Author Topic: Disc brakes without disc brake braze-ons, plus a wide choice of response curves  (Read 797 times)

Andre Jute

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Why the Magura HSxx hydraulic rim brakes are the very best brakes for a tourer, a commuter, a utility biker

I'm not keen on bicycle disc brakes of the standard type that fit to the hub. I find them uncontrollable and grimly demanding of attention if you don't want them to plant you on your on face on the unyielding tarmac. As an aside, even that function powerful modern roller brakes from Shimano performs more smoothly, less expensively, and with less maintenance. But for a tourer or a commuter, who wants low-stress brakes, both kinds demand too much concentration and attention.

Rim brakes are generally smoother and less demanding of attention in operation and maintenance in extended use.

Your standard cable-operated rim brake is in fact a low-stress disc brake, with the entire rim of the wheel as its disc. It is a component proven good enough by time. But "good enough" is the enemy of the best. It comes as no surprise, to me at least, that the thoughtful cyclist can do better still.

If you lust after hydraulic discs, and your bicycle's fork and rear triangle don't have fittings for them, there's a really fine touring hydraulic disc brake that bolts straight on to rim brake fitments. It is the Magura HS11, HS22 and HS33, so here's three pages of currently catalogued Magura HS hydraulic rim brakes in touring and urban, trail and high-power versions, in singles, sets, more complete (easy-fit) sets, with service and replacement parts (you can leave them off -- in 10000km I haven't touched any of the spares and maintenance bits I bought).
https://www.bike-components.de/de/s/?keywords=Maura%20HS
Voila, the best disc brakes for tourers, ever!


Magura HS22 hydraulic rim brake for touring and urban bicycles

BTW, my ten-year-old HS11 were chosen because they were less powerful than the alternative HS33 and therefore more progressive; the last thing a tourer wants when he is fatigued after a long day in the saddle is brakes that require conscious attention every time you apply them, under threat of a face-plant. The difference was in the size of the oil pressure chamber, larger and thus at lower pressure in the HS11 than the HS33. However, these days the HS11 and HS33 (and presumably the HS22 too) are operationally all the same, differing merely in cosmetics and fitting possibilities, though an external upside-down U-brace is available to stiffen the top of the fork above the caliper mounts and thereby stiffen up brake-response -- and thus make it more sudden. I have the brace -- in a box under a workbench, not on my bike, because it creates exactly the sort of attention-demanding brake response I hated on hub-centre discs and the best of the roller brakes. As you've gathered, I think you should leave the testosterone parked elsewhere when specifying the brakes on your bike, and in this regard the Magura HS system offers you the widest possibilities to tailor the response curve of any braking system known to me.

I have had all sorts of standard rim brakes, hub-fit discs both cable and hydraulic (both of them a PITA because they chewed pads at a rate of knots), roller discs both ancient and new (Shimano's IM70 series is superior to most, possibly all, of its disc brakes, but too sudden and too powerful for a commuter or tourer) -- and I have no hesitation in naming the Magura HSxx hydraulic rim brakes as the very best brakes for a tourer, a commuter, a utility biker, not only for the way they operate so smoothly and progressively and powerfully and securely, but because they are a fit and forget installation, self-adjusting, zero bleeding, zero service (the oil is sealed in for life, which appears to be indefinite, the fluid impervious to water), and my 10k brake blocks appear good to go that far again, perhaps twice that far.

Andre Jute 2017

John Saxby

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Thanks, Andre. I know about Magura from my motorcycling days half-century, and the name is synonymous with quality.  But...it appears that Magura don't make a version to fit drop bars, so I'll have to watch from afar. 

mickeg

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On a bike tour working on my bike in a campground, I would much rather be stringing my new inner cable (pulled from my spares) than trying to fix a hydraulic system.  I might have to tape up the excess length of cable with some electrical tape because I do not carry a good cable cutter, but at least it is something that will get me rolling again.  If I pass a bike shop later, I am sure I could get the cable end cut.

And I can't imagine anything worse than dealing with hydraulics when re-assembling my S&S coupled bike.

On my Nomad I am running some long arm low budget Tektro V brakes with S&S adapters, I needed these low budget ones to clear my fenders because the XT brakes did not have the arm length I needed for the wide fenders over my 57 mm tires.

First photo is the inexpensive Tektro after I installed it on the rear, second photo shows the XT on the front (that was later replaced) and how the cable rubs on the fender.  In both cases I am using a travel agent to allow me to use brake levers with the "road" brake type of cable pull.

