Brake dilemma… what to try next

  • This topic has 39 replies, 28 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by  julzm.
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  • Brake dilemma… what to try next
  • wiggles
    Member

    I have tried most things when it comes to brakes on either my own bikes or demo bikes I used in the shop I worked at until recently, thoughts so far have been:

    Shimano XT – good power but can be a bit grabby and not that impressed with longevity
    Shimano Zee – Amazing power and better modulation compared to XT
    Magura Mt5 – stupidly powerful but annoying lever shape that is too far away from the bar
    Sram guide – What I have currently, good power and nice modulation but tend to get fade on long descents and are a bit of a pain to bleed.

    I want something new and have narrowed it down to a few but I am a bit stuck…

    option 1 : get another set of zees (or maybe saint if I have a bit of extra dough) as they are probably the only one I regret selling. That was a few years ago and they are the same brakes and other brands have made new models since?

    option 2 : get a set of hope tech E4, one of the only brand I haven’t owned and loads of people swear by them, hold decent value If I do decide to change later down the line. Never used them on a proper ride so bit of a risk to take

    Saint or tech E4 would be roughly the same money to me with the zees coming in about ~60 cheaper

    What would you do?

    tjagain
    Member

    Hope is all you have left!

    wiggles
    Member

    Im bored of looking now!

    Going to try and have a spin on a bike with hopes next week as have access to a few demo bikes with them, see if I like them enought to spend the extra over the zees

    andyrm
    Member

    Guide RE – it’s been the best brake I’ve ever used. Guide lever with a Code caliper, so the perfect mix of huge power with subtle modulation.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    The Zees must be due an update this year, they’ve been out ages now. Maybe wait for that?

    Premier Icon stevied
    Subscriber

    How about Formula? My RO have been faultless for about 3 years now and have masses of modulated power.

    hoberinos
    Member

    Personally, I would go for the Zee’s.

    I bought a set of Hope tech E4 on my previous bike thinking they would be the last set of brakes I would buy, but they were disappointing, both from a usability and reliability point of view. Never felt quite right.

    Since then I’ve got a bike with Zee’s and I prefer the (lack of) modulation, it feels like more power.

    It’s a bit of a personal thing thought, so YMMV

    wiggles
    Member

    The Zees must be due an update this year, they’ve been out ages now. Maybe wait for that?

    I did think that, but not sure whether I want to wait around.

    How about Formula? My RO have been faultless for about 3 years now and have masses of modulated power.

    dont get on with the lever, a bit like the magura I just find them too far out from the bar for my stubby fingers…

    Personally, I would go for the Zee’s.

    I bought a set of Hope tech E4 on my previous bike thinking they would be the last set of brakes I would buy, but they were disappointing, both from a usability and reliability point of view. Never felt quite right.

    Since then I’ve got a bike with Zee’s and I prefer the (lack of) modulation, it feels like more power.

    It’s a bit of a personal thing thought, so YMMV

    This is what worries me, Ive had zees and know I like them so spending big money on the hopes and then finding out I prefer the zees would be a mistake. But part of me just likes hope stuff and would prefer it because of being british made etc

    Premier Icon docgeoffyjones
    Subscriber

    Formula? my The Ones have been great lots of modulation and never feel under braked

    I really like the look of these

    http://www.trickstuff.de/en/products/cleg2.php

    Premier Icon hairyscary
    Subscriber

    I’ve had Saints and Zees.
    If I could afford the Saints I would get them, but only because they look better.

    Edit
    The Saints died after 2 1/2 years. This does not bother me as I don’t really want anything as my ‘last’ component, bike, etc. Technology moves on and I’m happy to move with it.

    sofaboy73
    Member

    I settled on saints / zee’s for the best compromise of price, power, modulation and ease of bleed. I also really like formula the ones and always felt the had the best power / control balance, but I found them a pita to bleed, a little temperamental after a year or so and they used to be quite spendy

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    Hope E4s are great, but Guides are just as good. If you’re getting brake fade, something’s not right – wrong pads? The SRAM sintered pads are spot on. Could also be a poor bleed, or using old dot fluid.

    If you’re making those mistakes, then any brake isn’t going to be pish.

    jk1980
    Member

    Why not just get Codes? I have both Codes and guides, but hands down for me Codes are the better brake

    Premier Icon deadkenny
    Subscriber

    The higher boiling point of the dot 5.1 stuff in Guide should mean it’s less likely to get brake fade.

    Got X0 Trail on one bike, which are virtually same calliper as the Guide, and riding in the Alps on some descents all I could smell is boiling brakes from other riders and mine were no problem at all.

