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203/185mm F/R w/ Juicy Ultimate?

687 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  viking159
Two bikes:
$2500 '07 Spec Stumpy, Juicy Five 203mm/185mm (F/R)
$4400 '08 Spec Epic, Juicy Ultimate 185mm/160mm (F/R)

The Juicy manual w/ the Epic lists 185/160mm F/R as the largest "Ultimate" option. Bolt pattern for rotors seems identical both bikes. Both bikes have "post" mounts (called "radial brakes" in motorcycle lingo).

I desire to swap the rotors & mounting brackets between the above two bikes. I'm a heavyweight & very much would prefer the larger rotors on the more costly/faster Epic. It looks like they'll fit, but the Juicy manual lists 185/160 F/R as the largest Ultimate options.

Please inform if there is any affirmative reason NOT to swap other than lighter unsprung weight on the lighter-duty Epic. The heavier the rider the less does unsprung weight detract from performance. All things being equal (I know this is never the case), more brake swept friction area is better, again, except for unsprung (& overall) weight.

Less important: The Juicy manual lists "Ultimate" separate from the "Seven/Carbon" series. So I am confused (easily done, I admit) by the lever's "Ultimate 7" stencil. Why are "Ultimate" & "7" connected on the levers while the manual implies they are separate series?

Is "Seven/Carbon" one series or two separate series?

Could someone list all Juicy series in descending order of cost/quality?

These provide startling brake performance, the very best of anything I've ever driven/ridden. After only one trail ride the 203/185 "Five" is preferred over the 185/160 Ultimate, but Ultimate performance might be decreased by a slight drag & imperfect pad seating on the front.
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The Juciy....

series can be a bit confusing, but it's really rather simple. The Juciy Carbon is simply a Juciy 7 with carbon bits to decrease weight. The brakes are suitable for everything from cross country to light down hill use according to Avid. Though the Code and Code 5 are better DH brakes. The Ultimate is different, though still labled a Juciy, and uses a different caliper and master cylinder, and is rated as a cross country brake only by Avid. The main focus of the Juciy 7 and Carbon brakes is an all around brake, the main focus with the Juciy Ultimate is light weight XC/racing brake. So the Ultimate is unsuitable for more agressive forms of riding for the most part. Simply put the Juciy Carbon is a more powerful brake than the Ultimate.

As for rotors, all brakes in the Juciy series can (Carbons and Ultimates included) be run with anything from 160 to 203mm rotors. The Ultimate may be run with a 140mm rear rotor as well. Then again so can the Carbons, but most wouldn't want to unless they're lightweight riders.

The bottom line is, there's no reason that you can't run the 203/185 combo with the Ultimates. The only things you have to consider are the max recommended rotor size for the fork that is speced on the bike, the best source for that info being the fork manufacturer. And then the cleanrance in the rear for a larger rotor. Some XC FS and Hardtail frames don't have enough clerance for a rotor larger than 160mm in the rear.

You won't get as good of performance out of the Ultimate with the larger rotors as you do with the Carbons, but you should see an improvement. As noted larger lever moment, larger friction area, etc, will make for more bite from the Ultimates within the limits of the caliper design.

As a side note: For the best tell on what brakes are the same and witch are different in the Avid line, download the "Spare Parts List". Then compare part numbers for various brakes. It can be a rather laborious exercise, but it gives an excelent picture of the differences between models. Also the explode drawings point up major differences in design as well.

Good Dirt
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Thanks very much, esp for the warning about fork & rear brake clearance for the larger rotors.
Squash, don't some of the Ultimates basically use the Elixir calipers?...or is that just an OEM thing I've seen on some Specialized bikes? I notice the OP is talking about Specialized bikes here. Even then, as you point out, any of them will work in the combinations you mention.
I was actually thinking about swapping my 203f/185r rotors from my 08 SJ to a Fuel Ex9 (185f/160r). I believe the Fuel runs Elixir's, while my the brakes from my SJ are Ultimates.

Squash said:
. Simply put the Juciy Carbon is a more powerful brake than the Ultimate.
I do not believe this is an accurate statement. There is no noticeable difference between the "power" of Juicy Five thru the Ultimate series; they all use the same basic engineering concept. The 7's are basically the same brakes as the 5's but with the addition of the pad contact adjustment (helps in modulation). The Ultimate's upgrade to a magnesium lever body, carbon fiber levers and a one piece forged caliper. While the magnesium cuts weight, it makes the lever body brittle to any type of impact rendering it suitable to XC only. Specialized is a big enough company to have Avid custom tweak their line, not sure what part of the caliper/brake lever combo separate the Ultimate 7 from the Juicy 7/Ultimate.
Another bit of confusion....The Ultimate 7's out of the box do have carbon levers. The brakes that come on the 08 SJ don't have the carbon upgrade, which makes them some mutant offshoot of a couple different systems made only to confuse us all.
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