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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some old XTR v-brakes on my Cannondale hardtail, and the front brake squeals like a howler monkey. I wasn't sure if it was the brakes (yes, I tried different pads) or the headshock fork, so I threw an old LX v-brake from my wife's bike on it (before they went to parallel push) and the squeal is gone. However, now my wife wants her bike back together soon.

So, I'm in the market for a high-end set of v-brakes! (the rest of the bike has some nice light parts, so LX was out anyway)

I've narrowed my choices down to:

1) Avid Ultimates
2) Avid Mag (I'd pick up a pair on eBay or here)
3) Cane Creek Direct Curve 5
4) Avid Ti
5) XTR - again. My current set is old, with lots of slop in the parallel push mechanism. That may possibly be causing the squeal, but I'm not sure.

All else held equal, I'd like a light brakeset, hence the consideration of the Avid Mag and Ti brakesets. But reliability and obviously silence are my first priorities. I'd also like to keep the costs below $150, so freaky light brakes like Extralite are out.

Anyone want to throw in their two cents? Can you help steer me away from or towards any brakes on my list? Thanks!
 

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ProfT said:
1) Avid Ultimates
2) Avid Mag (I'd pick up a pair on eBay or here)
3) Cane Creek Direct Curve 5
4) Avid Ti
5) XTR - again. My current set is old, with lots of slop in the parallel push mechanism. That may possibly be causing the squeal, but I'm not sure.

All else held equal, I'd like a light brakeset, hence the consideration of the Avid Mag and Ti brakesets. But reliability and obviously silence are my first priorities.
the slop is the cause of the squeal. I've been a fan of avids for years (geez, going on 15 yrs now). money no issue, get the ultimates, otherwise the mag/ti/7's. I can't tell any difference between the 7's and arch rivals in stopping power.
I havne't used shimano's since the first coupla generations of v's had such problems with squeal (sloppy mechs, which you could get shim kits for). I can't say anything about the cane creeks since I haven't used them, but I'm a fan of their products.
 

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the catalan connection
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I would give xtr´s a second try too

My ranking would be:
A-Xtr´s are little masterpieces. Fully rebuildable.Can open the bearings,regrease, and rebuilt with the precise preload at the bearings (cup and cone style)
B-The ultimates look good, as they have bearings, but haven´t tried.Bearings are sealed though (not serviceable)
C-Avids ti have no links like the xtr so is are a plus for simplicity, however, they come with that "built in" play at the bushings which I never liked.But titanium bolts allover is nice.

I just don´t like the looks of the cane creeks
 

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the Inbred said:
XTRs are rebuildable, aren't they?
Yes. Both posts above your's mention this. You can buy a kit which contains what you need to give them another year's worth (???) of quiet performance. Something I think the OP should do to save money and stick with brakes that actually have power (sorry, not an Avid v-brake fan - too overrated).
 

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Eat me.
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I was told, to reduce brake squeal, you have to set the brake pads so that the back end of the pad was slightly further away from the rim. The old bike mech's trick of putting a penny between the rim and back half of the pad when you tightened the pad bolt was taught to me at a bike maintenance course last year.
 

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The best way to stop squealling brakes is to toe the pads inwards at the front. A penny would be to drastic I think but I have found a piece of paper folded over solves the problem. I was using Avids and Koolstop dual compound pads. Great stopping power and no small parts that can loosen up.
Moo
 

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I would go with the avid ultimates with xtr levers, its a killer combo. Avids are nice and simple and have great power. I have run both the ultimates and mags, ultimates have a little nicer feel.
 

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the catalan connection
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While you´re at it could suggest a good set of cables as well.

I still think Xtr arms are superior to the others. I would never match Xtr arms with Dual Control levers though. There are just too much bearings and pivots between the lever and the pad . I never managed to get a firm feel.
 

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Ultimates

ProfT said:
I have some old XTR v-brakes on my Cannondale hardtail, and the front brake squeals like a howler monkey. I wasn't sure if it was the brakes (yes, I tried different pads) or the headshock fork, so I threw an old LX v-brake from my wife's bike on it (before they went to parallel push) and the squeal is gone. However, now my wife wants her bike back together soon.

So, I'm in the market for a high-end set of v-brakes! (the rest of the bike has some nice light parts, so LX was out anyway)

I've narrowed my choices down to:

1) Avid Ultimates
2) Avid Mag (I'd pick up a pair on eBay or here)
3) Cane Creek Direct Curve 5
4) Avid Ti
5) XTR - again. My current set is old, with lots of slop in the parallel push mechanism. That may possibly be causing the squeal, but I'm not sure.

All else held equal, I'd like a light brakeset, hence the consideration of the Avid Mag and Ti brakesets. But reliability and obviously silence are my first priorities. I'd also like to keep the costs below $150, so freaky light brakes like Extralite are out.

Anyone want to throw in their two cents? Can you help steer me away from or towards any brakes on my list? Thanks!
I second avid ultimates, I picked up a pair of the avid ultimate black ops brake at last year seattle bike swap last year for $27 new and in the box, perfect for the back of my mullet kona unit, using xtr levers, great feel, sealed bearing pivots, you could probably find a ti bolt kit somewhere if you wanted to lighten it up some. I also have a pair of avid sd7 levers and they are pretty nice, not quite as nice as xtr but much less expensive and abidextrious.
 

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Combat Wombat
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I tried XTR v-brakes and the best thing about them, other than looks, was how easy they were to sell. I do love the XTR levers, own two sets. If money was not an object, I would probably opt for a set of Avid Ulimates and Paul levers.

Brian
 

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I Love my Rize
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Avid SD7 all the way

Screw the money I would with out a doubt get the Avid SD 7 with Matching Speed Dial 7 levers and will blow you away how good they work, way better than XTR. DO NOT TOE THE PADS AT ALL. Set them up flat and even to the rim and they will not squeal. I would also use koolstop Salmon Inserts. That combo is killer. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/11986-347_AVD7K0-3-Parts-159-Brakes/VBrakes/Avid-Single-Digit-7-Brake-'05-w_Avid-Speed-Dial-7-Levers-COMBO.htm
 

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Another vote for XTR brakes and levers. I've had several Shimano and Avids and the XTR's are by far the easiest (for me) to set-up and maintain. I do like the Paul levers though a close second.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone. My solution thusfar - replace my terrible Aztec pads with Koolstop. Presto - no more squeal, despite the slop in the pivots. I don't know if this is a permanent cure - if not, I'll either be picking up a set of Ultimates or newer XTRs. I'm a sucker for marketing - I love the looks of the industrial-grey XTR. Plus, I had a set on my hardtail a bunch of years back (with Machine Tech levers), and it was the nicest setup I've ever had with cables. I'm using XTR levers right now and have no complaints about their feel, but have been eyeing the Extralite levers (only 65 grams per pair! But costs three times their weight in dollars).
 

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Tech geek and racerboy
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The Avid Ultimates are unbelievable, especially when paired with Ultimate or Paul levers (something with bearing pivots). The XTR levers are nice, but lack the micro-adjustable leverage that I've come to love in my Avids. Anyway, the Ultimate calipers are much stiffer and stronger than most other offerings, even Avid's other brakes.

Of course having said that, I ran Ultimate levers with Avid Ti (now the SL) brake calipers and they were phenomenal. Whatever you do, run a compressionless housing like the Nokon or Nino's "Alligator" systems. They will make your rim brakes feel like discs, at least when it's not wet ;) .
 
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