to have all the salt rinsed out of them with water regularly during winter riding or else you're going to have problems.
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Old 08-22-15, 09:11 PM
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I have the TRP Spyres and love, love, love them...I could not rip the BB5's off the bike fast enough they sucked massively.
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Old 08-23-15, 05:08 AM
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I can't say which are the best disc brake calipers for commuting. All I've ever used are BB-7 roads. As for the proper care and feeding of BB-7s in a Great Lakes winter:

Back in the 70s, one of my first jobs was working at the corner garage. Automotive disc brakes were all new-fangled back then. Calipers didn't survive many Great Lakes winters without seizing. The trick we used was lubing everything with anti-seize. Also worked great with the old-school manually-locking front hubs on 4x4s that we had back then too.

After my first Great Lakes winter when my BB7 calipers seized, I tried the same thing. I'm still using the original calipers manufactured in November 2005.

Also, only buy pads with either an aluminum or copper backing plate (avoid the ones with a steel backing plate).

Short form: Remove the caliper, remove the pads, back out the adjusters, lube them up with anti-seize, reassemble the adjusters, lube the sliders with anti-seize, lube pad backing plates with anti-seize, insert new pads, install the caliper. I do this every-other spring.

As for adjusting the caliper mounting position correctly, the short form is: Install new pads, loosen the caliper mounting bolts so that the caliper flops around easily, tighten both adjusters really really tight, clamping on to the rotor so that the pads hold the caliper in the desired position, tighten the mounting bolts, back off the adjuster to the correct operating position.

This technique for caliper mounting position is fully documented in the BB-7 Service Manual available here: https://www.sram.com/avid/products/b...cal-disc-brake.

Last edited by tsl; 08-23-15 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 08-23-15, 08:32 AM
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If you don't like to adjust pads frequently, then go with Hydro discs. Hydros are self-adjusting and you never have to touch anything until it's time to change the pads, they are also more powerful and have better modulation then mechanical discs.
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Old 08-23-15, 09:29 AM
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Regarding Road specific mech disk brakes...

Hayes CX are better than Avid BB5... heck, there are some lower end Tektro mech disk calipers better than BB5. I was extremely disappointed with BB7s -- only marginally better to set up than BB5s, nearly the same in use.

If I were to build myself a road disk rig at this point, I would skip mechanical altogether and go straight to full hydraulic. That said, if limited by existing components, TRP Hy/Rd or Spyre. Compared to other mechanical disks, Hy/Rd was a breeze to set up, adjust, and felt better, although it is a heavier system. Never dealt with Spyre, but like the idea and what I hear about them from others.
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Old 08-23-15, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder
Never had an issue with BB7's. I've built a couple bikes at work with Spyres;the lack of conical washers and adjuster knobs meant they were more fiddly to set up than BB7's. The BB7's washers allow you to cant the caliper at an angle in case the fork mount isn't perfect.



Eh? What were you doing? All I've ever done is back out the adjuster knobs and pull the pads. Never needed to remove the caliper. Were you leaving the wheel on?



Salt will eventually destroy everything. Hosing the brakes down at least weekly would have helped.
I've never had two sets of pads sit in the brake the same way. When I've just replaced pads, they ended up like this. The previous set of pads in this brake wore out normally (which, given that it's a bb7, means one side wears out well before the other, because they don't get adjusted evenly.

The bike mechanic who taught me how to work on these brakes made a point of saying that he always remounts the caliper when he replaces pads.

As for hosing the brakes out, that's not going to happen. It's winter. I don't have a hose that's not frozen. The brakes did get disassembled, cleaned, and greased at the end of the winter.

The BB7 design is subject to glop getting in the mechanism, and it's generally not a good all conditions design. It works very nicely, when it's not corroded up, though.
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Old 08-23-15, 10:25 AM
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I follow the set up instructions for my BB7s, they work great. I just wore through front and rear pads riding my mtb on lift assisted trails and both sets of pads eroded symmetrically. Between my bikes and family, I'm running 6 bikes with BB7s, never had any issues after I paid attention to the set up instructions.

The TRPs are not getting good long term reviews, I don't see them as an improvement over BB7s.
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Old 08-23-15, 10:31 AM
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My Most reliable all weather Brakes are the Drum brakes from Sturmey Archer ,

I used an old road brake lever Campagnolo with Mustache Bars .

now using an older Bull Moose MTB bar cantilever pull straight bar levers work fine.

[That bike comes out when the roads Ice over , since I leave the studded tires on it]

with your Sram brifters their short cable pull-high MA will make the brakes feel smooth modulating .



You could also use a longer cable pull V type lever if you wish, there is plenty of leverage in the actuating arm .



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Last edited by fietsbob; 08-23-15 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 08-23-15, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl
...lubing everything with anti-seize...when my BB7 calipers seized, I tried the same thing. I'm still using the original calipers manufactured in November 2005....
Any worries about the anti-seize getting runny and contaminating the disc/pads when the caliper starts heating up?
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Old 08-23-15, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH
Any worries about the anti-seize getting runny and contaminating the disc/pads when the caliper starts heating up?
When my BB7s seized up I used a little bit of oil on the adjustment knobs and inside the pistons to get everything moving after cleaning them out. You could also use high temperature grease, but don't use too much or else the pads may get contaminated, a little bit goes a long way, I haven't had any problems with contamination.... That's the problem with mechanicals, the pistons are not sealed and will always let some crap get in and when that happens the pad adjustment knobs seize up and are impossible to turn.
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Old 08-23-15, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s
There is also the TRP HY/RD, which is a cable actuated hydraulic system. Never used them, but I think someone here has reviewed.
I ran BB7's for years. They are adequate if you stay on top of the adjustment.

Switched to TRP HY/RD's 3 years ago. Night and Day better. Better braking power, self-adjusting and self-centering pads. No more fiddling with the BB7 adjustment knobs!
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Old 08-24-15, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH
Any worries about the anti-seize getting runny and contaminating the disc/pads when the caliper starts heating up?
I've had no problems.
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Old 08-24-15, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by woodway
and self-centering pads
See? This is where it runs aground for me. I just won't deal with anyone/thing that's too self-centered.
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