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Travel bike with hydraulic disc brakes; how do you make that happen?

Old 03-05-16, 08:20 PM
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Travel bike with hydraulic disc brakes; how do you make that happen?

Hello, I was interested in building a cyclocross/gravel grinder style travel bike (either Ritchey breakaway style or with S&S couplers) that takes hydraulic disc brakes. I was directed towards Formula's Speed Lock valve system as a good means of being able to take apart a bike yet still use hydraulic disk brakes without having to bleed them. This seems to make sense, but my online searches have not been able to find examples of people who have actually successfully done this.

A few bike shops said that the hydraulic brakes may be affected by the high altitudes/flying as well as there may still be a chance of needing to bleed the system when you disconnect/connect.

Can you point me to examples where the Speed Lock systems has been used on travel bikes with hydraulic disk brakes? I really want to make this happen, but I honestly can't afford to be the first to experiment with this.

Thank you,
-Nick
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Old 03-05-16, 09:42 PM
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doing the same thing, with S&S, and that's what my builder is planning on using. Can't say how well it works, obviously.
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Old 03-06-16, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by tedder
doing the same thing, with S&S, and that's what my builder is planning on using. Can't say how well it works, obviously.
do you absolutely need to disconnect? could you just remove the calipers,
unclip the housing, coil and pack with the bars?
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Old 03-06-16, 02:22 AM
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I did a retrofit to my bike and I put again avid v brakes
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Old 03-06-16, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tedder
doing the same thing, with S&S, and that's what my builder is planning on using. Can't say how well it works, obviously.
Tedder, if you don't mind me asking, can you tell me what builder you are going with and some details about your future bike?

Edit- I tried to send you a PM, but I can't because my post count is so low.
-Nick

Last edited by brownnugen; 03-06-16 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 03-06-16, 08:42 AM
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re altitude, and pressure, or less of it. I can always remember going with a friend on a backpacking trip, leaving in a car from near sea level up to somewhere around 10000ft or so, and opening the cars trunk and seeing our 1 litre nalgene bottles all ballooned up like marshmellows. Amazing they didnt split, but I imagine this could be an issue with a closed fluid system--although I freely admit that I do not have the experience to know how much space is available for expansion in a closed braking system.

This of course is dependant on the pressure in a hold, and when you think about it, we take shampoo and stuff in our checked luggage all the time without things bursting, so these concerns may be completely unfounded.

and yes, it would seem to me the easiest way to go is to simply disconnect the piping from the frame and without kinking it, pack it carefully along with the bike. This must be a viable option.
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Old 03-06-16, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
re altitude, and pressure,
i always thought liquids were essentially not compressible, that
is they expand or contract due to temperature but not pressure.

otherwise how does hydraulics work?
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Old 03-06-16, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
re altitude, and pressure, or less of it. I can always remember going with a friend on a backpacking trip, leaving in a car from near sea level up to somewhere around 10000ft or so, and opening the cars trunk and seeing our 1 litre nalgene bottles all ballooned up like marshmellows. Amazing they didnt split, but I imagine this could be an issue with a closed fluid system--although I freely admit that I do not have the experience to know how much space is available for expansion in a closed braking system.

This of course is dependant on the pressure in a hold, and when you think about it, we take shampoo and stuff in our checked luggage all the time without things bursting, so these concerns may be completely unfounded.

and yes, it would seem to me the easiest way to go is to simply disconnect the piping from the frame and without kinking it, pack it carefully along with the bike. This must be a viable option.
You would have thought that the bike industry has already figured this out; maybe they have and I just don't know where to look. Good thing I am not in a rush to do this..
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Old 03-06-16, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
do you absolutely need to disconnect? could you just remove the calipers,
unclip the housing, coil and pack with the bars?
WAY easier.
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Old 03-06-16, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
i always thought liquids were essentially not compressible, that
is they expand or contract due to temperature but not pressure.

otherwise how does hydraulics work?
of course, it would have been the air in the nalgenes that expanded--what you say makes perfect sense.
I know that I've had seals go on a motorcycle stored outside in winter, but I imagine that was water in the brake fluid that froze, expanded and buggered the seals over the winter.
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Old 03-06-16, 01:51 PM
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Bike Friday travel bikes would be no problem, since rear section folds rather than needing to separate.
They pack smaller too , Into a Suitcase .




Regular Bikes, plastic C clips come off zip tie hose guides and can be reused . not that cutting and replacing zip ties is a chore .
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Old 03-06-16, 07:37 PM
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Why do you need hydraulic disc brakes on a touring bike? Does your tour include lots of technical downhill singletrack? Do you have weak hands from a past injury?

