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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Afternoon all; thanks MTBR Admins for "accepting" my request...

Need some help with upgrading recently purchased bike. I used to ride extremely heavy 27-22 years ago and then slowly got out of riding until just recently. Big guy, scoured the web and purchased a Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire bike due to a lot of reviews for the bike being able to handle the heavier weight guys. Going to use this to get back into shape and ride with my boys. So, here's where I need some help...

Got the bike, assembled and adjusted everything so it was adjust perfectly. Being blunt; brakes won't stop me for anything, especially downhill. Smoked the brakes last night trying to slowdown... What can I say? Weight + speed can be a killer LOL... Anyways, technology has gone leaps and bounds since I was riding last so I am completely lost as to what to purchase to upgrade. I searched the forum for a bit while waiting for acceptance and saw some recommendations in regards to a "BB7" and others mentioning hydraulic (didn't even know they had hydraulics).

Does anyone have either...

A - Recommendations on a "kit" I can simply buy and replace the front/rear brakes, (including levers if suggested)

OR

B - A link to maybe a post in this forum of maybe a similar topic of discussion?

The discussions I saw where from many years ago but there wasn't "weight" involved being a reason why the person wanted to upgrade. Anyhow, REALLY appreciate any/all's time reading and responding on this. Y'all have a great day.

Steve
 

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4 pot Shimano brakes designed for e-bikes should do it. MT520 with metallic pads.
Just the front should be enough. It'll bolt right on without cutting the hose and bleeding. If you need more add the rear. If you need more go with larger diameter rotors like 203mm with an adapter to mount the caliper.
 

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There are some different mounting methods for brake calipers so you will need to learn the difference and understand which type of brake mounts you have. The two common standards as "IS" and Post mount. Then you need to know what diameter brake rotors you have and how they mount. Mounting is either center lock or 6 bolt. I will guess 6 bolt but you will need to double check.

1st cheapest option is to get bigger brake rotors. That is about $10-12 for a inexpensive rotor and $10 for a adapter that will put your brake caliper in the correct position for the larger brake rotor. Changing the rotor is easy. Hard part is specing the correct adapter. They are readily available you just need to figure out which one you need. Larger rotor = more brake force and more heat dissipation so the brakes run cooler and don't fade as quickly.

Next step would be upgrading your brakes to hydralics. In step 1 where you learned which caliper mounting style you have will teach you everything you need to know to spec and mount your new brake sets. A pre-bled set you can just unbolt your old brakes and bolt in the new ones without cutting lines or bleeding makes it a pretty simple upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the replies. I am currently looking at both a larger rotor and hydraulic upgrade now. Cost me a couple hundred bucks, but in theory that bike will/should "stop on a dime" afterwards. It sounds like a lot of what we are talking about is the same "mechanics" as that of trucks; big rotor + more caliper pistons = stopping power. If this principle is correct, then I would "think", due to my weight + bike's weight, throwing a 220MM on the rear with the front stepping up a bit with hydraulics would drastically improve stopping power.

For rotors, on the first post by eb1888 I am only seeing SRAM and Shimano brands. I remember Shimano from my days long ago, but never heard of SRAM. Is SRAM a quality brand?
 

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Thank you both for the replies. I am currently looking at both a larger rotor and hydraulic upgrade now. Cost me a couple hundred bucks, but in theory that bike will/should "stop on a dime" afterwards. It sounds like a lot of what we are talking about is the same "mechanics" as that of trucks; big rotor + more caliper pistons = stopping power. If this principle is correct, then I would "think", due to my weight + bike's weight, throwing a 220MM on the rear with the front stepping up a bit with hydraulics would drastically improve stopping power.

For rotors, on the first post by eb1888 I am only seeing SRAM and Shimano brands. I remember Shimano from my days long ago, but never heard of SRAM. Is SRAM a quality brand?
Be careful.

The Dolomite is not really a "mountain bike" per se. Big brakes and big rotors bring more forces into the bike. That bike probably has limits on things like rotor size from a safety standpoint. Like on the fork. It might have more practical limits on rotor size - just simple clearance.

220mm rotors are still fairly new, and quite a few bikes can't fit them. Even 200mm rotors might be more than this bike can handle.

No doubt the brakes that came on the bike are relatively weak. It's a pretty low end bike all said. Fat tired bikes have a "fat tax" because the rims and tires are much more expensive than their narrower counterparts. You might be horrified what replacement tires will cost for that bike.

There are some pretty long threads in the fatbike forum from people who have done wholesale upgrades to the dolomite. It's possible, within reason, but it's going to cost you.
 

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There's probably not much you can do to this bike since the types of brakes you're looking for would alone cost you almost the price of the bike. Entry level brakes from Shimano or SRAM run around $250 per set (front and rear), and that's at the low end and if you can find them on sale or used on pinkbike.com, plus $30 to $50 per rotor and another $20 to $30 for the mounting hardware. All in, you're looking at $350 to upgrade your brakes on a bike that is barely worth that amount. In the end, it may not really be money well spent.

