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Looking at new brakes... Suggestions?

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3/4/2010 8:39 AM

My bike is almost ready to go for the season, but I am missing brakes. A while back I (regretfully) sold my Codes to a friend in need. I was definitely happy with them. I am thinking about getting elixers because they are cheap, and I support avid stuff. My friends keep talking me out of avid, I have heard of a lot of MC issues, and that they are high maintenance. So I am thinking about shimanos. Saints would be ideal, but maybe slx? I could swing getting saints, but they are just so expensive.



3/4/2010 8:40 AM

this is going on a 36lb 7" bike that will raced DH.


3/4/2010 8:52 AM

Did you think about XT ones? Powerful, lighter than the Saint and also lighter cost.


3/4/2010 9:10 AM

actually, for me the XTs and the saints are the same price... I LOVED the power of the codes, I had no arm fatigue when i was riding. I also considered alfine brakes at one point, i hear they are as strong as XT, but they are hard to find these days.


3/4/2010 9:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 3/4/2010 9:28 AM

IMO Formula has the most dialed brakes out there right now. I've got the new Ones on my 7" bike. They are lighter than anything Shimano or Avid make and embarrass the Codes in terms of power and modulation. To cap it off they have nice top load pads, dual mc bleed ports, and they are stout as hell. The Ones are expensive though. If you can't swing those their entry level DH/FR brake is the Mega. They also have a new option in the middle called The One FR that has the caliper from The One and lever from the RX. If you get a chance to try out any Formula brakes give it a shot. They're not screwing around.


3/4/2010 9:30 AM

The RX's are affordable... there is NO WAY i can get The Ones. My friends keep recommending shimanos.


3/4/2010 9:36 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

The Hayes Aces look pretty snazzy . . .


Great stopping power too. Or you could hold out for the Primes.


3/4/2010 10:26 AM

I'm also a very big fan of Shimano brakes. The new Saint brakes are all you will ever want from a brake and then some. Its hard to explain, but they just feel right.


3/4/2010 11:15 AM

You can't really get better brakes than Formula R1's but they will cost you an arm and a leg.
I have always used Avids and at the moment I've got a pair of elixir CR's which I haven't had the chance to test properly yet but they look sweetsmile

My advice would be if you go for avids go for the elixirs and not the code. The codes are heavy and in my experience not that reliable.

Otherwise the saints are ment to be great!


3/4/2010 11:41 AM

i have been pretty pleased with my xt's. decent power and lots of modulation. they havent required much maintenance either. thats my experience and i bet saints would be similar, although i have really wanted to try the mega power of the codes!


3/4/2010 11:48 AM

you really cant go wrong with any shimanos... i personally would get xtr because you have a light 7 inch- same thing as xt just lighter. if you had a heavier dh frame with a triple crown fork i would get saint. saints are 4 piston, while xt/xtr are 2 pistion. i think 4 pistons can be overkill sometimes.


3/4/2010 12:02 PM

axel wrote:

you really cant go wrong with any shimanos... i personally would get xtr because you have a light 7 inch- same thing as xt ...more

Keep in mind the XTR levers are different and give up some of the adjustments to be lighter than the XT. The lever feel is a bit different as well.

XTs and Saints have a similar feel at the lever, but the Saints have way more power. The power comes on less aggressively than my Codes used to. If you want a ton of power, Saints have it, but still have great modulation. Keep in mind that the Saints have 2 different size pistons, one pair of those pistons being smaller to give more initial modulation rather than just on/off power. Tough to go wrong with any of them. I have run Saints on most of my bikes but ran some XTs on my DH for a bit and they were great. Just some of my observations about the different Shimanos from my experiences.

All of the brakes you are looking into are nice quality and it will be tough to go wrong.


3/4/2010 1:00 PM

hmmm still sounds like people are steering me towards shimano.


3/4/2010 4:44 PM



3/4/2010 8:16 PM

I was an Avid guy for a while. Then I did a stint on Shimano. I've owned multiple Shimano brakes the last couple years. I've now jumped fully onto the Formula bandwagon. It's the only disc brake brand I promote to my friends and customers now. Every Shimano brake I've ridden (old LX, Saint, XT, XTR, new XT, XTR, SLX, and Saint) doesn't hold a candle to the Formulas.


3/4/2010 9:30 PM

Formula The One, 7" rotors. Light, strong, not cheap. Do it.


3/4/2010 10:13 PM

Just remember Alex, Patrick's best season ever was on an old blown out set of Hayes nines, so sometimes being able to slow down isn't the best way to go fast.

On the other hand, that is the worst advice ever. Better advice would be to suggest that no brake is easier to bleed than shimano, and they are really well thought out. My vote is for saints, or maybe codes if you're gonna go the ebay route.

Let's ride sometime.


3/5/2010 2:57 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

For there is Shimano Saint thy shall have no Gods above it!

