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Five is right out
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Okay, I must admit that this is a very basic question, but I've never really thought about this before and my bike isn't around to look at.

Is there a difference between front and rear disc brakes? Are the calipers and associated mounting design different, or can they be swapped between front and back so long as the levers and hoses are also swapped over?
 

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Derailleurless
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Generally, no difference. Most manufacturers are using identical calipers with an assortment of bolt-on mounts.

There are some calipers that are front / rear specific, but the difference has to do with mounting. I don't believe the calipers are functionally any different, but the f/r-specific design can allow for a lighter weight without unnecessary adapters and bolts.
 

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Super Moderator
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if the caliper is PM, there is no difference, just a different adapter....

as Nate said..on IS calipers, the calipers are different only with respect to the mounting....a rear 160mm IS caliper will require a 20mm bigger rotor, 180mm, when used in the front.... correspondingly a front 160mm IS caliper, will require a 140mm rotor when used in the rear.

check the pics below and notice the length of the "arm" on the caliper..

XTR 160mm front:


XTR 160mm rear:
 

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crisillo said:
as Nate said..on IS calipers, the calipers are different only with respect to the mounting....a rear 160mm IS caliper will require a 20mm bigger rotor, 180mm, when used in the front.... correspondingly a front 160mm IS caliper, will require a 140mm rotor when used in the rear.
Just to tack a question on the end of this thread if I may: if I have a 160/160 setup now, and want to go to 180/180, I can just swap the rear adapter to the front, and all I need is a new rear adapter?
 

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lyndonchen said:
Just to tack a question on the end of this thread if I may: if I have a 160/160 setup now, and want to go to 180/180, I can just swap the rear adapter to the front, and all I need is a new rear adapter?
correct...you would need an adapter that gives you 40mm increase (one that goes 160 to 203 --usually for the front-- could work, but you would need to test it out, you'd have 1,5 extra millimeters clearance)
 
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