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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm riding my Felt Redemption ( love this bike ) but I'm having problems cooking the front brakes. I'm guessing I need something that can take the heat.
I'm 230 lbs. and riding some decent trails. I currently have Avid Juicy brakes front and rear. Started with a 6" rotor, then went to a 7", and now to an 8" rotor.
What do I need to do to keep from the extra excitement of no front brake riding?
Thanks for the advise in advance, Dan.
 

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Sounds like brake fade? I weigh a bit more than you, and I used to run Avids. The problems aren't with the rotors, but the levers/calipers. The best way to fix them is to get a new set of brakes. I' know that probably isn't what you want to hear. Heat tends to kill Avid pads faster than most (in my experience anyway), and the pads and calipers don't dissipate heat very well. Organic pads are even more prone to wear. The key is to get something that will run cooler, thus prolonging the life of everything. I'd look into getting some XT brakes. The new IceTech ones with the finned calipers and brake pads. They have more than enough power for me when riding DH at resorts, and the heat is kept to a minimum. I've never once had brake fade, even on very long DH runs. If cost is too prohibitive, getting some IceTech rotors might help a bit. The sandwich-construction with the aluminum core does seem to help somewhat. But long term, new brakes are the way to go. And as much as I usually dislike Shimano, they are knocking it out of the park in terms of brakes lately.
 

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My favorite hydro disk brakes are the low end shimano (deore or alivio) but if you are overheating you can put the icetech rotors and pads on em. What I like about these brakes is smooth lever action, reliability, and just awesome feel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I lose pressure and the lever pulls all the way to the grip. Pad wear isn't bad but the brakes certainly don't dissipate the heat very well.
Fun costs money and new brakes are going to be a requirement to keep having fun. I don't mind spending the money, but with age, I've learned to do a little research and ask a few questions before spending the coin.
Certainly every manufacturer says how their product is better than any other, so the general user is who ask for advise.
Thanks, Dan.
 

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If you want guaranteed braking with no fade, get a set of Shimano Saints with the RT-99 rotors. It's a full on downhill brake with 4 piston calipers and large brake pad with built in cooling fins. The brake rotors also have cooling fins to help dissipate heat. I believe it's the most powerful and fade resistant brake setup available on the market, no other brake system I know of has all these heat management technologies. Unfortunately it isn't cheap, Saints will run you close to $300 per wheel including the rotors.

If you can't afford that there's the Shimano Zees which are almost as nice and share many of the same features. The calipers are identical, and depending on where you buy them from they may or may not come with the fancy cooling fin brake pads. Pair them up with the RT-86 rotors and you're at around $200 per wheel and very close to the performance of the Saints. Saints always come with finned metallic pads, Zees may come with finned or non-finned pads in resin or metallic. Make sure you read the description carefully before ordering and get a set of metallic pads if needed for best performance.

With regards to SLX/XT brakes, I've owned the XT in the past and currently use an SLX on one of my bikes. They're both good brakes and there's no way I could ever overheat either one since I only weigh 150 lbs. However, you have 80 lbs on me and it sounds like the downhills in your area are a lot longer. Depending on how aggressively you ride you may be getting close to the limits of the SLX/XT brakes, which is why I recommend the Saint or Zee which are made to handle the abuse of downhill racing.
 

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I lose pressure and the lever pulls all the way to the grip. Pad wear isn't bad...
Yep, no doubt then, it's the now infamous Avid brake fade. Have a quick search around the forums for recent brake posts to get a good idea of the pluses and minuses of current brake options. They've been discussed a LOT in the past year.

My bet is that you'll find an overwhelming amount of people saying to get Shimanos. They use mineral oil, not DOT fluid, which is super convenient. The SLX brakes are great, and have plenty of power. I really like the lever adjustment of the XT and the slightly slimmer caliper, so it was worth the extra bit of money to me. Even for us big guys, their power is plenty for light DH laps all day long. If I were to ride serious stuff only, I'd go Saint. But with any of the current Shimano brakes, I find that I don't have to pull so hard on the lever to get the same amount of braking power at the wheel. That saves my hands a lot of fatigue that I used to get with my Avids.

Hope, Hayes, Formula, and Magura are other options, but less popular. A friend has new Hayes brakes, and he says they are a bit grabby, but he likes them.

The only brakes I'd definitely suggest staying away from are the new Formula C1 brakes. They're having a massive amount of problems. The levers will go down to the bar one minute, than barely need to be pulled the next. Complete garbage, and Formula is taking forever to correct the situation.
 

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Kick Start My Heart
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I am in the SLX camp. I am 230 on SLX on 180mm rotors (non-ice tech). I put in the finned pads since day one, so can't say if that makes a huge difference. I've been pushing them hard with no fade issues, no maintenance issues, just set and forget.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Heat tends to kill Avid pads faster than most (in my experience anyway), and the pads and calipers don't dissipate heat very well.
Definitely my experience with avid brakes. Avid was always real good at making "grippy" pad compounds, one of the primary reasons that the avid cable disc brakes caught on IMO, but it's a two-edged sword, they never dissipated heat like a hydro brake and the rotors easily glazed over during steep descents. Bottom line is you need a brake that can deal with heat better.

