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Shimano Road Disc question (Portland riders please reply!)

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Shimano Road Disc question (Portland riders please reply!)

Old 10-27-08, 02:00 PM
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Banzai
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Shimano Road Disc question (Portland riders please reply!)

I run Avid BB7 road disc brakes on my commuter. However, I'm building up new wheels with a centerlock hub.

I can buy just new Shimano rotors for $30 each, or I can buy Shimano BR-R505 road discs with rotors for $69 each.

I need a new set of brakes for my wife's bike. Her's is a six bolt so it works better with the BB7, but I've been very very happy with the BB7s. If the Shimano BR-R505 doesn't perform or setup like the BB7, I'm happy to simply swap rotors and continue to use my BB7 calipers and buy new BB7s for the wife.

However, if the R505 brake works as well, it's far more cost effective to swap my entire setup to my wife's bike and get the Shimano brakes for mine.

Thoughts appreciated.

Cheers!
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Old 10-27-08, 03:22 PM
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Of course, by Portland riders I meant Trek Portland, since the Shimano brakes are spec'd on that bike.

I just found the Shimano BR-R505 brakes, with rotors, for $21 frakking dolars at TreeFortBikes. So I ordered them...what do I have to lose at that price? That's the same price as the rotors themselves.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:44 PM
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I'm not in Portland, but Vancouver gets at least as much rain, if not more.

I've currently got the BR505's on my drop-bar commuter, and I'm looking to 'upgrade' to the Avid BB7 Roads. Why?

I've commuted with the Shimanos for more than a year, and I'm not very impressed with them:
Cable brakes are different from hydraulics in that pulling on the cable only moves one pad, while the other remains stationary. By comparison, in hydraulic brakes, both pads move when actuated, and pinch the rotor between them.

- When you set up hydraulic brakes for the first time, you loosen the mounting bolts and squeeze the brakes shut a few times to align the caliper. Because both pads in a hydraulic brake move, this makes it easy to center the caliper so that both sides contact the rotor equally.

- With the BR505, the pad that moves (in and out when you pull the cable) has to push the rotor against the stationary pad in order to 'pinch' the rotor and stop the bike. Therefore the for the BR505, the distance between the fixed pad and the rotor has to be very small (less than 1mm) to make braking efficient, and this can drive you crazy trying to balance the closeness fo the pad while preventing the rotor from dragging on the stationary pad. This also makes it very hard to set up the calipers on the BR505's properly, since you can't just loosen the bolts and center the caliper - you have to position the stationary pad, then figure out how to position the moveable one - with the brake cable pre-tensioned - and adjusting the rotor gap to accomodate the travel in the brake lever.

- Front brakes work decently, but the rear brake is quite ineffective. This make me think that the shimanos are very sensitive to cable housing flex reducing the amount of movement in the brake pad.
- For me, front and rear brakes should constitute a redundant system - that is each brake alone should be capable of bringing the bike to a stop. The front brake can accomplish this on its own, my rear brake cannot.

Finally, support and techinical information for the BR505's is difficult to find, and the pads for the 505s are different than those for other Shimano disc brakes. This, the small market and the poor performance of the product on the bike have led me to be concerned that Shimano may not support the product (at least not in its current form) which may make it difficult for me to find pads and spare parts in the future.

At least the BB7's are designed to use the same pads as their hydraulic brakes, (and BB7 mountain calipers) which assures me of their long-term availability.
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Old 10-27-08, 06:38 PM
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Thanks for the words. The limited replacement parts is a subject of concern...hopefully Shimano doesn't bail on the "road" disc, as that could be the end of the technology.

The adjustment you described is exactly like the BB7, which honestly hasn't been a problem.
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Old 10-27-08, 06:56 PM
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I don't have a Trek Portland but my bike has the BR-R505 front brake. I have about 2500km on the bike so far through mostly hills and traffic and I have been perfectly happy with both it's power and performance. It doesn't have the initial power of most hydraulic disc brakes or v-brakes I've used but with more effort on the lever the power is great even when fully loaded. It is also very quiet both wet and dry. I've had no trouble adjusting the pads although I didn't install them initially. Also the modulation is great both from the hoods and on the drops.

So far I have been very happy with no issues. Hope that helps.
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Old 10-27-08, 08:08 PM
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all of the discs I have installed they have bene warped or warped when installed. this is why it is hard to get the pads close without rubbing. so get the disc straightened or straightened it then they are far easier to adjust.
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Old 10-27-08, 08:23 PM
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The Shimano brakes are new (and I presume a lower-cost alternative) on the 2009 Portlands. All previous models are BB7. They also downgraded the '09 from 10-speed to 9-speed.
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Old 10-27-08, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
The Shimano brakes are new (and I presume a lower-cost alternative) on the 2009 Portlands. All previous models are BB7. They also downgraded the '09 from 10-speed to 9-speed.
Yea, it's too bad. The price of the portland already struck me as a little high ,but $1700 for a Tiagra bike is definitely a no-go. I get that prices are going up across the board, but cheapening the parts isn't the right way to go in all cases. It's not like it's a Madone where you just buy a model up to get the parts you want.

When I heard of the change I actually tried to find a leftover '08 in my size, but no luck.
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Old 10-27-08, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
All previous models are BB7. They also downgraded the '09 from 10-speed to 9-speed.
Tiagra gear while not as flashy as 105 and above is quite serviceable, and the 9 speed chains and cassettes are supposed to more durable than the 10 speed. The thing I find strange is the use of a 105 dérailleur. Why keep it and not go to a Tiagra or LX unit if they are trying to save money.
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Old 10-27-08, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Alox View Post
Therefore the for the BR505, the distance between the fixed pad and the rotor has to be very small (less than 1mm) to make braking efficient, and this can drive you crazy trying to balance the closeness fo the pad while preventing the rotor from dragging on the stationary pad. This also makes it very hard to set up the calipers on the BR505's properly, since you can't just loosen the bolts and center the caliper - you have to position the stationary pad, then figure out how to position the moveable one - with the brake cable pre-tensioned - and adjusting the rotor gap to accomodate the travel in the brake lever. .
Easy to do. Loosen the housing. Put a feeler gauge between the stationary pad and the rotor, and depress the brake. Snug down the housing. You're done. I find that the .007-.010 range for the feeler gauge works best. I'm working with M415's though.

-Roger

Last edited by CCrew; 10-27-08 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 10-28-08, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
The Shimano brakes are new (and I presume a lower-cost alternative) on the 2009 Portlands. All previous models are BB7. They also downgraded the '09 from 10-speed to 9-speed.
Except that everywhere I've looked the BR505s are the same price as the BB7s, except for the crazy cheap deal I found on Tree Fort Bikes. (I'm convinced that the price is a mistake, but I'm not going to complain...)

It's probably a lower cost alternative in that Trek has a good OEM contract with Shimano, and it wasn't a big deal to throw some brakes in the mix too.

Anyhow, I hope these work as well as the BB7s.
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Old 10-28-08, 05:39 PM
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Make sure you let us know how you go
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Old 10-28-08, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
Anyhow, I hope these work as well as the BB7s.
+1 I may snap these up for a future build.
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Old 10-28-08, 07:43 PM
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I don't live in 'Pornland' or ride a Trek anymore,but will say this, if you are gonna run discs...run Avid. Better product hands down, least in Mtb applications.

my two cents worth
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