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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 08 Giant STP, really fun bike but I noticed the brakes are somewhat lacking. I know they are still breaking in but the performance feels very spongy compared to my regular ride using Shimano DX disc brakes.

I'm considering upgrading the brakes on the bike to Avid BB7's including the levers and cables. But also thinking of a base model hydros. Here's what I would like from a brake set.

Adjustable lever
Adjustable play/contact (not sure if using right term)
Less maintenance

I used to bleed and change the fluids on my motorcycle brakes and never liked doing this. If the BB7's are a big upgrade from the current Hayes MX4 (OEM) brakes I would prefer this.

I weight about 150lbs with my backpack and ride mostly trails, don't need super stopping power but at least more than I'm getting with my Shimano DX brakes. :)
 

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I've had some experience with all that you mentioned, rim brakes, BB7 and Juicy 7. My hydros are brand new and have only had 2 rides on them. By far I love the Juicy 7s much more than the others. The BB7s are fine but found myself adjusting them more and more as time went by. The Juicy 7s just feel so much more comfortable, almost effortless. It has lever reach adjustment as well as pad contact/modulation adjustment. They have been perfect so far. So good in fact that I just ordered a pair for my other bike. As for maintanence, I usually do most of the work on my bikes but it may be a while (I hope!) until I have to bleed the brakes...so can't tell you if it's a pain or not. Sounds like it would be though. I recommend Juicy 7s over BB7s for sure.
 

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"I know they are still breaking in but the performance feels very spongy compared to my regular ride using Shimano DX disc brakes.

This is a problem with some of Shimano's mechanical offerings and it's tough to tune it out. Often a lever upgrade will improve the feel, but you'll never get rid of it completely. The Hayes MX mechanicals have the same porblem but to lesser degree. BB7's paired with SD7 levers will blow either of them away as far as feel goes.

"I'm considering upgrading the brakes on the bike to Avid BB7's including the levers and cables. But also thinking of a base model hydros. Here's what I would like from a brake set.

Adjustable lever
Adjustable play/contact (not sure if using right term)
Less maintenance"

This is exactly what you'll get with a set of BB7's. You don't actually get "less maintenance" it's just different and does not include bleeding the brakes. Which is a plus if you don't like doing it. Other than about annual cable and housing replacement, about the only thing you should have to do with them once set up is adjust the pads for wear occasionally. How often you have to adjust them depends on how often you ride and the conditions that you ride in. As for performance, my BB7's perform better than most "base model" hydraulic brakes that I've ever ridden to include Avid Juciy 3's, and the performance is on par with Juciy 5's and 7's when porperly set up and broken in.

"I used to bleed and change the fluids on my motorcycle brakes and never liked doing this. If the BB7's are a big upgrade from the current Hayes MX4 (OEM) brakes I would prefer this."

Yes the BB7's will be a significant upgrade to the MX 4, and you don't have to bleed them as noted. Less maintenance, not really, about the same, just different as I stated earlier. From you're requirements it sounds like the BB7 would be the way to go.

Good Dirt
 

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MX4 to BB7 is a rather big upgrade in performance IMO. I have used both.
 

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Riding or Fishing
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I'm running 08 BB7's with Speed Dial Ti levers and love the set up. I rarely have to adjust the pads, and when I do, it only takes a couple seconds.
Great upgrade!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Squash said:
"I know they are still breaking in but the performance feels very spongy compared to my regular ride using Shimano DX disc brakes.

This is a problem with some of Shimano's mechanical offerings and it's tough to tune it out. Often a lever upgrade will improve the feel, but you'll never get rid of it completely. The Hayes MX mechanicals have the same porblem but to lesser degree. BB7's paired with SD7 levers will blow either of them away as far as feel goes.

"I'm considering upgrading the brakes on the bike to Avid BB7's including the levers and cables. But also thinking of a base model hydros. Here's what I would like from a brake set.

Adjustable lever
Adjustable play/contact (not sure if using right term)
Less maintenance"

This is exactly what you'll get with a set of BB7's. You don't actually get "less maintenance" it's just different and does not include bleeding the brakes. Which is a plus if you don't like doing it. Other than about annual cable and housing replacement, about the only thing you should have to do with them once set up is adjust the pads for wear occasionally. How often you have to adjust them depends on how often you ride and the conditions that you ride in. As for performance, my BB7's perform better than most "base model" hydraulic brakes that I've ever ridden to include Avid Juciy 3's, and the performance is on par with Juciy 5's and 7's when porperly set up and broken in.

"I used to bleed and change the fluids on my motorcycle brakes and never liked doing this. If the BB7's are a big upgrade from the current Hayes MX4 (OEM) brakes I would prefer this."

Yes the BB7's will be a significant upgrade to the MX 4, and you don't have to bleed them as noted. Less maintenance, not really, about the same, just different as I stated earlier. From you're requirements it sounds like the BB7 would be the way to go.

Good Dirt
Thanks for the details!

As far as cables, the Avid Flak Jackets are the ones to use?
 

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Look at the reviews on mtbr. Not very good for the Flak jacket. But very good for the Avid Full Metal Jacket. Zero friction! Lever goes as easy as an hydraulic lever. Fully sealed, why ever change cables ? Modulation like hydros. I use them for half a year now and they work like day one (or better, because bedded in).
 
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