What brakes for downhill?

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  • What brakes for downhill?
  • Hop v4s, discounted v2s or formulas. The new saints maybe but ive heard theyve got a load more issues than most shimanos

    Yetiman
    Member

    My Hope V2’s were mentally powerful with zero fade. I’m also a fan of Formula The Ones. Not quite as powerful as the Hopes but quite a bit lighter.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    These days most decent brakes are up for it tbh. I’m using The Ones, which are awesome brakes but probably not as tough as some mid-crash…

    backtothetop
    Member

    Im after a set of new brakes for my Spesh Status. being relatively new to downhill, im unsure if what brakes are gravity oriented, any ideas other then saint and zee?

    (I currently have Elixir 1’s on it which are going on my xc bike whilst they work and then in the bin)

    raisinhat
    Member

    Some idea of budget would be helpful, and also whether you have any kind of preference for brake brands in general.

    There are lots of people saying they get on just fine with double piston brakes rather than quad, but of course it depends on your riding and local terrain.

    I’ve been very impressed with my shimanos, so I would recommend something out of that range. The downside is they aren’t serviceable, and can be quite on/off. Many would recommend hopes, because you can get everything fro them from hope, and apparently they have a more modulated feel than shimano.

    Shimano Saint, or any of the not-quite-as-good-as-Saint brakes on the market.

    mandog
    Member

    1. Latest Shimano XT work well for me.
    2. Old Formula The Ones seemed to always need a re-bleed after a couple of runs. I would not recommend them.
    3. Hope V2’s worked well until they developed a leak that took me an age to realise that was the problem and in the meantime bought the XT’s.
    4. Heard a lot of good things about the older Saints but have not tried them.

    I forgot there were new Saints – not tried them – I meant Saint 810 – Can’t go wrong with them.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    What sort of DH are you doing? Long runs, steep runs etc.

    My money is on Hop M4 or V2, Good rotors, rebuildable, spares for every part (DH can be tough on lever blades etc.) Set up properly, powerful, feel and adjustability.

    grum
    Member

    Formula The Ones stop my 16 stone lump very easily with one finger, and they weigh nothing. I went down to 185/160mm rotors as bigger rotors were overkill.

    I don’t crash that much though due to not trying hard enough (or racing) so I can’t comment on toughness in a proper crash. I have hit the levers in gentle ish crashes without issues.

    Basically as others have said you cant go wrong, build quality is pretty much the same or reasonably close between the manufacturers to the point that you should just follow your heart and what you like the feel of.

    Formula the ones or r0s have the highest power to weight ratio but are supposedly the most finicky to set up. They have a very firm on or off lever feel. The r0s currently have the highest recorded braking forces.

    Shimanos bar possibly the new saint are probably the most reliable…are cheap and have good power. Bit flimsier lever feel and the xts are quite on or off but I felt they modulated a bit more than r0s.

    The hope v2s feel as powerful as the one brakes but have the best modulation of the lot and reliability that in my experience has been better than formulas. The v4s should have even more modulation as they are 4 pot and looking at the specs I reckon they may oust the r0s as the most powerful brakes….heavier though…but on par with saints.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Oh aye, stay away from older The Ones, they are not so good. The One FR can be cheap and is decent enough but still not amazing. Need to get up to MY10 to get good ones, and MY11 has some design tweaks which makes them a little more reliable (though 10 is still good enough)

    Code R are good value too, and that’s from an Avid h8er.

    But don’t fixate on power, honestly those days are past, there’s very few modern brakes that won’t cut it. Reliability, feel, cost, and how they deal with heat.

    Oh- a wee pinkbike vid last year found that almost every rider on the worldcup scene that didn’t have a brake sponsor used Formula. Hardly decisive, they might just have good rider support and top end racers will be drawn to light weight. But still.

    freeridenick
    Member

    Love my codes…

    heard good things about the new shimano zee’s

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    10…

    …11 year old deores.

    they’re fine, really.

    mindmap3
    Member

    I agree with Northwind…most modern brakes ate pretty damn powerful (with the exception of the out and out XC jobbies) so the deciding factor comes down to cost, feel, brand loyalties / prejudices and looks.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a big Shimano fan and have been since I bought my original M800 Saint brakes. Currently running XT M785’s and am very happy with them. I’ve also got the new Deores on my BFe and think they are exceptional for the money.

