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Re: [rootsradicals] Mechanical Disk Brakes

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  • Devian Gilbert
    and of course Avid levers have adjustable leverage (modulation). combo d with 203 rotors,thats a whole lot-a-brakin power ... ride bikes Amos wrote Thursday,
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 5, 2006
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      Amos wrote Thursday, October 05, 2006 3:13 PM
       
      Has there been any discussion comparing mechanical disk brakes to
      hydraulic disk brakes? I am getting ready to go with disks and am
      wondering which one I should go with. Mechanicals are quite a bit
      cheaper and will work with my current levers but do they have the
      stopping power of a hydraulic? I am planning on adding a Stokemonkey
      and carrying my wife around on the back so I need a good set of brakes.

      The stopping power of cable and hydraulic brakes are pretty much the same its the effort required to achieve that power that is different, if you got a strong grip go for mechanical they are cheaper, easier to repair and maintain. Try replacing and bleeding a hydraulic hose on the side of the road ! My stokemonkeyed Xtra copes fine with mechanicals, even screaming down long 25% hills fully loaded.
    • Paul Rychnovsky
      plus you can t boil cables
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 5, 2006
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        plus you can't boil cables 
      • Mike Leger
        I m running a Shimano basic mechanical in front and a hydraulic(al?) in back on a Stokemonkey. I originally had a mechanical in back, but spent so much time
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 5, 2006
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          I'm running a Shimano basic mechanical in front and a hydraulic(al?) in back on a Stokemonkey. I originally had a mechanical in back, but spent so much time keeping it in adjustment, that I decided to buy an (Avid Juicy) hydraulic and never looked back. Much better feel with the hydraulic, and absolutely no hassles with keeping it adjusted. Maybe this is just because the shimano mechanical is a cheaper model? The hydraulic pads seem to last a bit longer though. I was not aware of the wear factor with disk brake pads when I went to disks. The LBS let me know that I was getting an exceptional amount of mileage when I replaced the pads at 2,000 miles. That was a shock.
           
          When finances allow, I will probably put a hydraulic in front.
           
          -Mike


          From: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com [mailto:rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Amos Patrick
          Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2006 9:13 AM
          To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [rootsradicals] Mechanical Disk Brakes

          Has there been any discussion comparing mechaincal disk brakes to
          hydraulic disk brakes? I am getting ready to go with disks and am
          wondering which one I should go with. Mechanicals are quite a bit
          cheaper and will work with my current levers but do they have the
          stopping power of a hydraulic? I am planning on adding a Stokemonkey
          and carrying my wife around on the back so I need a good set of brakes.

          -Amos

        • David Chase
          ... Which one do you have? I bought a bike equipped with Nexave brakes, which is I think about as cheap as it comes. As near as I can tell, there are three
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 5, 2006
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            On 2006-10-05, at 6:20 PM, Mike Leger wrote:
            > I'm running a Shimano basic mechanical in front and a hydraulic
            > (al?) in back on a Stokemonkey. I originally had a mechanical in
            > back, but spent so much time keeping it in adjustment, that I
            > decided to buy an (Avid Juicy) hydraulic and never looked back.
            > Much better feel with the hydraulic, and absolutely no hassles with
            > keeping it adjusted. Maybe this is just because the shimano
            > mechanical is a cheaper model?

            Which one do you have? I bought a bike equipped with Nexave brakes,
            which is I think about as cheap as it comes. As near as I can tell,
            there are three ways to adjust these brakes:
            - you can adjust the cable (till the caliper lever travel is not enough)
            - you can adjust the backside pad with an allen wrench
            - you can move the entire brake in and out in its mount, somewhat, to
            use up space there so you can loosen the cable again and get more
            travel.

            Also, because I have not-linear-pull levers, I have an inline Travel
            Agent to the rear brake. The front brake, I run to tighter
            tolerances, and just use as is, at least till the local bike store
            gets another inline T.A. in stock.

            When the brakes are adjusted properly, they've got good stopping
            power, at least compared to what I am used to, which is rim caliper
            brakes. I don't ride offroad much, so dirt resistance and grit-
            induced wear are not big issues. With a load in the back, I think
            they can really put a heck of a load on the front fork when I stop
            hard (I'm still getting used to hard braking with the xtracycle).
            When wet, they're astonishingly noisy.

            Perhaps because I am only comparing to old rim brakes, I am quite
            happy with the cheap-ish disks that I've got. I'm hard on spokes,
            but with a disk, what would be a required repair, is instead only a
            case of "whoa, that's ugly, I better fix that when I get home". Rain
            is not really a problem, and I am trying to work up the time and
            nerve to try out the snow chains that I made -- with rim brakes, snow
            chains are not an option.

