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What has happened to decent brakes on mid-tier mountain bikes?


Lang Frans
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In issue 6 of the 2019 Bicycling magazine, tech ed Jon Minster compares 6 Best Value Dual Sussers. Canyon's Neuron AL7 (R43k) walks away with the honours but Jon comments "The only negative is the brakes. On a bike that can go this fast downhill, you want brakes that can stop you just as swiftly. The bargain-basement Shimano MT400's are simply not up to the task"

 

This got me thinking. My very first MTB, Fudji's entry level hard tail, Outland Comp, purchased in the early 2000's came fitted with Deore brakes. My 2nd mountain bike, the entry level Specialized Stumpjumper came with Elixir R SL brakes, if you buy the AL Stumpie (R35k) today, Specialized gives you Tektro brakes.

 

Until not so long ago, Merida was very generous with SLX and XT brake sets on many of their mid-tier bikes.

Today, the R 35k model 120-600 will only bless you with MT 500 brakes.

 

If you purchase the Scott Spark 960 (R35k) today, you will get MT 200 brakes, The R43k model 950 will come with MT 500 brakes.

 

Titan Racing, so keen to capture more of our market, only offers you MT 400's on their R37k Cypher RS carbon bike.

 

It seems that the average week-end warrior has to rely on Silverback for decent value offerings. The R31k Stratos AL will add a decent wheelset (Stans Crest) along with more tolerable MT 500 brakes.

 

My question tonight, what do fellow week-end warriors believe is the lowest ranking brake set that one should consider on a mid-tier trail bike? You are welcome to give me your opinion for the Sram range as well.

 

Stay safe.

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I got entry level MT400 brakes on my cheap Momsen (and got a 2nd SLX set later on).....if I was paying R30-40k on a bike I would expect at least SLX level. But then again i suppose it all depends on what level all the other parts are...

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Should consider braking quality rather than just model. I’ve been super impressed with some really basic entry level models in the past few years. If they stop you fast, are reliable and easy to service I’m not too worried about the model.

 

But I do agree, there used to be clear 1,2,3,4 kind of levels back in the day. Bikes were either XTR, XT, LX, Deore or Makro.

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My pet hate; one of anyway. My oldish full sus 26" Mongoose (thank you Mr Minnaar snr) had XT brakes that gave no trouble, locked either wheel with moderate pressure and were quiet. I like to think I am the last of the late brakers so this suited me just fine.

 

"Upgrade" to a Giant Trance with Deore brakes that were lousy from day 1; poor stopping power even with hard lever pressure and squeal regardless of what agents, cleaning or pads I try. I have changed the discs and the pads to no avail. It was brought home to me recently on an overgrown and steep, well very steep, trail just outside Giba. Hard lever pressure and I still didn't feel in control.

 

It is enough for me to want to change the whole system but to what?  Are the new Giant (Sram?) brakes better?

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disagree with the deore hate.

 

Deore brakes are widely considered some of the best bang for buck brakes you can buy. There are plenty online tests putting them up against most of what is available today. They perform very close to Xt level when they are properly set up. They are in essence exactly the same thing as the Xt and SLX other than the ceramic pistons and the lever adjustment knobs on levers and some material differences for weight. most if not all the parts are interchangeable for that matter. if you dont use the finned pads...they even come with exactly the same brake pads. 

 

to ad to the discussion. I think deore brakes dont get added to entry level bikes anymore because they are too good and are harly replaced with upgraded brakes by many. 

 

ps, i still use a set of deore brakes on my latest mtb. They are a set that just keeps on getting passed down to the next bike. sure they dont have the best modulation but stopping power is no problem at all. Fine mine have better pads in and are properly bled and use them with icetech rotors....but they can plenty lock up both wheels on a 15kg bike with an 80kg rider on it. if I grab a fist full of front brakes on my deores without being prepared i'll go OTB for sure.

Edited by morneS555
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snip

 

My question tonight, what do fellow week-end warriors believe is the lowest ranking brake set that one should consider on a mid-tier trail bike? You are welcome to give me your opinion for the Sram range as well.

 

Stay safe.

 

probably the most answers you'll get will say Formula Cura's...but they will by far be not the LOWEST ranking despite their relatively cheap price. 

 

read this in its entirety and you'll have a good idea.

 

https://enduro-mtb.com/en/best-mtb-disc-brake-can-buy/

post-64325-0-20182600-1585294096_thumb.jpg

Edited by morneS555
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SRAM doesn't really play in the budget trail brake sector. The lowest level of brake for trail is the G2R (Old Guide R but with improved seals and pistons). These are about a R800 a side more pricey than Deore brakes.

Formula Cura can be bought for about R3500-R4000 as a complete F+R set so I'd go that way for budget brakes and there's nothing budget about them.

 

But I do like my Guide Ultimates and Level TLR's

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I think the reason is simple: Brakes have become very, very expensive. Even an SLX M7120 set is close to R5k these days. Code RSCs are close to R7k. That's a lot of money for a set of stoppers...

 

But yes, bike manufacturers are skimping to a surprising degree. My Stumpy Expert (retail R93k) came with a Guide R set, not what one would expect on build of that level...

Edited by LazyEnduroRider
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Don't get me started fellas. As one person of many that has the challenging task of speccing bikes, I can tell you it is no easy feat. 

 

Spec is driven by demand, but demand is tempered by price. Brakes are expensive, yes, and we as a brand always try to spec as well as possible within the pricing constraints. 

