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Thread: Disc brakes: cheap hydro vs cheap mechanical?

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    I have heard only terrible things about Avid hydros, though never had a problem with BB7s. But Shimano hydro is the way to go.

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    Kid's bike? Unless he's going to be tearing it up racing this season, I would start with some mechanical disc brakes. Easy to service, and if he gets real good on that bike, it's an easy upgrade to go to Hydro...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Dan View Post
    Kid's bike? Unless he's going to be tearing it up racing this season, I would start with some mechanical disc brakes. Easy to service, and if he gets real good on that bike, it's an easy upgrade to go to Hydro...
    This is exactly why I say to stay away from Avid BB5s. They are the opposite of easy to service. And they need service ALL THE TIME. To be fair, with nearly 400 pounds of bike+me+kids+cargo, I'm hard on brakes. But upgrading to Shimano hydros has been fantastic.

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    One thing to consider is that kids' bikes are smaller and you might have a lot of cable hanging out there (which could snag) or might have to get new hardware (barb, olive, bleed kit) if you cut the cables. I have trimmed Shimano hydro housing without needing a bleed kit because I was careful, but a new barb and olive are probably necessary.

    Also, in my experience, kids crash more. Mechanical disc brake parts are cheaper to maintain/replace.

    All said, if it was my own kid, I'd upgrade my own bike and give him/her my XT brakes

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    This is exactly why I say to stay away from Avid BB5s. They are the opposite of easy to service. And they need service ALL THE TIME. To be fair, with nearly 400 pounds of bike+me+kids+cargo, I'm hard on brakes. But upgrading to Shimano hydros has been fantastic.
    You're right, BB-5s are shit. The only mech brakes that I've used and recommend are BB-7s, but they will never be as good as hydros. I've never used any other mech disc brakes besides Avid, like the Tektro, Pauls, etc.

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    I'd like to try the Paul Klampers but yeah I've only used BB7s myself as well. Actually, I have tried Tektro Lyras on a test ride - and then had them replaced with BB7s before I bought the rest of the bike. My other disc brakes are hydros (one SRAM, one Shimano, one TRP).

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    I've had good luck with BB7s myself, and have preferred mechanicals since my old MTB with hydros leaked and I replaced them with BB7s. However, I'm looking at a winter road bike with Shimano BR-RS 505 hyrdros and was wary, so it's good to hear folks say they've had good luck with Shimanos.

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    Yeah, I used to be worried about hydros in cold weather, having heard a few bad anecdotes, but have had no issues with SRAM road or Shimano. If Shimano had better shifting and 1x options, I would use Shimano hydro brakes on my road bikes too. The SRAM stop great but are a bit grabby; I love the smooth progressive / linear feel of Shimano brakes.

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    I've tolerated the Promax disc brakes on my gravel bike about as long as I'm going to. Wanted to use them a bit first, and I have. But honestly, who puts brakes on a bike that don't really work?

    I'll probably just do BB7s, but am considering Shimanos or even Spyres. Other than disc size, are there any compatibility issues to be aware of between brands, like BCD? Other time I did this I stayed with the same brand.

    ETA: mech to mech, inconsistent with original post.
    Last edited by huskerdont; 03-30-2017 at 09:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    I've tolerated the Promax disc brakes on my gravel bike about as long as I'm going to. Wanted to use them a bit first, and I have. But honestly, who puts brakes on a bike that don't really work?

    I'll probably just do BB7s, but am considering Shimanos or even Spyres. Other than disc size, are there any compatibility issues to be aware of between brands, like BCD? Other time I did this I stayed with the same brand.

    ETA: mech to mech, inconsistent with original post.
    The only compatibility question I know of is road vs MTB (cable pull). The Spyres do have more dimension inboard, which can make for tight spoke clearance on certain hub/spoke/rim combos. Was a problem on one of my front hubs, but no prob on two others.

    I think BB7 and Spyre are similar in terms of stopping power. Spyres are nicer from an adjustment and pad wear perspective, though. And lighter. They're not hydros, but they are decent brakes. I would take them over rim brakes for sure. I'd also consider TRP Hy/Rd as a compromise if you didn't want to go all-in for hydro levers.

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