Which Disc Brakes are best?


Coburn

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Aug 18, 2019
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Kenevo 2019
What brakes do you ride and would you recommend them?

I have ridden all makes over the years but mostly on analogue bikes in the early days of disc brakes i had some Hope brakes which use to heat up under load and you had to slacken off the pot at the brakes lever to stop them locking up. Most analogue bikes i had i just opted for 2 pot XT and never really had any issue with reliability or performance now i am on a ebike brakes get more of a thrashing and performance isn’t always were I want it to be.

Currently riding a Kenevo with 4 pot XT's which i upgraded from the stock Sram Code. I did this as i have always viewed XT as bench mark kit in hindsight i think the Sram Code's had the edge on the XT's.

Hope's Tech 3 V4 always look good but never seem to score that well in review's does anybody ride them and what is your experience. Also on the Hope's it seems to be a while since they released anything new, are they a little dated? and does anybody know if there is anything new in the pipeline?
 
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davarello

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2018
305
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19 TL Comp
Highly subjective topic, but best brakes for me are the ones that stop the bike smoothly and quietly. Currently using the Guide RE's after years on various Shimano sets and find them really good, maybe not as much outright "grab" as a 4 pot XT/Zee/Saint, but well modulated.
 

Rusty

E*POWAH BOSS
Jul 17, 2019
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2019 Levo Comp
Good question and as davarello says highly subjective.
Have never enjoyed Avid/Sram brakes and ditch them at the first available opportunity. My reasons are twofold - firstly with the dual pressure system they have they just don't have the feel of a single pressure system. While they may be powerful when working correctly they suffer from lack of modulation or even worse inconsistent modulation. Another issue with the dual pressure system is that they are a pain to bleed. The second reason I stay away from them is that if it rains 2 counties over they squeal like Zimmerframe when he drags his nuts on the rear tire.
To be fair I have not tried the Code series.

Many people tell me the current generation Hope brakes are pretty awesome. I know many Sram users ditch their rotors and run Hope floating rotors to reduce squeal.

Me, I run Shimano currently with 4 piston 8020 series. On my carbon analogue I have DeoreXT 2 pots as they get the job done.

Used to run Hayes which many people disliked as I found that while they were not as quite powerful as others the modulation was superb.
 
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Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
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Specialized Levo
I have no issues with Guide REs.…...the biggest difference to braking in my experience comes from properly conditioning the pads.
 
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Dax

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May 25, 2018
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This is a little like asking 'which religion is best', lots of people have very strong ideas.

Personally I like shimano because they are cheap, powerful and extremely reliable. I dislike sram because when they were avid, they were a nightmare to bleed and very unreliable. Maybe they are better now, I have codes on my kenevo and they still work, and have pretty decent modulation.

I've always liked the XT 2 pots, ridden them a lot in Canada and didn't run out of brakes, ran them in morzine this summer and did run out of brake, so switched over to saints mid week, no messing around, they are powerful. Saints are probably overkill for UK, unless you're very chunky and ride very big descents. Not tried the xt 4 pots yet, maybe next.

I really liked the hopes I tried, great brakes, great power, great feel. Super expensive and I don't understand the model lineup, so I stick with shimano.
 

HORSPWR

E*POWAH Master
May 23, 2019
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Merida e160 900e
Whatever you get just make sure you get 200mm rotors and decent pads, that'll help you stop better more so than which brand of brakes you get.

I've only ever had Sram or Shimano so I can't comment on anything else, currently one of my bikes runs Sram Code RS and the other Shimano Saints, I prefer the Saints for bite and the Sram for modulation. My Saints are also quieter.
 

Al Boneta

Dark Rider
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Jan 18, 2018
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I have run them all and serviced them all in my shop. I have been running Hayes Dominion A4 for last year and half and they have the best lever feel, great modulation and all the power I need to stop my. It was a pain the ass finding the right adapters to mount them and bleeding them was huge pain in the ass the first time, but it’s pretty easy now.
 

thewildblue

Active member
Feb 14, 2019
135
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Trek LT7
I started on Shimano MT520s ( 4 pot oems) and upgraded the pads to ubers race matrix. These were just epic and as powerful as saints just without the adjustment. Ive since sold the Trek and now have a Levo expert with CodeR's. They are no comparison to the Shimanos. So I put in the Uber pads and they did improve. Ive also used the Guide RE's on my partners Levo, which werent as good as the Codes. Ive changed the pads also. The power is there on the SRAMs but you really have to pull the lever hard, they are quite linear, where-as the shimano are alot better on bite and retain that power. The shimano has the instant poke in my view. Ive also ridden a Levo with the Hope V4s, these are a great balance between the shimano and the Sram for feel, but have the power of the shimanos. These will be an upgrade for me at some stage in the future.

