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  • Discs – is there a consensus?
  • Premier Icon rock
    Free Member


    I'm in the market for a new set of discs. Budget is around 200-300 quid, use is mainly xc all day rides. Simple huh?

    Problem is, all the reviews I read seem to totally contradict each other. Singletrack forum bods seem to sway between hopes, xt/slx and elixirs, saying each one is either the best brake they've ever had or the worst one they've ever used. These brakes seem to be both fit-and-forget and totally unreliable at the same time. What MTB says xt's are mediocre, elixirs are good, hope's aren't worth it and deores are better than slx and xt (!).

    Does anyone know what they're talking about, or should I just toss a coin?

    Premier Icon oldfart
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    I've got Hope Tech2s and Mono M4s .Big fan me !Do the job no fuss end of .

    Premier Icon Disco808
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    Got elixirs and have been very happy with them! also i had deore on my cove stiffee which i have just upgraded to XT….there better but not that much although they are a lot lighter!

    From experience – Hope are good, avoid Avid.

    From reading forums – Shimano and Magura are good also

    Premier Icon b r
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    Juicys are great, except for the crap pad retention method.

    Two of my sons have my 'cast-off' Hope's – I should've kept them…

    Premier Icon TheSwede
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    From experience – Hope are good, avoid Avid.

    The opposite for me.

    Premier Icon Mackem
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    Ive got some old Hope minis, Ive never had a reason to replace them.

    Premier Icon 2hottie
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    Shimano. Have slx. perfect.

    Premier Icon IHN
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    I had Hopes that I was constantly fiddling with to work properly, mate has Avid Juicy's which he constantly fiddles with to work properly. I'm now on Avid BB7s, which just work. Well.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
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    Shimano seem to get consistent ratings. Mine have been problem free for 6 off years.

    I would ignore magazine reviews. They are gash IMO.

    Premier Icon scotty 2
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    New standard hope mini's or hope m4's. Both great reliable brakes I reckon

    Premier Icon M6TTF
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    Elixirs for me, been fantastic

    Premier Icon giantjason
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    magura louise or martas – cant go wrong in my experience

    Premier Icon juan
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    Discs – is there a consensus?

    YES no one agrees…

    Premier Icon RepacK
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    No problem with my Hopes, likewise my Shimano's. I also have Magura & Im very happy with them, you pays yer money…

    Premier Icon mcmoonter
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    Loving Avids

    Premier Icon warpcow
    Full Member

    I run Avid BB7s: Reliable, powerful, cheap and the sheer weight of them probably helps slow you down too 😉

    On a seperate note. There doesn't seem to be any consistency in magazines' view of brakes. The WMTB test you mention was pretty unimpressed with most of the most common brakes but look at any of their bike reviews and they mention the "awesomely powerful elixir/hope/xt brakes".

    Premier Icon pondering_panda
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    Brakes are one of those endless debates of mountain biking. Every one has an opinion and usually its wrong for you because everyone seems become fond of what they have.

    That said, I have has several sets of Shimano hydraulics (Deore M525's and original Saints) and never had issues. I had a Hope Mono Mini once and it was pretty poor, but I was new to biking and it was probabbly me being a spanner more than the kit. I've has a crack with new servo-wave style XT's and they seemed properly spot-on, but it was a brief usage. I've seen elixers but never used the "in anger" so can't comment on these.

    (Personally, I would recommend Avid BB7's for everything except DH.)

    Premier Icon tron
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    Second Magura Louise.

    All the time I've been riding, I've always been the wrong side of 15 stone. They've never let me down, even on long descents in the peak district. Bled them for the first time the other week, after 5 years of use. Hydraulics over cables every time in my book. I was always meddling with V-brake cables, but need to do nothing to hydraulics.

    Premier Icon alpin
    Full Member

    Shimano Deores if one a budget.

    i've SLX and a mate has XT (new version). i prefer the lever feel/modulation on the SLX and the bite point adjuster doesn't seem to do much.

    get good pad life with my SLX and performance is good from cold.

    What MTB says xt's are mediocre, elixirs are good, hope's aren't worth it and deores are better than slx and xt (!).

    Not sure I'd take too much notice of the What MTB review. They actually print a comparison with their sister mag MBUK and by doing so seem to contradict each other, just picking out the Hopes for now………

    Hope Tech V2

    WMTB – not that powerful
    MBUK – plenty of power

    Hope M4's

    WMTB (not tested, but a footnote) – loads of extra power
    MBUK – actual power is low

    Premier Icon pstokes99
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    flip the coin and as long as you end up buying formula brakes you'll be fine. 😆

    Premier Icon bassspine
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    I like Avid a lot, I also like XT. I quite like Hope, more for their support than anything else. Personally I don't like Hayes especially the Soles.

