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Disc Brakes my thoughts

Old 04-27-15, 04:21 AM
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Disc Brakes my thoughts

Now that I've had my Disc Trucker for a while I like to share my thoughts about my Avid BB7 brakes. Truth is I don't really care for them much. My first bike had V brakes so I'll be comparing the two.

1. It seems like every time I take a wheel off I have to readjust the brakes, and It can be a little tedious.

2. They feel weak compared to my V brakes.

3. When they came in the mail one of the rotors was slightly bent and had to be trued up.

4. Seems like no matter how much I adjust them I get a little rub.

5. They get in the way of mounting my front rack. (Had to make a custom bracket to make it work)

I know, I know..... everyone says Disc Brakes are the bomb.... They work so much better in the rain, and to that I can't testify. (I haven't rode in the rain with them yet, and don't plan to)

Don't get me wrong, I love my Disc Trucker, However if I had to do it all over again I'd get the Long Haul Trucker.

Just my thoughts

Last edited by jargo432; 04-27-15 at 04:22 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-27-15, 05:36 AM
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I discussed discs with a friend of mine who builds frames and as into the fine detail of things such as disc brakes.

He says the discs used by Avid for the BB7 are made to a price, which means they are thinner and more prone to warping and bending. The solution apparently is to fit a better quality and sturdier disc. That should solve one issue -- I know that when they go out of true, they are damned difficult to get back into true again so they don't rub.

Also, and you may already do this, but make sure that your axles is properly fitted into the dropout before doing up the QR.

The primary adjustment seems to be through the larger "dial" on the inside of the calliper. I fiddled with the outer one in the hope of getting things right, then resorted to the inner one, and that helped solve things such as gap between the pads, and lever adjustment.

I don't know if any of this helps.
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Old 04-27-15, 06:29 AM
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My bike came with Shimano hydraulic discs, and none of the things you describe have ever happened to me. They stop instantly; very noticeably stronger than any other kind of bike brakes I have ever tried. They don't rub. I haven't had to adjust them ever, despite taking the wheels off multiple times. They make no noise riding or braking, except for the first split-second of braking after they get wet.

Maybe it's not disc brakes you are objecting to, but BB7's?
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Old 04-27-15, 07:07 AM
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Shimano hydraulics on my MTB, and more recently on my road bike, and no issues whatsoever.



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Old 04-27-15, 10:01 AM
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I've got them on my Roam 2. Need them? No. Like them? YES. I would not of specifically sought them out, they were on the model that I was interested in. Having them for over a year now I would get them again if the model I wanted offered them. As I age my hands appreciate the significant less force required to stop.
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Old 04-27-15, 10:02 AM
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Have 3 touring bikes ,1 Cantilever , 1 Hydraulic Rim, and 1 Mechanical Disc . they all work fine. **


The recent TRP HyRd, a Hybrid cable pulled caliper with a Hydraulically actuated caliper.. the design has a Knob that, 'keeper' like,
wont let the caliper close when the wheel is removed ..

Though if you are Not that mechanical they may be the worst of both worlds to your skills.

** additionally a drum brake wheel pair~ old MTB, 2 side pulls and a couple more cantilever braked Bikes..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-27-15 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 04-27-15, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Rootman
I've got them on my Roam 2. Need them? No. Like them? YES. I would not of specifically sought them out, they were on the model that I was interested in. Having them for over a year now I would get them again if the model I wanted offered them. As I age my hands appreciate the significant less force required to stop.
I sure wish I could look at your setup. I find it takes a lot more pressure for my BB7s than my V-brakes. I really was in shock as to how much weaker and how much force was needed for the disc brakes.
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Old 04-27-15, 11:01 AM
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i've got v-brakes front, disc rear.

front is old deore transferred from a dead bike, jagwire pads.
put bb5's on the rear of a disc only frame.

v-brake stopping power twice that of the bb5's
in dry, about the same in wet.

v-brake pads last years. disc pads need replacing
at least twice a year (depending on use of course).

disc pads wear out way too fast in sloppy, muddy
conditions, can surprise you in the mountains
with the sudden "oops, no brakes" moment.

i always carry spares. often need to change disc pads
on tour. never needed to change v-brake pads on tour.
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Old 04-27-15, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jargo432
(I haven't rode in the rain with them yet, and don't plan to)
Well that eliminates touring in a large part of the country, not to mention the rest of the world.
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Old 04-27-15, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Have 3 touring bikes ,1 Cantilever , 1 Hydraulic Rim, and 1 Mechanical Disc . they all work fine.