John Saxby

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I use Tektro brake levers with my Shim Deore V-brakes. Both components are in the "unfashionable" budget range, as the British newspapers describe football clubs from grimy parts. They work very well, esp with Koolstop salmon pads (which are very fashionable indeed, even when grimy.) 


lewisjnoble

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Hello Mickeg . . . Working on a notsosmart phone at present, so difficult to see detail in pictures. (Been cycling in N W Scotland, of which more when I get home). But what is the wheel type device, cable feeder or whatever, on the left side / cable entry side of the pictures? My Sherpa has XT  rim brakes, worked fine on a descent of Bealach na Ba. More about the ascent in a few days time!

Lewis
 

mickeg

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Hello Mickeg . . . Working on a notsosmart phone at present, so difficult to see detail in pictures. (Been cycling in N W Scotland, of which more when I get home). But what is the wheel type device, cable feeder or whatever, on the left side / cable entry side of the pictures? My Sherpa has XT  rim brakes, worked fine on a descent of Bealach na Ba. More about the ascent in a few days time!

Lewis

That is a Travel Agent.  It allows you to use V brakes with conventional road type brake levers.  I use drop bars and have conventional road brake levers.
http://problemsolversbike.com/products/brakes/travel_agents_-_6416

Available with or without cable adjusters and available in silver or black.

I also use one on my latest touring bike build, this photo shows one without the cable adjuster.

Andre Jute

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On a bike tour working on my bike in a campground, I would much rather be stringing my new inner cable (pulled from my spares) than trying to fix a hydraulic system.  I might have to tape up the excess length of cable with some electrical tape because I do not carry a good cable cutter, but at least it is something that will get me rolling again.  If I pass a bike shop later, I am sure I could get the cable end cut.

Why on earth should you ever want to do all of that? Are you perhaps mistaking the HSxx rim hydraulic brake system from Magura for one of their needie-bleedie, pad-chewing hub-mount hydraulic disc systems for macho men? The Magura HSxx system consists of easy-fit, easy remove grips and calipers permanently joined for life, which by all accounts is indefinite, probably permanent, by a tube that you never remove or open because the system is never bled and never requires topping up (it is totally sealed and the "oil" is totally insensitive to water). The HSxx is distinguished from all other hydraulic braking systems by fitting the calipers on the forks at the wheel rims and applying the brake blocks to the rims.

And I can't imagine anything worse than dealing with hydraulics when re-assembling my S&S coupled bike.

That's exactly my point! I've chosen this zero-maintenance, zero-risk system because you're not dealing with hydraulics: you're dealing with a sealed-for-life black box, in which is it immaterial to you what the gubbins are because you'll never have to deal with them. All you need to know is that they work better and last longer than the other rim brakes.

In the light of that, I have a hard time imagining anything easier with an S&S coupled bike than Magura S&S hydraulic rim brakes. Study the photographs in the link I published in the original post. I suppose you could use a wrench to remove the grip from the handlebar, but if it were me, I'd replace the bolts on the clamp with quick release knurled or plastic-topped screws. With one scew loosened and the other removed, remove the grip and screw the loose screw back in far enough not to be lost. You don't remove the tube from the grip. Now wrap the tube with the grip attached around the fork, leaving the calipers on the fork with the other end of the tube attached to them; the calipers fit to the inside of the fork blades which will protect them. That's it at the front.

For the rear brake, it is surely not beyond human ingenuity to arrange that the hydraulic fluid tube runs through a couple of clips (or through a reusable cable tie), so you unscrew the grip, pull it out of the clips forward of the S&S hinge, and wrap the whole around whichever part of the frame comes to hand. Again, you do not remove the tube from either the grip or the caliper end.

That should take about a minute for both brakes, if your bike is properly developed, and screwing the grips back on and clipping the rear cable into a single or perhaps two clips another minute. Max. Are your cable brakes faster to dismount and remount than that? Do they need adjustment after reassembly?

To forestall the next argument: If you can crush or abrade Magura's special HS hydraulic tube with any force your bike is reasonably likely to meet, I'll give you my spare set, and pay the postage too.

On my Nomad I am running some long arm low budget Tektro V brakes with S&S adapters, I needed these low budget ones to clear my fenders because the XT brakes did not have the arm length I needed for the wide fenders over my 57 mm tires.

You don't have to accept cheap brakes on your bike. I operate Magura's hydraulic rim brakes (HS11 -22 -33) on 32mm rims carrying 60mm Big Apple tires and SKS P65 mudguards. You don't get any wider than that on a touring bike. No problemo.

First photo is the inexpensive Tektro after I installed it on the rear, second photo shows the XT on the front (that was later replaced) and how the cable rubs on the fender.  In both cases I am using a travel agent to allow me to use brake levers with the "road" brake type of cable pull.

