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I am a pathetic rider...
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I would go BB7's, at that pricepoint BB7's have better power and modulation than their hydro equivalent. The cutoff point IMO is anything formula, hope, magura, or juicy 7 on up.
 

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BB7s are easy to install and service whilst if you get the Juicy 3s you have to deal with hydraulic maintenance. Also it's to my understanding that the BB7s have better stopping power and durability plus the design is very simple which is an added bonus.
 

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The Juicy 3 will be a little lighter, and I'm not sure why these guys are saying the 7s have better stopping power. Not saying they don't, but I've never seen a comparison. I've got Juicy 3s, work fine for me. Maintenance is just a bleed every year or two, no worse than swapping housing/cable on the 7s. Installing is actually easier than the BB7, lever/hose/caliper are already assembled, just bolt on, adjust for about 10 seconds, and you're done.

I'm not dissing the 7s, lots of people like them, but don't fear the hydros.
 

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As far as stopping power goes, the Hayes So1e provided tremendous stopping power for me, (170 lbs) and they are probably the worst hydraulic braking systems there are but they had lots of problems including fluid leaks which was a pain in the ass to service. I've never tried the Juicy 3s but lots of people say the BB7s beat a lot of hydraulic brakes and since I'm currently running BB7s I can see why.
 

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Swapped out my BB5 for juicy 5's on my Trek 6000 hardtail. Big difference in stopping power for me (235 lb). Glad I made the switch although I've never had experience with BB7's, and have heard they are one of the better non-hydros.
 

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Juicys for me

MY 2009 Fisher Utopia came with BB5s - my HiFi 29er with Juicy 3s. I use the Utopia for pavement and a lot of path, washboard dirt roads, etc, with some steep descents it's my trainer. The back brakes on this bike are nonexistent.

I tried BB7s on a demo bike - pretty much the same thing.

The Juicys on my HiFi work flawlessly - on some fairly serious trail riding, for over a year.

New Juicy 3s will go on the Utopia this week.

BTW - I am about 6'1", 205, and my 29ers are 19's.
 

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Rufudufus said:
The Juicy 3 will be a little lighter
I weighed J3s and BB7s (including brake levers) and the BB7s were lighter. Maybe the J3 caliper is a little lighter than a BB7 caliper, but decent mech levers like speed dial 7s are gonna weigh much less than J3 levers.

I swapped out my J3s for BB7s and I like the BB7s much more.

Now my J3s just sit in a bag in my room. I guess I should sell them.
 

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I've got both, 3's on mine, bb7's on the wifey's. the bb7 have MUCH better stopping power. the 3's have better modulation. both with stock avid pads. they both took a ride or two to break in.
 

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Well I've owned the BB7's and currently roll with Juicy 5's. So I'm not sure how much less power the Juicy 3's have but the Juicy 5's have fantastic modulation and power (I've also owned Hayes HFX-Mag and HFX-9)

The BB7's also have fantastic power, but to me were a little ON/OFF with Speed Dial 7's. One thing with the BB7's is the cable and housing is critical. If you go this route, invest in really good ones like Avid Flak Jacket.

But do not fear the hydros, the high maintenance thing is a myth...I bleed mine once a year and it takes all of 15 minutes at a casual pace to do both.
 

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Might depend on lever and cables/housing

eminefes said:
I weighed J3s and BB7s (including brake levers) and the BB7s were lighter. Maybe the J3 caliper is a little lighter than a BB7 caliper, but decent mech levers like speed dial 7s are gonna weigh much less than J3 levers.
Avid Web Side:
Juicy 3 complete (including 160 rotor and fork adapter) 404 grams

BB7 (including 160 rotor and fork adapter) 329 grams + Speed dial 7 lever (175 grams a pair) 87.5 grams= 416.5 grams...and this does not include the cables and housing
 

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I have bb7's on four bikes and love them, installing new cables is much easier than bleeding and the power is great, J3's have horrible feeling in them, I'm a mechanic and trust me I have seen what a good couple years can do to a set J3's and I would vote BB7 for a first disc brake, plus you can use your current lever so if your shifter/brake lever are a one piece unit you don't need new shifters
 

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My vote is on the BB7s. A bit more effort for initial setup of BB7s as you would want good cables and good levers (don't neglect these parts) and have them set up well. After this though, you will have excellent disc brakes that is also simple and low maintenance - also very adjustable.
 

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Go BB7($) first and if you dont like them, upgrade to Juicy 7($$), Ultimate($$$), or even Magura Marta SL($$$$). If they are setup right- the BB7 will work flawlessly, thus ending your search.....
 

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tomsmoto said:
its really not. replacing cables is probably harder.. which says a lot, because replacing cables is incredibly easy.
I could have both cables replaced by the time you find your bleed kit!!
all you need is a 5mm wrench and cable cutters and a lil lube or grease
 

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I'd take that challange

scooter916 said:
I could have both cables replaced by the time you find your bleed kit!!
all you need is a 5mm wrench and cable cutters and a lil lube or grease
By the time you size the several pieces of housing, install all the end caps, stretch the new cables (even pre-stretched cables need a little more stretching), and do final adjustments to the mechanicals...I'll bet I can have my Juicy 5's bled

Swapping cables and housing is quite easy, but anyone with a minor amount of mechanical competence (ie...enough to swap cables and housing) can also easily bleed a set of the Juicy's in very little time.

BTW-if your using the type of cables and housing that you should with BB7's...the last thing you should do is use a "lil lube or grease"
 

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I'm very happy with my BB7's, but I have never used a hydro system. With mechanicals, be aware you do have to adjust the pads periodically (maybe every 10-15 rides or so for me) to compensate for wear.

MTBR reviews:
Juicy 3: 2.63/5 from 38 reviews
BB7: 4.59/5 from 128 reviews

Price Point Price:
Juicy 3: $80/wheel
BB7: $50/wheel

I can't say anything bad about my experience with the BB7.
 
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