Brakes for bikepacking?
Given a choice of brakes for bikepacking, what’s the consensus?
Mechanical or Hydraulic discs?
A lot of people seems to use BB7’s, but is being able to repair them in the field that important for a week or less on the bike?
Are hydraulic brakes any more likely to go wrong these days? Seals going is normally an extreme temperature thing, right? Non-issue in the UK?
With deore hydro’s being such good value, it’s very difficult to justify spending more on BB7’s………Posted 4 years agoBillOddieSubscriber
It’s more if you crash and rip a hose out I think.
If you are doing the TD or similar they probably have a point. I would think that if you are planning on using your bikepacking bike as your “normal” bike a set of Hydros would be easier to live with.
BB7s are quite powerful though apparently but the cables getting all f’ed up might annoy me.Posted 4 years agojamesoSubscriber
Hydros are fine, if they cope with alpine chairlift trips they’ll cope with bikepacking. If I’m spending money and holiday allocation on a trip abroad I use BB7s just to reduce one potential problem, ie baggage handlers holing a box and pulling a hose. Cables are easier to bodge a fix / get hold of than hoses, that’s all. And I’ll admit to liking the lower-tech option in most cases anyway.Posted 4 years agoAidanMember
I’d go hydraulic every time except for very low temperatures like the Iditarod where the fluid can have trouble.
Mechanicals get the cables gooed up, require manual adjustment for wear, end up costing quite a lot compared to something like Deore.
It’s the manual wear adjustment that really puts me off mechanicals on a wet day.Posted 4 years agoSinglespeed_ShepMember
I see, so you can just swap the rotor for a cog and flip the wheel?
Yes its a velosolo one, uses the same bolts as the rotor. I’ve used it on a fixed gear bike and worked a treat, never needed to use it on the mtb yet. Just gives an extra option for little weight. Also Handy if freewheel goes pop!Posted 4 years agobutcherMember
For a week, I’d be happy to take the risk. Swapped from Vs to hydraulic discs on my ‘trekking’ bike a long time ago. It’s an easier life with hydraulics in my opinion.
Any leaks in the pistons seals I’ve had have been mega slow, and the brakes have been useable for months afterwards. They just fouled the pads.Posted 4 years agoDelSubscriber
never had hydraulic brakes rubbing after you stuck new pads in? never had them over heat? never had any trouble bleeding them?Posted 4 years ago
if you can answer no to all those then i see your point.
i’ve used bb7s in the alps and use them at home. only issues i’ve had have been operator error. correctly setup they ‘just work’. if a ride is really wet then the bite point moves, but a quick couple of clicks and it’s sorted. i’ve had the same thing with hydraulics, and cheap ones don’t allow bite point adjustment on the fly, or not without getting tools out.jamesoSubscriber
I can’t see any real advantage of BB7s in something like the TD, if anything the adjustments are faff you need to avoid when racing but there’s genuine advantages for really remote touring or sub-zero stuff.
Most of the bikepackers using them just buy into the simpler, more fixable nature of any part options so they go on bikes with rigid forks, thumbshifters, SS etc.
What’s the chances of sus forks, hydro brakes, rapidfires etc going wrong? Unlikely really. But sods law says it’ll happen in the middle of an amazing ride and risk spoiling an amazing trip*. Stripping out potential issues and having a fix for any you can’t eliminate is probably more about the Ray Mears mentality of bike touring than the actual risk, but if you remove 3 or 4 possible things that can go wrong the bike does become more reliable.
*My friend rides a SS with adjustable dropouts, he’s had it years and rides it hard, a very trusted bike. Halfway through an 11-day trans-alp bikepacking trip his dropout wouldn’t stay tight anymore, it had destroyed itself. It waited until the middle of the best ride we’d all done, ever, to do that.. )Posted 4 years agofaustusSubscriber
I reckon some of the time brake choice is down to the handlebars and lever choice, as drops mean using road style levers which mean you have to use mechanical discs.
Given a choice, i’d use hydros anytime. Touring offroad presents fewer risks of hose pulling/breaking than normal mtbing. Hydros on my mtb have been so reliable and survived multiple crashes, the kind of riding you’ll probably do for bikepacking isn’t going to be as technical/risky. I have BB5’s on my cross bike and they’re fairly crap. Power is poor, constant adjustment, noisy, and cables can get dirty and reduce performance. I think the use of mechanical discs is down to a perceived simplicity/reliablity that in many cases doesn’t match reality. Sure it probably makes more sense in the backcountry of south america or something…but not in a lot of cases.Posted 4 years agoSprocketJockeyMember
Ok, I get the point, my point really was that I can’t see the fascination with bb7’s on bikes that will never do an adventure race the likes of td, when they are more faff and dearer than deore’s!
I picked up my BB7s new for about £60 the pair, including levers, on ebay… that was from a UK seller too. I wish I’d bought two sets now.
Set up properly (full cable routing) they work better than my Deore hydros, are lighter, and they’re really not much of a faff to maintain. In fact they’re easier to adjust than hydros. I like.Posted 4 years ago
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