            David
          • Leifert, Jesse - BLS
            Anyone have the dimensions handy? Thanks, Jesse
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 6, 2006
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              Message
              Anyone have the dimensions handy?
               
              Thanks,
               
              Jesse
            • Molly and Chris
              I just measured mine, 26 1/2 long by 8 1/2 wide in front down to 7 at the rear Chris ... From: Leifert, Jesse - BLS To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com Sent:
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 6, 2006
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                I just measured mine, 26 1/2 long by 8 1/2 wide in front down to 7 at the rear
                Chris
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006 11:51 AM
                Subject: [rootsradicals] Snapdeck length/width

                Anyone have the dimensions handy?
                 
                Thanks,
                 
                Jesse

              • David Chase
                Following up my remark about snow chains, I decided to try a test fit and test drive, since I had to take the wheel off anyhow for a broken spoke.
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 6, 2006
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                  Following up my remark about snow chains, I decided to try a test fit
                  and test drive, since I had to take the wheel off anyhow for a broken
                  spoke.

                  http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/rootsradicals/photos/browse/a0e5

                  You'll notice I had all the fabric off, because I figured I could do
                  a lot of damage if these came loose. I fit them by deflating the
                  tire, making them snug, and then inflating the tire. The tire was a
                  700c x 28, rated 120psi, reinflated to 80. If I could run a bigger
                  wheel, I would, but I am down to about 1/8 inch. It did clear the
                  fender, after careful fender fiddling.

                  The short answer is yes, they do stay on, and they're ok on a lawn (I
                  might check the lawn to see what it thinks). On dry pavement,
                  strange, yet unpleasant. At low speeds you get shaking, at higher
                  speeds it is a strong vibration, to the point that you need to be
                  careful how you hold your teeth. Braking, unsurprisingly, was pretty
                  easy to lock up. I suspect that these would make sparks from time to
                  time.

                  So -- I might try these on the snow, but keep them off roads that
                  have anything like pavement. Fitting them is also a hassle, since it
                  requires tire off, deflation, fiddling, and inflation. I would not
                  use them in front, because I fear the handling would be terrible, and
                  I have enough clearance for several different studded Nokians. The
                  Nokian A10s (http://www.suomityres.fi/a10.html) would fit in the
                  rear, but are apparently not available in the US.

                  This suggests that the ability to put snow chains on a tire with disk
                  brakes is not that big a win; you could, but would you do it twice?

                  If you are tempted to repeat my experiment, I used these instructions
                  (http://www.rpi.edu/dept/union/juggling/public/uni/unichains.html) to
                  build the chains. The only difference is that instead of attaching
                  clips, I actually opened and closed the links to fasten the chains (I
                  really don't want these coming off by accident, and I have plenty of
                  spare links).

                  David
                • Ryano
                  Very beautifully done, but why on earth would you do this when you can buy studded bicycle tyres ... ? studded bicycle tyres are quite popular in Europe and
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 6, 2006
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                    Very beautifully done, but why on earth would you do this when you can buy studded bicycle tyres ... ? 

                    studded bicycle tyres are quite popular in Europe and Japan.  Must admit I don't have a need for them myself, but people living in places cold enough to get black ice say these tyres are fantastic. Lightweight, and don't slow you down too much. Both tyres studded is great, but some only use them on the front tyre also - more convenient for clear roads although you have to remember you won't get traction up hills unless you put them front and back.







                    On 07/10/06, David Chase <dr2chase@...> wrote:

                    Following up my remark about snow chains, I decided to try a test fit
                    and test drive, since I had to take the wheel off anyhow for a broken
                    spoke.

                    http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/rootsradicals/photos/browse/a0e5

                    You'll notice I had all the fabric off, because I figured I could do
                    a lot of damage if these came loose. I fit them by deflating the
                    tire, making them snug, and then inflating the tire. The tire was a
                    700c x 28, rated 120psi, reinflated to 80. If I could run a bigger
                    wheel, I would, but I am down to about 1/8 inch. It did clear the
                    fender, after careful fender fiddling.

                    The short answer is yes, they do stay on, and they're ok on a lawn (I
                    might check the lawn to see what it thinks). On dry pavement,
                    strange, yet unpleasant. At low speeds you get shaking, at higher
                    speeds it is a strong vibration, to the point that you need to be
                    careful how you hold your teeth. Braking, unsurprisingly, was pretty
                    easy to lock up. I suspect that these would make sparks from time to
                    time.

