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Newb brake question


This topic contains 14 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  jcitizen 4 years, 2 months ago.

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    Hi all,
    I would like to replace the crappy Tektro brakes on my fatboy and am looking for any input on what I should replace them with.
    Are most brakes compatible on any bikes?
    Are there better brakes than others for winter riding (I don’t plan on riding in extreme cold)?
    I’m not looking to spend big bucks but want something decent for sure.
    I know where I can get a brand new full set of Sram Guide R’s with discs for probably $250.00…



    I’m uncertain about the fork on your particular Fatboy, but I can say putting a 180mm rotor up front really helped out on my Farley. I’m not the hugest fan of SRAM, but on my second set of stock ones and I’ve had zero issues in the cold. Running Saints on my trail bike I can say for certain moving to a 4 piston brake will give you an obscene amount of stopping power. Personally I’d start with an adapter and larger rotors. See what you think and go for new callipers and levers from there.



    Actually, it has a 180mm front as stock.
    Lack of power is only part of the problem though, the constant howling when wet is super annoying as well.
    I have already tried decontaminating pads and discs and lightly sanded the pads (but not the discs yet).
    I suppose I could try new discs to start and go from there but I think I may be happier with something else…



    If you’re already running a 180/160 rotor set I’m feeling like if you can get our hands on a set of Guide R’s with new rotors for $250 you ought to do it. There’s no reason aside from rotor size/mounting hardware and potentially needing to shorten the brake lines that you wouldn’t be able to swap them over immediately and see a remarkable difference in stopping power… Noise however you’ll have to expect either way. I’d just recommend bedding the pads properly in a dry environment before you set any expectations in the winter slop.


    secret agent

    I recently helped someone with a build and found a very nice set of XT brakes on MTB Parts finder on FB page. No rotors but $150.00 for the set with the finned pads. I found both my BB7 mechanical brakes and XO brakes both squealed like crazy in the snow. Neither pads or numerous adjustments helped. I am using XT brakes on my bike now and they will squeal here and there, but not that much and very infrequently. That is why I found the used ones for my friend.




    Thanks for the replies.
    The more I look into it the more I read that some noise will have to be tolerated in wet conditions.
    Secret agent what is the actual name of that facebook group? The link won’t get me through…thanks.


    Matty F

    Sram and Tektro brakes are both notorious for being noisy. It’s impossible to avoid the turkey gobble sound and vibrating feel. I mean, any brake is liable to do this if they are not worked in properly, and in the wet any brake will howl a bit. But from my experience there is almost no hope for Sram or Tektro. It is mostly an issue with the rotors, but once you start mixing rotors from one company with calipers (and adapters) from another, you run into other issues, or potentially just make the problem worse.

    If you’re looking for performance brakes on a budget, nothing comes anywhere close to Shimano Deores with RT66 rotors (or RT68 rotors if you need Center Lock discs.

    On that note, one compatibility issue you may run into is 6-bolt versus Center Lock rotors. Easy to tell the difference, but make sure you get the right ones no less.



    Thanks for the insight, I will look into the Shimano’s as well…




    I’ve had SLX brakes since July 2015 and they’ve been flawless – they just work. You can always upgrade to the finned pads after, but I personally haven’t noticed a huge difference. Shimano have worked well for 1000s of riders and they don’t cost an arm and a leg, so I’d just put out for the whole new set up and then forget about the days of bad braking.

    I’ll paraphrase an old Macedonian proverb “Poor man buys twice”




    I’ve had SLX brakes since July 2015 and they’ve been flawless – they just work.

    I will second this. After suffering with Juicy 7’s for years when I upgraded to Shimano it was a night and day difference. Have a set of SLX and XT M8000 and while the ‘look’ of the XT may be nicer the function of the SLX, for me, is next to the same.

    I don’t have a lot of time or money to mess around with kit so I like it when you can ‘Set it and forget it’, to quote a Ronco proverb 😉


    secret agent

    You guys are probably right. SLX is probably just as good. I did not offer it as an option as I have never run them. I prefer to comment on stuff I actually use.



    +1 for Slx brakes, been running them all year and they have been great. Currently have them paired with my old SRAM rotors too, I had meant to upgrade them but the combo has been trouble free and quiet so I haven’t bothered.



    If you don’t like noise, as has been said, avoid SRAM brakes. They’re loud. Nothing you can do about it. And it’s annoying has heck.

    I’ve had various brake systems over time and Shimano XT have always come out as the best value for performance on trail bikes for ON riding conditions. Saints for DH. If the XT goodness has trickled down to SLX, then they’d be your best bet…. I haven’t been on SLX recently to say for sure.



    I installed a set of SLX m675 on the weekend and went to the Don today.
    I kept the same stock rotors to see how it would go.
    They are such a huge upgrade all around and very quiet! No comparison at all…
    Very happy, thanks for all the info…



    Good choice. serious value and set & forget performance.

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