    There's less concensus on this than on tyres.

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Full Member

    Using some 5yr old Hayes on 1 bike, bled the rear once, otherwise never touched bar chamging pads
    Some 6/7yr old Deores on my older bike, never touched.
    Mates have had various Hope models and although they think they are "great", that is only when they are working ❗
    I don`t ahve the money to keep sampling stuff whether it be forks, brakes, carbon bits etc, I just get on and ride me bike 😈

    I quite like Hope, more for their support than anything else

    If they were up to the job you should/would not need "their support" 🙄

    Premier Icon Nobby
    Full Member

    The only brakes I've ever had issues with were both Hopes.

    Have XT (6 years old) and XTR (3 years) and both have remained toruble free. Most bike shops stock the pads too.

    Premier Icon Hairychested
    Free Member

    Hope Mini – great.
    Hope Mono Mini – even better (looks add a few extra points).
    Hope Mono M4 – superb.
    Shimano Deore – ok-ish.
    Shimano LX – rather fine, very cheap.
    Shimano XT – 4 years old and still going strong.
    Shimano SLX – lovely, not quite as good as M4's for me though.
    Magura – forgot the model, but were cheap and ok.
    Avid 3 – didn't like them at all.
    Hayes 9 – lovely, shouldn't have sold them.
    Cable – not for me although I haven't tried the Avid's one.
    Tektro Agura (sp?) – nice feel for very little money.
    Quad – no, definitely not to be fitted to any of my bikes again.
    My Dad's bike has the original Minis that I bought in the '90's and apart from being old there is nowt wrong with them.

    Premier Icon TandemJeremy
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    Is there a consensus – nope.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    What I've got… Tektro Auriga Pro, really surprisingly good, very nice feel, but the levers are a little weak, bleeding can be a sod and parts are harder to find than most.

    Shimano 2009 XT, very very good, one sticky piston which is going to need a whole new caliper sooner or later which is a pain but otherwise great performance, superb feel. Bit noisy sometimes.

    And Formula Oro K24s, pretty similiar to the XTs but stronger and maybe slightly worse modulation, probably for the same reason as they're stronger. Need a seperate bleed kit, which annoys me, parts are available but madly expensve- £13.50 for the parts to shorten a hose!

    Thing is, of my 3 the Formulas are the best… Can't argue with their performance. But the XTs are the ones I prefer. Which is probably one of the reasons you'll never get a definitive answer.

    Premier Icon trailofdestruction
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    OP, pretty much in the same boat. Looking to replace a set of Juicy 7s* and everybody I've asked has given me a wildly different opinion.

    Stuck between going for hopes or formula, but opinions seem to vary between completely amazing and complete rubbish.

    Meh. Might as well just flip a coin. Always take mag articles with a healthy pinch of salt as well.

    *whatever you do don't buy avid juicys, real pile of smeg.

    Premier Icon Bregante
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    From experience – Hope are good, avoid Avid.

    The opposite for me.


    Premier Icon xc-steve
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    Just get Shimano XT, lightish, powerful don't overheat and very low maintenance!

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Full Member

    HT-Hope minis (original)
    XC- Hope Mono M4
    DH- Hope V2 tech.

    Never ever had an issue with Hope brakes.

    Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Free Member

    I took some old XT brakes (M765?)with 200mm rotors to the Alps twice and they were fine there with my 17 stone to stop!

    Liking Magura Louise BATS and some old Louise Freerides I have now too.

    Premier Icon HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    My experience…

    Avid Ultimates – light but levers cracked twice and not as powerful as juicy 5's

    Avid Juicy 5's – worked well, but caliper corrded. Essentially disposable items, not worth repairing.

    Hope M4 – worked well for years when maintained and all the spare parts are readily available.

    I now need a new brake and i think i'll go back to Hope. Shimano seem to get good reviews, but i just like the look of the Hopes 😉

    Premier Icon DickBarton
    Full Member

    I've had Hopes (various models but 2004 was my last set) – really liked them but they did need time spent setting them up to get them right…I used to bleed them every 6 months only because I was convinced I didn't bleed them properly so figured redoing them 'regularly' would stop them becoming a problem – never did have a problem and they stopped very well. No squealing but plenty of power.