I love your bike, George, but you don't need these make-do stratagems like the Travel Agent when you can have a more efficient, less bothersome, cleaner and probably overall cheaper brake option which has proven bombproof-reliable. Not that I'm trying to persuade you of anything -- I suspect your mind is made -- but simply to answer your points.

Thanks for helping me see that the Magura rim hydraulics are also an elegant solution to problems that arrive in the wake of S&S knuckles and to fitting efficient brakes around fat tires and mudguards.

CAVEATS
Only one man's opinion, of course, in view of a decade of incident-free service by Magura HS brakes and the fact that it is pretty hard to find a contrary opinion on the net. These brakes have been marketed for decades in a very competitive sector of the market, and Magura gives a five-guarantee. However, they don't fit most Thorn bikes because the brake mounting bosses on those Thorn bikes are a bit higher than the norm, as explained by Dave from the Thorn Workshop below. Check before you start shopping!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 02:46:01 AM by Andre Jute »

mickeg

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I have some prior experience with hydraulics from prior work experience.  Nothing lasts forever, if it can fail it will fail at a most inopportune time.


Dave Whittle Thorn Workshop

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Just a word of warning, most Magura brakes don't fit Thorn bikes, to get the most mudguard clearance we position the V brake bosses as high as possible so that the block on the V brake is at the bottom of the slot, the problem is Magura HS series don't have the same vertical adjustment as V brakes so generally don't line up with the rim well enough.

I would be skeptical of basing any decision on one mans opinion too, Magura brakes aren't 100% reliable, they can leak, overheat, flip seals in the lever and they don't come off very well in a crash.

Just my 2p! 

Danneaux

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Andre,

My (and John Saxby's and George's) preference for and use of drop handlebars mitigates against the ready use of the Maguras. The brake levers pictured on the model in your article are not directly compatible with drops.

If handlebar shape is a priority, then it is worth adaptations. For me, I need my hands with the palms largely facing each other to get the wrist, elbow, and shoulder comfort I need on 17-hour days in the saddle. The greater variety of hand positions becomes more critical over long riding days also -- moreso when weeks of such days are strung together without a break.

Dropping down to the lower part of my handlebars provided welcome relief from the headwinds I encountered the length of the Dutch coastline and on my desert tours. Drop 'bars are so essential to my riding, all my bikes are equipped with them.

The option just isn't there with the particular model shown unless I were to use a remote fluid reservoir, and then the lines would have to be unsealed and adapted. Also, handlebar tape makes it difficult to quickly remove and reinstall drop-bar brake levers.

Sads.

All the best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 09:18:12 PM by Danneaux »

Andre Jute

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My (and John Saxby's and George's) preference for and use of drop handlebars mitigates against the ready use of the Maguras. The brake levers pictured on the model in your article are not directly compatible with drops.

Magura did once have a drop bar-specific rim hydraulic brake grip, in the HS66 set. But it seems they decided that once they split the grip's clamp, so that the bottom half comes off completely on two bolts, that the new design will also do for drop bars. If you study the photo I published, you will see that fitting the grips on drop bars shouldn't be a problem, and that the multifinger handle gives plenty of versatility in choosing your mounting point. (On the important prior assumption that Dave has highlighted, that the calipers fit your Thorn fork.) The versatility of the new HS grips was pointed out to me by an HS66 user eyeing the latest from Magure in case he ever has to replace his longserving brake set (already old when I got mine nearly ten years ago), so I removed a caveat ("doesn't fit drop bars") from my original. Apparently the current agitation among the drop bar radicals is for a 90 degree adaptor for the HS brakes so the fluid tube can go under the bar tape, and a streamlined hood mounting (1) for cyclocross and touring so we can all be fast.

(1) Rohloff is a bit behind the ball here. Maybe one of the aftermarket boutiques should build  a 90 degree geared knuckle to fit under the rotary control so the gear cables can be tidied along the handlebar together with the brake cables.

Danneaux

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:: Some related discussion :: wrt drop-'bar Magura hydraulic braking here...
http://www.cxmagazine.com/tbt-magura-hydraulic-cantilever-brake-drop-bar-lever-hs66-hs77-rim

Best,

Dan.

martinf

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My experience of disc brakes is limited to a few kms on a borrowed bike.

For my purposes I didn't see any real advantage over my current brakes, and I am with MickG in my distrust of hydraulics, though in my case it is down to unfamiliarity rather than experience, although I do remember my brother messing around with damaged brake hoses on some of his motorcycles.

I currently have V-brakes on my 3 Thorns, cantilevers on most of my old bikes, a mix of different calliper brakes (modern dual pivot and 1970's centrepulls) on wife's bike, Bromptons abd one of the visitor bikes, a drum brake on the rear wheel of one of the visitor bikes and a roller brake on the rear wheel of the other visitor bike.

