hassle-free disc brake – in my dreams?

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  • hassle-free disc brake – in my dreams?
  • Premier Icon wwaswas

    Never had any problems with the Maguras Martas and Louises I’ve owned (7 sets so far) – I’ve no reasont o doubt that their new brakes won’t be equally hassle free.

    Avid do seem to generate a lot of frustration amongst bike shop staff who have to work on them…


    Had Shimano for years. My current XT M770 brakes haven’t been touched ever, other than pads. Even if they do need work, spares are easy to come by and they’re really simple to work on.


    My Juicy 3s have been faultless – on original factory bleed, from Jan 2008. Pretty gobsmacked at them really!


    I would say that no hyro disc brake is maintainance free, but from my experience Shimano are closer to that goal than most i’ve come across.


    Shimano and Avid cable here – lettle faff required with either over 8 years.


    ‘Old’ shape shimano: between our household and other mates’ bikes, we have never had any trouble with them. “Them” being: m525, m765, m800, m535, m585. Dead easy to bleed (top down like a car or bottom up with a syringe if you prefer) and don’t seem to have the nooks and crannies that newer shimano levers and calipers have that hide air bubbles and keep them spongey, and because they use mineral oil you only need to bother bleeding if you have to replace a part. They seem to be better on pad wear than any avids or formulas I have had.

    Of course the performance is not up there with correctly working elixirs or formula, but if you want to fit and forget…


    thank you folks!
    i don’t mind using my bike tools kit from time to time. infact, this even makes up for a part of my pleasure in mountain biking. but to have to faff around after every other ride is something different …



    After seeing my mates sail onwards maintenance-free as I bugger about with mine on the trails, I’m about to go Shimano.

    Avid are an arse to bleed and have loads of cavities for air to be trapped so even when you think you’ve got the air out, you invert the bike and the lever pulls to the bar. Not a winner. They actually admitted this was a fault in previous models when promoting their latest offerings! How shoddy is that!

    Shimano for the win!


    got old (2005ish) shimano xt’s on my bikes – never had to touch them apart from new pads and treated to new disc rotors a couple of years ago. cheap to pick up on here too

    Premier Icon sam_underhill

    old XTR / XT combo, old XT and brand new XTR here. Bleed when fitting and one other time in 8 years (and only because I thought I should)! Fit pads when they wear out. Job done.

    I will always get shimano brakes unless they make some huge mistake and churn out a load of tosh.


    My Juicy 3s have been faultless – on original factory bleed, from Jan 2008. Pretty gobsmacked at them really!

    ^^ this

    J3s on three bikes and although they all feel a bit different they have all been faultless from day #1. Also have some 575s with RT76s and they are also fit & forget.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    cynic-al – Member
    Shimano and Avid cable here – lettle faff required with either over 8 years.


    If I was going to buy hydraulic, it would be XT/XTR.

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    shimano, they’re a bit boring, but they’re cheap and they work, and work, and work, and keep working, and etc.

    the new deores are very good, and not expensive either.

    easy to bleed too: Push the fluid in with a syringe, close the nipple, squeeze the lever a couple of times, open the nipple, draw the syringe back a bit to release any calliper-bubbles, push more fluid through until it looks nice and clean at the top, close the nipple – and you’re done for a year or 2.

    I’ve had Elixir Rs on my bike for two years. All I’ve done is change the pads. When they squeal I take it as a reminder that I should brake less!

    Horses for courses, but for me and the money its XT

    I used to have to faff with juicy’s and oro’s (esp changing wheels) but now have slx on 2 bikes. Noticably less faffing. Different “feel” though.

    Only downside was that one caliper’s seals went after 13 months. A new caliper was about £25 iirc.

    Premier Icon ampthill

    Took the juicy 3 s off my bike as was fed up with the rear dragging

    Deore so far so good

    juicy 3 s started dragging on my sons bike then seemed to improove

    I think Avids need lots of use and for various reasons I’m not keeen on the rear brake


    i’m currently using avid elixir r disc brakes. whilst stopping power is ok, i constantly find myself faffing around with them. either they squeal or jitter or need bleeding. i think twice before removing the wheels because i know i have to readjust the brakes again when mounting them back in. replacing pads is usually a pita.

    i’ve heard that the xt’s require less maintenance. any experiences? thx!


    while it is nice to have a good ole brown nosing thread, where everyone recommends what they are using and claims ‘faultless’……..

