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Swapping hydraulic brake levers left/right

GiraffotoGiraffoto Posts: 2,078
edited March 2012 in MTB workshop & tech
Some background. I currently have Avid BB5s on my bike, and had been idly thinking that when the OEM pads wore out I might just replace the whole shebang with a set of hydraulic brakes, if there was anything good and relatively cheap available. It turns out that something is: I can get Shimano Deore M596s (assembled, front and rear) for about £75 the pair or the cheaper M446 for about £50 the pair. Now for the questions, since I have zero experience of hydraulics . . .

Unfortunately, they're set up as left front/ right rear: not the way I like them. Is this a relatively easy thing to swap, or if I hand the job to the LBS, reasonably inexpensive?

Would either of these be a significant, noticeable improvement over the cable operated BB5s I have now?

Is Shimano's servo wave feature worth an extra 50% on the price, and what exactly is it?
Specialized Roubaix Elite 2015
XM-057 rigid 29er


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    it can be, but normally requires a bleed after.

    All covered in the manual.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    Performed a similar operation on some 595s in near-surgical conditions (the kitchen) and it was an unmitigated disaster. At no time did anything happen other than as outlined in the tech docs/every MTB forum on the Internet but some air must've gotten in and the brakes simply didn't work.

    Took them to the lbs they swapped/shortened/bled the brakes £15 each one.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,804
    Shimano are relatively easy to DIY bleed, even with air in if you are a competant home spanner man you should be able to fix it (bleed) easily enough.

    Current steed - Whyte T129, 2013 frame, mongrel Revelations, Giant dropper, Stans S1 wheelset. 12, Magura Trail Sport brakes, 1x11. 12.8Kg
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Servo wave is a nechanism by which the input you put into the lever is 'multiplied' up to 150% (shimano claim) through messing around with the stroke. It means that a linear feel to the lever yields more force as you pull. I think it actually works, not so much in getting the extra force, but producing a better modulation as you pull the lever.

    As for the line swap, its a 5 minute job and nothing to be feared.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
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