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Cable disk brake calipers

Dick ScruttockDick Scruttock Posts: 2,533
edited November 2013 in Cyclocross
Can anyone advise me on what cable disk brake callipers people generally use on cyclocross bikes with Ultegra shifters/levers.

Any advice is greatly received, I have been tasked with building a bike for a friend and am looking to see if cable disks are worth it cost wise.
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  • The choice is between Avid BB7 road and Hayes CX 5. The Avid are slightly better, but changing the pads can be a bit of a job, while the Hayes have a magnetic holder, so it's easy peasy.
    Ultimately, the performance is 90% down to how well you install them... they all work nicely if correctly installed
  • warpcowwarpcow Posts: 1,448
    TRP Spyre are also worth a look. Even Avid BB5s aren't as bad as people make out, if budget's tight. They just take a lot more patience setting up.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    TRP Spyre are better than BB7; dual piston, a bit easier to set up, and far easier to change the pads. Also a little bit lighter if that's a priority for you. Downside is that they are more expensive. Similar stopping power, as far as I can tell, so go for BB7 if budget is a priority and you can live with the (minor) downsides.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Thank you for the good advice. I will start pricing it all up for him.

    Does anyone have any advice on disk suitable wheel sets? Not finding much choice for cross bikes. He would want clinchers over tubs.
  • Thank you for the good advice. I will start pricing it all up for him.

    Does anyone have any advice on disk suitable wheel sets? Not finding much choice for cross bikes. He would want clinchers over tubs.

    Get them built by your local wheel man out of components which can be sourced as spares. Online retailers are quick at selling you sxit that cannot be fixed outside the warranty period.

    I have built lots of disc sets based on the Novatec 711/712 hubs, which are pretty good
  • Thank you for the good advice. I will start pricing it all up for him.

    Does anyone have any advice on disk suitable wheel sets? Not finding much choice for cross bikes. He would want clinchers over tubs.

    Get them built by your local wheel man out of components which can be sourced as spares. Online retailers are quick at selling you sxit that cannot be fixed outside the warranty period.

    I have built lots of disc sets based on the Novatec 711/712 hubs, which are pretty good

    To be honest my friend I am specking the bike for used to be a wheel builder so after a bit of research I was going to see if he wanted to build the wheels himself.

    I had been looking at Novatech hubs and stan's iron cross rims and go for 28/28 or 24/28 as he weighs nothing. Have you got any feedback on the iron cross rims Ugo?
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I built two sets with Iron Cross (28/32 spokes, I weigh 88kg atm) on the Novatec 711/712 hubs, and I'm happy so far. Had to go a bit beyond the recommended spoke tensions, just so I could get the low tension sides tight enough to stay done up, but they've been pretty solid so far; feel pretty stiff on the bike, and haven't needed tweaking. I also went for aluminium nipples and thinner spokes on the low tension side; the wheels came out at almost exactly 1.4kg for the set. NB: I'm not advocating aluminium nipples in general, but as it's a race bike I was doing everything I reasonably could to keep the weight down.

    Clement PDXs and Vittoria XG Pros both mount up fairly easily (tubeless).This isn't an endorsement of XG Pros mind you, just reporting that they mounted easily :-)
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Not sure why everyone is obsessed with these 29er rims, which only take a limited number of tyres and they are really only meant to go tubeless. If you fit a tube, then you need to find a rim tape that actually sits in the rim bed and not to one side, then you have to find a set of tyres that actually are slack enough to go on the rim with a tube inside.
    For me, unless this is a competition bike meant to only run tubeless, they make no sense at all.
    In addition, most modern rims can be ran tubeless with a conversion kit, so even less need for a tubeless specific one.
    Most Stan's rims really need rim washers to avoid cracks and rim washers might need to be customised (read filed) to fit in the narrow holes.
    As you can see, I am not a big fan of Stan's stuff
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Not sure why everyone is obsessed with these 29er rims, which only take a limited number of tyres and they are really only meant to go tubeless.
    In my case:
    1. Iron cross are wider, which means more tyre volume (though A23 and other rims will do the same thing).
    2. Specifically designed to run tubeless, which means you can get away with lower pressure than road rims with tubeless conversions. In CX racing, ability to run very low tyre pressures is key.
    3. They're lighter (no braking track, no conversion kit, sealant weighs less than inner tube). Since you basically spend the whole of a cross racing accelerating and decelerating (and shouldering the bike up hills), anything you can do to drop weight, especially on the wheels, has to be a good thing.
    4. The only time I'm likely to want to use an inner tube is if I puncture on a training ride, or on the way to a training ride. That said, most of the time I train within walking distance of my house anyway, and don't even carry spares. I also like to think I'm less likely to puncture in the first place (partly because of the sealant, partly because tubeless tyres don't get pinch flats).

