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Frankenbrakes and brake improvement discussion

Boozzz

Chimp
Sep 12, 2019
80
84
Amsterdayummm
Paging the Trickstuff buffs. Thought I'd be ethical and order the real deal instead of those Chinese fakes. Don't know if I expected too much (perfection that is, for what they cost), but I'm not that impressed with them, the Direttissimas.

Subtle but distinct difference in feel between the very start and rest of the lever action, like it moves more freely for a mm or two, and then you feel a light click, especially so on the return stroke where it seems to accelerate and snap back extra hard the last few mm. Perhaps some dead stroke before it engages with the slave pistons? You feel where the seal passes the timing port? Dunno, just feels a bit off.

Slave pistons don't move very freely either. They didn't even self adjust, had to pump them out a bit extra withou pads and then eyeball to where to push them back to get a good lever engagement level (around 20mm), with less pad clearance than Dominions. Otherwise the lever would just go to the bar all the time. But like a very dirty old brake.

Also, they included the crappy old one piece clamp band instead of the new two piece.

Wondering if I should return them and just stick with Shigura. Crashes a lot cheaper too.
 
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Flo33

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2015
2,047
1,284
Styria
Paging the Trickstuff buffs. Thought I'd be ethical and order the real deal instead of those Chinese fakes. Don't know if I expected too much (perfection that is, for what they cost), but I'm not that impressed with them, the Direttissimas.

Subtle but distinct difference in feel between the very start and rest of the lever action, like it moves more freely for a mm or two, and then you feel a light click, especially so on the return stroke where it seems to accelerate and snap back extra hard the last few mm. Perhaps some dead stroke before it engages with the slave pistons? You feel where the seal passes the timing port? Dunno, just feels a bit off.

Slave pistons don't move very freely either. They didn't even self adjust, had to pump them out a bit extra withou pads and then eyeball to where to push them back to get a good lever engagement level (around 20mm), with less pad clearance than Dominions. Otherwise the lever would just go to the bar all the time. But like a very dirty old brake.

Also, they included the crappy old one piece clamp band instead of the new two piece.

Wondering if I should return them and just stick with Shigura. Crashes a lot cheaper too.
Hmmm, mine does none of the above. Was just swapping bikes with a friend during the last ride on Sunday and he was surprised by hiw consistent they work even after a 700 m descent.

Regarding the lazy pistons a nother buddy who bought his set around 6 months ago also had those. Pumping them out and pushing in again a few times got him rid of it. And still is. Try it nao?
 

Boozzz

Chimp
Sep 12, 2019
80
84
Amsterdayummm
@Flo33 Yeah, I guess the pistons are no big deal, but the weird lever stickiness is. Maybe I'm getting a bit too sensitive to brake imperfections, but after spending more and more money, I've just about had it with sending back and forth brakes that leak or have other issues. Will return these I've decided, think I should just keep it cheap, at least I won't be that bummed if it functions mediocre.
 

canadmos

Cake Tease
May 29, 2011
19,909
18,770
Canaderp
@Flo33 Yeah, I guess the pistons are no big deal, but the weird lever stickiness is. Maybe I'm getting a bit too sensitive to brake imperfections, but after spending more and more money, I've just about had it with sending back and forth brakes that leak or have other issues. Will return these I've decided, think I should just keep it cheap, at least I won't be that bummed if it functions mediocre.
I'll take em off your hands for tree fiddy.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist
Mar 14, 2005
4,914
1,198
Hmmm, mine does none of the above. Was just swapping bikes with a friend during the last ride on Sunday and he was surprised by hiw consistent they work even after a 700 m descent.
Same experience as Flo here @Boozzz , mine do none of the things you mentioned.
They are now 5-6 years old and still feel great, have held up through a few crashes too.

I'd be contacting the company direct with your concerns, but by now you've had complaints about every single brake on the market so maybe best to stick with the cheapies and replace often.
 

Boozzz

Chimp
Sep 12, 2019
80
84
Amsterdayummm
Same experience as Flo here @Boozzz , mine do none of the things you mentioned.
They are now 5-6 years old and still feel great, have held up through a few crashes too.

I'd be contacting the company direct with your concerns, but by now you've had complaints about every single brake on the market so maybe best to stick with the cheapies and replace often.
I know, I'm terrible, and so are my brakes haha. The only good thing is I've tested nearly all of them now :D

I did indeed contact Trickstuff, sent them a clip of what was up, and they wanted to help out badly to make their brakes perfect, if I would send them on to them. It made me realize however that I'm probably better off staying with the cheapies, as you say: I'd be in a fit every time I suspect something is up with my €1000 brakes. So I've sent them back to Bike24 and will keep the Shigura rear, Dominion front for now. When I get my other Dominion back from warranty, we'll see how it lasts for another round of trials impacts.
 

scar4me

Chimp
Jul 26, 2012
8
3
I've also just received my set of zoom hb-910's.
Very nice build quality, bit of a gamble on piston size as I was hoping for 17/15 pairs.
Lever action is super smooth.