                    So -- I might try these on the snow, but keep them off roads that
                    have anything like pavement. Fitting them is also a hassle, since it
                    requires tire off, deflation, fiddling, and inflation. I would not
                    use them in front, because I fear the handling would be terrible, and
                    I have enough clearance for several different studded Nokians. The
                    Nokian A10s (http://www.suomityres.fi/a10.html) would fit in the
                    rear, but are apparently not available in the US.

                    This suggests that the ability to put snow chains on a tire with disk
                    brakes is not that big a win; you could, but would you do it twice?

                    If you are tempted to repeat my experiment, I used these instructions
                    (http://www.rpi.edu/dept/union/juggling/public/uni/unichains.html) to
                    build the chains. The only difference is that instead of attaching
                    clips, I actually opened and closed the links to fasten the chains (I
                    really don't want these coming off by accident, and I have plenty of
                    spare links).

                    David


                  • David Chase
                    ... Because I could pick up 12-gauge jack chain at the local hardware store? In the US, studded tires for bikes seem to be a bit of a novelty. I came to
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 6, 2006
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                      On 2006-10-06, at 9:02 PM, Ryano wrote:

                      > Very beautifully done, but why on earth would you do this when you
                      > can buy studded bicycle tyres ... ?
                      Because I could pick up 12-gauge jack chain at the local hardware
                      store? In the US, studded tires for bikes seem to be a bit of a
                      novelty.

                      I came to pretty much the same conclusion that you did (but I used
                      science! I ran the experiment, and got negative results), and plan to
                      get a 700c x 35 studded from Peter White. If that fits the rear,
                      then I buy another, else I just run with one in front. It'll be a
                      tight fit in the rear, and carbide studs would be detrimental to
                      anything they rubbed against.

                      I gather that for really thick snow, the chains might prove
                      worthwhile, but I am much more likely to ride in the conditions you
                      describe.

                      David
                    • Tone
                      Amos, 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
                      Message 10 of 17 , Oct 6, 2006
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                        Amos,

                                    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.

                        _TONE_

                         

                      • karpaydiem
                        Hi Amos - I generally agree with others in that lever pressure required and the overall feel of modulation is the difference with hydraulic vs. mechanical, not
                        Message 11 of 17 , Oct 14, 2006
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                          Hi Amos - I generally agree with others in that lever pressure
                          required and the overall feel of modulation is the difference with
                          hydraulic vs. mechanical, not so much the stopping power, given the
                          large rotor size.

                          However, when I built up my bike I chose to go hydraulic after reading
                          a lot of the reviews on the mountain bike sites. I also live in San
                          Francisco where there is a lot of braking due to the hills and my
                          Stokemonkey/Instigator/White Industries downhill fork/Mammoth rims are
                          not exactly light, along with about 30 lbs of luggage. With my body,
                          the total weight is right at 300 lbs.

                          I put a Hope on the front and a Gustav on the rear, just to try two
                          kinds. When buying replacement pads, be sure to specify the longer
                          wearing compound. They stop me just fine and last a long time. I
                          replaced the originals in about 1000 miles and have 2000 on the
                          replacments.

                          I did have a Shimano hydraulic on a previous fairly heavy electric
                          assist bike and it did NOT stop nearly so well as my current ones.

                          Once set up properly, I've never had to touch the hydraulics, though I
                          plan to change the fluid every two years, which, if you've ever worked
                          on cars or motorcycles, is not such a huge job.

                          If I were building again, I'd certainly try the mechanicals after
                          reading these reviews, but given my constant steep hill braking and my
                          hands that are usually painful from getting smashed and developing
                          arthritis/tendonitis, I really appreciate the feel of the hydraulics.

                          - Bill
                        • David Chase
                          ... I am curious about this -- how do the two types of pads differ? The (resin) pads that came with my bike and brakes seemed to wear not much at all with lots
                          Message 12 of 17 , Oct 15, 2006
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                            > I put a Hope on the front and a Gustav on the rear, just to try two
                            > kinds. When buying replacement pads, be sure to specify the longer
                            > wearing compound. They stop me just fine and last a long time. I
                            > replaced the originals in about 1000 miles and have 2000 on the
                            > replacments.
                            I am curious about this -- how do the two types of pads differ?
                            The (resin) pads that came with my bike and brakes seemed to wear
                            not much at all with lots of light around-town braking, and pretty
                            quickly on a descent of a 300 feet (> 5% grade, I think). Obviously,
                            the slower the wear, the less often they need adjusting
                            > If I were building again, I'd certainly try the mechanicals after
                            > reading these reviews, but given my constant steep hill braking and my
                            > hands that are usually painful from getting smashed and developing
                            > arthritis/tendonitis, I really appreciate the feel of the hydraulics.
                            I don't know what your handlebars look like, but what I ended up
                            doing after years of fiddling and experimenting, was a set of moustache
                            bars, double-wrapped with handlebar tape. Assume padded gloves during
                            all of this. The reasons/history for this choice:

