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V Brakes Vs Mechanical disc brakes

HadakaHadaka Posts: 68
edited November 2009 in MTB general
Hi all

Any opinions on the above?

I am looking at getting my lad a Specialized hardrock, or a Trek 3700 or the like. I can get both with V brake or Mech disc (extra cost of course).

I am sure I read somewhere in the past that, V brakes can perform just as well as mechanical brakes.

Just wondered if there are any opinions out there?

Cheers
Dave

Posts

  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    Mech discs can work well if set up correctly, but most are single piston with a static pad (which can need a fair bit of adjusting as the pad wears down) Avid BB7 (& BB 5) are probably the best mech brakes

    They can also suffer with cable issues (getting gunked up, cable stretch...) as can V brakes

    Hydraulic brakes usually need less maintenance & generally have more power than cable discs

    V brakes work well in some conditions, but not as good in mud as discs

    If either of the V braked versions are disc ready (frame, hubs & forks) you could add hydraulic discs at a later date although if the bike has integrated brake & gear levers you will need new gear shifters as well
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  • Andy_B summed it up fairly well.

    I like the feel of V brakes, although I did upgrade my commuter to hydraulic rim brakes sue to the cable V brakes being a little lightweight in the rain.. (I weigh 200LBS!)

    In the long term if you shop around you can get hydro discs at bargain prices. You can get Avid Juicy 3's for a few pounds more than mechanical discs would cost, so
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    I would buy BB7s over Juicy 3s (or any other entry level hydro) they have a load more modulation and while they don't have the limiting max braking power of hydros they are plenty powerful enough for trail riding.

    BB7s blow Vs away in all but perfect californian type dry conditions. Even then I'd still go with BB7s

    pad adjustment; loads of people complain about and I just don't get the problem. so you need to turn a dial once a month. And as for maintenance. Hydros are (it's true) pretty maintenance free ... right up to the point when you have to bleed them, then they're a different story. If you know how (and have the tools) to set up vbrakes then you will manage with BB7s, the only extra tool you need is the torx for fitting the disc and adjusting the static pad and this comes in the box so happy days.

    I rekon; Good hydros>BB7s>entry level hydros>HS33>Vbrakes>shoe on the tyre
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • HadakaHadaka Posts: 68
    Thanks for the above, maybe I should have put a little more info.

    The lad is 13 and I am on a tight budget as I lost my job, so as nice as upgrades would be I will have to stick to entery level.

    I have been looking for second hand, but nothing in his size has come along as yet and he is desperate to get out again after outgrowing his last bike.

    So maybe its just dad putting to much thought into this :? and I should just go with V brakes.
  • tseniortsenior Posts: 664
    i've got bb5 mech disks and they perform fine, they do respond well to regular adjustment though: this takes all of 1 minute using a business card, allen key and torx screwdriver, i do it every time i have the wheel off.
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    Hadaka wrote:
    I am sure I read somewhere in the past that, V brakes can perform just as well as mechanical brakes
    I have some XTR V-brakes on my '96 Proflex and they are outstanding. Main reasons for this is that the front brake cable is no more than 30cm long, the rear brake is mounted on the burly chainstays instead of the flexy seatstays and the wheels are perfectly true - but this is not a typical setup.

    IME it's not unusual for V-brakes to suffer from less-than-perfect setups and in situations like this, a mech disc brake is usually more tolerant. Performance-wise there's very little difference; the disc will have greater ultimate stopping power but for scrubbing off speed and non-aggro trail riding the Vs are more than adequate.
  • KiblamsKiblams Posts: 2,423
    edited November 2009
    I run a single BB5 brake up front with V-brake on the back, and the BB5 it is a godsend in the british winter over V-brakes. I recently wapped forks with my OHs bike and had V-brakes front and back for a few rides, the scraping and grit noises drove me crazy and the braking was scarily inconsistent.

    If you are lucky you may be able to get two BB5 brakes, with cables and levers for £50 from ebay I had the joy of this last week :D now I have my BB5 back and the missus is sorted with two.

