Disc Brakes… Seriously which brake can I trust to work 100%

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  • Disc Brakes… Seriously which brake can I trust to work 100%
  • After not having ridden my bike for 12 months, pretty much solely down to the brakes peeing me off so much (I have been on road bike instead!). Which brakes should I now buy to get me back on my mtb steed.
    I dont ask much, all I want is some reliability, no drag, positive lever feel and mild bling/light weight. Will be going on my Cotic Soda and I currently weigh 13 stone and tend to do XC/Freeride so XC only brakes will not be up to the job.
    I have read all the positive reviews out there and then all the counter negative reviews! Now Im just confused. Best all round brakes I can recall using (I am 37 now) were my Hope C2’s.
    Now Im thinking either XTR Trail, Magura SL Mag, Formula R1 or Hope Tech M4/x2. Hear great things about them all and also some horror stories so any actual users like to steer me in right direction?
    Cheers
    Matt

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I’ve had a quite a lot of sets of Maguras Martas and Louises and never had problems with any of them. I’ve not tried their new ones but there’s no reason to believe they won’t be as reliable.

    IHN
    Member
    xiphon
    Member

    Hopes for me.

    2 pairs of old silver M4s, one pair of Mono6s.

    oodles of power, and simple to maintain. And reliable… for me anyway..

    I’ve never heard a bad word about Maguras and they have a five year leakproof guarantee. Also they are the oldest manufacturer of hydro MTB brakes I think. If I needed new ones I’d buy them.

    Hopes for me. Reliable and repairable. 5 sets owned for mamy years – 3 blown seals in that time, all easily repaired and all working now and have been faultless for the last 3 years

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    Don’t fancy doing free ride on a Soda!

    M4’s on mine. You do however need to keep using them as they can get build up (corrosion?) and stop the pistons fully returning… 😳

    Had a demo bike with xtr trail on it recently and that was also nice.

    Hope would be cheaper though and you can get spares…

    cynic-al
    Member

    Shimano for me. Properly reliable – so repairability not an issue (and spares ARE available). 2 sets owned for mamy years – no problems at all in that time, all working now and have been faultless for the last 8 years.

    shimano brakes have been the most reliable for me.

    Cheers guy’s keep em coming. When I say Freeride Im probably talking hard cross crountry ie fast downhill in Peak District odd metre drop small jumps etc. Was Freeride to me 20 years ago 😀
    Think my biggest bug bear with brakes is piston creep and rubbing brakes and squishy levers.

    saxabar
    Member

    I’ve just had to replace a set and gone with a set of Shimano XT M785s. Much sharper than my Hopes, even after a proper servicing.

    coogan
    Member

    Shimano by miles. Easily the best brakes I’ve used and not one single problem.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    XTR trail. Agree with the ‘freeride’ on an XC ti hardtail though…

    Spares for shimano brakes are not available.

    Rorschach
    Member

    xc/freeride….now there is a niche.

    Hope, but maybe say 90% of the power 100% of the time.

    I’ve had issues with my elixirs (and I’ve scars to prove it when they’ve failed) but over time they’ve got reliable and the power’s briliant. I know one guide who runs them about 5mm from the bars (i.e there’s a bit of free play, the pads contact the rotor about 5mm from the bar then the lever hits the bar).

    For absolute power and reliability find some NOS gustavs! Not cheep or light though!

    Mary Hinge
    Member

    Hope M4 or Shimano XT.

    Hopes are totally serviceable too, Shimano are “fairly” serviceable.

    Magura are totally not serviceable.

    IHN
    Member

    my biggest bug bear with brakes is piston creep and rubbing brakes and squishy levers

    So was mine. I fitted BB7s and all those problems went away.

    Rorschach
    Member

    Aye….BB7’s it is.

    coogan
    Member

    Spares for shimano brakes are not available.

    As I’ve found for years, you don’t need any spares as they just work. Unlike my Hopes…

    Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    Just “upgraded” to XT M785s from 7 year old Hope Mono Minis.

    Wondering why I bothered.

    hora
    Member

    I had a set of the new Servo-ware- hated them. Recently went back to them. Love them. I give my brakes alot of abuse as well 😆 and they have to stop alot 8)

    Apart from when they fail which they do. A simple search on here will show you many occurrences and then its not a few pennies for new seals – its £££££ for a new calliper.

