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Upgrading from 160mm rotors


RJClegg
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I recently bought a Scott hardtail MTB from Cyclelab. Whilst I enjoy riding the bike, I feel the brakes are not as good as the Shimano's on my wife's bike. I don't want to buy a new set of brakes (just yet) and am considering upgrading the rotors to either 180mm or 203's. I know I can't just fit these rotors on; I need some sort of adapter for the calliper. 

A few questions: 

1. Would this be a worth while upgrade or should I wait until I upgrade the whole brake set in a few months time (Maybe longer than that) 

2. Where can I get the needed adaptors? 

3. What's the recommended brake pads these days for trail riding?

Thanks all! 

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Would probably help to identify the brakes. Also it's worth noting that you get resin and metallic brake pads and they can have a significant difference on braking performance. Metallic is apparently stronger but you have to have rotors that allow them as metallic pads on rotors designed for resin pads is going to massively increase wear.

An important thing to understand is that on a hardtail something like 70% of your brake force is coming from the front so that's where you'll see the most significant gains. I run a 180mm front and a 160mm rear and find this to work well. I would say 203mm is probably excessive outside of DH. That said I recently replaced my ageing brakes and the new ones are better but it's not so much outright power as it is modulation (this matters but it's hard to quantify). They actually felt slightly weaker (or maybe just less apparent bite) at first but I think they're bedding in now and they seem to be getting better.

Also a good bleed is important. My brakes were getting very spongy so I bled them (poorly) and that's how I messed up my rear brake and ended up replacing them. A brake bleed is cheap and effective sometimes. And messing it up yourself can be expensive.

Anyway these are my thoughts.

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10 minutes ago, droo said:

First question, have you bedded tm in properly?

 

I did not, Cyclelab did not mention this and being "new" to MTB again, I didn't give it much thought until I cam across a GMBN video on the subject. I have ridden the bike about 40km since then; so I figured that ship has sailed for bedding them in properly. 

 

1 minute ago, BenGraham said:

Would probably help to identify the brakes. Also it's worth noting that you get resin and metallic brake pads and they can have a significant difference on braking performance. Metallic is apparently stronger but you have to have rotors that allow them as metallic pads on rotors designed for resin pads is going to massively increase wear.

An important thing to understand is that on a hardtail something like 70% of your brake force is coming from the front so that's where you'll see the most significant gains. I run a 180mm front and a 160mm rear and find this to work well. I would say 203mm is probably excessive outside of DH. That said I recently replaced my ageing brakes and the new ones are better but it's not so much outright power as it is modulation (this matters but it's hard to quantify). They actually felt slightly weaker (or maybe just less apparent bite) at first but I think they're bedding in now and they seem to be getting better.

Also a good bleed is important. My brakes were getting very spongy so I bled them (poorly) and that's how I messed up my rear brake and ended up replacing them. A brake bleed is cheap and effective sometimes. And messing it up yourself can be expensive.

Anyway these are my thoughts.

 

Thank you for that; very helpful. I agree that 203's sound overkill. I like the idea of 180F and keeping rear 160. 

 

For reference the brakes are: 
Tektro HDM275 Hydr. Disc, Tektro / 6 bolt / F&R 160mm

The bike: 
https://www.cyclelab.com/product/2021-scott-navajo-955-aluminium-hardtail-mountain-bike

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My opinion, and this is my opinion on the matter at hand. I do have some experience but I by no means know everything ????.

Tektro brakes do give issues after a while (a few thousand km's). Yes, bedding them will definitely make a difference but if you say: I feel the brakes are not as good as the Shimano's on my wife's bike. Do you mean that her brakes has a more ABS type feel where as yours feel like drum brakes? (Does her brakes bite and yours feel quite dull and unresponsive?). 

I would not go with bigger rotors, I don't think it will add much value, I am based in PTA and you're welcome to bring your bike if you want me to re-bleed them for you and or even replace the pads. Contaminated pads are normally the culprit for unresponsive brakes  

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1 minute ago, RobertWhitehead said:

My opinion, and this is my opinion on the matter at hand. I do have some experience but I by no means know everything ????.

Tektro brakes do give issues after a while (a few thousand km's). Yes, bedding them will definitely make a difference but if you say: I feel the brakes are not as good as the Shimano's on my wife's bike. Do you mean that her brakes has a more ABS type feel where as yours feel like drum brakes? (Does her brakes bite and yours feel quite dull and unresponsive?). 

I would not go with bigger rotors, I don't think it will add much value, I am based in PTA and you're welcome to bring your bike if you want me to re-bleed them for you and or even replace the pads. Contaminated pads are normally the culprit for unresponsive brakes  

sorry to go off topic to correct you. ABS does not give you more brake bite or better stopping power, ABS is as the name suggests, Antilock Braking System, it is there to prevent the brakes locking up thereby giving you the ability to steer around the object you are on a trajectory to hit.