    Oh and I am 16st and have never needed more power than I get from my single BB5.
  • v-brakes are fine.

    They work well, a little worrying in the wet, but work with good pads. Just make sure you keep the rims and pads clean after every wet ride.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I would buy BB7s over Juicy 3s (or any other entry level hydro) they have a load more modulation
    You must have ridden a badly set up juicy 3 system - modulation and power are not among their weaknesses.
  • Just wanna check are you buying him a new brake? or a new bike since he out grown his old one? as wouldn't be better asking us about the whole bike package?
  • HadakaHadaka Posts: 68
    Just wanna check are you buying him a new brake? or a new bike since he out grown his old one? as wouldn't be better asking us about the whole bike package?

    I am buying him the whole bike, but from what I can tell, most bikes in my budget are about the same in spec. he will be on a 15/16" frame depending on manufacturer

    To me it looks like the specialized hardrock disc is the best value at £349 as most of the compitition comes in around £375

    But if I go V brake it seems to be around the £300 mark or a little less, thats why I asked about brake performance.

    Unless of course you can sugest something better for me to look at :)
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    I would buy BB7s over Juicy 3s (or any other entry level hydro) they have a load more modulation
    You must have ridden a badly set up juicy 3 system - modulation and power are not among their weaknesses.

    they were set up by my LBS, or by Yeti, or who ever does such things on new bikes (perhaps by Avid themselves). But I didn't say the modulation is bad on J3s only that BB7s are better IME. As for power, I accept that hydros have more ultimate stopping power (thought I said that...) but that BB7s provide what I need for trail riding.

    OTOH looking at new prices, BB7s can be more expensive than entry level hydros (after factoring in decent levers and cables) so it stands to reason that they should offer something extra
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • But they dont bomber..

    Juicy 3 are really good brakes when set up well..(and please don't expect the bike shop to do this. i swear 60% of bike mechanics are more interested in where the next next cup of tea is rather than getting them just right) there easily better modulated with more effective power than any cable brake
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    I expect your BB7s were badly set up :wink:
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    they were set up by my LBS, or by Yeti, or who ever does such things on new bikes (perhaps by Avid themselves).
    I'm shocked that you think Yeti, or Avid are responsible for setting up your brakes.
  • I read that OEM brakes come from manufacturers like Avid/Shimano/Hayes with the required hose lengths and pre-bled by the manufacturer
    I've read many a write up about the hit and miss situation when it comes to "factory bleeds" - I recently purchased some Avid Code 5's for my AM bike and read the reviews on MTBR.com before buying. Most owners complained about the factory bleeds and got the brakes whistling dixie by bleeding the brakes themselves or sending the bike to a reputable bike shop to undertake the task..
    My AM came with Juicy 3's and the rear needed to be bled, but I replaced them with Code 5's as per above.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Whether thay're factory bled or not, they're still fitted to the bikes at the shop, in almost every case.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    V brakes can work well, and do work well for many people. A good set up in the dry will rival a good hydro brake. In the wet they are less powerful, but still can be adequate with good pads. Simple, light, cheap and easy to maintain and a better bet with a good fork than a bike with a hydro brake and nasty undamped fork

    Hydros work well when bedded in and set up proplery. It seems 90% of users have problems with this going on the 100s of posts we receive asking how to stop them squealing/rubbing/adjust/sticking etc etc.

    "To me it looks like the specialized hardrock disc is the best value at £349 as most of the compitition comes in around £375"

    There are loads of bikes better than this overpriced and underspecced machine. Have a look at the Carrera Kraken and Decathlon Rockrider 5xc and 5.3.
  • JamesBrckmnJamesBrckmn Posts: 1,360
    I agree with with supersonic - there are much better bikes than hat you are looking at out there. I have a rockrider 5xc (£370) which is brilliant. It has hydro discs, is lighter and has better forks than the hardrock disc.
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