All these brakes work adequately.

I haven't yet done enough mileage on the V-brakes to really evaluate them, but I suspect pad life may be less than on my old cantis.

Currently my two favourites are:

- cantilever, with a preference for the old 1970's and early 1980's models with wide arms that stick out, rather than the more recent but still old "low-profile" designs. I have done any tens of thousands of kms on these brakes with minimal maintenance, mainly limited to regular brake pad replacement and occasional regreasing of the pivots and main cable/housing replacement, the straddle cables are nearly all original. I also like the simplicity of cantilevers.

- drum. Sealed, so clean and unaffected by rain, pads last for tens of thousands of kms. Not harsh, like my very limited experience of discs. But rather heavy and with limited gear options.

Not very fond of the roller brake, but mine is a fairly old model, newer ones may be better.

Callipers work OK, but need significantly more maintenance than cantis, and the ones I have don't last so long. All my calliper brakes have plastic sleeve bearings that wear out and introduce play, whereas the cantis all have yellow-metal bearings that run for tens of thousands of kms without much wear

mickeg

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...
I haven't yet done enough mileage on the V-brakes to really evaluate them, but I suspect pad life may be less than on my old cantis.

Currently my two favourites are:

- cantilever, with a preference for the old 1970's and early 1980's models with wide arms that stick out, rather than the more recent but still old "low-profile" designs. I have done any tens of thousands of kms on these brakes with minimal maintenance, mainly limited to regular brake pad replacement and occasional regreasing of the pivots and main cable/housing replacement, the straddle cables are nearly all original. I also like the simplicity of cantilevers.

- drum. Sealed, so clean and unaffected by rain, pads last for tens of thousands of kms. Not harsh, like my very limited experience of discs. But rather heavy and with limited gear options.
...

I have used just about every kind of rim brake, a small sample of drum brakes, a disc on one wheel for about 500 miles, and as a kid I used coaster brakes.  I am going to refrain from comparing canti vs V vs sidepulls, vs centerpulls, as I think the are all quite similar, the main difference is how well they are set up and the quality of the pads used and the material the rim is constructed from. 

My favorite brakes are rim brakes on CSS rims.  My CSS rim brakes are not yet worn as much as others on this forum that have commented about problems stopping with wet rims.  Mine at times I think are worn to the point of being equivalent to average non-CSS rim brakes.  But, then I get on a bike with non-CSS rim brakes and I suddenly am surprised how good my CSS rim brakes still are.  I use Koolstop CSS pads.  If my CSS rim brakes got to the point that they were problematic in the wet (as commented by others), I would be tempted to try a softer brake pad instead of continuing to use a CSS specific pad.

Disc vs rim brakes.
  Disclaimer:  I only have about 500 miles of experience with a disc.  My latest new build has a frame that is disc only, I fitted a fork to that frame with canti brake posts.  This was my first disc, so I spent some quality time on google searches looking for brake reviews.  The BB7 appeared to be an old favorite, but TRP Spyre was a new one that is gaining more and more fans.  I bought the TRP Spyre 160mm (rear), they strongly recommended compression-less brake housing which I used (Aztec brand).  On this bike I am using XT V brake with travel agent in the front, and Koolstop Salmon pads (in part based on recommendation from Dan) on Dyad rim.  My observation with this bike is unique in that I can compare the TRP Spyre disc on rear and V brake (salmon Koolstop on Dyad) in the front.  I find that my disc and rim brake are almost identical in the dry.  But the one thing that I really noticed is for hard braking where I needed to decelerate more than typical, the V brake worked better than the disc in dry conditions, the disc appeared to have an upper limit for how much braking power it has.  I did not brake hard enough to break the tire loose from the pavement (skid), thus I think my comments on disc vs rim brake is not due to one being in the front and one being in the rear.  Wet riding, the disc clearly outperforms.  That said, these opinions on disc vs rim are based on only 500 miles (~800 km), so my opinion may change.

Since the TRP Spyre is pretty new, I attached two photos.  It is a cable operated brake, the pads on both sides move inwards to the disc instead of only one side.  I got the Spyre from SJS so I know they stock them. 

If anyone that really loves hydraulics was interested, TRP also makes a hydraulic brake unit that is cable operated. 
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 05:43:52 PM by mickeg »

pavel

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mickeg ... on which bike is that.  IT seems a very different location for the brakes compared to most  mounts and the Thorn way of it. The cable routing seems a bit strained but otherwise seems to be well thought out for rack clearance. Any thoughts with respect to the mounting location on the frame?

Is that Titanium?  If "steel is real" does that mean titanium is unreal?  ;)