    Though if you’re going down very long descents with the brakes on all the time then that’s not going to help 😉

    Premier Icon crashrash
    Subscriber

    Hope would be it for me! Wifes bike has some older ones which are just beautifully engineered and my mates has just upgraded on his orange, he reckons they are the dog’s in terms of feel. Know what you mean regarding XT though the 8000 range are a big improvemnt over the 785

    They may have sorted the issues on the XT’s now but they still behind guides for modulation.

    I’d look at RSC’s or Ultimates perhaps. My Guides have been ace, zero fade.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Subscriber

    Maybe I’m not trying hard enough, but I’ve never faded my Guide Rs’. Only got 160mm rotors on them – and they had no issues with loads of constant runs at BPW in the dry. They also did well there in the wet. After the initial set of organic pads that came with them I’ve run sintered pads since – Sram’s own brand first, but now using uberbike sintered pads as they were a lot cheaper.

    I’ve bled them once – didn’t seem that difficult? Certainly easier than bleeding magura hs33’s which are the only brake I have to compare the bleeding process to.

    ton
    Member

    only brakes I have ever been happy with are Avid bb7 fitted with 200mm discs.
    and I take some stopping 😆

    Premier Icon woodster
    Subscriber

    I’m running Magura MT5 calipers with Shimano M9000 Race levers (non-Servowave)

    Really incredible set of brakes with no downsides that I’ve found.

    milky1980
    Member

    I’m about to bin my XT M785’s after the rear started playing up after 18 months. Merlin have just replaced the rear lever as the servo wave stopped working and caliper as the piston started to crumble. I bought them as an emergency thing after my old Hope X2 died in a crash (ripped the hose out of the caliper) and I could sell the front M4 Evo, buy the XT’s and end up with cash left over!. The XT’s are as powerful but not as good for modulation.

    I’ll be buying Hope E4’s as soon as I can 😀

    Premier Icon russyh
    Subscriber

    I owned a set of hope e4’s. Very underwhelmed by them. They just never felt right and were always disappointing given how much they cost. I sold them and bought some m8000’s. Frankly in hindsight that was a mistake. Shimano have not fixed the issues with them. So far I have had two calliper seals fail and my rear brake biting point is all over the place. These are fresh brakes as well not something that’s old stock. Very disappointing.

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    Russyh – get some SRAM Guides…. or the older M785 XTs that were more reliable 🙂

    Magura Mt5 – stupidly powerful but annoying lever shape that is too far away from the bar

    Why not get the next ones up the range, with adjustable reach levers?

    wiggles
    Member

    This thread is leaning me towards the zee`s I think, they are the known quantity, I know I like them. I have heard stories of a few people getting the hopes and and being disappointed… I think I just prefer the way the shimano and maguras feel where the bite point is a bit more obvious.

    Also mineral oil is a plus in my case as I have to work on my bike in the house and dont really want dot fluid getting everywhere…

    Why not get the next ones up the range, with adjustable reach levers?

    bit too spendy…

    Although I was temped by the danny mac ltd editions, would be scared to use them though!

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    Regarding the Hope E4s….

    If you don’t follow the Hope method to set them up, they’ll feel gash. It’s pretty simple to do, but I know loads of people that didn’t follow the method and they don’t feel right.

    They’re a lot more money that Zees, and arguably aren’t any better really.

    jruk
    Member

    Zees with proper Shimano metal pads FTW.

    wiggles
    Member

    Im in a lucky position to not be paying full price some brands but that means the one I am not getting a discount on seem comparatively expensive.

    so if say zee cost me £x

    tech E4 are about £x + £20-30 so it makes it make more sense to get the hopes as if I did really hate the I wouldn`t be making a big loss selling them.

    been looking on a few of the german sites and can get magura MT5 reasonably cheap, seems you have the same reach adjust on the mt7 just with a tool rather than a nob but no bite point adjust.

    Premier Icon russyh
    Subscriber

    Russyh – get some SRAM Guides…. or the older M785 XTs that were more reliable

    I’m tempted by some 785’s apart from the pikey chrome levers. Wouldn’t touch SRAM kit again I’m afraid. If my 8000’s are bad it’s nothing compared to the shit I have owned from Sram over the years.

    If you can get them for that then definitely the Hope Tech 3 E4. I’ve had them on my Spitfire for three years and they’ve been brilliant. I also have a set of Race Evo M4 on my Bird Zero AM which I’ve had for almost six years and also manage to feel like new, have tons of modulation and real power despite the use they’ve had.