 

The real challenge in the market is the perceived idea that bike parts don't get more expensive as time goes by and therefore there should be stasis on bike pricing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Last year Shimano had a global price increase for OEM producers, factories increased their labour charges ( the Chinese are pretty well-paid) and shipping costs all increased. This does not even take into consideration the depreciating currency value for SA market.

 

What used to be a R8000 bike is now about R11-12k just a few years down the line. 

 

The reason for decreasing spec so blatantly on brakes and other places, is because the consumer generally expects to see a certain spec level on fork, cranks, shifters and rear derailleur for a given price, year model irrespective. 

 

Coupled with demand for other features (tubeless rims and tyres) on low to mid value bikes but expectation of the same retail price and something has to be compromised. The easiest place is brakes, cassette and chain. 

 

For us as Saffers, the position of our currency makes it really difficult to ride what we really want. Yet, in the global market, yes, there are unscrupulous manoeuvres to reduce bill of material cost for the sole purpose of profit increase. 

 

Our brand has always- and will always drive prices down through cautious speccing, negotiation and reasonable margins. We are not trying to retire off the first bike we sell. AND, we have still been winning design awards while providing the best tech possible for the category while not smashing the consumer's piggy bank.

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disagree with the deore hate.

 

Deore brakes are widely considered some of the best bang for buck brakes you can buy. There are plenty online tests putting them up against most of what is available today. They perform very close to Xt level when they are properly set up. They are in essence exactly the same thing as the Xt and SLX other than the ceramic pistons and the lever adjustment knobs on levers and some material differences for weight. most if not all the parts are interchangeable for that matter. if you dont use the finned pads...they even come with exactly the same brake pads. 

 

to ad to the discussion. I think deore brakes dont get added to entry level bikes anymore because they are too good and are harly replaced with upgraded brakes by many. 

 

ps, i still use a set of deore brakes on my latest mtb. They are a set that just keeps on getting passed down to the next bike. sure they dont have the best modulation but stopping power is no problem at all. Fine mine have better pads in and are properly bled and use them with icetech rotors....but they can plenty lock up both wheels on a 15kg bike with an 80kg rider on it. if I grab a fist full of front brakes on my deores without being prepared i'll go OTB for sure.

 

I have recently specked another set of Deore's on my own bike. I ride Enduro "style" trails and after getting the suspension and frame I want I had to start cutting back so I ended up with what I had before, although the newer model.

 

If you want to get the most out of your Deores, you need to use the same rotors specked on the higher level brands (they typically spec terrible rotors on "value" OEM bikes. Get proper size, If you ride steeper trails. Secondly,  get proper pads. Do those upgrades and you'll get XT performance

Edited by Bos
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I have recently specked another set of Deore's on my own bike. I ride Enduro "style" trails and after getting the suspension and frame I want I had to start cutting back so I ended up with what I had before, although the newer model.

 

If you want to get the most out of your Deores, you need to use the same rotors specked on the higher level brands (they typically spec terrible rotors on "value" OEM bikes. Get proper size, If you ride steeper trails. Secondly,  get proper pads. Do those upgrades and you'll get XT performance

 

My Deore brake set must be a Friday set. They have been to the Giant agents, with the bike, twice and have had their recommendations for pads fitted (after I tried a few options). I have upgraded to the icetech rotors and while the feel and lever travel is good, stopping power is just not there, never been there, compared to the older XT's. Wits end.

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Hi Guys, i would like to add to MorneS555's opinion of Deore brakes, Deore M6000 brakes have been receiving good reviews in the press for the price point, boxing above their weight.

 

I will give the MT500's an opportunity to prove themselves on the trails that I ride, should i end up disappointed i will consider Deores on 180 mm rotors with decent pads, thank you for the informative contributons!

 

In reply to Talk Wrench's reply - i find the speccing of components on bikes an interesting topic.I can appreciate that it is a challenging job as market share, reputation and the balance sheet are all at stake.

 

I say this with respect but i sometimes get the impressions that with some of the bike companies the account has more of a say than the product specialist when it comes to component specification. (An actual example is a Deore M6000 set on a R15k hard tail XC bike but MT 500's on their R37k FS XC bike.)

 

We do however appreciate the effort to keep the sport accessible and affordable for all.

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Hi Guys, i would like to add to MorneS555's opinion of Deore brakes, Deore M6000 brakes have been receiving good reviews in the press for the price point, boxing above their weight.

 

I will give the MT500's an opportunity to prove themselves on the trails that I ride, should i end up disappointed i will consider Deores on 180 mm rotors with decent pads, thank you for the informative contributons!

 

In reply to Talk Wrench's reply - i find the speccing of components on bikes an interesting topic.I can appreciate that it is a challenging job as market share, reputation and the balance sheet are all at stake.

 

I say this with respect but i sometimes get the impressions that with some of the bike companies the account has more of a say than the product specialist when it comes to component specification. (An actual example is a Deore M6000 set on a R15k hard tail XC bike but MT 500's on their R37k FS XC bike.)

 

We do however appreciate the effort to keep the sport accessible and affordable for all.

 

 

Totally agree!! FS MTB's are poorly specced  in relation to the hardtails. To the extent that its become obvious we're just getting taken for a ride with FS bike purchases. Signs of the bike industry trying to shoot its last foot off before the bottom falls out of the industry?

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