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Frankenbrakes and brake improvement discussion

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,718
798
Are there any shimano levers that don't eventually deal with getting fucked that can be mated to a magura caliper for a somewhat reliable brake?
Depends who you talk to, and what your definitions of these things are.
Personally - no. But by general consensus here (which I agree with), the Shimano lever/s to get are the cheaper ones - if your friend likes the feel of Shimano levers then he likes servo wave (I do too), in which case a good choice is the plain Deore servo wave lever. They're not forever but they seem less problematic than the more expensive ones. When they go bad, you can get a brand new pair cheap. That's the key - when they start seeming "difficult to bleed" - it means internal wear, time to buy new ones.

The Magura caliper to get is probably the MT5 (or MT7 if you want the sep. pad nonsense). Once the seals start to leak you have to replace the caliper as parts aren't available (to my knowledge) so again, not a product forever. So, Deore servo wave lever + MT5 caliper. One of the 3 global fanboys here will chime in and correct me if I'm wrong.
I've been trying to explain to a buddy that he doesn't want Shimano Brakes
What are you running instead out of curiosity?
I know there's a few here who "ditched Shimano" only to jump on SRAM which is arguably even worse except in a very different variety of ways. The truth is there's a myriad of brakes out there which have problems in different areas, there's only one brand which has made a perfect product (or by my standards, adequately close to it) and it duly costs nearly twice as much as any competition.

i don't think the new xtr stuff has been out long enough for long term durability.
See my post #1194 to add to what Happymtb said, confirmed leakages and varying throw from different sources already. Business as usual.
 

William42

fork ways
Jul 31, 2007
3,675
289
Depends who you talk to, and what your definitions of these things are.
Personally - no. But by general consensus here (which I agree with), the Shimano lever/s to get are the cheaper ones - if your friend likes the feel of Shimano levers then he likes servo wave (I do too), in which case a good choice is the plain Deore servo wave lever. They're not forever but they seem less problematic than the more expensive ones. When they go bad, you can get a brand new pair cheap. That's the key - when they start seeming "difficult to bleed" - it means internal wear, time to buy new ones.

The Magura caliper to get is probably the MT5 (or MT7 if you want the sep. pad nonsense). Once the seals start to leak you have to replace the caliper as parts aren't available (to my knowledge) so again, not a product forever. So, Deore servo wave lever + MT5 caliper. One of the 3 global fanboys here will chime in and correct me if I'm wrong.

What are you running instead out of curiosity?
I know there's a few here who "ditched Shimano" only to jump on SRAM which is arguably even worse except in a very different variety of ways. The truth is there's a myriad of brakes out there which have problems in different areas, there's only one brand which has made a perfect product (or by my standards, adequately close to it) and it duly costs nearly twice as much as any competition.


See my post #1194 to add to what Happymtb said, confirmed leakages and varying throw from different sources already. Business as usual.
Right now? I'm running rim brakes on a road bike. I live in Texas right now, but I'm moving either to NC near Asheville or Cali near Tahoe depending on what job my wife signs a contract with in the next few weeks, so a new bike is in my future. The Trickstuff brakes are probably out of my price range, but I'm lookin hard at those new hayes brakes, as well as the hopes (which I don't love as far as ergonomics or strength, but they seem reliable). Whatever I get will probably come with SRAM or Shimano, which will be pulled off and sold immediately upon arrival. I don't mind a bleed now and then, but yeah I agree, both SRAM and Shimano don't seem to be making any brake products that have any value to me right now. I can't tell you how many stuck SRAM brakes I've had to warranty, and in a super flat area with little to no descending. Weight isn't a huge priority to me anymore, bikes these days are light enough without me worrying about trying to save half a pound in my brakes.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
15,863
956
01776
Depends who you talk to, and what your definitions of these things are.
Personally - no. But by general consensus here (which I agree with), the Shimano lever/s to get are the cheaper ones - if your friend likes the feel of Shimano levers then he likes servo wave (I do too), in which case a good choice is the plain Deore servo wave lever. They're not forever but they seem less problematic than the more expensive ones. When they go bad, you can get a brand new pair cheap. That's the key - when they start seeming "difficult to bleed" - it means internal wear, time to buy new ones.

The Magura caliper to get is probably the MT5 (or MT7 if you want the sep. pad nonsense). Once the seals start to leak you have to replace the caliper as parts aren't available (to my knowledge) so again, not a product forever. So, Deore servo wave lever + MT5 caliper. One of the 3 global fanboys here will chime in and correct me if I'm wrong.

