Moving from hydraulic to wire-pull brakes?


Purveyor of fine nonsense
I currently have Giant MPH brakes on my '06 Giant XTC Composite. They were fine for the first year, but then started to play up - they need bleeding all the time and seem to lock up in hot weather, requiring more bleeding, then they go spongy, requiring a full oil change, etc, etc. In other words, they are the devil's own nuisance.

I sold the MPHs on EBay and "upgraded" to shimano deore front & rear - but they are getting to be a pain the arse too!

I like disc brakes because (a) they seem to be better than V-brakes and (b )new rotors are a lot cheaper than new rims + a wheel rebuild!

So ... I'm thinking of selling the shimanos on EBay too and switching to wire-pull disc brakes to get away from all that infernal faffing around with hydraulic brakes. Does anyone here ride an MTB with decent (i.e. not BSO-style) wire-pull disc brakes? and do you rate them? Are they low maintenance? (I would imagine that they just need to be kept well-lubed and adjusted every so often to compensate for cable stretch).


Senior Member
Heard good things about Avid BB7s.

But I wonder what's going on with your hydraulics. Have the bike upside down a lot?


Purveyor of fine nonsense
Heard good things about Avid BB7s.

But I wonder what's going on with your hydraulics. Have the bike upside down a lot?

not upside down, but I do transport it sideways in the back of the car; I know that's a problem - although I am loathed to buy an expensive bike rack for the sake of the disc brakes when the bike will fit perfectly well on its side in the back of the car!

As regards the Avids, I've read good things about them too - I might stick a BB7 on the front and a BB5 on the back (save myself £15).


Post of The Year 2009 winner
Bromley, Kent
I ride with BB7s on all my bikes. No lube required as yet (and not entirely sure where you'd put it if it was - presumably in the cable housing?).
In over 9000 miles (mostly road), I've adjusted them exactly ONCE for cable stretch, and that was 2 weeks after their initial fitting.

You do (however) have to adjust for WEAR on the actual pads themselves. This is pretty easy (dial in or out, both sides until they almost touch the rotor when relaxed) and takes about 10 seconds. I do it once every 600 miles or so.
Keep the rotors clean (of course) and they'll last for ages. Still on original rotors, but about to start on third set of pads now.

Pad replacement is just a case of keeping an eye on the amount of surface left, and changing it before braking is compromised. Every 3000 miles works for me, but I have been known to play a little longer.
Once they start to make a dinging noise, that's the release clip hitting the rotor spokes. Replace them pronto or suffer viciously degraded braking abilities.

Oh, and if you need to buy a new rotor and pads at any time, its often just as cheap to buy the whole damn thing. I got quoted £25 for the rotor and £20 for the pads, when a retail boxed caliper, pads, rotor (and very handy tool to adjust things) was only about £47 delivered.
I get through front pads quicker than rear, and on the SMGTe (with trailer) quicker than the Furai, so have been known to bounce a set of pads between bikes for months when I know one is near dead.


Don't do it. Sort out what you have and ensure it all works. When you ship your bike keep it "sort of" upright if poss and keep your hands off the levers till it's out.


Über Member
The only cable disks I've had - Promax on a late 90's Bianchi HT - at their best were nowhere near as good as set of Deore's at their worst. Used Hope for a long time and not had any major issues and will continue to do so. Saying that the one time was turning up at Penmacho and the lever was back to the bar ie they had air in the system and that was after the bike had been on its side in the back of the car for quite a while (from previous day).

When spending 3 or 4 grand on a bike it seems daft to scrimp on the accessories. Now have a tow ball carrier, much easier.

Tim Bennet.

Entirely Average Member
S of Kendal
I've had Hope Minis on all sorts of mountain bikes for at least 10 years and they have been virtually maintenance free.
They certainly have never complained about being upside or inside out.
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