Oddly I came out with slightly different numbers for the lever....
12mm main pivot to reach adjust pivot.
Usable lever blade 40-75mm from main pivot. (Nice end curl)
10mm master piston (could be 9.5mm but not stripping that far to check)
Caliper 16/14mm pairs.

My minor notes:
Hoses weren't tightened enough.
Lever bolts were half out on 1 lever.
1 lever bleed port screw was so tight it couldn't be undone with the 2.5mm Allen, and I had to "adjust" it to t10 with a pursuader to undo. (Works fine now!)
My levers have a slight rattle forward n back, coming from the thread tolerance on the alloy barrel the reach adjustment is done through.

Have re-bled with lhm+, as existing fluid was heavier weight with a pink tinge. (Wouldn't mix/separated quick with the lhm+)
Ali express item# 1005006219304940.
Did all the leverage calcs n got power rating of 28 or 31 (either 10mm or 9.5mm lever master dia).
Could up to 35 if fitting a servo wave lever. But why get rid of the pretty bit :D.

Barbs are oring style like formula, and olives are standard Shimano double ridge brass type.

Just gotta get them bedded in n report back my ride impressions
:thumb:
 
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scar4me

Chimp
Jul 26, 2012
8
3
Also if anyone wants to know Zrace/IIIPro/Onirii m4 calipers work really well with the newer 100 range servo wave levers.
Stock lever mc is way too big, and lever too short to get any decent power.

Add the servowave, and they get proper pokey!
But the 1piece calipers are more 'pretty' machined than burly, and as some of the other German engineers reviews they can actually flex measurably under high loads.
 

JustMtnB44

Monkey
Sep 13, 2006
838
109
Pittsburgh, PA
I had a simple question that has since turned into something more complex. I have a 2016 DH / park bike that came with Shimano Zee M640 brakes, that suffer from the usual problem of not being ridden enough and constantly contaminating the pads with oil. I am going to sell this bike but want to fix the brakes first to make it easier to sell. So I ordered a pair of Magura MT5 brakes (standard not HC levers) for a cheap price because I have the MT Trail Sport brakes (HC levers) on my old trailbike that I like and have been reliable. The MT5's could also possibly be used with the Zee levers to make a Shigura setup?

I also started collecting parts for an Enduro bike build to replace both this DH bike and my old trail bike. I was going to re-use the MT Trail Sport brakes I have on my trail bike, but with bigger rotors for the Enduro bike. However I ended up buying a Sram GX kit that also came with a pair of Code R brakes basically for free. Are the new Codes any good, has Sram fixed their lever issues? Last time I had Codes was over 10 years ago.

So now my dilemma is, which brakes should I keep for the new Enduro bike build, and which ones should I put on the DH bike to sell? These are the options that I have.
  • Magura MT5 with either 203 (DH bike) or 180 (Enduro bike) Front and 180 Rear rotors (new everything)
  • Magura Trail Sport (MT5 front caliper, MT4 rear caliper) with 180 F&R rotors (used brakes, new rotors)
  • Shigura combo using the new MT5 calipers with the old M640 Zee levers - is this a valid combo? (used levers, new calipers and rotors)
  • Sram Code R with 203F / 180R rotors (new everything)
 
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Boozzz

Chimp
Sep 12, 2019
80
84
Amsterdayummm
So now my dilemma is, which brakes should I keep for the new Enduro bike build, and which ones should I put on the DH bike to sell?
As Andeh says, get rid of the Code R (underpowered), and also ditch the Trail Sports (also underpowered and poor heat management with the small caliper in the back). Use the MT5 as is until the MC craps out or you bend a lever, after which you can install the Shimano MC on the MT5 calipers. Should keep you running for a few years at least.

You could install the short HC levers on the MT5, but I personally prefer the longer stock MT5 levers to the short HC levers: noticeably more power and better feel (the short ones feel very wooden).
 

Boozzz

Chimp
Sep 12, 2019
80
84
Amsterdayummm
He mentioned trials. I am guessing fistfuls of brake lever for guaranteed lockup where the rest of the world is modulating to prevent lockup short of the occasional berm skid.
Yeah, like that. Guessing when tolerances around piston/seal/bore are a bit loose, you'll notice this quickly when using them with fistfuls of lever and then slamming your weight against it.

For the annals of broken brakes:
Formula T1: 2 sets, both leaking after 3 back hops.
Hope Tech 3 V4: leak after a few months, seal replacement and were going strong for a few weeks again when I sold them and got the Hayes.
Hope Tech 4 V4: leak after a few rides. Seal replacement, leak after a few rides again.
Hayes Dominion A2: leak after two rides, seal replacement, now going strong on the regular MTB.
Hayes Dominion A4: leak after 3 months, new brake, leak after 2 rides.
Magura MT5: bent levers from too many fistfuls, leak free though after 2 years.

Hope Trial Zone also did well in the past, 4 years on my old bike. But don't trust Hope much after my T4 debacle. So back to Magura for now.
 
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scar4me

Chimp
Jul 26, 2012
8
3
Interesting thread over on mtbr about radic kaha brakes
Not exactly frankenbrake territory, and I've sent a request for some actual tech specs of them.