What are you running instead out of curiosity?
I know there's a few here who "ditched Shimano" only to jump on SRAM which is arguably even worse except in a very different variety of ways. The truth is there's a myriad of brakes out there which have problems in different areas, there's only one brand which has made a perfect product (or by my standards, adequately close to it) and it duly costs nearly twice as much as any competition.


See my post #1194 to add to what Happymtb said, confirmed leakages and varying throw from different sources already. Business as usual.
is maggie caliper leaking a thing, or are you just saying when the product reaches the end of its life as all things do....?
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
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so let's recap:

  • shimano and sram brakes are on the kill list.
  • trickstuff are the best, so naturally they are sold at dentist prices
  • magura and formula are generally good?
  • what else is generally good and recommendable?
  • what's the current consensus on hope?
 
Last edited:

William42

fork ways
Jul 31, 2007
3,675
289
so let's recap:

  • shimano and sram brakes are on the kill list.
  • trickstuff are the best, so naturally they are sold at dentist prices
  • magura and formula are generally good?
  • what else is generally good and recommendable?
  • what's the current consensus on hope?
I'd run some formulas if I could get ahold of them, seems like they're always sold out everywhere.
 

chris_f

Monkey
Jun 20, 2007
265
228
Current consensus on Hope is that they're rebuildable, pretty well made, and woefully underpowered compared to literally any other comparable brake from a competing brand.
 

Rockland

Turbo Monkey
Apr 24, 2003
1,763
50
Left hand path
I find them easy to bleed. Didn't even bother buying the formula syringes. Just used a couple from bleeding a Reverb. 2 syringe method, or if you want to Shimano style it ala cup at lever, just leave the plunger out of the lever end syringe.

i like that they're mineral oil too. how's the bleed process compared to shimano? (besides less frequent)
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
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I find them easy to bleed. Didn't even bother buying the formula syringes. Just used a couple from bleeding a Reverb. 2 syringe method, or if you want to Shimano style it ala cup at lever, just leave the plunger out of the lever end syringe.
will shimano syringes work?
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
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also, i know it's been touched on in this thread - has anyone actually tried replacing the ceramic pistons in xt brakes (m785) with the alloy ones from china?
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
15,863
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@kidwood did and they leaked immediately, IIRC.

anybody compare the MT5 and Cura4? Weight is equivalent, cost is $50 less, and my MT5s have been pretty good for downhilling, though underpowered with resin sport pads.

I have older formulas and wouldn't mind running them on the trail bike. They were underpowered for DH but felt great and were almost always consistent, aside from massive brake-dragging runs...
 

maxyedor

<b>TOOL PRO</b>
Oct 20, 2005
3,183
316
In the bathroom, fighting a battle
Cura4's just came back into availability, this is the cheapest I've found:
https://www.starbike.com/en/formula-cura-4-front-rear-disc-brake/
Sweet! almost ordered from somewhere else for 148/ea, ordered myself some gold ones because I'm trying to be fancy.

Been very happy with my MT5s, but wanted to try something new, and hoping pad life is a bit better. Maguras work great, but they did something with their pad compounds, my old Louis FRs lasted forever, now I'm going through pads faster than tires.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
15,863
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What are the upgrades from the R1/T1 that the cura provides? Is it only mineral oil or was there other junk?
 

mykel

Turbo Monkey
Apr 19, 2013
1,906
551
sw ontario canada
In the last 10 years or so.

Avid Juicy 5 - little modulation, sucky bleed, can't keep a bleed.
Magura Louise - Bleeding is a pain, holds bleed very well, good modulation, decent power
Avid XO Trail - great feel and modulation, sucky bleed, inconsistent bite / throw
Hope T3V4 - great feel and modulation, easy bleed, holds bleed well, consistent, could use more power. Trying Trickstuff pads - hopefully this weekend.
Hayes Dominion A4 - great feel, modulation and power, easy bleed, too early to tell much else...

Never got on with Shimano brakes, but then never had a pair to get used to them, but initial impressions were - Nope.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
4,143
1,926
Can anyone find a source for the Formula mixmaster in the US for Cura's? Unfortunately my cheap source for the brakes posted above doesn't have them.

If I go for the Cura 4's I need a SRAM rhs for my DH bike and a Shimano I-Spec B for wife's Saint shifter...
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,012
1,691
In my pants
Never got on with Shimano brakes, but then never had a pair to get used to them, but initial impressions were - Nope.
You're doing it wrong. First impressions are awesome!

it's like the 50th-2000th impression that goes to shit. Usually turning on the top of a cliff.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
4,143
1,926
just use the 22.2 clamp?
Saint shifter would need a whole new cover with the normal clamp, bought in i-spec it doesn't have the normal clamp.