The recent TRP HyRd, a Hybrid cable pulled caliper with a Hydraulically actuated caliper.. the design has a Knob that, 'keeper' like,
wont let the caliper close when the wheel is removed ..

Though if you are Not that mechanical they may be the worst of both worlds to your skills.
Below is my latest love. I'm the least mechanically inclined, preferring to pay my bike mechanic for peace of mind. BTW, the TRP HyRd works really great. My first experience with disc brakes.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
gt grade alloy105.jpg (94.3 KB, 63 views)
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Old 04-27-15, 11:39 AM
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I've had bikes with caliper, v-brake, canti, BB7 and the TRP semi hydraulic.

My preference based on those are either caliper rim brakes or mechanical disc.

Adjusting the BB7's is super easy and they stop hard.
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Old 04-27-15, 12:01 PM
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OP, Got proper setup and install? 3 sets of BB'7s for me, work great. For me the advantage is in rain, snow, sleet and loaded touring. I'm guessing not much snow in TX.
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Old 04-27-15, 12:08 PM
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My Jamis Aurora Elite has BB7s. If they feel weak, I think you need to have them adjusted. These things stop hard.

I'm in North Texas also. Disc brakes are kind of overkill for our flat, dry area.
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Old 04-27-15, 12:21 PM
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Often times it's the brake lever that makes the most difference. If your levers have the Speed Dial or Servo-Wave, you might fiddle with that. I think the non adjustable Avid levers are probably about as good as they get for cable actuated discs however. It's got high performance for its budget price.

(Edit): Hey, speaking of BB7's, do any of you have squealng issues with them? That's the only problem I've experienced, usually when they're wet. Solutions?

Last edited by Wolf Dust; 04-27-15 at 12:32 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 04-27-15, 12:31 PM
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I've used hydraulic discs for some time, and then BB7s for 5 years.
Hydros offer amazing power and modulation, but other than that, I don't care for them.

BB7s offer very good modulation and enough power. They are easy to setup. I just loosened the caliper bolts and tightened the pads with the knobs until the disc was centered within the caliper. Then, with pressure on the brake lever I tightened the caliper bolts. At last it was just a matter of loosen the pads until there was no more rub.
The ugly was:
- discs easy to bent
- very sensitive to contamination
- need adjustment as they wear
- sometimes the levers would stick when subjected to lots of water and dirt.

My current bike uses cantis , in this case Tektros CR720. They are not easy to setup, but once you get it right it's fit and forget.
Not as powerful as vbrakes but with much better modulation. Powerful enough for an heavy rider and a loaded bike. Also, the pads ride much father from the rims, so mud and dirt pass by fine (relative to vbrakes).

Overall, I can say I don't miss the BB7s. I wouldn't skip a frame I liked because it used discs, but the cantis have been a revelation for me
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Old 04-27-15, 01:06 PM
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I get a few bucks Out of the LBS Boxing up Tour'ers bikes to ship home .. IMO Shimano's centerlock on front hubs is a real benefit, because ...

It makes removing the disc from the hub easy .. and packing the disc separate from the wheel saves it from bending..

+ the lockring tool for cassettes works on the centerlock ring too..

Schmidt's new dynohubs are centerlock

Yea, a Mechanical disc since it pushes the disc into the stationary pad (except TRP Spyre/Spyke), thinner disc flexes to move sideways .

Hydraulics squeeze from Both sides and thicker discs are heavier ... choices ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-27-15 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 04-27-15, 01:21 PM
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If your quick release lever can open so far that the lever can reach into your disk, put the quick release lever on the right side instead of left. More at:

https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/10...ke-recall.html
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Old 04-27-15, 02:01 PM
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My thoughts and experiences:

1. I have two Trek 520 bikes that I've ridden a lot. Both have v-brakes and generally work ok. I eventually wear through rims, partially because I'm cautious and partially because myself + gear is a reasonable load.
2. I have a Trek 4500 bike that came with hydraulic disk brakes. I definitely noticed additional stopping power. They self-adjusted as well. I was slightly cautious on whether I might have fill/adjustment issues eventually but so far, so good.
3. I have a second Trek 4500 that I'm outfitting as a spare expedition bike. I liked the hydraulic disk brakes enough on the other Trek 4500, that decided to have them retrofitted with bb7 mechanical disk brakes. I haven't ridden extensively on this bike yet, but stopping power is stronger than when it had v-brakes.
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Old 04-27-15, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jargo432
Now that I've had my Disc Trucker for a while I like to share my thoughts about my Avid BB7 brakes. Truth is I don't really care for them much. My first bike had V brakes so I'll be comparing the two.