FWIW, had my first ride out on the zoom hp-910's and verdict is really nice!
Way smoother power delivery than my other x4/m6100 servowave setup. So seems like you actually need to pull less to get the same power if that makes any sense?
Not 100% on raw power comparison as need to put some sintered pads in them first.
But first impressions are really really good, way better than I had in my head after running the leverage ratio numbers!

And the stock semi-metallic compound pads aren't bad either .
Bought full sintered pads ready for them now anyway, as had meh experience with stock pads in the past.
Will give them another ride to bed properly and double check my impressions, before I switch up and bed in the full sintered ones for a like for like.
 

troy

Turbo Monkey
Dec 3, 2008
1,000
724
So, how do they perform?
tbh i dont know. Still waiting for a replacement caliper, mine came a bit... f*cked up? Mounting faces were all f up prior to anodising... so... not the best QC (shocker, i know.) :homer: otherwise, they look ok, nowhere near hope or trickstuff stuff for sure (in terms of machining quality). In terms of lever pull and lever feel, they might be even better thanthe originals tho.
1702598555259.png

1702598704878.png
 

scar4me

Chimp
Jul 26, 2012
8
3
Back to the point of this thread.... Frankenbrakes....

Just had a random thought about some of my old brakes... Clim8 6pots.
Ran them for years back in the day with their own levers (both Gen's: gen1 plastic MC, and gen2: metal).
Sold my last set 10yrs ago...
Did the mega avalanche on them, multiple alps trips and thinking back they were really reliable (or it could be nostalgia kicking in :s).

But they have 9/14/18mm piston pairs, run on mineral oil, and the calipers are solid!
Give a total piston surface just shy of Gustav's.
Think I'm going to go on a search and see how one plays with a servo wave lever.
Slightly annoying for pads n the fact they are odd rotor sizes on IS mount standard, but can overcome those minors.

Opinions...?
 

sethimus

neu bizutch
Feb 5, 2006
4,759
2,058
not in Whistler anymore :/
Back to the point of this thread.... Frankenbrakes....

Just had a random thought about some of my old brakes... Clim8 6pots.
Ran them for years back in the day with their own levers (both Gen's: gen1 plastic MC, and gen2: metal).
Sold my last set 10yrs ago...
Did the mega avalanche on them, multiple alps trips and thinking back they were really reliable (or it could be nostalgia kicking in :s).

But they have 9/14/18mm piston pairs, run on mineral oil, and the calipers are solid!
Give a total piston surface just shy of Gustav's.
Think I'm going to go on a search and see how one plays with a servo wave lever.
Slightly annoying for pads n the fact they are odd rotor sizes on IS mount standard, but can overcome those minors.

Opinions...?
the chinese will have you covered, soon:

 

scar4me

Chimp
Jul 26, 2012
8
3
the chinese will have you covered soon:
Haha, if only my bike took sur Ron style dropouts :thumb:

Alas it does not....
Although I've now also found a 4pot all 18mm piston caliper that is mineral oil and post mount.
Maybe something good will come out these e-moto abominations :banana:.
Let see what I can haggle on the price lol.
 

Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
23,799
14,142
where the trails are
So I did a thing ... Radic KAHA brakes.
KAHA pic.jpg


I'm going to run these with my existing 203mm / 2.3 TRP rotors.

Initial thoughts:
machining quality is excellent​
lever feel is smooth, throw has to be only a few mm with bleed block installed​
lever shape feels good, no sharp edges that I can feel, initially reminds of Formula levers​
LIGHT, will weigh with pads but yea, light​
Snow and mud around here but will get them mounted up and tested as soon as I can.
 

canadmos

Cake Tease
May 29, 2011
19,909
18,770
Canaderp
Do they use the sram bleeding edge port tool thing on the caliper? If yeah, that's a nice feature. What's the bleed orifice on the lever?
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
15,684
12,759
So I did a thing ... Radic KAHA brakes.
View attachment 205657

I'm going to run these with my existing 203mm / 2.3 TRP rotors.

Initial thoughts:
machining quality is excellent​
lever feel is smooth, throw has to be only a few mm with bleed block installed​
lever shape feels good, no sharp edges that I can feel, initially reminds of Formula levers​
LIGHT, will weigh with pads but yea, light​
Snow and mud around here but will get them mounted up and tested as soon as I can.
Are you going to Bionol or just Shimano them?
 

Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
23,799
14,142
where the trails are
Do they use the sram bleeding edge port tool thing on the caliper? If yeah, that's a nice feature. What's the bleed orifice on the lever?
the caliper has the bleeding edge port. and yea, I agree. girlfriend has it on her sram somethingorother and it's convenient. MC port seems to be a standard Jagwire fitting.

Are you going to Bionol or just Shimano them?
they come filled with Bionol. I'll see if I can source without being a giant PITA. Radic can sell it, and a few euro e-shopees seem to have it in stock.
 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,755
4,628
Champery, Switzerland
Sethionol ? Biothimus? Can’t find it online.
Here are a couple places.