    I realise that some of my equipment choices will decrease longevity or increase the amount of maintenance I have to do, but I'm happy with that tradeoff for a race bike. My new commuting bike will be based around a cross frame with disc brakes, but will probably have Excellight rims with inner tubes, and will be built with brass nipples. Horses for courses...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    TRP HyRds are the best cable-disc brakes out there at present - they have none of the annoying pad drag you get with BB7s and loads more modulation. TRP Spyres next and BB7s a distant third IME.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • My friend who the bike is for weighs 52kg so base any rim advice on that weight.
  • As before, Stan's rims are light and appealing, but unless he plans to run his bike as a race bike with tubeless knobblies, they are a waste of time.
    It's basically down to what he wants to do with his bike: I use my cross bike as a commuter, winter bike, non competitive off road rider (also called cyclocross, I suppose)... I do change tyres frequently for different uses (the knobblies on tarmac are a waste of space) and I don't want a rim I have to battle with to fit a tyre.
    If your friend is 50 Kg, I would assume he will struggle more than I do to fit a tyre on a tight rim like a Stan's
    If however, he is planning on a competition bike, then Stan's might be the way to go.

    But don't let my advice stop you from buying the wrong product... :wink:
  • It will be his race bike, for use in the three peaks cyclocross and the northwest cyclocross league.
  • It will be his race bike, for use in the three peaks cyclocross and the northwest cyclocross league.

    Then tubeless or tubulars... they both have their own faffs... I prefer tubulars, as I know them better, others prefer tubeless as they have experience of those.
    I just hate having to battle with a tyre to put it on the rim... Velocity A 23 could be a compromise, as it is a tubeless rim, it's wide and it's 700 C, so it does take any CX tyre on the market.
    Incidentally in 2 weeks I'll have a set of near new A 23 non machined for sale... :wink:
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Isn't A23 road tubeless? I'm not sure on the details, but I think I read somewhere that road tubeless is not the same as off-road tubeless. Not sure what the perceived advantage would be of A23 vs Iron Cross (which have been specifically designed for cross tyres), but definitely do some research before going down the A23 route.

    3 Peaks is a different ballgame altogether. Have a look at the forum on the 3 Peaks website for discussions on tyre choice; some run their normal race setup, but durability is a big issue, and the most popular option seems to be Schwalbe Landcruisers run at very high (for Cyclocross) pressures, possibly higher than the tubeless setups can cope with. I haven't actually figured out what I'm going to use for 3 Peaks next year, but could well be a completely different set of wheels. Crosstop levers also seem to be de rigeur for that particular race (though you'll rarely see them at a normal CX race), so a certain amount of race-specific fettling may be required.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    Isn't A23 road tubeless? I'm not sure on the details, but I think I read somewhere that road tubeless is not the same as off-road tubeless. Not sure what the perceived advantage would be of A23 vs Iron Cross (which have been specifically designed for cross tyres), but definitely do some research before going down the A23 route.

    The A 23 is a tighter fit than a normal 700C rim, but it takes any tyre... basically it is down to whether the tyre you want to use is marketed as 29er or 700c . I would not attempt to fit a 700 tyre on a 29er as it won't go, or at least not without a battle.
    I am pretty sure the all Vittoria range are 700, including the TNT (tube no tube) ones

    But I agree, there needs to be more clarity on the subject, which at the moment is a bit of a hit and a miss
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I wonder whether the dimensions of the (700c?) Iron Cross are slightly different to the (29er) Crest rims. That might explain why you've had so many problems whereas I've found it fairly straightforward.