1. It seems like every time I take a wheel off I have to readjust the brakes, and It can be a little tedious.

2. They feel weak compared to my V brakes.

3. When they came in the mail one of the rotors was slightly bent and had to be trued up.

4. Seems like no matter how much I adjust them I get a little rub.

5. They get in the way of mounting my front rack. (Had to make a custom bracket to make it work)

I know, I know..... everyone says Disc Brakes are the bomb.... They work so much better in the rain, and to that I can't testify. (I haven't rode in the rain with them yet, and don't plan to)

Don't get me wrong, I love my Disc Trucker, However if I had to do it all over again I'd get the Long Haul Trucker.

Just my thoughts
My experience with BB7 lines up pretty well with this. Over multiple bikes, I've had issues with rubbing, which always seems to come back after re-installing the wheel. I think it's due to the fact that with BB7, only one of the pads actually moves when actuated. The other one is stationary, and as such needs to be adjusted so that it is very close to the rotor. I also don't find BB7 to be any stronger than a good set of V-brakes. If anything, the V-brakes with a good pad like Salmon Kool-Stop felt more responsive. I also found that BB7 were susceptible to heating - on a big downhill back in Eureka (2000 feet of gain/loss over about 5 miles), very quickly the brakes were rubbing constantly. I assume it was due to expansion of the metal due to the heating, but whatever the cause, it was annoying. That rubbing would go away shortly after the downhill was done, which would seem to confirm the heat expansion theory. I also had issues with warped rotors, even though I changed the rotor it still seems to be susceptible to warping. In any case, though I have never seen the "set it and forget it" disk brake nirvana that so many others seem to talk about. And it was with multiple different bikes, and it wasn't due to my mechanical expertise (or lack thereof) - multiple bike shops did full adjustments and tuneups on those bikes, and the same issues always seem to eventually reappear. I feel hoodwinked by the whole thing, to be honest. The BB7 seems to be such a delicate flower in terms of adjustment, I'm just not that interested any more. I don't particularly like things that need all sorts of qualifiers like "well, if you adjust it correctly". I want something that just works, without a lot of faffing around. And for me at least, BB7 has required a *lot* of faffing around.

I'm curious now about the Shimano hydraulics, which people seem to be saying are good (though I should be cautious, I guess, since people also said the same things about the BB7's). My understanding has always been that hydraulics are not optimal for touring, since they are harder to maintain when they need that - something about bleeding fluids or whatever. What do people think now, though - is hydraulic reliable now? Is it maybe the way to go? I think both pads move with hydraulic, rather than just one, which makes a lot more sense to me...

Thanks,

Neil
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Old 04-27-15, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jargo432
.

1. It seems like every time I remove my wheel I readjust the brakes, and It can be a little tedious.

4. Seems like no matter how much I adjust them I get a little rub.
You haven't set them up corretly, I have 7 bikes with bb7 calipers and none of them have this issue.
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Old 04-27-15, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
He says the discs used by Avid for the BB7 are made to a price, which means they are thinner and more prone to warping and bending. es is properly fitted into the dropout before doing up the QR....
This isn't true, a quick measurement with calipers would show you the error. BB7 discs are the same thickness or thicker/heavier compared to other Avid rotors. Rotors get bent in shipping and BB7s suck?
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Old 04-27-15, 04:28 PM
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I'll never buy another bike with rim brakes, they are so much better than rim or drum brakes. My Saga disc with BB7s is the best road brakes I've every owned.
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Old 04-27-15, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jargo432
I sure wish I could look at your setup. I find it takes a lot more pressure for my BB7s than my V-brakes. I really was in shock as to how much weaker and how much force was needed for the disc brakes.
I think they are Tektro HDC300, hydraulics. Perhaps yours are cable operated?
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Old 04-27-15, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH
You haven't set them up corretly, I have 7 bikes with bb7 calipers and none of them have this issue.
I'll have to disagree with you. First I set them up myself and realized I didn't know enough to get it right so I took it to one of the best bike mechanics in north Texas. (maybe in the country) This guy has been touring and working as a bike mechanic for 15 years. They are set up as good as possible.

Last edited by jargo432; 04-27-15 at 04:53 PM. Reason: reword
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Old 04-27-15, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jargo432
I'll have to disagree with you. First I set them up myself and realized I didn't know enough to get it right so I took it to one of the best bike mechanics in north Texas. (maybe in the country) This guy has been touring and working as a bike mechanic for 15 years. They are set up as good as possible.
LOL, best mechanic in north Texas can't adjust BB7 but this Yankee has no less than seven different bikes with BB7s working just fine (including my kids MTBs). Too funny! Really, take the time to watch a few youtube videos before all of Texas hangs their collective heads in shame for you and your mechanic....
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