What Brakes for XC?

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  • What Brakes for XC?
  • foxyrider
    Member

    IMHO Avid Juicy Ultimates pad changes are annoying compared with shimano and hope. I like hopes for the simplicity in bleeding and pad replacement – breaking power is good and I would say comparible to the 7’s – my mate got some elixiers and loves then – what about those? Although you dont need the bleed kit for the avids without them it becomes a bit of a hassle IMO.

    They are good brakes however but I think goes against all your requirement – what about new XTR’s? what about bleeding them again? or are you just fed up and want a change – Hayes Strokers get a mixed review but aparently not as much modulation – you may like them 😉

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Agree with the Juicy Ultimate pad changes being a bit of a faff, good brakes though.

    Stick with the XTRs for a couple more months and get the Avid XX brakes, they’re a lightened Elixir, which have much easier to change pads and more power from bigger pistons. Floating rotors will drop the weight too, although with XTR I guess you’re on Centrelock.

    MarginWalker
    Member

    I’ve been using XTR brakes for about 2 years now having been convinced by my LBS they were THE brake to buy when building my XC race bike. In that time I’ve never really felt 100% comfortable with them. Firstly the huge amount of modulation felt very alien to me having only ever used Hayes 9s beforehand. I don’t like that will-they-or-won’t-they feeling as you squeeze the lever to the bar!

    Secondly the braking power felt really poor so I put a 180 on the front which helped a bit. Then I bled the brakes properly which helped a lot and I reverted to the 160 on the front. Finally I changed the pads and the brakes were finally running really well.

    Now after 6-7 months of use I’m back to square 1 and again feel they lack power. I’ve rebled, changed pads again and it has improved slightly but I’m now convinced they are not the brakes for me.

    So, the question is – what are the favoured brakes at the moment among XC racers?

    I guess I’m after something with plenty of stopping power, an on-off feel (minimal modulation), easily maintainable (changing pads on the XTRs was really simple and bleeding was relatively easy too) and reasonably light weight.

    I’m thinking Avid Juicy Ultimates (which I’d originally planned to fit in the first place).

    Does anyone know how they compare with XTRs?

    julianwilson
    Member

    how much are you spending? formula k18’s at £150 from merlin are a great combination of weight, price and performance. Oh and you can change the pads without taking the wheel off. You can spend the change on some lighter tyres or a tubeless kit.

    Premier Icon giantjason
    Subscriber

    i would go with Magura Marta. Lightweight but very powerful with great modulation

    Premier Icon oxym0r0n
    Subscriber

    2nd Marta’s – I’ve got 2 pairs now ~ sservice support is really good IMHO (even at Mountain Mayhem – thanks guys from Germany!), I’ve used them in the Alps, racing 24’s etc and they’ve been light and great!

    Premier Icon on and on
    Subscriber

    Formula R1s are fantastic

    pinches
    Member

    what about 2009 XT with servo wave levers? apparently better than the XTRs or whatever.

    I have some magura martas and really don’t rate them that much in comparison, they’re also a pain to bleed.

    Mike
    Member

    Step away from the Avids and keep your calipers/hoses and add some ’09 XT Servowave levers – you’ll not regret it…add Goddridge hoses for even better performance

    Lordbikealot
    Member

    from my experience with working on the above brakes
    avids juicys are a pain in the arse to swap pads and have never really worked as well as hopes or shimanos

    shimano xtr are weak but they are due for a rework soon so it might be worth hold ing out for a while.
    all shimano brakes with servowave are AMAZING though they take 30mins to bleed to a standard im happy with. if you swapped to XT you wont notice a weight difference but deffinatly a massive power surge.

    i dont see too many hayes but they always feel flimsy to me pwer is ok from mid range and up.

    with every formula i have seen a lever seal has blown very soon after purchase even on THE ONE levers so i cant rate them.

    im not familiar with recent maguras i wasnt impressed with there stuff back in 05.

    hopes are ace but i dont think youll get along too well with the modulation

    as a conclusion i ,and my collueges, cannot recomend shimano brakes servowave brakes enough they have power like this drink has energy

    Premier Icon schmiken
    Subscriber

    Hope Tech X2 Pros are phenomenal, but try before you buy!

    crustypaulus
    Member

    Avid Elixir R’s are great. Feel very solid, really good power, smooth modulation. Much better than hope minis or shimano xtr (the ones I tried anyway). Some fiddling to get the calipers set right, but then you’re away. Not bled them but the pads can be changed from the top without even taking the wheel out. Very chuffed with the upgrade.

    grumm
    Member

    What’s the problem changing pads on Avids? It’s easy.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    It’s fiddly, but easy once you know what you’re doing, particularly if you use a pair of pliers.

