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I just picked up my first real mountain bike and am learning alot, went with a Tallboy C (R build). Was riding yesterday coming down a long steep fire road with a cattle gate at the bottom (hard on the brakes). I lost much of my braking power and my front rotor is now discolored so I think they got fairly over heated.

I am 260lbs geared up so I'm thinking the 160mm rotor may not be enough for my size. Most of the riding I want to do is flowy single track but living in Northern California I am going to be going up and down steep fire roads whether I like it or not.

Current build is Deore brakes with 160mm front and back. Im thinking that I should go with 180 or 203 up front. Is there any reason to not go 203mm given my weight? Will upgrading to XT brakes help me out in terms of braking power?

Thanks for the help!
 

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short answer, yes.
If you're going on long downhill fireroad runs, get the 203mm. It will have a lot more grab and heat disipation. If you get cheap rotors, they will wobble more and might give you some gobbling/whining. If I was getting new, I'd get quality. I'd also get the biggest size available, because I can. If you have lots of big rocks that you might hit the rotors on, you might want to take that into consideration. Your calipers should be fine, but I'd keep an eye on the brake pads. Sounds like you might end up wearing through them quite a bit faster than normal.
 

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Depending on the riding you'll do, I don't know that I'd worry too much about it. I rode 160 mm rotors for several years at 250# or so. They got hot on occasion, but worked fine, and I do a lot of shuttling/descending. Also, check and see what your bike can handle. I don't know the ins-and-outs, but I've seen specs that limit rotors to certain sizes. I'm not sure a Tallboy and the spec fork are designed to handle 203 rotors.

But yes, 203s are great. I have them on my Enduro and love the power. They still get plenty hot, though. The discoloration isn't a big deal.
 

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Love my XT's with 203/180 Icetech combo.

I have a 180mm Icetech new in box if you are interested.
 

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Low speed, High Drag
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I'd say get the 203/180 combo, and be done with it. I'm a svelte 240 with gear, and almost always run a 203/180 on all my bikes, regardless of their intended duty!
 

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roots, rocks, rhythm
A little of this and that........nothing cheap!
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Definitely go as big a rotor as you can!
203 would be the best!
XT brakes are worth the money!

I went with Saints and have never regretted it!
It really has a lot to do with the type of riding you are or will be doing?
 

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as mentioned somewhere above, make sure the fork can handle the 203mm and the frame can fit a 180mm. I've seen some frames that don't have clearance in back for a 180mm rotor (chainstays were bent weird) and some forks have rotor size limits because of the increased torque. I'd hate to be pointed down a hill and have a fork lower break or the brake caliper rip off the fork. Unlikely, but can happen in theory.
 

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+1 203 in front. rear is less crucial. you do NOT need fancy icetec rotors if you dont want to spend the extra cash. any good quality rotor will do. Deore should be fine as well.
 

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Large rotors for a big fella isn't really about heat, it is much better to have larger rotors for better modulation. A 160mm will require a lot more force from the pads to stop vs. a 203mm when you are trying to stop that much weight.
 

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FYI, the Shimano SLX brakes are darn near identical to the XTs for less money. I'm about 235 lb and have SLX on my bike with 180/160mm rotors, they do great. If I'm on them for a long descent I can feel them getting a bit soft but nothing overly bad. I did just buy some finned pads to help dissipate heat which I haven't put on yet (Shimano makes normal and finned pads for several models of brakes). I talked with a shop about the ice-tech finned rotors and they thought the finned pads would probably give you more bang for the buck.
 

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Are you using both brakes to slow yourself or are you heavy on the front? Get your weight back and use both brakes as equally as possible and spread the load.
 

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If that long fire road is going to be a regular feature for you, then it may be good to "up-size". That said, as you ride more and improve your skills, you will brake less and become more confident and efficient.
 

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I'd try different pads first. Personally I like the composite pads. They have superior stopping power, grabbing instantly which slows you down faster....critical on steeps. Also tires and the grip they provide are equally important in stopping power. I ride a TBc XT brakes 160mm. Ardent 2.25's f/r Nearly your size. Ride in the 831/650.
 

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My old bike had 203/180 rotors and XT levers/calipers, metallic pads up front and resin in the rear.

My new bike has 180/180 and XTR levers/calipers and the same pad setup. It could be placebo, but the new setup feels marginally better. At the very least, it's just as good. I went down a 4,000ft descent on Saturday with it and absolutely zero fade.

I'm 240lbs, just barely less than you.
 

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Metallic and sintered are both composite pads...heck, every brake pad is composite.:p
Let me clarify then. I prefer the resin composite brakes over the metal composite brakes. Resin brakes have a higher sticky feel when engaged. Metal composites tend to slip more under braking meaning greater distance covered from speed to stop. Resin pads wear out a bit faster and cost a few dollars more. However the superior stopping power is well worth it for any clyde who finds themselves ass behind seat down steep and/or technical descents.
 

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Let me clarify then. I prefer the resin composite brakes over the metal composite brakes. Resin brakes have a higher sticky feel when engaged. Metal composites tend to slip more under braking meaning greater distance covered from speed to stop. Resin pads wear out a bit faster and cost a few dollars more. However the superior stopping power is well worth it for any clyde who finds themselves ass behind seat down steep and/or technical descents.
Resin pads are usually cheaper than sintered in my experience... the resin pads I use are $10 and the metallic are $30. Part of that is the heat fins but still
 
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