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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unfortunately I have had nothing but bad luck with the Juicy 5 brakes that came on my 07 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp. Here is a list of problems that have plagued these brakes in the last six months:
1) The front 203mm rotor warped during my first ride, which was replaced under warranty.
2) The rear brake pads somehow got contaminated after about one month of riding.
3) The rear brake with 185mm rotor started to send vibrations through the frame right before the original semi-metallic pads got contaminated. New organic pads and a new 185mm rotor did not resolve the issue. Buying a new 160mm rotor and mounting bracket stopped the vibration.
4) The front caliper would not properly align around a new 185mm rotor. This was resolved by sending the OEM Fox fork in to have its lowers swapped-out.
5) The rear 160mm rotor randomly chirped because the new Avid mounting bracket positioned the caliper about 2mm too low.
6) The new 160mm rear rotor warped.
7) The front and rear CPS cup and cone washers needed to be replaced due to indentations and groves that developed in the soft material.
And finally the last straw to break the camels back 8) the new front and rear organic pads and new rotors have somehow have lost their stopping power.


So I am left with three choices, Shimano, Hayes or Avid (another model). I want a reliable brake with good stopping power so here is a list of my choices:

1) Shimano Deore
2) 2008 Shimano XT
3) 2008 Hayes Stroker
4) 2008 Avid Juicy 3, 7 or Ultimate 7. I am willing to give Avid another try because I logged more than 2000 miles on my old 05 Juicy 5 brakes without any problems.
 

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I like my Avid Juicy 7's and my 2008 XTs. I feel you cannot go wrong with either one. I like the feel and modulation of both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I squeezed the levers of Juicy 3, 5, 7, Ultimate 7, Hayes Strokers and Magura Martas at my LBS this weekend and the Magura had the best feel followed by the Hayes. The Avid’s lever feel varied greatly between one brake to the next, some levers touched the grip while others had a very short stroke before the pads touched the rotor (the way I like it). In fact the Avid lever strokes varied so much it makes me question their QC. I test rode a 2008 Specialized Epic last month equipped with Avid Ultimate 7 and those brakes felt great because the pads engaged the rotor just as you pulled on the levers. Unfortunately, the Ultimate 7 I tested this weekend did not have the same feel as the ones on the Epic. The pad engagement/lever stroke knob on the Juicy 7 barely made a difference in the lever feel. What is causing the different lever travel between the Avid brakes-air in the lines?
 

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Avids are prone to air in the lines from the factory. Not sure why, however, all the sets I have acquired, needed to be bled to remove some air. However, I would presume if you are looking at bikes at a LBS, that they would have bled them before putting them out on the floor. Just an assumption on my part.
bwalton said:
I squeezed the levers of Juicy 3, 5, 7, Ultimate 7, Hayes Strokers and Magura Martas at my LBS this weekend and the Magura had the best feel followed by the Hayes. The Avid's lever feel varied greatly between one brake to the next, some levers touched the grip while others had a very short stroke before the pads touched the rotor (the way I like it). In fact the Avid lever strokes varied so much it makes me question their QC. I test rode a 2008 Specialized Epic last month equipped with Avid Ultimate 7 and those brakes felt great because the pads engaged the rotor just as you pulled on the levers. Unfortunately, the Ultimate 7 I tested this weekend did not have the same feel as the ones on the Epic. The pad engagement/lever stroke knob on the Juicy 7 barely made a difference in the lever feel. What is causing the different lever travel between the Avid brakes-air in the lines?
 

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My vote is for the Hayes Strokers; most likely the Trails since the Rides just don't compare and the Carbons are just Carbon levers same body and caliper.

I just got a set of Carbons and I LOVE them. They've made my riding flow so much better. All I can compare them to personally are Hayes Nines (which is no comparison). However I've had buddies jump on my ride (who have Juicy 7's and Magura and Hope minis) and the first thing they say is, "Ooohhh, I like these brakes..."
They have a nice soft feel to the squeeze (I.E. = great modulation), and are super simple in design, bleed, setup, pad change etc...

I think you'll be happy w/ a set of Strokers- Trails or Carbons - not the Rides.
 

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Not all of those issues are because of the brake... Sounds like some are user error, some are setup error, and one isn't even the brake... it was the fork.

Many shops don't bother to bleed brakes before putting bikes on the floor. Some shops basically hang parts on the bike. It has to be adjusted before it can go out the door.

Juicy 3 is a big step down as far as performance goes. Juicy 7 is the same as the J5, just with a knob.

Maguras are kind of finicky. The Martas are an XC brake. I wouldn't use them for anything more.

I liked the old XT. Spun around the new XT a bit, liked how it performed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As far as user error or improper setup is concerned, I did not check the alignment of the Juicy 5 calipers before my first ride. This however I quickly corrected this potential problem after my first ride. 1) First I checked the alignment of the rotors on the hubs then checked and the torque on the rotor bolts (55 inch-pounds). 2) Both calipers were aligned to the rotors and the CPS bolts were torque to 80 inch pounds. And lastly, 3) the rotors were wiped down with isopropyl alcohol.

As mentioned before my 05 Juicy 5 were very durable and reliable so all of these issues that I have been having with my 07 J5s is very surprising considering the 05 and 07 brakes are exactly the same barring the rotors. Are the OEM brakes different from the store bought ones?

Also I forgot to list two more problems 1) the ubiquitous turkey gobbler sound from both the front and rear brakes. And 2) the spacing of the slotted holes in the front caliper did not match the spacing of the Avid 185mm front post adapter holes or the spacing of the threaded holes in the new 08 Fox Fork lowers. The caliper holes needed to be filed out about an 1/8”

Lastly concerning the brakes I tested at my LBS, what should the lever travel feel like when the system is properly bled?
 
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