    Magura Julies – pistons prone to sticking after 12-18mths
    Magura Louises – be very careful with the pad retaining pin, it sticks extremely easily and the 2mm allen head rounds just as easily
    Avid Juicys – the pads have a ‘knack’ to being inserted, can be a b1tch to bleed

    As with anything a bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way, most notably Hopes, and i much prefer to be using mineral oil simply because it doesnt corrode my fingers or the paintwork….. That said the last two sets of brakes ive bought have both been DOT.


    Another vote for current XT.

    Liked mine so much on the FS that I bought another set for the HT.
    As said, realy easy to bleed.
    Had Juicy 3s and Stroker Rydes previously. Strokers proved just about impossible to bleed propery. Took ’em to shop, who also struggled, then they went on ebay.


    ooooh, and the two sets of hayes soles that my friends have, lose the master cylinder bleed plug very easily!


    tbh like anything if you dont look after it and keep it clean it wont work for ever …..

    for me the ability to get spares trumps all … and for that hope get my cash.

    I’ve had Elixir Rs on my bike for two years. All I’ve done is change the pads. When they squeal I take it as a reminder that I should brake less!

    I just don’t accept squeeling brakes, its obviously avoidable because my old Shimano XT didn’t do it, so I don’t accept it on any brake.

    My old XTs were great but fell foul of the dodgy seal issue and failed after two cold winters. 5 years in total though with only one bleed, can’t complain.

    Current Elixirs feel great and seem to run almost silent, seem to suffer from heat build up though and I hear bad things about them in the long run, assuming its something to do with the pistons getting dirty.

    I’m trying my BB7s again, stopped using them for a while because they were horrendously noisy in the wet, but it might have been the cheap rotors I was using. I’ve also bought some organic pads for them to see if that makes the difference.

    Tempted by the new maguras, assuming the new ones are as reliable as the old ones reputedly were.

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    Old styel XT/XTR combo on my XC bike, Deore (M555) and old LX on my Hack, had lots of other shimanos XT, Saint, M525s all pretty much perfect for what I needed of them…

    Premier Icon lunge

    I have a pair of dirt cheap Deore 525’s that I bought off here for £50. They just work. They don’t drag, they dont need resetting and they rarely need bleeding.

    As other people have said, old style XTs (or first gen Saints) seem to be superb, both in terms of power and complete lack of mainenance. I’ve had mine on my Blur 4X now for 2.5 years and they were second hand when I fitted them – apart from pads I’ve not touched them and thats with regular riding and a week in the Alps. Look at newer, prettier brakes but I can’t see why I’d risk the faff to change them for anything newer!

    FWIW, running Superstar Kevlar pads on mine and they’re awesome. Commence the Superstar flaming!


    BB7s here with gore rideon cables, G2 rotors and Avid Ultimate levers, after dissappointment / frustration with Hayes and then Avid Juicy Ultimates. Bleeding not a problem, just the brakes.

    Might look at Shimanos one day as their pad/rotor clearance is larger than most hydros I think.

    Premier Icon glenh

    i’m currently using avid

    There’s your problem 😉


    am i really going to be the first person to mention hope?

    ive had my mono mini’s for about 5 years now. They are the silver and black ones, got them as they first came out. I have had no problems with them, re-bled about 3 times, no squeal etc… very very happy

    and they look better than anything else 😀


    Over the years I’ve seen and heard of problems with just about every type of disc brake, with perhaps the fewest complaints for high-end Shimanos.

    Personally I’ve never tried Shimanos, but I have tried various Hayes (hated them all), Avids (not my cuppa tea) but have had the best luck with Hopes. I currently run Tech X2s on my Ti hardtail with not a single problem in a year, touch wood. Before that my trusty C2s lasted years with no problems (except the sealed-brake fluid expansion issue in the California sun).