Still... if you're determined, there some options could be

Shimano Deore brakes - can be found for cheap and would definitely be better than the brakes on that bike.
TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes - decent stopping power and not as expensive as hydraulic brakes by Shimano/SRAM
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Harold & sfmtber -- Thanks for the replies. Both of you have valid points as well. Fortunately, I didn't purchase the bike thinking that I could do "everything" as per se; Diamondback, Cannondale, or the bikes I used to have back in the day; Specialized and Redline. However, I think for getting back into shape this bike will work; any really will. I just thought it'd be cool to own something that I've never seen until I can get it back down and then I would look at more "specialized bikes". I used to do downhill back in the day with my friends so I'd eventually like to get back onto that track.

The bike I purchased while may be considered a "mountain bike", is used primarily on well established trails and most of that is paved trail at that. Just a lot of hills and some off trail terrain I'd hit with my boys. I also had figured that I could easily out-price my bike by upgrades; I just need to be able to stop. Also, I could always remove and retain the set once I am done with the bike and re-install on one of my boys. That's always a possibility too.

Again, appreciate the feedback. This gives me some things to consider and look at; until then I avoid the downhill areas LOL. Have a great day y'all
 

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I've been riding a bike with Claris (and before that 2300 when it didn't have a name) since 2012. Then bought a Planet X with Ultegra about a year later. This year I bought an Orbea with SRAM Rival eTap. Ooh shiny! Looking forward to riding it in the spring.

Despite that upgrade path, it's only this year that I've upgraded the Claris bike (now the winter/touring bike) to Sora, and that's only because the shift cables were getting in the way of the handlebar bag. Managed to get a Sora groupset used for £90 :). The point is, well maintained Claris is great. If I could have got the modern Claris groupset for even less I probably would have.
 

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First off... WELCOME BACK TO MTB!!! Its fantastic news that you are taking your weight and life back in your own hands! I needed to loose weight and biking this last year had me drop 40 lbs! all while having fun! Remember this is NOT about the gear, its about having fun, getting healthy and staying safe.
I would look at some standard Shimano Deore hydraulics. I would start with going 180 rear, 203 front. Also spend money on pads and get metallic (sintered) pads.
Your choice of a fat bike was great, dont spend too much, because after you loose weight, gain strength and confident you can upgrade to a different bike that suites your needs... a fat bike will always be a great"second" bike if you choose to expand the hobby.

But most of all... we are collectively proud of you for taking this first step and joining the club!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dumb question, but did you bed the brakes in before hitting the trails?
Ah I don't find this to be a dumb question; better asked than not. No I did not because this bike came stock with good ole cables to engage the calipers via rotor. I got them adjusted for even spacing on both sides, just need to adjust them a bit more.
I'm not going to be hitting the trails just yet; gotta get back into this.
 

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Ah I don't find this to be a dumb question; better asked than not. No I did not because this bike came stock with good ole cables to engage the calipers via rotor. I got them adjusted for even spacing on both sides, just need to adjust them a bit more.
I'm not going to be hitting the trails just yet; gotta get back into this.
Bedding the brakes in can still be done with cable pull calipers. You need to get the glazing off the disc and pads. Go out in the street give the bike a few yards cranks get moving pretty good and pull the brakes. Do this several times without over heating the brakes. You should notice the brakes gaining bite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bedding the brakes in can still be done with cable pull calipers. You need to get the glazing off the disc and pads. Go out in the street give the bike a few yards cranks get moving pretty good and pull the brakes. Do this several times without over heating the brakes. You should notice the brakes gaining bite.
Ah well in that case I have done that; I did not actually know there was a technical term for that. I did notice quite a bit difference in "bite" too after doing that. Had to adjust the cables a little bit but it does have a better grab now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You want the bigger disc up front. I weight 250 and ride with a 203mm up front and a 180 on the back and use Shimano single caliper disc brakes. You should be able to get a used set and the adapters and discs to go with them for not a lot.
Morning -- thanks for the info. I'll look into that.

Thanks again all for the suggestions, gives me a good deal to look at and find a solution.
 

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The bike I purchased while may be considered a "mountain bike", is used primarily on well established trails and most of that is paved trail at that. Just a lot of hills and some off trail terrain I'd hit with my boys. I also had figured that I could easily out-price my bike by upgrades; I just need to be able to stop. Also, I could always remove and retain the set once I am done with the bike and re-install on one of my boys. That's always a possibility too.
Yeah, the real problem is stopping. On bikes like this, it's pretty easy to get yourself into an upgrade trap. You want to upgrade 1 thing, but you learn that in order to upgrade this, you have to upgrade that, and it can quickly become a vicious, cascading effect.

A major MAJOR weakness of that bike appears to be freewheel hubs that don't have good support on the axle and hub bearings. Lots of people with freewheel hubs snap axles on their regular mountain bikes. I saw it quite often back when I worked in shops. This is a very real concern for you and your admission that you're a bigger rider. The bike should handle pavement if you're not getting silly and letting the big tires make you think you can get rowdy.

Especially if more powerful brakes start giving you more confidence.

With parts shortages what they are right now, it's going to be much harder to keep within a budget that's more appropriate for that bike.

I'd probably do some concerted work to bed the brakes you have and call it done. If you didn't know there was a name for the procedure, you probably didn't do it right. I'm going to bet that the less expensive brakes you have are going to require more work to properly bed them in than better quality brakes. If they STILL don't work to your satisfaction, then I'd buy some better quality cable-actuated brakes. But I wouldn't bother going as far as getting hydros for this bike. IMO, it isn't worth it.
 
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