    I would never use something that cannot be repaired. as for reliability all my 5 sets of hopes were bought secondhand, all have had a hard life. 3 replaced seals in many years of riding and zero issues in the last 3 or 4 years

    coogan
    Member

    Like I said TJ, never had one single problem with Saints or SLX brakes that had the arse kicked out them in Scotland, Canada and The Alps. My Hopes were no where near as powerful, didn’t trust them and a faff. Hence why I never ever what another set. Great hubs but crap brakes.

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    Spares for shimano brakes are not available.

    Nor are they required…… 😉

    Shimano or Magura. Nowt is 100% but you won’t get better than those 2

    Premier Icon pedalhead
    Subscriber

    My Hope M4s just go on & on

    cynic-al
    Member

    Spares for shimano brakes are available.

    robholland
    Member

    My XTR trails are awesome. Probably best brakes i’ve used. Get them with ice tech rotors to

    Edric 64
    Member

    Shimano Deore work fine 7 years old never been bled ,just change the pads and keep riding.No need for bling

    Gave up one shimanos after the seals failed on my XTs one winter, apparently there are some model years which can’t hack cold conditions. I was tempted to go for new ones but apparently some of the newer models also can’t hack the cold? And as far as I’m aware, NO, spare seals are not available.

    Last hopes I had were pretty woeful, very little power and lots of fade. Quite prepared to accept they were dodgy pads or something, but the XTs I replaced them with were much much better (until the seals failed, see above).

    BB7s are lovely, thats what I’m running now, but you do have to be prepared to USE the adjusters on the trail, I was slightly taken aback by how quickly the rear brake lever came back to the bar on a relatively straightforward but wet descent. Also, the stock pads are pretty screechy, if that sort of thing bothers you.

    next hydros I buy will be the Magura MT range, they promise the earth in terms of stiction free pistons, squeek free performance and of course the leak free warranty. I guess the MT4 or MT6 would be your perfect brake, the MT2 looks fine but is neither light nor bling.

    Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    I think I might put my 7 year old Hope Mono Mini’s back on and sell my XT 785s.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    FWIW, £23 for a Shimano caliper gets you 2 seals and a set of OEM pads worth £17. Whereas a pair of seals for a Hope brake is £4. Difference in spend is tiny. And offset many, many times over by the difference in initial price. (nb- you would need to confirm compatability with new models but the last set were fully cross-compatible)

    Course, the actual question is, which ones work 100%, so spares availability doesn’t really come into it- they’ve already failed the OP’s request at that point. My experience of Shimano wasn’t great reliability-wise tbh, but I’ve never had a problem with my 4 sets of Formula Oros that I didn’t cause myself.

    So, Formula. Better value to buy than Hope, more reliable than Shimano, and all parts available from CRC should they act up.

    jedi
    Member

    i reckon i’m going to try shimano. my v2’s squeal in the wet like mad and dont have the same stopping power 🙁

    b r
    Member

    Hope’s and if X2’s aren’t enough performance for you then run an M4 front/X2 rear.

    And not Avid.

    Premier Icon vondally
    Subscriber

    in my experience
    Maguras louises and martas basically FAF
    Hope less so than above but better than most
    Shimano had the originial 4 pot xt very very good but newer ones did not get on with
    Avid oh dear lord avoid

    wrecker
    Member

    Whilst I love my formula the ones, the spares are hideously priced, bleeding is a ball ache, they do rub a little and eat pads. They proper stop you, have a great feel and are light
    I’ve had tech M4s and they were a bit heavy and should have been more powerful IMO BUT they were brilliant to own; easy to bleed and get any probs with them, and they will get fixed quickly and cheaply (often for free).
    I’d be very tempted by the shimano XTs, a bit disposable and heard that they can be a pain to bleed but their performance is supposed to be great.
    You are obviously correct to ignore avid.

    Northwind, …veeeryyy interesting, wish I’d had the nous to figure that one out my myself, were those sintered pads you got or organic?

    jedi
    Member

    i hated the avids i tried for a week in the summer 🙁 🙁

    ive never owned anything other than hope hydraulics since they were introduced.

    however, dipper has xtr trail on his demo ride and they are superb. power and modulation……………however…………the rear has failed [like lost hyd oil / pressure / needs bled] and the levers are cheap and nasty. the adjustment is relatively wide but the free stroke adjust is a gimmick – doesn’t work in practice…

    in saying that, i am impressed with their performance other than they’ve failed….

    Premier Icon Gravy
    Subscriber

    Totally agree with Coogan. 🙂

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