    It’s far easier on Elixirs, I stand by my original statement: Wait for Avid XXs.

    juan
    Member

    HOPE XC4 old school brakes 😉
    not uber powerful (but it will do to ride around a muddy field) but extremely progressive.

    GaryLake
    Member

    Hope pad changes are fairly easy but the pad life is unreal so it’s not like it’s a regular job! Couldn’t help but laugh on a Snowdonia riding holiday last summer with guys going through pads in the wet snowdon grit in just two days, I was running nearly year old organic hopes at the time and I’ve only just replaced them another year on…

    (And yes smart arses, I do ride a lot thanks)

    I don’t find power an issue on the Hopes but then I’m only 12st kitted up so I’m probably not in a position to discuss brake power – even the bottom of the range, not even deore Shimano OEMS on my singlespeed feel powerful lol

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    XC4s are dire, Hope won’t even service them, they replace them with Minis if you send them back!

    And if you read the OP progressive power is the last thing he wants (rather odd admittedly!).

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    XC4s are dire, Hope won’t even service them, they replace them with Minis if you send them back!

    Really? How much do they charge? Got some old XC4s not doing anything, and wouldn’t mind some Minis.

    Dekerf
    Member

    XC4s are dire, Hope won’t even service them, they replace them with Minis if you send them back!

    Really? How much do they charge? Got some old XC4s not doing anything, and wouldn’t mind some Minis.

    It depends, I just enquired about getting mine service by them, and they just they can’t do it, and have a go servicing them yourself.

    Maybe different if you send them off to them without asking, but i was a bit loathed to do so, just to be without them for a while if this was just a rumour

    tinsy
    Member

    Cant even imagine what your after from a set of brakes, I got some old style XTR’s on mine, been on for about 6-8 months on old 525 levers and they are great, nice looking, light and as much power as the M4’s on my other bike.

    Premier Icon Dougal
    Subscriber

    Juicy Ultimates – Awesome brake, the pad replacement is a major flaw though. Swapping to some XX brakes when they appear.

    Definitely rate the Elixr, though I’ve only ridden them on bikes with bigger rotors.

    Google
    Member

    Another vote for XT’s here. MUCH more solid feel than XTR

    Feldo
    Member

    For what it’s worth, I’m using Juicy Ultimates with Swissstop 17 pads on my race hardtail and am very impressed. The after-market pads definitely improve the feel and power imo.

    An excellent and light alternative would be Hope X2 pro’s which I run on my Yeti.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    We sent back 2 pairs of XC4 brakes, the first got replaced with Mono Mini Pros, the second with standard Minis, the charge was slightly different, but basically about the same as a normal service. This was about a year ago, they may have changed their tack.

    I put some XC4s on eBay that hadn’t been used for 5 years or so, I didn’t know if they worked and got about £90 for them!

    I’ve got Elixir callipers with Ultimate levers (badged ‘Ultimate Mag SL’) and they’ve very good, my 160/140 set up has more power than my 160mm Ultimates. I’ll definitely be getting some XXs next year.

    MarginWalker
    Member

    Lads thanks for the replies on this. I think I’ll try and test some XTs or wait for the new XXs. Having said that I got a big shock when I priced out the ultimates so I’m guessing they are going to be even more expensive! In the meantime I’m going to try out different pads as someone mentioned this can improve feel and power. cheers.

    MarginWalker
    Member

    Just an update – I removed the almost new superstar pads I was using and replaced them with the spare sintered shimano pads I got with the brakes and the difference was vast. I've now got a lot more confidence in teh brakes. Given I've had as many misses as hits with aftermarket pads so I'll be sticking shimano pads from now on.

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