Why do mountainbike brakes have stupid bleeding systems/procedures?

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  • Why do mountainbike brakes have stupid bleeding systems/procedures?
  • Having just finally figured out the new way to do Shimano brakes;

    I’m with you brother.

    ETA: And for those who also have the new Shimano brakes.

    Oil sodding funnel.


    Get Hope, piece of piss to bleed

    Premier Icon kimbers

    hopes are easy peasy lever squeezy to bleed

    I’ll second that, having dealt with quite a few, Hope: simple, spares available (so far), pistons don’t seem to seize up then crumble to dust like Avids either.

    Another reason why all my brakes are hopes

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    Magura are pretty simple now they have the port on the reservoir.

    TandemJeremy – Member
    Another reason why all my brakes are hopes

    such a brand whore 🙄

    Premier Icon sam_underhill

    re: shimano….. what Neil said. that’s it. really. not complicated at all.


    TJ +1

    ( 3 bikes, 3 sets of hopes )

    I’ll add though, they’re bloody effective brakes once set up: You hardly ever need to touch them once setup.

    Premier Icon speaker2animals

    Cos all the parts on motorbike brakes are much bigger and even light weight brakes for motos are quite a bit heavier than would be acceptable on a push bike?

    Cos every manufacturer wants to reinvent the wheel so there is no/limited inter-changeability between brands?

    My hopes were lighter than the Avid’s, for very smilar sized calliper and lever, so there can’t be a weight advantage, or not a significant one.

    And a comparison to motorbike brakes is pointless, they’re designed to stop 200+kg (well 300+ if the average Sunday biker is to be taken as average) of bike+rider from 200mph, not 100kg from 30mph.


    Avid Juicy 3s on other half’s bike were a real PITA, put me off ever having Avid brakes on my own bike.
    Hope C2s are really easy (is this becasue they are a closed design?)
    Formula R1s were a PITA for about 4hrs one evening, abandoned it, went to bed and the next day it took about 10mins.


    Just got what I presumed must have been a faulty elixir back from fishers with a note that they found air in the system and nothing else awry.

    It didn’t work when I got it, it didn’t work after 2 bleeds done according to their instructions (did the front at the same time with no issues), so either it won’t work now, or the procedure is guff as neither me nor the facotry could follow it?

    What’s wrong with the master cylinder under the resevoir with bellows on top design that’s been unchanged in motorbikes/cars since hydraulic brakes were first used? It works, it’s leakproof, it’s easy to bleed and it doesn’t require yet another new tool/threaded insert to do?

    Premier Icon Digby

    Up until recently I’ve only bled Hope brakes so didn’t have anything to compare them with. Always thought the system for bleeding Hopes was a bit basic/crude but on the whole effective:

    open/squeeze/close/top-up/open/squeeze/close/top-up/repeat …

    However, having just taken 3 attempts (and a £30 quid bleed kit) to get a decent bleed with a pair of Formula Ora K18s, all I can say is that bleeding Hope brakes is so much easier and you’ve got more chance of working out whether it was a ‘good bleed’ or not straight away.


    i always thought avids were a pain to bleed.

    “old” shimanos are easy. not had a proper look at the new ones.


    Avids and formulas are a ballache.
    I have and love formula brakes but will be thinking very hard about returning to hope when the time comes.

    Anything to do with ‘swappable’ (Front/Rear left/right) levers?

    Probably ‘cleaner lines’ too for those fashion concious MTBer’s out there … you know who you are 😉

    Premier Icon FOG

    Does anybody actually buy Avids? The only people I know who have them got them as part of a new bike and ditch them as soon as they can afford it. My son’s were the worst disc brake I have seen and were that bad from pretty much new.


    neil_bolton….what’s the magic deal with new Shimano then? Details please…
    On the Hope issue, I’d have stayed loyal to them too, as when I took my Mono M4’s out of the box and saw the mini lever I was blown away. I’m riding shorter travel bikes now and don’t like the tech lever at all, so didn’t upgrade to them, the only other choice is the race and I’ve only heard bad reviews of those. Still buying Hope hubs, BB’s and headsets, but they need to get a better weight/power ratio sorted out in my opinion. I’m going to try 2012 Shimano and see if the massive “hysteria” surrounding their new XT/SLX is justified. Bleeding is troublesome due to the reduced size of everything and the desire to reduce size and weight I guess. They ought to offer the appropriate tool with the brake if it’s going to be a pain.


    Does anybody actually buy Avids?

    I bought my BB7 and it’s great. Actually locks up the wheel better than the Juicy 5s on my other bike, but the modulation isn’t really as good, you have to be quite careful with it as it’ll chuck you off.

    The Juicy 5s came on a bike I bought a couple of years ago and to be honest they’ve been pretty good apart from the creaky/wobbly levers, faff when bleeding and changing pads can be fiddly. Survived a summer of daily Whistler riding with no signs of fade. Rear one needs rebuilding with new pistons though, front could maybe do with it as well.


    I’ve thought about this as well…my ‘easy’ solution would be something like this (actually I’ve got 2, so here they both are!) –

    Open bleed nipple on caliper and leave it open…attach hose to nipple and put into a bottle.
    Open reservoir and pour brake fluid in…this will go through the system and eventually will squirt out the hose into the bottle attached to the nipple…the difficult bit is maintaining the topping up bit in the reservoir.
    After 10 seconds of dribbling out the nipple, tighten it up and stop pouring fluid into reservoir.
    Any excess will be expelled when you replace top cap.

    (this is essentially what you do when you bleed top-down, but air is easier to make rise rather than fall).

    Second option (and my preferred option) –

    Very, very large syringe, hose on end and attached to the bleed nipple.
    Open top cap.
    Push plunger in syringe so new fluid is forced into the system.
    Once fluid starts leaking from reservoir, stop pushing and tighten bleed nipple.
    Replace top cap.

    This will ensure any air in the system is pushed up to the reservoir and escapes.

    I bleed my Hopes like that and when the Avid’s need a bleed, I’m likely to do it that way as well – bottom-up…seems to make a lot more sense to my non-engineering brain.

    I’m sure the answer to the OP’s question is quite simple really:

    Motorbikes and cars are never (supposed) to go upside down.


    All brakes are easy to bleed. Bottom up, using a syringe or a bottle and pipe. Any difficulties after that can be resolved by removing the (usually rear) brake and bleeding off the bike – avoids bubbles trapped at the the top of a hose loop.

    Closing bleed points top first and quickly helps also.


    Keeps workshops in biscuits.The theory is pretty straightforward but each brand/model has its own idiosyncrasies,you learn the tricks soon enough (4-5 years or so).


    Another reason why all my brakes are hopes

    It’s a fair point. And silly bleeding procedures are one reason I got shot of my Avids
    That said, all our bikes have either Magura or Shimano brakes and they are very easy to bleed as well. The only addition is a syringe, but that makes sense and is less messy.

    If it bleeds, you can kill it. With an ice axe.

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