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Thread: Disc brakes: cheap hydro vs cheap mechanical?

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    Default Disc brakes: cheap hydro vs cheap mechanical?

    It's time for kid1 to get the first geared bike. In the $500-$700 range, many have disc brakes. I have no experience with discs but I've heard enough complaints about mid range mechanicals like the Avid BB-5 that I'm left wondering if cheap hydro disc brakes are any better than cheap mechanical disc brakes, or if I should just stick with V brakes at this price range. I would love to hear your experience
    Last edited by peterw_diy; 03-19-2017 at 10:49 PM.

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    I would say look for some used Shimano hydro. I picked up a set of used XT brakes for $80 on DC Used. Those are nicer than my SLX brakes, which are also fantastic. Shimano brakes are really nice and easy to work with (bleed).

    Hydro is great because kids can stop with a single finger, leaving the others to hold on better. -- And you can adjust the levers in close to the bar.

    We also switched to moto-style (right front) as that seemed like a good idea when learning to signal. That might backfire someday :-)

    That said, my son was functioning fine with mechanicals. Road mechanicals work well with BMX (short-pull) levers.
    Last edited by hozn; 03-19-2017 at 09:52 PM.

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    I'm a firm believer in disc brakes, hydro or mechanical. I particularly like the TRP brand that squeezes from both sides.

    I'd say embrace the new technology and enjoy more predictable stopping power for kid #1. Regardless of brand or type. Hydro's rarely need bleeding under normal use. I've had a cheap set of hydros on one bike for years and never touched them.

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    My only experience with hydros was a mountain bike...It had Shimano M355s, which I think they are on the lower end of the hydro spectrum. They weren't a revelation or anything, but I never had any problems and never had to adjust them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post

    We also switched to moto-style (right front) as that seemed like a good idea when learning to signal. That might backfire someday :-)
    I just switched my gravel bike over to moto-style when I did the 1x swap, and I'll do the same on my road bike the next time I have the bar tape off. Makes sense for me because I do ride a motorcycle, and I also have to use my left hand to present my badge when I roll into work, so I prefer to have my right hand controlling the front brake for that.

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    Even cheap hydraulics have gotten pretty good. I'd stick with a recognizable brand like Shimano or Tektro. I like my Tektro's, very reliable, never need bleeding and the pads swap out in 5 minutes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    I just switched my gravel bike over to moto-style when I did the 1x swap, and I'll do the same on my road bike the next time I have the bar tape off. Makes sense for me because I do ride a motorcycle, and I also have to use my left hand to present my badge when I roll into work, so I prefer to have my right hand controlling the front brake for that.
    I might switch my bikes to moto style too. Right now it'd be nice since my left thumb is sprained -- thanks, winter. -- but in general, I don't see the advantage to left front (at least for right-handed people). OTOH, braking to a stop with right/rear-only is now pretty quick w/ hydro + 160mm rear rotors. It would have been a riskier proposition w/ 140mm rotors (and my Spyres, though I think rotor size is bigger factor for stopping distance).

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    Yessss... moto-style rules! I have all my bikes like that. The main issue really is when someone borrows your bike and then they're like... huh. I do have a lingering right wrist injury right now which makes it a little less ideal for the fixed gear but it's mainly shifting that's affected.

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    Do not, under any circumstances, use Avid BB5s. Ever. If someone offers you a set for free, punch them in the face, because they are not your friend.

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    Stay away from Avids generally. I've had multiple sets of Avids fail, usually due to a terminally frozen caliper.

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