    One thing i haven't tried, come to think of it, is putting road tyres on the Iron Cross, I've only tried CX tyres (though you'd have thought the beads would be the same). I think I needed a tyre lever to get the Clements on, whereas the Vittorias went on without (could possibly have been the other way round). Neither took as much as 10% of the effort required to get a 21mm Conti Supersonic onto a SRAM S80, which took half an hour, destroyed two inner tubes, and nearly led to a noise abatement order...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    I wonder whether the dimensions of the (700c?) Iron Cross are slightly different to the (29er) Crest rims. That might explain why you've had so many problems whereas I've found it fairly straightforward.

    One thing i haven't tried, come to think of it, is putting road tyres on the Iron Cross, I've only tried CX tyres (though you'd have thought the beads would be the same). I think I needed a tyre lever to get the Clements on, whereas the Vittorias went on without (could possibly have been the other way round). Neither took as much as 10% of the effort required to get a 21mm Conti Supersonic onto a SRAM S80, which took half an hour, destroyed two inner tubes, and nearly led to a noise abatement order...

    I thought Iron cross were 29er too... Stan's world is a very confused (and confusing) one
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Ah! Just had a look at the Stan's website, and things are a little clearer:
    http://www.notubes.com/ZTR-Rims-C18.aspx
    In particular:
    Crest are 29er
    Iron Cross are 700C
    Crest are *not* recommended for cyclocross. In fact, every rim is either MTB or road/CX.

    So it looks like 29er is definitely a different size (presumably bigger) to 700C.

    I've seen a few people riding Crest rims on the CX circuit; I wonder whether they're using narrow MTB tyres or CX tyres (and massive tyre levers!) In any case, it doesn't sound like a good idea given the available alternatives...

    Ugo, do you have any experience with Alpha rims? I don't...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    Ugo, do you have any experience with Alpha rims? I don't...

    Never used them... never believed in a clincher that weighs 340 grams... I've had tubulars that cracked and they were 360-370.
    Apparently the newer are heavier and better, but still much lighter than the competition, which makes me quite nervous. If someone brought them in, I'd build them, but I would not source them or recommend them
  • Jon_1976Jon_1976 Posts: 690
    Monty Dog wrote:
    TRP HyRds are the best cable-disc brakes out there at present - they have none of the annoying pad drag you get with BB7s and loads more modulation. TRP Spyres next and BB7s a distant third IME.

    i'm thinking about changing to TRP from BB7's. it feels like the BB7 needs adjusting constantly, I took the wheels off last night to change tyres. Upon refitting the wheels, the pad(s) was rubbing on the disc. Previously it was working perfectly. Had a lot of rides where I've got home and discovered the pads were rubbing. The only thing putting me off the spyres, is i've read a couple of reviews thats say braking power isnt as good as the BB7.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    3 Peaks is a different ballgame altogether. Have a look at the forum on the 3 Peaks website for discussions on tyre choice; some run their normal race setup, but durability is a big issue, and the most popular option seems to be Schwalbe Landcruisers run at very high (for Cyclocross) pressures, possibly higher than the tubeless setups can cope with. I haven't actually figured out what I'm going to use for 3 Peaks next year, but could well be a completely different set of wheels. Crosstop levers also seem to be de rigeur for that particular race (though you'll rarely see them at a normal CX race), so a certain amount of race-specific fettling may be required.

    Thanks for the advice. My friend I am putting the list together for finished in the top 10 at 3 peaks this year and was top 20 last. I think for the 3 peaks he would just run his tried and tested setup he runs every year tyre wise on whatever rim we put his new wheels together on.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    If he's racing at that level, shouldn't he be racing on tubs? Tubeless are great but I don't think anyone would claim they're better than tubs; imho they're nearly as good as tubs but cheaper and much less hassle.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    If he's racing at that level, shouldn't he be racing on tubs? Tubeless are great but I don't think anyone would claim they're better than tubs; imho they're nearly as good as tubs but cheaper and much less hassle.

    He does not want the hassle of tubs, been speaking to him about it tonight over a few beers and the bike direction is now sorted.
  • Monty Dog wrote:
    TRP HyRds are the best cable-disc brakes out there at present - they have none of the annoying pad drag you get with BB7s and loads more modulation. TRP Spyres next and BB7s a distant third IME.

