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My wife just bought a new bike with disc brakes but they're Avid BB5s or something and they are utterly rubbish. I've got one bike with unbranded calipers that are better than than these, despite trying to dial slack out of them. 

My only experience of discs has been Shimano hydraulics on MTBs and they will but you over the bars quick sharp. These mechanical things feel like trying  brake with 2 pieces of stale bread or something. You get what you pay for I guess. 

12 comments

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Xenophon2 [70 posts] 2 months ago
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You indeed get what you pay for but I used to ride with a pair of Spyres and they were very good, on par  with the very top end rim brakes in terms of performance and the latter wore out my rims right quick. 

Hydraulics are better but come with their own drawbacks where maintenance is concerned.

Are you certain they're mounted correctly?

 

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huntswheelers [182 posts] 2 months ago
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Spyres are great mechanical calipers and Avid can be found the sweet spot...if it's a new bike then get it back into the workshop to get it sorted. I have many coming in here hydraulic and mechanical citing poor performance....but down this way there is little need for discs ( you can all argue the disc /rim debate) and many have glazed disc pads...swap out with softer pads...bingo it's okay.... It does vary area to area but like I say if it's new....get it into the mechanic

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Jimthebikeguy.com [264 posts] 2 months ago
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They all take proper setting up to really get them in the sweet spot, but some are certainly better than others. The problem with the avids is that only one pad moves, so the static piston has to be set very close to the rotor by aligning the caliper very carefully... Then the moving piston needs winding in so you get plenty of bite. Otherwise all that happens is the rotor just gets flexed.

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antigee [560 posts] 2 months ago
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BB5's aren't great (in my opinion see end) disc brake pads take a bit of bedding in and heating up whatever hydraulic or cable  - worth googling for best way but my  summary is down a long hill and drag them after picking up speed x 3 to 4   - out of the box not impressive but will grow to love them in the wet other than their noisy howls and the need to adjust every couple of days 

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Rod Marton [128 posts] 2 months ago
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For every type of brake there are good ones and bad ones, and BB5s are not one of the good ones. I swapped mine for a pair of Spyres and the difference was remarkable.

Having said that, you can quite probably improve things with a better set of pads.

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Joe Totale [167 posts] 2 months ago
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Rim brakes - Great

Hydraulic Disc Brakes - Great

Mechanical Disc Brakes - The worst of both worlds. You have the extra half a kilo weight of disc brakes but none of the extra stopping power or modulation that hydro disc brakes give you.  They're a hell of a lot more faff in terms of maintenance than the above two systems, note the commentor above saying they need adjusting "every couple of days". 

They're an evolutionary dead end and will probably go the way of cantilever brakes soon. 

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Awavey [598 posts] 2 months ago
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I've got spyres mechanical discs on my bike & I thought they were toilet when I first had them,it was only when I swapped pads to something half decent, that they actually worked as good as decent rim brakes,they'll never be as good as hydraulic & you have to keep on top of the constant adjustment as they wear else you'll just find you are grabbing a handle full of air

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casperradil [9 posts] 2 months ago
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A lot depends on the installation. I have the bb7sl and the performance is decent. After having researched a lot, however, my best bet for the best breaking mechanical disc brake (far better than any normal mechanical system, according to users) is juin tech gt - which I have just received (so cannot report on performance yet). They seem very light and well made though.

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alansmurphy [2245 posts] 2 months ago
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Only reinforcing the above but if you get the cheaper end of the bike market in terms of brakes, you're going to feel it.

 

I have mechanical discs on one winter bike and cable hydraulics on the other and the difference in huge. Then i bought an e-mtb with hydraulics and wow, it really loves to stop - but then it is a lump with huge grippy tyres too!

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barongreenback [157 posts] 2 months ago
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Hate my mechanic disc brakes on my winter bike. Ironically I have hydraulic on my Summer best bike. Will definitely be replacing them this Autumn with 105 hydro. 

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CXR94Di2 [2658 posts] 2 months ago
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I bought a genesis Day One with mechanical brakes.  Understanding that they would likely be poor, my god they were shite. 

I immediately ordered a full set of shimano Di2 levers and calipers.  Instant perfect performance with nice ergo hoods being di2 and the bike being single speed.

I ordered my hydraulic full brake system from german website, significantly cheaper than elsewhere. I had to shorten hoses and swap left to right being foreign wrong setup  4

 

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Cmonsta [2 posts] 1 month ago
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casperradil wrote:

my best bet for the best breaking mechanical disc brake (far better than any normal mechanical system, according to users) is juin tech gt - which I have just received (so cannot report on performance yet).

Heya did you like the GT calipers? I'm looking at getting a pair and I got severe sticker shock with the price. I'd imagine they're probably the best mech disc brake out there but what's your findings with yours?