As suggested by others, removing the caliper and coiling it up with its hose will be a lot simpler. That is unless you're buying a frame with internal routing. I'd rather spend my money on building better wheels than messing around with finicky hydros for a machine whose first priority should be reliability.

Also, that Formula system would most likely require that you run Formula brakes. Brake hoses aren't necessarily interchangeable among brands. Unless your gravel bike is going to run flat bars, it might not be possible to do this.

Last edited by niknak; 03-06-16 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 03-06-16, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by niknak
Why do you need hydraulic disc brakes on a touring bike? Does your tour include lots of technical downhill singletrack? Do you have weak hands from a past injury?

As suggested by others, removing the caliper and coiling it up with its hose will be a lot simpler. That is unless you're buying a frame with internal routing. I'd rather spend my money on building better wheels than messing around with finicky hydros for a machine whose first priority should be reliability.

Also, that Formula system would most likely require that you run Formula brakes. Brake hoses aren't necessarily interchangeable among brands. Unless your gravel bike is going to run flat bars, it might not be possible to do this.
I posted on the Touring forum because I figured this is the crowd that travels often with their bikes. For me, I am actually considering upgrading my bike to something that will ultimately be my "last" bike I purchase. So, it would need to serve as my daily commuter (year round in sun, snow, ice, etc) as well as something that I could take with me, as I travel/fly for work about 30-45 days/year. While I currently don't ride much off-road, I can myself riding on fireroads as well as the local canal and towpaths around the DC area. So, I may not be looking specifically for a touring specific bike, but more of a bike that can be my do everything bike.

My current bike has avid BB7's, but I was never really satisfied in the 4 years I've had them and I heard good things about hydraulic brakes. I thought that if I am building my "dream" bike, I might as well dream big and consider what would be the best and future-proof. I didn't consider that the Formula Speed Lock may not be compatible with Shimano hydraulic brakes (STI shifters).
-Nick
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Old 03-06-16, 09:30 PM
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You need to find someone who has actually packed a S&S, hydro-disc brake bike. My experience with uncoupling my wife's non-disc, S&S bike and trying to make it fit into a small package, is that it takes a lot of gyrations to accomplish. This may be hampered by the Hydraulic line. If you are shooting for the 26"x26"x10" packing container, you also have to think about how you handle your racks and fenders.

Even though we travel quite a bit with our bikes, I would not spend the extra $500-$700 if I were building up a bike for myself. Her bike has a custom built 47 cm frame(Co-Motion)and it was cheaper, and a better installation to have them installed when the frame was built, e.g., double butted tubing used at the coupler connection joints. In retrospect, I don't think it was that good of an idea. Her bike runs 700c wheels, and the 32 mm tires have to be removed from the rim to even get close to fitting a 26"x 26" box. Then we have to figure out how to carry the racks, fenders, and tires.

The couplers do save money when shipping UPS or FedEx, but that isn't your intention. If your bike is fit with 26" wheels, and does not have racks and fenders you might find it more feasible.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-06-16 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 03-07-16, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
re altitude, and pressure, or less of it. I can always remember going with a friend on a backpacking trip, leaving in a car from near sea level up to somewhere around 10000ft or so, and opening the cars trunk and seeing our 1 litre nalgene bottles all ballooned up like marshmellows. Amazing they didnt split, but I imagine this could be an issue with a closed fluid system--although I freely admit that I do not have the experience to know how much space is available for expansion in a closed braking system.

This of course is dependant on the pressure in a hold, and when you think about it, we take shampoo and stuff in our checked luggage all the time without things bursting, so these concerns may be completely unfounded.

and yes, it would seem to me the easiest way to go is to simply disconnect the piping from the frame and without kinking it, pack it carefully along with the bike. This must be a viable option.
Liquids, not a problem. Air and gasses, could be a big problem. So, it would be a question of is there any air in your system? I use fountain pens, but I do not fly with them because I do not want a pocket full of ink.

Originally Posted by Doug64
...Her bike runs 700c wheels, and the 32 mm tires have to be removed from the rim to even get close to fitting a 26"x 26" box. Then we have to figure out how to carry the racks, fenders, and tires.

The couplers do save money when shipping UPS or FedEx, but that isn't your intention. If your bike is fit with 26" wheels, and does not have racks and fenders you might find it more feasible.
I have 26 inch wheels on my S&S bike.
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