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Brakes

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,158
1
SB
I'm considering buying new brakes for my DH bike so I can move the current ones onto another bike. I've been running Hayes HFX-9's (8" F, 6" R) for a while. They're OK, but things I don't like are vague lever feel, lots of drag because they don't keep their adjustment, and lack of power and modulation. They are decent, but they could definately be better. The brakes I'm considering and their downfalls and virutes from what I've gathered are:

-Another set of HFX-9's. Easy to work on/easy to get parts, but not the greatest performance. I've got this option in the back of my head right now.

-Avid Juicey 5's. Good power and modulation, hard to bleed, I don't like the lever feel. There's a weird click feel in the middle of the stroke, so I don't really want these. Definately at the bottom of my list right now.

-Shimano Saint. Great modulation and lever feel, not the greatest power. I'm not concerned too much with that because modulation is more important to me. I really like these brakes, and they're at the top of my list right now.

-And last but not least, Hopes. I'm skeptical because I've never even seen a set and they're feel has been described as "woody," but they definately have a following. The different options are confusing. I want to run 8" F and 6" R, but I don't know if the 6 Ti or the 4 is better. I'm a little concerned about replacement parts. One thing I really like is the machining and overall quality. They look killer too. These are in second right now.

Can anyone give me advice beyond "buy this?" I would prefer people that have ridden multiple systems. What are the advantages and drawbacks of each system? The things that are important to me are weight and modulation, but reliability is nice. I am mechanically inclined so bleeding isn't much of an issue. Thanks for any advice and info. Discuss...
 

zmtber

Turbo Monkey
Aug 13, 2005
2,437
0
comparing the hayes to saint is like night and day. hayes are great brakes for any type of rider, but if you are truley into DH you will soon learn there is better stuff out there. for example the saint have great modulation and strength. having ridn them i can tell you that you will always get perfect braking everytime you hit the brake, with perfect amount of force, and no lost over time, and super duty stuff that you wont have to worry about braking you can't go wrong, in fact i am gettin a pair tommorow. plus you can drink the braking fluid how cool is that. They will stop you on a "dime"
 

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,158
1
SB
zmtber said:
comparing the hayes to saint is like night and day. hayes are great brakes for any type of rider, but if you are truley into DH you will soon learn there is better stuff out there. for example the saint have great modulation and strength. having ridn them i can tell you that you will always get perfect braking everytime you hit the brake, with perfect amount of force, and no lost over time, and super duty stuff that you wont have to worry about braking you can't go wrong, in fact i am gettin a pair tommorow. plus you can drink the braking fluid how cool is that. They will stop you on a "dime"
Yeah, Saints sound good! Now it's between them and Hopes. Can any Hope users chip in? I know you're a passionate breed when it comes to supporting Hopes.
 

skinny mike

Turbo Monkey
Jan 24, 2005
6,416
0
i really like my el caminos that ive been running for the past few months. ill give you a more detailed write up later when i have the time.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,773
924
Saints have fantastic power and bite when they are bedded in. I'm guessing you rode a dud set, either they weren't bedded in properly or were contaminated. Mine took a while to bed in but ever since then they have been the greatest thing since sliced bread, can't praise them enough.

The shimanos are super easy to bleed and work on, the lever feel is great (nice and solid), and most of all they are consistant day in day out. Hopes seem on the other end of the spectrum there, every mono4 I ride feels different, i'm yet to ride two pairs that have felt the same!. Avids have a nice lever design (in terms of ergonomics) but I am not a fan of the lever feel either.. the 7's i've tried feel strange, and both 5/7's are slightly squishy for my liking.

Having tried them all, i'd suggest the saints. A biased opinion for sure, but I am quite the brake-nerd; if I found something better i'd make the switch pretty quick, and so far I haven't. :)

The rest of the shimano brakes are pretty similar in performance too, so if you want to save some money, something like the hones would be killer too, and run the same full sintered pads as the saints.
 