    I’ve also heard good things about the Codes.

    kudos100
    Member

    I’m loving the zee’s. Masses of power and superb modulation. They are a bit overkill for this country, but I’m sure they will be great in the alps.

    Someone, possibly that chap at Basque MTB, had very negative things to say about Codes and their propensity for sudden failure.

    gonzy
    Member

    most modern brakes should be up to the job…but some more than others…for serious stopping power you’d need to run a 200/203mm rotor on the front and a minimum of a 180mm rotor at the rear…
    a lot of standard brake systems use 2 pistons but the more powerful units will use 4…this means that you’ll have larger pads in the caliper and with the increased braking surface of the pads, greater stopping power…there are further variables such as lever adjustability/modulation, the feel of the brake itself and of course weight/cost…
    i’ve run old deore units with a big rotor and although it worked there wasnt really much of a big improvement…
    ive also run a hope mini on a larger rotor but on long descents the brake would occasionally become draggy due to the heat build up but the feel of the lever and the brake itself was great…
    my dh bike ran a hope mini 6ti…..great brake that never suffered any heat build up issues and always provided monster stopping power
    my current AM bike runs a hayes 9 on the front….again monster stopping power but it has a lifeless feel at the lever…but i can live with that…

    rewski
    Member
    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Formula T1 or T1 S (the OE version I think) are both great, with loads of ultimate power and very good modulation.

    Saint (810) have superb power but a bit less modulation.

    I have a set of those I need to sell if you’re interested in secondhand.

    New SLX would be a good budget choice too IMO, with big rotors.

    Sancho
    Member

    New saints are just perfect.

    peterfile
    Member

    Quite a lot of this is subjective though, opinions on the same brake vary due to set up.

    Brakes I’ve used for DH:

    Saints (810), was a little disappointed, expected something special after hype, good solid stoppers though

    Tech M4, great for most DH, but I found that they seemed to fade more than others on longer descents. If they were set up anything less than perfect I found them to be a little underpowered for DH

    V2s – mental. Can’t imagine needing more brake. Mine had a tendency to make lots of noise

    Codes – worst brake I’ve ever used (I’ve had 2 sets), didn’t like setting up or bleeding, one lever fell to bits on a descent and another caliper seized. I found them to be quite wooden

    SLX – surprisingly good, not far off the Saints I had and a nice feel to them, I’d happily run SLX or XT on a big bike again, great value

    NB – I run dinner plates

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    gonzy – Member

    a lot of standard brake systems use 2 pistons but the more powerful units will use 4…this means that you’ll have larger pads in the caliper and with the increased braking surface of the pads, greater stopping

    Doesn’t follow… Increasing the size of the pads reduces the pressure, so it’s not as simple as more pad = more brake. Same way as drilling a hole in a rotor doesn’t automatically reduce power.

    Shimano switched the Saints to 4-pot mainly for fine control rather than power apparently- they used it to increase the piston size which changes the ratio of lever to pad movement. (the 2-pot Saints feel more powerful to me, though that’s mostly because of the more abrupt lever feel I think). New saint is bloomin awesome. Formula went with oval pistons on the new One thingmy to get the same effect.

    greeble
    Member

    shimano slx?

    scruff
    Member

    new XT with 200mm rotors on mine, but having put an SLX lever on my Heckler I’d be happy to have SLX on the DH bike, they feel firmer, maybe due to the lack of bite adjust making beeding easier.

    gonzy
    Member

    Northwind – thats what i meant…thanks for clarifying… 😀

    tricky dicky
    Member

    Deore 596 are great for the money. Run with 200/180 mm rotors.

    legend
    Member

    Old model.

    If I was buying right now (probably will be soon if I drag the DH bike out), I’d probably go for SLX or XT. Nice feel, reliable and plenty of power to stop a 10st weed

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    4 (and 6, 8, etc.) pot brakes are used on motorbikes because it allows for the ‘section’ of the disc to be reduced, reducing weight.

