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Discussion Starter #1
About 3 weeks ago, I got a new Giant VT3 with Avid Mechs. I'm not new to Avids, had put them on my Fuel and loved them. The love affair is not so passionate this time. First, on my Fuel, I could get great power with both front and rear. On the new bike, I get OK power, but can't even lock either of the wheels. Second, the rear brake is 'crunchy' gtirry feeling when I pull the lever. I know these brakes work, and I know they are good brakes, so I'm looking at possible solutions. By the way, I've got SD7 levers also.

I've adjusted the calipers, the pads, etc. I have been able to get better modulation, but still power is not great. I've ridden about 150 miles, so I'm guessing they should be bedded in by now. We have had really crappy weather, and the trails have been grimy for weeks. I've had lots of grit and mud thrown at the bike. The cable feels really crunchy when I pull the lever. I've cleaned the housing, lubed the cables, put on new housing and cables, and they get crunchy again....only the rear brake. The front break has solid housing from lever to caliper, the back brake does not. I'm guessing this has something to do with it.

So, I figure it might be a good idea to:

1) remove the pads and see if they need to be worked over with the emory cloth, maybe they are just contaminated?

2) Go with a set of Avid Straight Jackets or XTR cables to cut down on the crunch factor. Does anyone have any thoughts on which of these is better. Price is affordable for me on either, so I'm not factoring that in.

Thanks!
 

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ballbuster
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I put XTRs...

...on my SS, and have been less than impressed by them. They feel slick, but the housing compresses like mad. I can actually see this happen when I squeeze the lever.

I've had regular Jagwire housing with QBP Teflon cables ($5 at REi) on my gearie bike back when I had Avid Mechs on there, and they are slicker than greased moose poop. I shot some TriFlow down the housing and on the cable during installation, but many have told me that it is better not to do that. I ran full housing as well. If you ride in muck, go with full housing. Each break in the housing is a place for crud to gum up the works and a place to add friction.

I have not used Avid cables, but I hear they are nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I think I'll go with full housing using some Jagwire housing first and see how it goes. If that doesn't work, I'll try the Avid Straight Jackets.
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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I recently installed the XTR brake cable kit on one of my bikes and the Flak Jacket cable kit on another.

I put the XTR kit on a hybrid I was refurbishing for my son (an older Giant Nutra) along with some new v-brakes. Since I have respect for Pimpbot’s opinion on things like this, I’m surprised he found them unsuitable. I thought they worked very well with very little compression, however the new v-brakes came with those spring loaded noodles, so maybe they would compress with cable discs or v-brakes that didn’t have the spring loaded noodles. For the application I used them in, they work great, but I’ll have to take a closer look at their performance since I have been OK with recommending them in the past. I also like the small touches like the hardware that comes with both this and the Avid Flak Jacket kits.

For my bike that I recently installed 203mm Avid mechanicals front and rear, I used the Flak Jacket kit. I can tell that it is the best I have used so far. Do a good job on the install by properly squaring the housing ends and good cable routing and you should be impressed too..

If you look around at new bikes that come with Avid mechanical discs and give the brake levers a squeeze, you will find that the feel of them is all over the spectrum from great to lousy.

It’s not just the brake that makes a difference. It’s the total package starting with the right levers, the right cables and housings , the proper routing, the right lengths of the housings, doing good work to install and adjust them and finally getting them ‘worn-in’ properly.
 

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Do It Yourself
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5,720 Posts
Max99 said:
About 3 weeks ago, I got a new Giant VT3 with Avid Mechs. I'm not new to Avids, had put them on my Fuel and loved them. The love affair is not so passionate this time. First, on my Fuel, I could get great power with both front and rear. On the new bike, I get OK power, but can't even lock either of the wheels. Second, the rear brake is 'crunchy' gtirry feeling when I pull the lever. I know these brakes work, and I know they are good brakes, so I'm looking at possible solutions. By the way, I've got SD7 levers also.

I've adjusted the calipers, the pads, etc. I have been able to get better modulation, but still power is not great. I've ridden about 150 miles, so I'm guessing they should be bedded in by now. We have had really crappy weather, and the trails have been grimy for weeks. I've had lots of grit and mud thrown at the bike. The cable feels really crunchy when I pull the lever. I've cleaned the housing, lubed the cables, put on new housing and cables, and they get crunchy again....only the rear brake. The front break has solid housing from lever to caliper, the back brake does not. I'm guessing this has something to do with it.

So, I figure it might be a good idea to:

1) remove the pads and see if they need to be worked over with the emory cloth, maybe they are just contaminated?

2) Go with a set of Avid Straight Jackets or XTR cables to cut down on the crunch factor. Does anyone have any thoughts on which of these is better. Price is affordable for me on either, so I'm not factoring that in.

Thanks!

Just so you know, the Straight Jackets are just standard Jagwire 5mm housing with slick cables and sealed ferrules. It's not a bad deal to get the whole setup for around $15 though.

Also, to get the most power out of the Avid caliper, make sure it's properly aligned using the CPS and set the spacing so the inner pad is as close to the rotor as possible.
 

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I've used the AVid Straight Jackets, which are just decent, regular cable/housing sets, and also Flak Jackets on a number of builds including all but one of the bike in our home. The Straight Jeckets are fine, but the Flak Jackets are an excellent product. These are used on my wife's racing bike and her Blur with Avid mech's...if you go that route, I suggest them over the Shimano stuff.
 

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MY VT3 had flakjacket cables on it when I got it?? In fact the brake lever feel was one of the reason I liked the bike, it is super smooth and LIGHT pull. Brakes lock up just fien whenever I want. We have not had allot of wet weather up here this year though.

I am not sure what company makes them anymore, but I would highly recommend a set of the "gore-tex" cables. Used to be marketed under the Ride-on name, or something like that, they are 100% sealed from lever to caliper, even if you frame has cable housing stops. "The cable itself is also teflon coated so the resistance is super low for a very light brake feel.. I have a set on my hardtail that are 10+yrs old, feel good as new..
 

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ballbuster
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It may have something to do with....

... my SS running oldschool LX cantilevers. Canti's pull the cable at a different rate than Vee brakes. Eh, they still work really well. It was just a turn-off watching the housing visibly shrink a bit under a hard tug on the lever.
 
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