Uncle Jimmi

Chimp
Nov 17, 2005
79
0
I did my homework and have worked with and used all the brakes you mentioned.
I have never felt a smother, more controllable lever than the Magura’s (I use the Louise)
They have a 5-year leak proof warranty and self-centering pads.
Mine have not needed any maintenance what so ever and I’ve never been more confident in a brake.
 

buildyourown

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2004
4,837
0
South Seattle
IMO, buy avids.

I went to Avids last year after years of Hayes loyalty. Best thing I ever did. I understand what you mean by "click". It really isn't noticable while riding. The modulation is incredible.
The 5s are the best brakes for your money, hands down. The 7s are nice, but not worth the $

I've ridden some hopes that felt dialed. I've also ridden a lot that felt almost unrideable. To me, these brakes are just too much trouble and too expensive.
 

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,158
1
SB
Udi said:
Saints have fantastic power and bite when they are bedded in. I'm guessing you rode a dud set, either they weren't bedded in properly or were contaminated. Mine took a while to bed in but ever since then they have been the greatest thing since sliced bread, can't praise them enough.

The shimanos are super easy to bleed and work on, the lever feel is great (nice and solid), and most of all they are consistant day in day out. Hopes seem on the other end of the spectrum there, every mono4 I ride feels different, i'm yet to ride two pairs that have felt the same!. Avids have a nice lever design (in terms of ergonomics) but I am not a fan of the lever feel either.. the 7's i've tried feel strange, and both 5/7's are slightly squishy for my liking.

Having tried them all, i'd suggest the saints. A biased opinion for sure, but I am quite the brake-nerd; if I found something better i'd make the switch pretty quick, and so far I haven't. :)

The rest of the shimano brakes are pretty similar in performance too, so if you want to save some money, something like the hones would be killer too, and run the same full sintered pads as the saints.

I rode XTR's, but they're pretty much the same thing. The only place the power wasn't quite good enough was screaming down Kamikaze in Mammoth after a few runs, but that's not a fair judgement.
 

SXtrailrider

Turbo Monkey
Aug 27, 2005
1,189
0
saints are great tryed a pair, the stop on a dime. If you use both the types of bads one each you getthe best feel. The power will be a great step up fro mhayes 9 and modulation is perfect. They weel reliable, and light. They are the nicest brakes i have tried. I have tried the hopes but they are so much money, harder to set up i heard. Don't get me wron the power is thier but shimanos just a little more of that umph.
 

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,158
1
SB
OK, I've narrowed it down to:

1) Saint
2) Hope
3) Magura

I'm concerned with availability on Hopes and Maguras, but I've heard nothing but good things about Maguras. Saints are proven, but I may want to try something a little different. (Although last time I tried that with brakes I got IRD Dual Bangers that suck major @$$.)
 

buildyourown

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2004
4,837
0
South Seattle
Bicyclist said:
OK, I've narrowed it down to:

1) Saint
2) Hope
3) Magura

I'm concerned with availability on Hopes and Maguras, but I've heard nothing but good things about Maguras. Saints are proven, but I may want to try something a little different. (Although last time I tried that with brakes I got IRD Dual Bangers that suck major @$$.)

Have you ridden Maguras? Specifically the Gustav's. They have a very "unique" feel. Very powerful and very grabby. Some people love them. I find them too touchy.
 

zmtber

Turbo Monkey
Aug 13, 2005
2,437
0
right now i heard saint stuff is backordered so hurry up and place an order
 

zmtber

Turbo Monkey
Aug 13, 2005
2,437
0
Brian HCM#1 said:
Modulation, power, lever feel, easy to service, astetics. They just kick butt!!!
if you are taling about hopes, then they are the hardest to service, at least for us. getting parts and so on, that is why i odn't ride them, along with other reasons

Saints i will post pics of them on my bike this weekend. i am adding deemax saint brakes, hone cranks and rear derailer for the holidays!
 