    4 (and 6, 8, etc.) pot brakes are used on cars as there’s limited room between the hub and the wheel-rim. Spreading the piston area between multiple pistons allows more ‘brake’ to be squeezed in – there isn’t room for a single piston of equivalent size

    4 (and 6, 8, etc.) pot brakes are used on mountain bikes for cosmetic purposes only.

    Premier Icon phutphutend
    Subscriber

    Shimano Deores. £80 for the pair from CRC. No noticible power difference compared to my SLX. Look nicer as well!

    4 (and 6, 8, etc.) pot brakes are used on motorbikes because it allows for the ‘section’ of the disc to be reduced, reducing weight.

    The same actually goes for mtb brakes. R0’s use an ovalized piston to try to do the same but V4s and Saints use four pots to reduce the brake track and weight of the disk. The older V2’s are heavier for that reason.

    I doubt it’s for cosmetic purposes because most people don’t look at brakes and think….yeah 2 pots look shit that bike need 4’s.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    ahwiles – Member

    4 (and 6, 8, etc.) pot brakes are used on motorbikes because it allows for the ‘section’ of the disc to be reduced, reducing weight.

    Weeeelll. In reality I reckon it’s marketing too, the GSXR/TL/Busa 6-pots were always a worse option than the 4s but people queued up to fit the 6s. Heavier, more pistons to seize, issues with uneven wear as a result, and still ran on the same discs. I happily sold mine for £150 and got a pair of 4s to replace them for £30 😉

    But, to be fair I reckon the current Saints have the old 2-pots licked. Maybe they could have done the same with a 2-pot design.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    …most people don’t look at brakes and think….yeah 2 pots look shit that bike need 4’s…

    i wish i had your faith in human nature.

    rocketman
    Member

    More subjective crap but a few months ago I took the 200 mm rotors off the Voltage and fitted 160s. The 160s lack the bite of the 200s and in terms of ultimate stopping power the 160s need a slightly firmer squeeze but that’s all. The rear rotor has gone blue a few times but otherwise it’s been fine. Saved 100g per rotor as well 🙂

    This is Elixir 5s on a 40lb freeride bike with a 90kg rider, recreational DH at Stile Cop

    mindmap3
    Member

    I never really got the Hope 6 pots. I few of my mate’s had them and I was always massively underwhelmed by them in terms of outright power. Weighed loads too.

    My old Hope E4’s were great, with loads of power and bite but the later M4’s I had were a bit rubbish. I’ve never really been left wanti by the two pots that I’ve had to date. My old Hayes used to feel so powerful compared to the M4’s and M6’s ny mates ran. Unsubtle but powerful.

    legend
    Member

    The 160s lack the bite of the 200s and in terms of ultimate stopping power the 160s need a slightly firmer squeeze but that’s all.

    That’s pretty important on a long/rough/steep run when your forearms feel like Popeye’s and you’re not convinced your fingers are still attached!

    That’s pretty important on a long/rough/steep run when your forearms feel like Popeye’s and you’re not convinced your fingers are still attached!

    Yup, I’ve always been a big believer in being “over braked” for the simple fact that it reduces fatigue.

    I never really got the Hope 6 pots

    Hmmm used to have a set of 6 pots which felt even more powerful than my current tech v2 evos. But they were ridiculously heavy and needed a fair bit of maintenance.

    Premier Icon rhid
    Subscriber

    I have gone from Tech V2s to standard XTs on my 224. Still pretty early days but I much prefer the feel of the XTs and there doesn’t seem to be any reduction in power with the 203mm rotors (same as I used with the V2s).

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    10…

    …11 year old deores.

    they’re fine, really.

    +1

    Got Old LX caliper (not a million miles from a current SLX really and a Deore on the rear of my DH bike, keep meaning to replace them, but the buggers just keep on working perfectly well and prevent me from spending more money.

    Had old 2 pot Saints and XTs (basically the same brakes) on 8″ rotors in the past they were very good, but a “cheaper” brake on an 8″ rotor will still do the job more than adequately for most people.

    Buy some SLX or Zee’s and some 8″ rotors, if you manage to cook them, then it’s probably just an indicator that you should be braking less…

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