Saints provide lots lots loooots of power at minimal fade. Its actualy dangerous for your discs, as the calipaers just want more all the time... they dont fade almost at all. A person who is unfamiliar with the conditions under which a rotor gets cooked, should not buy these. This power (probably thanks to servo wave lever) is just under the perfect control unlike Hayes. Despite the such lots of power, you can easily control it: even a worn tire on a steep muddy descent can be easily kept at the edge of wheel-lock - no probs.

They have issues though... all Shimanos with servowave are terrible to bleed (especially Saints), or you buy bleeding kit or prepare for at least half an hour per brake. Bleeding is really tricky with them.

THOUGH! When Shimanos pick up air in the system, it's not like they get spongy and loose 90% the power. Just pump them up with the lever at the top of every descent and get at least 70% of power back. That basicaly means if you for some reason get air in the system suddenly in the middle of the day or weekend with no chances for bleeding - you can still enjoy riding.


3/5/2010 7:42 AM

Buying Hopes, Maguras, or Formula's is like paying extra for someone to kick you in the balls. Not that they can't work well, it's just a massive PITA to find parts in a pinch or find someone who is really familiar with them if . The formula's are probably the best since they share some avid hardware, but still, not the smartest choice. The only brake I would spend my money on are Avid's or Shimano. Avid's are priced right, feel good, are have the best bleed system out there. Shimano's (saint) are a little pricey, feel awesome, and while their bleed system isn't the best, they usually take a bleed pretty well. Reliability wise I would say they are pretty comparable. The Shimano levers tend to develop leaks, as did my last set of code levers. The new Avid dh brake is forthcoming, you might not be able to wait though.


3/5/2010 8:08 AM

I have Formulas...the levers don't develop leaks like Fctry's brakes. (I have had Shimano, Avid, Formula, Hope, and Hayes) I had a small handful of parts that I never used. Parts are 2 days away from Denver if I did need something. They are easy to deal with and I ran them on several demo bikes last year. Never had an issue...

This year I will most likely be running Hope on the Morewood demo fleet.



3/5/2010 8:42 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:11 PM

m3hl wrote:

The RX's are affordable... there is NO WAY i can get The Ones. My friends keep recommending shimanos.

The difference between R1 and RX is simple: Forged Calipers / MC vs cast.

Guess what? There is also a less expensive The One: it's called The One FR.

It has the same forged caliper as The One, but w. the cast MC from RX.

These are your brakes. Look no further.


3/5/2010 9:42 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

Never ridden Formulas properly (only: hey friend let me ride UR bike for a moment) and at the same time, never heard a bad word about them. Said to be the best power/weight ratio on the market with excellent feel and reliabality. They are expensive though (even The One FR) and above all you absolutely need the bleeding ki -t digging even more money from your wallet. If you find OROs k18 - that might be the best quality?price ratio from this italian company.

Saints are not cheap either but offer more power and less fading. I believe you can't judge which are better saints or formulas. Saints are stronger, Formulas are lighter, slightly more adjustable and easier in maintenance.

P.S. Saints are still lighter than Codes

To me Avids are just like Sram triggers, Truvativ cranks and bars: you have to like it. otherwise there are better choices out there (this tiny bit better, but still)


3/5/2010 11:00 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:11 PM

From my experience (for DH I have only had Codes and Elixirs CR) and they are both pretty good...

The weird thing is, that its common knowledge that the Avid brakes are fragile and need LOTS of maintenance and so...

In my case, I have been lucky, I used the Codes for a year, replaced pads 3 times, and thats it... No issues... The modulation on Avid brakes is awesome, thats why I love them...

The power on the codes was huge too... However, I did notice some brake fade, and also the other way around, just before a run, there were some times where I had to pump the brakes in order for them to function properly... Even bleeding them did not help...

This year, as the codes were heavier for DH Racing, I got the Elixir CR... Much lighter, the level feel and modulation is still great, (Avid-like) and the power, though not like the Codes, is enough for my riding...

And I have had no issues with them also, yet (They only have 3+ months on them).

However, I have to say they are not fragile at all... I have already smacked them straight onto trees twice, and nothing happened, just peel off some tree bark off them and thats it...

So, for me, Avid brakes have been real good to me... However, I can only give you feedback on that brand...


3/5/2010 12:29 PM

Well I really appreciate all of the imput. I still want some shimanos, but unfortunately my wallet is going to win this battle. I found a vital member selling new elixer crs for cheap. I'm sure they will be good for me.

The Ones and saints will still be in my dreams! Thanks again!


3/5/2010 3:04 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

Good for you! Its as always: theories, reading reviews, tests, and taking the bragain. Only big wallets take exactly what they want, and... you know I don't think they are happier Smile Quite the opposite actualy. Enjoy your brakes, have a good one!