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Discussion Starter #1
Hello

I am building my first all-new MTB (hardtail) in 10 years and I've narrowed my brake choices to the Avid mechs and the SD7 v-brakes. My riding style would be considered general trail or "all-mountain" riding. I've actually used both brakes (in dry conditions) and found the SD7 to be superior though I'm not sure how well the mechs were set up.

I'm leaning towards the SD7 because of cost and weight issues, but I wanted to know, is this a mistake? Any thoughts? Thx...
 

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C88 said:
I'm leaning towards the SD7 because of cost and weight issues, but I wanted to know, is this a mistake? Any thoughts? Thx...
Nope - SD7 are great brakes. Light, simple, powerful. I've got a set on one of my bikes right now. But, truth be told, I like the avid mech. discs on my other bike better - definitely more stopping power with a lighter touch than the SD7.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks.

I guess what I'm really asking is, are the discs worth it terms of improved performance? Are they significantly better than the v-brakes?
 

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C88 said:
Thanks.

I guess what I'm really asking is, are the discs worth it terms of improved performance? Are they significantly better than the v-brakes?
Yes, they are. I went through this whole process about 18 months ago, wondering if discs were really worth it. I decided the only way I'd ever really know would be to try them. I'm glad I did. They make it so much easier on the fingers - my hands are much happier riding with discs.

If it wasn't for the beautiful non-disc King wheelset that I have right now, I'd be using discs on both bikes. As soon as the rims wear out, I'm switching on that bike also.

And Avid mechs are a really nice choice. Cheap, reliable, easy setup, not finicky. Just a little heavy. If you go that route get a set of good cables/housings to go with them (I like Flak Jackets). My Flaks have lasted 18 months with no perceptible change in performance.

And keep in mind it'll probably take 2-3 rides to break in the pads/rotors for maximal stopping power.
 

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C88 said:
Thanks.

I guess what I'm really asking is, are the discs worth it terms of improved performance? Are they significantly better than the v-brakes?
On a long descent or a day with a lot of braking or a short, very steep descent where you want modulation at the very edge of skid, good disc brakes are better and Avid Mechanicals are there. However, they're heavier and in other, general riding situations, they're no better than good vees---and Avid 7's are those. Hmm, does that Text read like Yoda spoke?

My wife and I, and most of the riders in our group, have bikes with both disc and vees. Up to the point where you're in those situations I outlined above, a good vee system is enough and you can still hang tough even in those situations.

My system of choice for upgrading buddies' bikes or building up a frameset deal, etc... for vee brakes is: Avid levers (I choose 7's), Avid Vees (7's), Avid Flak housing/cableset and KoolStop combo (black/salmon) pads instead of the stock Avid KoolStops. Outstanding braking is the result.
 

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And maybe I should mention that I ride where there are mountains, and pretty much every ride starts with a long ascent and ends with a long descent. Also - I'm ~190 lbs.
 

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C88 said:
I guess what I'm really asking is, are the discs worth it terms of improved performance? Are they significantly better than the v-brakes?
I don't think that question has an easy answer -- it's so dependant on rider & terrain & objectives.

A lighter rider will benefit less than a heavier rider. A rider on a relatively flat trail network will benefit than a hillside rider. A rider who obsesses over weight may not preceive any increase in performance with the weight penalty. A dry climate rider will see different benefit than a wet/muddy rider.

When I switched to Avid discs, my XT V's were underpowered in many situations, and I only wanted better stopping power. The increase in modulation was a surprise to me, but important enough that I cite that as the number one improvement for making the switch (it doesn't hurt that I've got all the power I need). I also appreciate the lack of rim wear, especially since I build my own wheels now.

If I were 40 or 50 pounds less and/or a serious weight weenie, you can bet I'd feel a little less enthusiastic about the switch.
 

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I bought the Avid mech brakes because I kept looking at them on my friend's bike and thought that they looked cool. Yes I'm shallow. I didn't think I needed more brakes ...

I was wrong. The Avids have alot more power and very good modulation (for a mechanical disc brake, as good as many hydraulics IMO). I find that I never lock up the brakes (but easily could if I wanted to), because I can modulate on the edge of lockup better.

On the weight issue, my bike weighs close to 30lbs, I could stand to lose 30 lbs (some would say 40). I carry 10lbs of water and other junk on my back when riding. Let's face it, am I really going to notice a half pound of weight :D

I went with Avid 6" brakes, with SD7 levers and flakjacket cables. Great combination.

hope this helps ...

Berardino
 

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go with the avid discs

-all conditions braking, rim being out of true does not affect braking performance, less maintenance, super strong & tons of modulation. Iv'e been riding the avid discs for 2 seasons now & will NEVER go back to rim brakes! To me its such a natural evolution, its like going from a horse & buggy to an automobile.
 