                            - plain old drop bars. I was spending all my time on the tops and
                            not much on the drops. I am not (or perhaps, am currently not, until
                            I get much more time on the bike again) as flexible as I was as a kid.

                            - mountain-bike bars. These gave me numb hands within 3 miles of
                            riding.
                            I played a bit with their length, height, etc, but that never really
                            worked. I tried bar ends, not that good either.

                            - moustache bars. This let me put my hands in a variety of positions,
                            with a primary one similar to drop bars, but not as low. This worked
                            pretty well, including on a 300 mile trip in Nova Scotia. But I
                            did develop some persistent numbness in the left side of my left
                            ring finger. so...

                            - double-wrapped moustache bars. I made a point of getting a "soft"
                            tape for the top layer. I just taped right on top of the existing
                            tape, with an opposite orientation. The bars are bigger, which
                            spreads the load a little, and softer, which also helps.

                            The double-wrapping seems to be the big item; I've got a cheap
                            used tandem, that I am renovating on the cheap, and as yet it
                            has mountain bars with grip shifters and bar ends. I doubled-
                            wrapped the part of that that I could, including the bar ends,
                            and it was quite helpful. (The moustache transform costs over
                            $100, once you a price bars (30), bar-end shifters (60), levers
                            (depends, see below), and tape. It can be a moderate pain to
                            find 8-speed shifters if you are renovating an old-ish bike and
                            don't also want to pony up for new chain and cluster).

                            I don't think I'm done with my fiddling. I think, based on how I use
                            them, that I need to pull them in a hair closer, so that the levers
                            (Turtle Creek hooded levers, splayed out so the levers are sideways)
                            are a little closer in and a little more comfortable to use climbing.
                            If-you-do-this, you either need to get linear-pull hooded levers,
                            (Dia-Compe makes some, they are expensive) or else install a Travel
                            Agent.

                            I put up an album with pictures,make of it what you will.

                            http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/rootsradicals/photos/browse/8235?c=

                            The head-on shot shows a lot; the level and tilt, more or less
                            (the seat is directly behind, you can see the passenger handgrips)
                            the bar-end shifters (never had them before, a friend of mine hates
                            them, I think they're great) the brake lever positioning, the cable
                            routing, and the two layers (gray over cork) of handlebar tape.

                            David
                          • Ian Hopper
                            I too use Hydraulic Disc s... mine are a set of original (c. 1998) Hayes disk brakes and levers. My brother gave them to me and saved me a boatload of cash. I
                            Message 13 of 17 , Oct 16, 2006
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                              I too use Hydraulic Disc's... mine are a set of original (c. 1998)
                              Hayes disk brakes and levers. My brother gave them to me and saved me
                              a boatload of cash. I did have one issue with the front brake when it
                              had to be redone b/c of new handlebars (albatross bars from
                              Rivendell); the brand new fluid (less than a month old) was very
                              dark. It was traced (I believe, because I didn't do the work) back to
                              a worn out connector piece: I believe the rubber was decomposing in
                              the new brake fluid and becoming part of the fluid. The part was
                              replaced, but I'll be checking every year. I may eventually go to a
                              manual disc brake, but it's unlikely, as I've become used to a
                              hydraulics over the course of the last 7 years. The argument that
                              they can break and spew and leave you without a brake are weak ones:
                              any crash that's catastrophic enough to rupture the brake line is
                              more than likely going to disable you enough that you won't be riding
                              home anyways. I've crashed badly at least 4 times on my MTB with
                              Hydraulics and never ruptured a thing (except for on my own body).
                              Also, a cable can snap just as easy as a hydraulic line can: it's
                              unlikely, but it can happen. My vote? Try them both out and see which
                              you like better. Then consider your budget. :) Hydraulics usually
                              cost more, but if you like the ease on the hands (and they are
                              definitely easier on the hands for extended braking), they are
                              superior for that application.
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