Again, sorry for singling this out but it is a HUGE misconception and makes people think they can stop for anything at any speed. 

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8 minutes ago, RobertWhitehead said:

My opinion, and this is my opinion on the matter at hand. I do have some experience but I by no means know everything ????.

Tektro brakes do give issues after a while (a few thousand km's). Yes, bedding them will definitely make a difference but if you say: I feel the brakes are not as good as the Shimano's on my wife's bike. Do you mean that her brakes has a more ABS type feel where as yours feel like drum brakes? (Does her brakes bite and yours feel quite dull and unresponsive?). 

I would not go with bigger rotors, I don't think it will add much value, I am based in PTA and you're welcome to bring your bike if you want me to re-bleed them for you and or even replace the pads. Contaminated pads are normally the culprit for unresponsive brakes  

Thanks for the reply. I tend to agree with you on Tektro vs Shimano. Back in the day, I had Hope disc brakes (Like 12yrs ago or more) and they were really good then. I wonder how they are today?

My wife's brakes have a sharp bite to them and just "feel" better overall. My brakes have not felt great from the day I took the bike out the shop. Perhaps I should look at new pads + re-bleed + proper bedding in?

Appreciate the offer to look at the bike; PTA is a little far for me. I'll look at some GMBN videos on the subject as I do want to get more comfortable doing these sort of things on the bikes. 

Edited by RJClegg
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7 minutes ago, RJClegg said:

Back in the day, I had Hope disc brakes (Like 12yrs ago or more) and they were really good then. I wonder how they are today?

I still run Hope Tech 3 V4s that I bought in 2012. There is a good reason why the design hasn't changed in all that time. 

Definitely still at the top of my list for brake manufacturers 

Edited by Steady Spin
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8 minutes ago, ouzo said:

sorry to go off topic to correct you. ABS does not give you more brake bite or better stopping power, ABS is as the name suggests, Antilock Braking System, it is there to prevent the brakes locking up thereby giving you the ability to steer around the object you are on a trajectory to hit.

Again, sorry for singling this out but it is a HUGE misconception and makes people think they can stop for anything at any speed. 

No worries, I actually misspoke, I was actually referring to the difference between Disc brakes on the more modern cars vs drum brakes off a 1975 Beetle ????

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This is an interesting topic, as i'm in the same boat as the OP. Have code R's at the moment, and right off the bat they never felt 100's. 180mm rotors front and back, but the brake lever seems to just keep going, to the point where it's almost touching my bar. Adjusted the nut on the front of the lever all the way out, and its only made a slight difference.

A few suggestions have been to bleed them, as there's no way to adjust the bite point on these brakes. It seems like a bit of a costly exercise to do if you don't own the kit already, so back to the shop it goes. Bike is new, so its strange brakes have to be bled already.

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23 minutes ago, StevieG said:

This is an interesting topic, as i'm in the same boat as the OP. Have code R's at the moment, and right off the bat they never felt 100's. 180mm rotors front and back, but the brake lever seems to just keep going, to the point where it's almost touching my bar. Adjusted the nut on the front of the lever all the way out, and its only made a slight difference.

A few suggestions have been to bleed them, as there's no way to adjust the bite point on these brakes. It seems like a bit of a costly exercise to do if you don't own the kit already, so back to the shop it goes. Bike is new, so its strange brakes have to be bled already.

 

I think it's worth getting the kit to do them yourself (Still need to find out where to buy it) as this is something you will need to do more than once on the bike. I'd rather do it myself than drag the bike to the shop each time. 

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1 hour ago, RJClegg said:

 

I did not, Cyclelab did not mention this and being "new" to MTB again, I didn't give it much thought until I cam across a GMBN video on the subject. I have ridden the bike about 40km since then; so I figured that ship has sailed for bedding them in properly. 

 

 

Thank you for that; very helpful. I agree that 203's sound overkill. I like the idea of 180F and keeping rear 160. 

 

For reference the brakes are: 
Tektro HDM275 Hydr. Disc, Tektro / 6 bolt / F&R 160mm

The bike: 
https://www.cyclelab.com/product/2021-scott-navajo-955-aluminium-hardtail-mountain-bike

First point of call ... approach a decent LBS to get the brakes bled

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Short answer - do the rotors. 

If you do buy new brakes you are going to buy new rotors anyway. So fit them now, if it makes a difference, awesome. If it still doesn't perform the way you want, get the new brakes. You will not have lost any money anyway. 

Not sure on your weight, but if you are on the heavier side, go 180 back, 203 in front. No such thing as overkill unless you really want to save weight, which is minimal on rotors anyway.

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Just now, Hairy said:

First point of call ... approach a decent LBS to get the brakes bled

 

Thanks, however I have decided to give it a go myself. Just looking for the correct kit. 

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