Shimano's 17 different incompatible I-Spec Standards = what's wrong with the industry.
 

Rockland

Turbo Monkey
Apr 24, 2003
1,763
50
Left hand path
The Formula mixmaster clamps are kinda janky. I believe other lever clamp halves have close enough bolt spacing to work. I've seen pictures of Curas with Magura & Wolftooth back halves.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
4,143
1,926
The Formula mixmaster clamps are kinda janky. I believe other lever clamp halves have close enough bolt spacing to work. I've seen pictures of Curas with Magura & Wolftooth back halves.
I've been using one for years on my RO's.

With my wife she's on Saint's on her DH rig and the last thing I would ever want is her brakes not working, I've been pondering swapping her to Cura4's for a while.
 

toodles

Turbo Monkey
Aug 24, 2004
2,605
764
Australia
  • trickstuff are the best, so naturally they are sold at dentist prices
I've got to admit my initial take on these was wrong and I've come around to the pricing on these things. Sure they're more expensive, but after all they're brakes. A set still costs less than a carbon wheelset or similar stupid upgrade that really doesn't actually do much, and the confidence a good brake gives you will actually make you ride faster. By the time you've stuffed around buying Shimanos, then Maguras, then combining the two systems to make a semi-reliable alternative - you may as well pony up and get a known solution.

Current consensus on Hope is that they're rebuildable, pretty well made, and woefully underpowered compared to literally any other comparable brake from a competing brand.
I've got the V4s now and although I'm only riding enderpo these days, I'm 90kg and the past two years I've done some pretty stupid descending. The V4s do lack the initial bite that some people prefer, but I've found them shy of Saints or the ridiculous powerful Magura model, but every bit as good or better than Codes and more importantly much more reliable than any of those brands.

Hope T3V4 - great feel and modulation, easy bleed, holds bleed well, consistent, could use more power. Trying Trickstuff pads - hopefully this weekend.
Report back on the Trickstuff pads please. I'm going to try the Saint pads next as well and see how they go.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,718
798
Got some a cura 4 set.
I Was pissed....
I bled the shit out of them.
The caliper has a bit of visible flex.
The lines are soft.
The lever lever body has flex.
Lots of travel
Not as stiff as I wanted once pads were on rotor
You know im overall mostly bummed by shit thats being made these days.
Curious, how much of this do you stand by, and is there anything you'd retract?
I found the Cura4 to be spongier and throw a bit longer than I expected too, though maybe just needed more bleed time from past formula experience.

is maggie caliper leaking a thing, or are you just saying when the product reaches the end of its life as all things do....?
From memory, Happymtb had his start leaking, and couldn't get parts to repair. It was in this thread somewhere. I don't think it's very common though, nothing like the Shimano / ceramic piston fiasco.

As a bonus (I think) Magura calipers also have less rollback (closer to TS / Formula) which seems to be a positive and almost necessary trait these days where throw needs to be shortened while increasing leverage. There's some numbers (thanks troy) in the spreadsheet.

Report back on the Trickstuff pads please.
There's already a bunch of comments on them from like 3 people if you read back through the last few pages. Flo's tried them for a bit now.
 

toodles

Turbo Monkey
Aug 24, 2004
2,605
764
Australia
There's already a bunch of comments on them from like 3 people if you read back through the last few pages. Flo's tried them for a bit now.
Ah I meant specifically in the V4s in comparison to the stock sintereds or whatever. Trickstuff has mad some impressive claims about their Power Pads or whatever they call them.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
4,143
1,926
Ah I meant specifically in the V4s in comparison to the stock sintereds or whatever. Trickstuff has mad some impressive claims about their Power Pads or whatever they call them.
As I'm eying up Cura 4's which are stock with Organic's I was looking at those Power Pads as they're half the price of the Formula Cura 4 sintered...
 

mykel

Turbo Monkey
Apr 19, 2013
1,906
551
sw ontario canada
Report back on the Trickstuff pads please. I'm going to try the Saint pads next as well and see how they go.
Sorry, won't be this weekend.
Dealership got in the wrong parts, so I no have the power steering, so no 7 hour round trip road-trip to ride the big bike this weekend. Za parts, they are supposed to be in the beginning of the week, so later in the week or next weekend weather permitting I will get to test em out. Should also take the opportunity to do a little piston cleaning and a fresh bleed as well as the new pads...