BrandonWatts

Monkey
May 4, 2005
192
0
raymond, WA
buildyourown said:
Have you ridden Maguras? Specifically the Gustav's. They have a very "unique" feel. Very powerful and very grabby. Some people love them. I find them too touchy.
or you could find an old set of shimano xt m755 brakes and have the same thing as the maguras and it wouldnt cost you as much. i think i payed 175 for a set of brakes
 

Brian HCM#1

MMMMMMMMM BEER!!!!!!!!!!
Sep 7, 2001
31,453
36
Bay Area, California
zmtber said:
if you are taling about hopes, then they are the hardest to service, at least for us. getting parts and so on, that is why i odn't ride them, along with other reasons

Saints i will post pics of them on my bike this weekend. i am adding deemax saint brakes, hone cranks and rear derailer for the holidays!
I am talking about Hopes, they really are easy to service. If the guys in your shop can't fix them, they should get a new profession.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,773
924
Bicyclist said:
I rode XTR's, but they're pretty much the same thing.
Unless they had the M06 sintered pads, then no, they would be reasonably different in terms of bite/power. I'm pretty sure they come stock with M07 resin pads, but I could be wrong!

If they did run the metal pads then you'd have a good taste of what the saints are like, but the resin pads (that come with XT, deore, etc) aren't nearly as good for DH.
 

corey_rideDC

Turbo Monkey
Sep 1, 2004
1,369
0
DCmetro
anyone have more info on the maguras? i'm considering accepting their sponsorship deal but know next to nothing except they made great trialsy hydro rims :D i don't know anyone around here who rides em.
 
Jan 12, 2005
200
0
Lancashire (U.K)
Iv used various Hope brakes for years with never any problems.

I'v run standard Mono 4's with the standard gold coloured pads for just over a year on my DH bike.
They've coped with all the mud and snot England can throw at them with no trouble at all. They've never faded either whilst riding at Fort William, CwmCarn or Innerleithen in the summer months and are fitted onto a 46lb DH bike.
Im in the process of fitting floating rotors and braided lines which should improve the power a little ( the rotors are for merely the 'bling factor')
Modulation is spot on and the brakes are more than powerfull enough.

Set-up is simple and they are very easy to work on, support and spares is good (not that I needed any-but there in stock at the LBS) but obviously im in the U.K.

Also Hope products are made in the loverly little town of Barnoldswick by ex Rolls Royce aerospace engine builders.
 

bikenweed

Turbo Monkey
Oct 21, 2004
2,435
0
Los Osos
Don't get Hope's if you're a regular person living in the United States. It's not impossible to find small parts, but it's damn near close to it. The only time mine ever seemed to perform better than my Deore's was in the pouring rain. They work great in the rain, that's for sure. I had old M4's. My Deore's work great, they're still on my DH bike while my Hayes are getting bled AGAIN. Saint is a notch above Deore, and I would highly recomend it. Plus they're easy to find parts for all over the world, not just England. Avid's could be good, but I have no first hand knowledge of them except for parking lot test where I can't wheelie cuz they don't have the same modulating pattern as a Deore or Hayes. Whew wut wut
 

jackalope

Mental acuity - 1%
Jan 9, 2004
5,953
2,281
in a single wide, cooking meth...
Magura homer here, and even tho my race team is sponsored by them, I had'em on my DH/FR rigs well beforehand...Simply put, I think my Louise FR (210 F/190 R) are hands down the best brakes I have ever felt, not to mention very powerful and seemingly fade proof...Best modulation out there IMO, and I've been on Saints and XTs (which are also VERY good)...Also, I don't think many people really need the Gustavs, so just save some coin and get the Louises...I haven't had a problem getting parts (although the only thing I've needed has been pads), and they have good CS...Btw, I used run Hayes HFX with Goodridge lines on my DH bike and they paled in comparison to my Louises...The only thing I've heard people having an issue with is initial set up...My mechanic specializes in setting up Maguras, so I just let him take care of that for me...Again, for my money, the best feeling brake on the market (i.e. starts grabbing early in the lever action, then gets progressively stronger the harder you pull)...

So Corey, go with the Maguras on that sponsorship...You'll get a wicked deal on the Louises...
 

Mugger

Monkey
Dec 16, 2005
171
0
Brisbane, Australia
IMHO after riding Hope, Saint, Hayes and Avid, Saint provail. Udi's saints feel ****ing great compared to the others i've tested. The juicys had a squishy feel in the lever that didn't feel confident. The hopes did not entice me and Hayes well i've got them now cause i'm poor, older Hayes Mags and they fade after about 6 or so solid runs. Not cool!

