651RE: [rootsradicals] Mechanical Disk Brakes
- Oct 6, 2006
I have been using Avid Mechanical BB7 disc brakes on both my front and rear Aerospoke wheels for well over a year now, and I love them. If you have not heard me say it before, I am a messenger in NYC so I have to ride in all weather conditions and obviously I stop-and-go on an incredibly frequent basis (from track-standing at intersections while waiting for the light… to stopping short when getting cut off by a cab… or even just skidding for a while when loaded down after racing down an avenue.)
The adjustments to the Avids are incredibly simple. Basically it is like twisting a bottle cap since all you have to do is turn a dial or two. The brake pads themselves seem to last a very long time too. I think I only had to replace each of the pads two times in the past year or more and that is with riding at least 30 miles a day five times a week. You do not even really need any tools when swapping out pads either.
I must admit I have not used hydraulic brakes myself, except when riding on another fellow messenger’s cargo bike. I remember it feeling smoother, but not much else being all that different. I also have had fellow messengers and other riders suggest NOT using hydraulics because of the complications involved with maintenance and repairs. A mechanical brake cable can most likely survive a crash just fine, but if you spring a leak in a hydraulic line during a fall you might be very screwed.
I do not know if my two cents helps you at all in your decision, but I figured I would share my own experience. It kind of sounds to me like you just had an unfortunate cheap set of disc brakes, so do not let that completely kill your opinion of them. I certainly would not go back to caliper/V-brakes! ...And I can not see myself bothering to even think about switching to hydraulic brakes, considering all the extra costs and potential problems.
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