    I am looking for these but nobody has any stock :cry:
  • Ber NardBer Nard Posts: 827
    Jon_1976 wrote:
    i'm thinking about changing to TRP from BB7's. it feels like the BB7 needs adjusting constantly, I took the wheels off last night to change tyres. Upon refitting the wheels, the pad(s) was rubbing on the disc. Previously it was working perfectly. Had a lot of rides where I've got home and discovered the pads were rubbing. The only thing putting me off the spyres, is i've read a couple of reviews thats say braking power isnt as good as the BB7.

    I made the switch from BB7s to Spyres on my tourer/commuter. Took no more than 5 minutes a wheel and set them up perfectly first time - no disc rub and a lot less lever travel. I could even remove and replace the wheels with no further adjustment. The BB7s then replaced the Shimano brakes on my CX bike which were soon replaced with Spyres as I was so happy with them on the tourer.

    The next job was to switch wheels between the tourer and the CX bike. Now, for some reason, the brakes are a bit fiddly to set up. The tourer had Deore hubs with Shimano rotors and the CX bike had XT hubs with the same Shimano rotors. I baffled as to how two similar hubs can have such an effect.

    Power wise, I have to say I've not been able to tell the difference. I prefer the Spyres simply because they are easier to live with.

    Rob
  • Jon_1976Jon_1976 Posts: 690
    Ber Nard wrote:
    Jon_1976 wrote:
    i'm thinking about changing to TRP from BB7's. it feels like the BB7 needs adjusting constantly, I took the wheels off last night to change tyres. Upon refitting the wheels, the pad(s) was rubbing on the disc. Previously it was working perfectly. Had a lot of rides where I've got home and discovered the pads were rubbing. The only thing putting me off the spyres, is i've read a couple of reviews thats say braking power isnt as good as the BB7.

    I made the switch from BB7s to Spyres on my tourer/commuter. Took no more than 5 minutes a wheel and set them up perfectly first time - no disc rub and a lot less lever travel. I could even remove and replace the wheels with no further adjustment. The BB7s then replaced the Shimano brakes on my CX bike which were soon replaced with Spyres as I was so happy with them on the tourer.

    The next job was to switch wheels between the tourer and the CX bike. Now, for some reason, the brakes are a bit fiddly to set up. The tourer had Deore hubs with Shimano rotors and the CX bike had XT hubs with the same Shimano rotors. I baffled as to how two similar hubs can have such an effect.

    Power wise, I have to say I've not been able to tell the difference. I prefer the Spyres simply because they are easier to live with.

    Rob

    Thanks Rob, I decided to give the Spyres a go and got one today (I wasn't sure it would fit so just got one). As you said, it was a doddle to fit and is so much sleeker than the BB7. Unfortunately the faces of my bikes mounting posts aren't square to the wheel so the calliper was slightly angled when I tightened the bolts. So I had to refit the BB7 (as the CPS is required on my bike :( ) Shame, as I really liked them, currently got it advertised in the classifieds.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,133 Lives Here
    Jon_1976 wrote:
    Thanks Rob, I decided to give the Spyres a go and got one today (I wasn't sure it would fit so just got one). As you said, it was a doddle to fit and is so much sleeker than the BB7. Unfortunately the faces of my bikes mounting posts aren't square to the wheel so the calliper was slightly angled when I tightened the bolts. So I had to refit the BB7 (as the CPS is required on my bike :( ) Shame, as I really liked them, currently got it advertised in the classifieds.
    I'm amazed that the calipers don't have any wiggle room for frames that aren't perfectly machined. I would expect quite a few frames not to be perfect, either not machined square or paint on the faces.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    The BB7's come with a rather neat arrangement of cup/cone shaped washers and slightly oversized holes, which allows you to align the brake correctly, even if the mounting surfaces are slightly out of alignment. The TRPs have the slightly oversize holes, but not the washer arrangement (apologies, I'm sure it has a proper name), so they're more reliant on the faces being square. I wonder whether you could use the BB7 fixing kit (or equivalent) with the TRPs...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    The BB7's come with a rather neat arrangement of cup/cone shaped washers and slightly oversized holes, which allows you to align the brake correctly, even if the mounting surfaces are slightly out of alignment. The TRPs have the slightly oversize holes, but not the washer arrangement (apologies, I'm sure it has a proper name), so they're more reliant on the faces being square. I wonder whether you could use the BB7 fixing kit (or equivalent) with the TRPs...

    You can... I use the BB7 adjusters for the Hayes CX5 that came without them
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