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Convert KHS to disc or get new MTB?

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Convert KHS to disc or get new MTB?

Old 01-21-13, 09:22 AM
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PatrickGSR94
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Convert KHS to disc or get new MTB?

I'm wondering whether I should do a disc brake conversion on my old KHS MTB or just get a newer MTB with disc, etc.

A little history: I got back into cycling in May of last year. Rode the KHS bike for many miles, and preferred road riding at the time. So I swapped out the 26x2.1 knobby tires for 26x1.5 inverted tread tires and also a rigid fork. The old Rock Shox fork was very tired and just bottomed out and did nothing while I was on the bike. I rode the bike on road rides for several months. Then in late September I picked up my first road bike, the 2011 Felt shown in my sig.

A few weeks ago I did a Trek MTB demo and rode several very high end, full-suspension, hydraulic-everything bikes on some trails, and really loved it. Then I decided to pull apart my old Rock Shox fork and found one of the elastomers had completely disintegrated, so that basically only 1 spring was working inside it. That explains why it always bottomed out under my weight. So I spent about $75 refurbishing the fork (new elastomers, new fork crown race ring), threw it back on the bike last week along with the 2.1 tires, and took it out on some trails over the weekend. Wow I'm really starting to love trail riding!

Well the fact is that the brakes are AWFUL on this bike whenever I ride in wet/muddy conditions. I love the bike itself. I bought it for $200 off a local guy back in 2006, but never rode it much until this past year. But the brakes are bad, and the Shimano Deore trigger shifters have been giving me fits when it's colder outside.

So I'm thinking that I REALLY want a bike with disc brakes for off-road riding. I just added up some parts: Avid BB7 brakes, Brake Therapy rear conversion kit, and Rhyno-Lite rims with Shimano M525 hubs, and all that will cost just over $400. Plus I would have to use my rigid fork with disc brake tabs, or purchase a suspension fork with provisions for disc brakes, which would likely send the total cost well over $700.

I'm leaning towards just getting a new MTB with disc brakes, perhaps even a BikesDirect bike since I'm much more familiar with bikes, what's good and what's not, what size I need, etc. than I was just 9 months ago. I just saw a pretty nice looking Motobecane MTB with 3x8 drivetrain (same as what my KHS has, but has lower gearing), and hydraulic Tektro brakes and 100mm travel Suntour fork for $550. Or there's something like the Trek 3500 with mechanical disc for $480, but it only has a 3x7 Tourney drivetrain, and the gearing is not as low.

Thoughts? I already went the brand new route with the road bike. Maybe I could go used/CL for a MTB, although that's what I did with the KHS bike. Or maybe I could even build up something myself as I've been wanting to give that a try.
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Old 01-21-13, 12:59 PM
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I agree-- your old bike is probably not worth the upgrade costs --- -not that its not still a good bike ---- if your brake pads are as old as that elastomer was -- maybe you could try some fresh pads - the pads are probably as hard as little hockey pucks now,

Some fresh Kool Stop pads would bring some life back into it, then you can take your time looking for the best deal for you ---- and keep the old bike for a commuter since its got a fresh fork and pads

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Old 01-21-13, 01:13 PM
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Yeah I heard that. Disc brakes are pretty much out the window for this bike, unless I do it along with a 700C wheel conversion later when I put this bike back to road/hybrid status.

However I would like to get rid of these Shimano XTR parallel-push brakes as the linkages have tons of play in them and squeal REALLY bad sometimes. What's a good quality v-brake replacement that won't break the bank? Not necessarily Shimano or Avid (SRAM). Tektro? Cane Creek? UC has some ones called TRP that are only 154g/wheel. I'm going to weigh my current XTR brakes to see where they come in, and would like to stay close to the same weight if possible, or possibly even lose a few grams.
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Old 01-21-13, 02:18 PM
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I saw a pic of your bike in one of the other threads you posted --- it doesnt look like it has enough time on it to be worn out , and XTR/XT stuff is good stuff (XTR is the best there is) if you adjust a set of fresh pads to be slightly toed in (hard to explain on the internet) it should stop like a champ with minimal squealing.

When those brakes came out in '94 or '95, they were a big step up in stopping power over a lot of the cantlevers out there ---- XTR stuff should stop on par with cheaper disc brake setups now ---- but again, your setup, and that fork , looks like its from between '94 and '96, so when your talking about pads that could possibly be 16-19 years old, ----- well, you get where i'm going with this.
I assume the wheel is true right? --- Rim brakes in effect, are disc brakes, but with the rim serving as the rotor, so that has to be tip top to get ultimate braking performance too
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Old 01-21-13, 02:22 PM
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If they're not true, it's only verrrrry slightly out. I probably do need to get the LBS to true them up, though. Don't recall ever having it done, except maybe when the LBS did a tune-up on the bike when I first got it in 2006 (didn't ride it much at all until last May).

Closer (but older) pic of the brakes:


The parallel linkages on at least one brake arm on both wheels has quite a bit of play in them. You don't think that's a bad thing?

Also do you think the rim braking surfaces need any work done to them? I know that car mechanics will sometimes remove the glaze off the surface of cast iron brake rotors with fine sand paper. Would aluminum rim braking surfaces need anything like that done to them?
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Old 01-21-13, 02:49 PM
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its been a while, admittedly since i messed around with V brakes, but i just pulled my old yeti out of storage that has the same brakes --- they have play too - and that bike only has about 30 good rides on it

your rims are probably ok --- after a while they will get rubber build up on them, you can clean that off, and if they are seamed rims, rubber can really build up on the seams , but other than that -- theyre pretty simple

--- fairly good article on adjusting these things ---

http://sheldonbrown.com/canti-direct.html
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Old 01-21-13, 03:28 PM
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Only thing it says about the parallel-push linkage really is that if the pivots need servicing, there are special kits for them.

I'm going to weigh these brakes tonight and see how they compare to more standard v-brakes. If they weigh very much more than others I see for $20 or less per wheel, I'm changing them.

Also I believe the brakes I have are XT's, not XTR.
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Old 01-21-13, 03:39 PM
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I saw this archived page with a link to a CRC page with a tune-up kit for these brakes, with shims and such things, but the kit has been discontinued.

http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-594691.html
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Old 01-21-13, 06:42 PM
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190 grams. I saw some brakes down closer to 150g for not too much coin.

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