So moral of the story, buy saint....

I'm soo biased :D
 

def

Monkey
Feb 12, 2003
520
0
knoxville, tn
Any shop w/ a Quality or BTI account (which is pretty much every decent shop) can get you spare parts for all the main players....including hope and magura. I always love the avaibility of spare parts argument. When in reality, how many shops STOCK every nut and bolt and seal and pad and compression fitting and so on and so on for the different models of hayes or avid or shimano? Just wait a few days and you can get any part you need. And if your mechanic or shop can't set them up, you need to go somewhere else.

As for the brakes. Your list is solid. Every brand has their own little quirks regarding set-up or fit or bleeding or which ones will score w/ chicks. Get the ones you can afford and fit your bike and rock out.
 

bballe336

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2005
1,757
0
MA
Adam Novatt said:
i heard maguras are very hard for work on and replacment parts can be a bitch.

That's not really true. Once you bleed them they are set for a long time. You don't have to bleed Maguras 2-3 times a season like you do with Hayes. And any shop who orders through QBP or BTI (forget which it is) can get Magura parts.

The Gustavs are the most powerful DH brakes available. You touch them and they are locked. They allow you to brake less and for shorter periods of time. This allows you to keep the bike in control better and have the suspension always working. As opposed to having to brake longer and have the suspension perform poorly. The only brakes I will buy from now on are Maguras.
 

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,158
1
SB
Udi said:
Unless they had the M06 sintered pads, then no, they would be reasonably different in terms of bite/power. I'm pretty sure they come stock with M07 resin pads, but I could be wrong!

If they did run the metal pads then you'd have a good taste of what the saints are like, but the resin pads (that come with XT, deore, etc) aren't nearly as good for DH.
OK, I rode the stock pads. That might explain it.
 

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,158
1
SB
bballe336 said:
That's not really true. Once you bleed them they are set for a long time. You don't have to bleed Maguras 2-3 times a season like you do with Hayes. And any shop who orders through QBP or BTI (forget which it is) can get Magura parts.

The Gustavs are the most powerful DH brakes available. You touch them and they are locked. They allow you to brake less and for shorter periods of time. This allows you to keep the bike in control better and have the suspension always working. As opposed to having to brake longer and have the suspension perform poorly. The only brakes I will buy from now on are Maguras.
It sounds like Maguras are out. I weigh 130.
 

sirbikealot

Monkey
Sep 19, 2001
462
0
Dundas,ON,CAN
just to throw something else into the loop
Formula ORO brakes
http://www.formulabrakeusa.com/
they have a full distributor in california
our Commencal/Dropmachine.com team used them and they performed flawlessly, amazing modulation, super burly levers, on the fly adjustable reach (no little screw to turn) and very light
Rated #1 by Mountain Bike magazine in Germany,
used also by
• Greg Minaar and Team G-Cross Honda
• Anne-Caroline Chausson and Team Commençal-Oxbow
 

manhattanprjkt83

Rusty Trombone
Jul 10, 2003
9,024
471
Nilbog
I just recently got to ride some avid brakes (and actually put some time in on them)...I sold both my hope mini's and the M4's right after and bought all avid. They are so solid, honestly not hard to bleed at all, IMO the easiest, you just need the kit. I have ridden almost all the brakes out there, and can honestly say that the avid are the best performing... Hope's are nice as hell, but i just think the avid performs better...
 

Boxxer

Monkey
Jul 18, 2005
858
0
Dirty South
Saints are the dogs balls. Ive ridden alot of different brakes... and for once I might have to say ive got too much brake power. Awesome feel at the lever, stupid easy to bleed(did them over my living room carpet for the first time, never spilled a drop) I also run the goodridge lines... its sick. Anyone who jumps on my bike cant believe the lever feel and power. Not too pricey either when considering the other main players.
 

SuspectDevice

Turbo Monkey
Aug 23, 2002
3,944
36
Roanoke, VA
Buy Magura Louise FR's from Atlantic Bicycle/bikepartsusa.com. After putting up with Hayes and Shimano products for the last 4 seasons I am more than stoked with Magura's stuff!