Disc brakes are relatively simple. If the lever is consistent/crisp and pulling to the same engagement point, it's not the bleed. If they start pulling to the bar and requiring "pumps" to build up power, that's an obvious bad-bleed/leak situation.

If the lever works pretty well and you aren't getting any power, that's the rotors and pads, possibly contamination, although if they started "ok" and then degraded, it can be "glazing", put the rotor in the dishwasher and try again to be sure (see if you get the same results). Glazing over of the rotors can feel a little like a bad bleed/air in the system while riding, but if you stop and actuate the lever it should feel "normal".
 

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I concur with those above - GO SHIMANO! I ride on XT and there has never been any fade whatsoever and they are consistently good. I'm 6'3" with 97klgs and the 160mm rotors work fine.

A friend rides SLX and again has no issues with brake fade etc as they perform well at a fraction of the price. An alternative if you want to go bling is the new XTR - but only if you want bling as XT works just as well.

Also SRAM have their new brakes, Guide, but I haven't heard any feedback on those as they are new to the market.

Go Shimano as they are cheaper and work better. You LBS will have them in supply or you can find them online depending on your shopping preference.
 

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If you do want a little something different, try a set of Hopes. I was running SLX's on my new bike, (Old bike has Avid Juicy 7's, which I like) but I needed longer levers when I went to the Grip Shift. I decided to splurge and bought a set of Hope E4 and X2 brakes.

In my opinion, they make the Shimano's and the Avid's feel cheap. Not that the Shimano's and Juicy 7's don't work well, but I find the feel, adjustability and controllability of the Hopes to be far superior.

You can find a full set of Hopes, and two rotors for right around $375....

My brother's new bike has Formula brakes, I believe the R1. They are supposedly some ridiculously light brake. He likes them, but seems mildly unimpressed with the power and actuation. I know the front one takes absolutley NO lever pull to start engaging, and has what I consider poor feel to it. He is coming from a set of Avid Juicy 7's.
My dad just put a set of Hayes Prime Comp brakes on his Stumpjumper. He seems happy with them. He is also coming from a set of Avid Juicy 7's. They do seem to stop very well, and have good feel although slightly odd motion to them (if you look at the design, they are a different style than a "normal" brake), but are not nearly as impressive on any point compared to the Hope's I'm running. They were not nearly as expensive either though...
 

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interesting. Never heard of that happening. It didn't happen on mine after two periods of sitting idle for 6+ weeks this winter. They've been the quietest set of brakes I've owned.
 
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If you do want a little something different, try a set of Hopes. I was running SLX's on my new bike, (Old bike has Avid Juicy 7's, which I like) but I needed longer levers when I went to the Grip Shift. I decided to splurge and bought a set of Hope E4 and X2 brakes.

In my opinion, they make the Shimano's and the Avid's feel cheap. Not that the Shimano's and Juicy 7's don't work well, but I find the feel, adjustability and controllability of the Hopes to be far superior.

You can find a full set of Hopes, and two rotors for right around $375....

My brother's new bike has Formula brakes, I believe the R1. They are supposedly some ridiculously light brake. He likes them, but seems mildly unimpressed with the power and actuation. I know the front one takes absolutley NO lever pull to start engaging, and has what I consider poor feel to it. He is coming from a set of Avid Juicy 7's.
My dad just put a set of Hayes Prime Comp brakes on his Stumpjumper. He seems happy with them. He is also coming from a set of Avid Juicy 7's. They do seem to stop very well, and have good feel although slightly odd motion to them (if you look at the design, they are a different style than a "normal" brake), but are not nearly as impressive on any point compared to the Hope's I'm running. They were not nearly as expensive either though...
I would concur about the hopes, they make shimano, avid and them others pale in comparison.

Something that has yet to be mentioned is braking technique and how you approach it, is it brake consistently until a desired speed then let off? or perhaps an on / off modulating technique till its not necessary any longer?
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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I weigh an honest 230 with my pack on, and dropped down timber ridge with a 180mm up front and a 160 out back. Worse yet, they are super light XC Ashima rotors - less than 100g each in weight. I neither died, nor experience brake fade with my Avid brakes. Heck, I didn't even blue the rotors. Honestly, every time I see a thread where someone has Avid brakes and some problem or another I see nothing in the thread except how badly Avid brakes suck, and I wonder: Am I the only person who hasn't had a bad experience with Avid brakes?
 

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Avids with a good bleed, hard part is getting a good bleed. I had my rear smoking this past weekend , the engagement slightly changed but still had stopping power. The key is a good and often bleed. With that said, I'm going to Zee brakes
 
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