    I prefer the Tech 3 lever to the Race Evo lever – the bite point adjust works really well and it’s nice being able to adjust reach without needing an allen key. Power and modulation feels the same on both. The E4 pads are slightly bigger than the M4 originally had, but the M4 calipers now use the E4 pads. I’ve only ever used the Hope pads, both organic and sintered.

    Organic last a preposterous time compared to most, I get the best part of a year out of them (though we have little sand/grit around here). I’ve only ended up with sintered because organic were out of stock at Wiggle and I had some vouchers to use up. They don’t have as much bite at first but now I’m used to that I like them and they should last even longer.

    goss
    Member

    Working in a bikeshop as well and have a big demo fleet. I got M820 and M675 on my own bikes (+ M8000 levers with M665 calipers)
    From what I’ve experienced these are my suggestions, in that order:
    Hope(depending on money), M820/M980/M9000/M9020, Zee/Guide RS, SLX/M8000/Level TL
    What to avoid imo:
    M785, Magura, Formula, Avid(Sram brakes are different!), XX

    thecaptain
    Member

    As a tandemmer I’ve been pretty satisfied with Hope brakes for a good 15 years or so. Got a new set of E4 a couple of years ago and they’ve been excellent.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I am a total, total Formula The One fanboi. Not any of the weird cobbled-together OE bullshit,, and not the pre-2011 models- just the one really brilliant one they did from 2012 and haven’t really worked out how to improve on. Ideally with as little frippery like on-the-fly adjusters and FCS as possible.

    I’ve had them on DH bikes, trailbikes, XC race bikes, and a fatbike- light and powerful enough to do it all, superb modulation, good reliability- I’ve had 2 or 3 sets in constant use for about 5 years and I’ve literally had to replace one minor part for reliability reasons. Which was pisstakingly expensive but still. I think mostly what I love is the sensitivity and consistency, I’ve never caused them to go off at all from heat (even brake-dragging the entire way down fort william dh the first time, shitting my pants) and the feel is absolutely identical, all the time, on all 3 of my sets- to the point that if I adjust a lever wrong it feels incredibly weird.

    You can still buy them new, though I think it’s discontinued. And the lever goes in a long way. Formula can get a bit of a bad rap, largely because of their half-assed OEM efforts, and tbf I think they only manage to make a really good brake about one time in five… But the good ones are ridiculous.

    wiggles
    Member

    Formula are not on my list because I don`t like the feel of the levers, even the posh ones my mate used to rave about them and tried to make me like them but just dont like the feeling of them…

    This thread makes me out to be the pickiest person ever 😳

    I`m fat and slow but I do brake a lot so the are a very important part of my bike 😆

    A bet you were expecting it to be some enduro-gnar FS, been there done that messing about on a space hopper bike now

    I’m also pretty underwhelmed by Hope. I had some Saints with very dodgy bite point issues. Mega power but needed to be pumped up while riding which was horrible.

    I’ve now got Tech 3 V4’s and they can’t compete on stopping power with Saint or Zee. I’ve done everything with them, they work perfectly, they’re just not that impressive.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    wiggles – Member

    Formula are not on my list because I don`t like the feel of the levers, even the posh ones my mate used to rave about them and tried to make me like them but just dont like the feeling of them.

    Do you mean the actual shape, or the piston feel? They both vary, though to be fair the lever shapes are mostly fairly similar, they like the big hook thing

    wiggles
    Member

    TRP are very expensive for the good ones and not really tried and tested enough, seen a pair of magura MT7 for £180 (not new) that is tempting.

    But probably going to be the hopes, just to try them out if not anything else.

    argoose
    Member

    Have you considered Avid Trail XO, I too am large, bimble and use my brakes.
    One finger braking and really good modulation and the ability to bring the lever closer to the bars, to stop arm pump, I get on better with these than the on/off feel of shimano.

    wiggles
    Member

    I’ve bit the bullet and bought myself a set of E4s and hope rotors.

    Keeping the guides for now incase the hopes are not to my liking but hopefully they will be good condition considering how much they are costing 😯

    julzm
    Member

    I’ve had various shimano XT and XTR (both old and newest versions) and will not be rushing to have shimano in the near future unless something drastically changes with them. Constant bleeding, fade and gernerally too on/off for me.

    On one bike I have hope E4s and they are excellent – loads of feel and modulation and plenty of stopping power, just not as instantly biting as others but you adjust to that.

    Newest bike came with SRAM ultimes and these are seriously fantastic brakes. Plenty of modulation and power. I though GUIDE RSCs were decent but these are way better.

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