As for changing fluid, Ive had smoke off my pads, but the brakes have never faded like in a car with boiling fluid. Over time my shimanos got spongy, but a quick bleed sorted them out.
 

cozzy

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Aug 11, 2019
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Kenevo Expert
The code r on my kenevo feel a bit weak. Ive swapped to some saint calipers, but they still dont feel as good as a saint/icetech rotor combo, so the rotors get swapped out next once I sort the adaptors going from 200 to 203mm
I also rate magura mt7's very highly with the storm rotor.
I wouldnt fit hope brakes to my commuter bike, no power from experience.
 

DrStupid

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
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Jul 10, 2019
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Two Trances's and a
I started on Shimano MT520s ( 4 pot oems) and upgraded the pads to ubers race matrix. These were just epic and as powerful as saints just without the adjustment. Ive since sold the Trek and now have a Levo expert with CodeR's. They are no comparison to the Shimanos. So I put in the Uber pads and they did improve. Ive also used the Guide RE's on my partners Levo, which werent as good as the Codes. Ive changed the pads also. The power is there on the SRAMs but you really have to pull the lever hard, they are quite linear, where-as the shimano are alot better on bite and retain that power. The shimano has the instant poke in my view. Ive also ridden a Levo with the Hope V4s, these are a great balance between the shimano and the Sram for feel, but have the power of the shimanos. These will be an upgrade for me at some stage in the future.

As for changing fluid, Ive had smoke off my pads, but the brakes have never faded like in a car with boiling fluid. Over time my shimanos got spongy, but a quick bleed sorted them out.
I agree with everything here (at least where I have some limited experience based on my use of shimano deore, mt500 and sram code-r). I would add that I prefer the mineral oil based solution shimano uses. DoT brake fluid is nasty in my book, having serviced cars and motorcycles for years. I hate the stuff and wouldn't spec it... except when absolutely necessary. Its just my opinion however so please dont bash me. Lol.
 
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Kiwi in Wales

Short cranks rule!🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿
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Most people have very very different opinions on this subject.

I have tried SRAM, Shimano, Formula and Hayes but settled on the new mineral oil Formula Cura’s. I have been using them on my 2019 Levo since November last year and love the intense power they offer especially on the front. They make my Shimano Saints feel very ordinary on my 2017 Levo. It is a real eye opener jumping from the 2019 to the 2017 and and back again. It takes one finger braking to the next level as they are extremely sharp and very ‘on and off’ which I like but may not be everyone else’s ideal set up. However, If you like to stop in a hurry you should consider trying a set of these. Very easy to bleed and so far maintenance free after 10 months and over 2000kms. Have used one set of sintered pads so far.

Formula Cura 4 pot on the front with a 220mm rotor
Formula Cura 2 pot on the rear with a 203mm rotor

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Swissrider

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2018
297
173
Switzerland
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Kenevo
E-Mountainbike magazine did an exhaustive test (which you can read online) of 14 brakes both in the lab and outside. A couple of things really struck me; properly bedding in pads gain 20% in power and “in our tests fitting the Trickstuff Power+ brake pads to the SRAM Code R resulted in a 20% improvement in average braking torque, and an average of 18% improvement in deceleration times.”
 

Rusty

E*POWAH BOSS
Jul 17, 2019
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2019 Levo Comp
E-Mountainbike magazine did an exhaustive test (which you can read online) of 14 brakes both in the lab and outside. A couple of things really struck me; properly bedding in pads gain 20% in power and “in our tests fitting the Trickstuff Power+ brake pads to the SRAM Code R resulted in a 20% improvement in average braking torque, and an average of 18% improvement in deceleration times.”
Was a good article that I think a lot of people would benefit from reading.
Personally I don't particularly look for the absolute greatest braking power as even though a big unit at 112kg and needing decent power I need good feel and modulation more than anything. While total power is good - and critical for say DH racers, the ability to gently modulate the rear brake to set ones self up for a corner, to just gently squeeze the front to get the knobs to bite on an off-camber or to feather the rear brake to aid in traction when the rear tire breaks loose on a sketchy, slippery climb is what I like in a brake set.

Oh, and none of that damned Avid/SRAM squealing if humidity is higher than 50%.
 

Pukmeister

Member
Jul 18, 2019
282
53
Fareham
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Trance-E +2 Pro
As a noob coming from 2 pots on my old Specialised hardtail to 4 pots on 203mm rotors (albeit the stock Shimano BR-MT520 which are fairly 'budget') the stopping power and modulation are pretty impressive, and improving with use as the pad material beds in. Tyre grip is more of an issue than power at present. I may fit metal pads in place of organic later for a bit more power if I ever find them lacking..