    I use hope tech x2’s with no problems at all ( touches wood )


    Shimano here too.

    got deore 525s on my Orange- 9 years old – changed pads that’s all – never had a moments problem, ditto the Xts, Lx’s and XTR’s on my other bikes.

    Wheels on and off all the time, they never squeal, never had to bleed them, great feel on lever and pmore than enough stopping power on a 183/160 combo.

    Anyone who has them will know i’m talking about Hope’s.

    In comparison, i’ve had two sets of Avids and nothing but trouble. Including replacing a master cyl seal and caliper piston seal on 7 month old Juicy 7’s. Wouldnt touch Avid again ever!!!!

    Premier Icon coolhandluke

    My magura Louise FR brakes from about 2006 still rock!

    Not touched my 2009 Magura Louise brakes since 2009 either apart from new pads every so often.

    I’m a Hope lover too, although I appreciate that some people can’t abide them.

    Minis – 2/3 years use, one bleed, ate pads (on bike when stolen)
    Hayes HFX 9’s – <2 years, great when they worked, but pistons wouldn’t retract enough, sometimes pulled to bars with no bite, ate many pads- sold for spares.
    Mono M4 – 4/5 years and counting – one bleed, one pad change, front in storage, rear in regular use.
    Mono Mini Pro – 2 years and counting, original pads
    Also OEM Formula Oros – 1 year use, no pad changing, no maintenance – (bike now in storage)

    Premier Icon maxray

    Crc have a decent percent off slx brakes currently. If you are thinking of going down the shimano route.

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    I’m a Hope lover too, although I appreciate that some people can’t abide afford them.

    or at least, i can’t.

    Hopes have always been good to me. Mono mini pros on the singlespeed at the moment and theyre faultless despite me being 15st and their being 140/160mm so working a lot harder than most peoples brakes (I can boil them even at Swinley!)

    Avid elixir 5’s on the pitch have been good so far, really impressed by the stoping power, only gripe is after a few seconds they make a shuddering noise, but who brakes for more than a couple of seconds? Might be to do with the rotor design or maybe the pads gettig hot?

    2/h haopes then? I paid £130 for my mono mini pro’s, great little brakes and hope even fixed a problem I had with them, despite their being ~4 years old at least and not originaly mine!

    Premier Icon Mugboo

    Hope mono mini on 2 bikes & m4 on another.

    The m4 are 6 years old and the back brake is just now being re bled.

    My 2nd mini’s needed a bleed when I bought them but have been faultless since.

    Pad changes are easy, as is piston adustment.

    My only question is why precision cnc work results in such rattley levers!!


    I have a theory, formed through years of experience or riding friends, and subsequently working in the bike trade.

    The people who have the least problems, are the ones who clean their bike “when it needs it” and other than that leave well alone bar periodic maintenance (ie. a strip down once every 6 months or so) – and who go and enjoy riding their bike.

    The ones who have the most problems are the inverterate tinkerers, who cannot leave the fking thing alone, constantly adjusting things, convinced something somewhere is “not quite right”, constantly taking things off, putting them back on, cleaning them meticulously and taking the thing half apart after every ride to do all the maintenance that “needs” to be done, that everyone else does once every six months.

    Basically, its the constantly fking around with stuff that knackers it! leave it alone and if it aint broke, don’t fix it!


    Zulu, I concur.

    The use of power washers is another reason why kit doesn’t last very long; Ooh look, nice clean shiny bike in 5 minutes, and BBs, headsets, sus pivots and hubs needing replacing every 6 months…

    Premier Icon porter_jamie

    Shimano all the way here. have slx on the hardtail and they are ace in every way. Beautiful progression, and zero noise. So easy to tweak, you just stick them on with the bolts a bit loose, hold the brake on and then nip them up. that’s it, zero noise, zero rubbing. only done it the once, when i fitted them so far…

    I have never known a set of avids not to be a complete pita, noise wise, particularly after taking wheels in and out.

    have formulas on the fullsus, and they are fine, but just don’t feel as progressive as the slx ones.


    Shimano. Best brakes out there I find.


    My only question is why precision cnc work results in such rattley levers!!

    Come to think of it, that IS one gripe I have with Hopes… friggin levers rattle more than my chattering teeth on a rough downhill

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