    Then I went onto Hayes as they came with the bikes – Hayes 9 Carbons – very good for stopping but did need a larger rotor on the front but also felt very on/off – but that is how I like my brakes, I'm not keen on flexy/squishy lever feel. These got replaced with some Hayes Stroker Carbons – slightly more power, nicer lever feel around the finger and the feel wasn't quite so on/off (and I found myself actually liking it).

    Tried some Shimano XT's (with the servo-wave) – great power but the 'squishy' lever feel put me off – if I could live with that then they would probably be my brakes of choice – plenty of power, dead easy to set up but a squishy lever feel due to the servo wave bit – this squishyness also means there is a lot of lever pull – which I don't like either (downside is the pads tend to be closer to the rotor so rub more if you want a shorter lever pull).

    Now back to Hayes Stroker Carbons (again came with the bike) – these have been excellent (better than my first pair for some reason) BUT the lever developed real stickiness so I got some new pistons – levers got rebuilt but major problems with the brakes when they were rebleed – only 9 months old but the o-rings in the bleed nipple had corroded, then when that got sorted, they wouldn't hold fluid – kept leaking out the bottom of the nipple. After that got fixed, the system got bled (and bled some more just to be sure), and I now have oceans of lever pull and no stopping power – the bleed process is very simple and from what we can tell, there is no more air in the system but the feel has gone to pot. If I can afford to junk them I will as I'm unable to slow my speed (I either need to point up a hill or coast to a stop on the flat – hard to do offroad!).

    Whilst my current brakes were in being fixed, I had a temp solution of a Formula K18 on the rear (was junk first ride out but started feeling much better afterwards) and a Shimano SLX on the front (which just didn't seem to work at all in any condition) – the amount of lever pull between the 2 systems was different as well so it was very difficult to find a balnace between them…out the 2 I'd have the Formula's but they wouldn't be my first choice.

    My mate has some Formula The One's on his Cube Fritzz – they seem tremendous – a very nice lever feel, seem to have oceans of power and so far have been totally trouble-free – if I had the cash I think I'd be after a set of those.

    Saying that, the Shimano Saints appear to get good reviews in the mags, web forums and rider feedback…I'm just not convinced about the amount of lever pull needed as I just didn't get on with it.

    No real consensus (even between versions of the same model, I'm having different experiences), so it is very much down to personal preference and experience.

    Good luck.

    Premier Icon flyingfox
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    Formula are amazing. Can't get enough. Not the most reliable from personal experience but all others seem to have been fine. We have Shimano on our demo bikes and we just can't seem to get on with them (but can't afford to change them all!).

    Premier Icon b r
    Free Member

    Loving Avids

    If these were Juicys you've obviously not yet had the delight of changing the pads half way up a muddy hill in the cold, when you just can't quite get the pads past the stupid pin!

    Plus, like someone else, the pistons corrode and while you can buy new pistons (and seals) reasonably cheaply, the buggers will not come out.

    Premier Icon DickBarton
    Full Member

    Wife's bike has Avid's on it – 5's I think – no pad change needed yet but I'm not looking forward to the day it needs done…saying that, they have been trouble free since new (she is now getting back into riding her bike a few times a week so the last month or so it's been getting much more use than it has done in the past 18 months (due to new addition to the family!)). When I've had a shot on her bike round the street the brakes feel very good, plenty powerful (can get me over the bars with a 160mm rotor on front and 1 finger – I've only ever been able to do that with a Hope M4 back in 2003/4 on my own bike with a 160mm rotor).

    I don't fancy Avids though as the pad replacement is a total nightmare (done a couple for my mates and won't offer to do them again!). Not sure about the Elixirs – not looked at them but I'd be concerned the pad replacement system was just as convuluted.

    Premier Icon foxyrider
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    All good really – I got the new M4 Tech and they are great – Mates have elixiers and they are great and Shim XT/XTR I reckon are prob OK – I think differences in performance is subtle and personal. Ease of bleeding and setup I feel is most important and I can fault the M4 Techs apart from the combination of XTR shifter and the Tech lever – for me this isn't an issue. Just get what you feel fits your look, bike etc. I dont think you will be dissapointed with any of them 🙂

    BTW the Elixier pad replacement is a synch unlike the Juicy's 🙂 as are shimano brakes 🙂

    Premier Icon bassspine
    Free Member

    changing the pads half way up a muddy hill in the cold,

    just two words. 'Routine' and 'maintenance' 😛

    and also, just for the record, I don't see what the problem is with putting in new pads on avids, it's always worked ok for me. Whereas that hilarious little 'R' pingfeckit clip Hope used to use….

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