New brakes for my Fat Bike

one piece crank

Well-Known Member
#1
I’m nearing the end of the line for the SRAM Level T brakes on my 2018/19 Fat Boy. They “brake” fine (200/front, 180/rear), but have absolutely zero lever travel adjustment, lever feel is horrible in the cold, and they constantly rub requiring resetting the pads (sometimes after only one ride). They are well maintained and I’ve bled and adjusted them, but these complaints just never go away. I keep thinking of the DB7 mechanicals on my Banshee - they just work, every time, in every condition, and I have complete set-up control on pad clearance/lever-travel.

Help me find new brakes! I’m not sure what I’m after other than good, reliable brakes that set and forget. I understand brakes require maintenance, and I’m not at all concerned with that as long as they respond favorably to the service. So, what do I get:
  1. Mechanical Cable actuated ?
  2. A good decently priced hydraulic (way better than Level T) ?
  3. Or Spend whatever it takes hydraulic?
If you’ve got suggestions please explain your reasoning and a brand/model so I can read up on them.

Oh, one more thing, do any other MTB/Fat brakes allow for adjusting (larger) clearance between pad and disc, like Avid mechanicals do? With my DB7’s this always seemed a blessing in sloppy conditions.

EDIT: Just did my pre-snow/night-ride check and the Level T’s truely suck.
 
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one piece crank

Well-Known Member
#4
Matty - you liked the TRP’s better than BB7’s? My BB7’s have been bulletproof performers. I see there’s is a BB7 Mountain S now too, but it doesn’t have dual piston.

thegock - I looked at the guides, but one thing every hydro misses is pad/disc gap adjustability. Yes they self-center but you can’t adjust the gap.
 

mattybfat

The White Shadow
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#5
I did like the TRPs for ease of set up and the dual action. I wouldn't say they had a leg up on power, I considered it the same. Trps eliminate the mushroom knuckles for center because they had both pistons moving. Just center tighten done.

Dont forget if you want bling that Paul Klampers are also available.
 

shrpshtr325

Infinite Source of Sarcasm
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#6
Matty - you liked the TRP’s better than BB7’s? My BB7’s have been bulletproof performers. I see there’s is a BB7 Mountain S now too, but it doesn’t have dual piston.

thegock - I looked at the guides, but one thing every hydro misses is pad/disc gap adjustability. Yes they self-center but you can’t adjust the gap.

look at the RSCs i was under the impression that the contact point adjustment was adjusting the gap (but i could be mistaken)
 

shrpshtr325

Infinite Source of Sarcasm
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#8
i have ridden mechanicals, they came on my fatbike, i now have guides on that bike . . . . i disagree with hydraulic breaks sucking and would argue that mechanicals suck but since this is all opinion its not something im going to argue about . . .
 

mattybfat

The White Shadow
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#9
i have ridden mechanicals, they came on my fatbike, i now have guides on that bike . . . . i disagree with hydraulic breaks sucking and would argue that mechanicals suck but since this is all opinion its not something im going to argue about . . .
You clearly didnt watch that YouTube clip
 

NJLuke

New Member
#14
I have had some similar issues with Sram hydraulics in the past, so here's what I'd recommend for each of your points:
1. I see two advantages of this, and the first would be (as you probably know) is that they're far less finicky, Put them on and leave them, no bleeding, just swapping cables and rotors as you wear them. The other of course would be price off the bat, as well as running cost (no bleeding). I had mechanicals on an old gravel bike, and didn't touch them except for swapping the pads a few times. However, I've found that the stopping power, especially on ice, snow, and mud is just not sufficient for me compared to hydraulics.
2. This is the route I'd recommend. I love Shimano hydraulics, and even the base ones would be far better than your Level T's. Id recommend the deore model, which retail for $100 each (no rotors, but you could reuse your sram rotors if you wanted). The base Shimanos are still pretty great at around $50, but I think the deore are definitely worth it with improvements to adjustability and stopping power, with a lighter weight.
3. If you want nothing but fantastic stopping power, adjustability and a very light weight, you would want to do this. You'd be looking at SLX, XT, or XTRs which would ring up at $120, $150, or $300, respectively. I would choose the XT here, as it only weighs a few grams more and seems to stop exactly the same as the XTR. Many publications and myself sing the praise of the XTs and I think they're of the best disc brakes you can currently buy. I also would never pay twice as much for the XTR's over the XTs
All in all, I would go to your LBS and see about test riding a few bikes with these different brakes to get a feel which will help with the decision. I'd choose your second option, because hydraulics are definitely far better, especially on the slick conditions that you'd be riding the fatbike on. However I don't think you need to break the bank, especially on a fat bike that you're not trying to make insanely light.
I hope I helped you somewhat, and see you out on the trails,
Luke.
 

Pearl

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#16
This video and this guy is funny as shit. He curses enough that I'd want to hang out with him. Whats even better is that the video was from 2014. Here is what I took from it so you don't have to watch it:

- The guy is complaining about buying a bleed kit and spending $200 on parts, but probably spends that much a week on Keystone Lights at the Love's Travel Stop off the interstate
- Apparently hydraulic brake hoses leak all time, brake fluid boils, so much that you would never be even to ride it, wtf
- Pete has gone downhill mountain biking in Colorado but has the reflectors on his bike still with the same street slick tires the rest of the hobos ride
- Saying that hydro brakes are for attention whores, and same with 29ers. Then quicky justifies he's on a 29er because he's tall and bought the frame to fit his body
- OMG I'm crying: "Now, what the big latest and greatest craze is that everyone wants to have 27.5 tire bikes.....29ers aren't good enough anymore...Because Joes got it, and The Jones' have got it, and the Charlies, and the dickheads over here, and the prostitute on Harrys has one, so I gotta have one, and OMG I gotta have hydraulic brakes, thats a must...I don't wanna look like a DILDO RIDING MY BIKE WITH THE POLE GOING UP AND DOWN ON MY ASSHOLE USING MECHANICAL BRAKES"
- Hydro brakes are designed for one thing, for you to repair your bike
- "You can tell right here we are hardcore bike riders" Pans around to his basement where he probably has killed people in, has one bike stand and a futon in it.
- HAS ALMOST 3000 MILES ON ONE BIKE, OMG, THAT DOPE ASS CATEYE SPEEDOMETER
- His $800 bike is just as good as the $10,000 bike.

Matty you agree with this guy?
 

Patrick

aka Fidodie
Staff member
#17
instant cred for misspelling mountian (sic) as well as using the homophone for brake.
#legit

if ya want people to look at ya, gotta learn to dance like buffalo bill..

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