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XT V's are an entirely different animal from SD7s, so that's not a good benchmark to judge by. SD7's are far superior. Stronger, quieter... and XTs generally just suck anyway.

Here's the thing for me. I was running a ceramic rim on the front wheel of a bike that I rode all the time, with an SD7 and a salsa brake booster. (Brake boosters are something to consider in any V brake setup, and salsas are some of the best.) SD7 levers, too.

To date, I'm not entirely sure that the discs have quite topped that setup. I could be wrong, I'm still fiddling with lever adjustments, but so far, I've been thinking that the only difference is an increase in modulation. Granted, ceramic rims will bring the price close to the cost of discs, but with less weight, and comparable performance in rain. I'm assuming you're taking wheels into consideration eitehr way... naturally, bulding your own is cheaper. Just remember never to clean ceramic rims, and don't use ceramic specific pads, since they don't really do as good a job as regular black pads, they just cause more wear. If you're looking to cut costs, use a ceramic just in front, where it'll do most good. If cost isn't as much of an issue, but you think you might see some snow riding, running an alloy rim in the rear is still a good idea. Ceramic rims just don't clear ice as well, and stopping power decreases when the melted snow freezes up.

SD7 on regular aluminum rims still work phenomenally well, in conjunction with the SD levers set for increased leverage. I'm a big guy, who used to ride up and down a hill every day, and I've tried a few braking options. (including XT V brakes... they suck.) SD7 were the first brakes that convinced me that there could be a difference between V brakes... and what a difference.

Recently I've been making a gradual switch to Discs. I run full discs (avid 185) on my XC rig, and I have an avid 203 on the front of my city bike. It's just about broken in, and I learned just yesterday that perhaps having leverage dialed all the way up wasn't really adding power, so much as adding a lot of modulation. I'm still on the fence as to whether the disc brake was actually necessary, since I'm not sure yet that it has really dramatically increased stopping power, and can be more finicky if the rotor isn't quite true. The stopping power thing is pending further experiments with leverage and possibly further bedding in of the pads, though I think they're pretty well done now.

Summary?

They're both phenomenal. But remember in the case of rim brakes that there can be mroe to it thatn just the brake... boosters help a lot, and considering the braking surface (alloy vs ceramic) can yield positive results, too. If you want to go just way too far, build your wheels with disc hubs and ceramic DH rims that can handle disc braking forces. That'll give you the option of swapping later on. Alternatively, you can use a disc brake in the front, and a V brake in the rear... it's a pretty common setup, and it'll allow you to learn about both.
 

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uber-stupid said:
XT V's are an entirely different animal from SD7s, so that's not a good benchmark to judge by. SD7's are far superior. Stronger, quieter... and XTs generally just suck anyway.

To date, I'm not entirely sure that the discs have quite topped that setup. I could be wrong,
For the most part I agree with this. After switching to discs, I build up a second bike, a 1x9 fireroad bomber, using Avid SD5 brakes and levers. Expecting to be disappointed with the V's after getting used to discs, I was pleasantly surprised with the SD5's performance -- nothing at all like the lack of power or slop I remember from the XT's.

The caveat, more of a disclaimer, is that I was riding tamer terrain on this bike, not the steep dusty stuff that gave my V's so much trouble in the past, so it's not exactly a fair comparison.

And those old XT V's? After years of collecting dust, just last month I installed them on a friend's bike, to replace his old and mal-adjusted 1995 Shimano cantilevers. As sloppy as the XT's pivots are, he's tickled with them (he's been thanking me every ride).

I've seen the light: Parallel Push is gimmickie and brings slop and weight to the system with no real benefit in performance. I'm fond of Avid's simple Single Digit 'V' design, and other brands of non-linkage V's (Ritchey, Cane Creek), but I'll keep my discs, thank you!
 

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...just reread my post...

Here's a stupid idea to top all stupid ideas... it just occurred to me I can run both disc and rim brake on that front wheel, at the same time... boy, howdy, let's see just how f?ckin stupid I can get. :)

I bet I break the frame ;)
 

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Well, if you go with an all hyd setup disc/v-brake (magura is the only one I know that have hyd v-brake) and a small car brake proportional valve for setup (and you may need some kind of higher volume brake lever that could manage both calipers, maybe something designed for dual pistons), you should have the most porwerful brake system ever made, so powerful it hurts, specially in ur head when you get over you HB at the first brake test. :D
 

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A bit late, but another suggestion...

I agree that both Avid mechs and SD7's are great breaks. For weight savings and good functional use on an all mountain ride, I have the disc brake up front and the v-brake in the rear. Since you primarily use the front brake on the steep downhills and the rear brake for added control, this setup seems to work really well. I run a 1x9 on a hardtail and ride mostly steep fireroads in Northern California so the low weight of the bike is an obvious advantage.
 
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