Brake upgrade. Mechanical or hydraulic

matthewslack

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How long will disc break pads last vs rim?
I think I get 4 months wear from a set of rim pads at the moment..
I have had anything from 1,000 to 3,000 miles from a set of pads.
 
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WheezyRider

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Apr 20, 2020
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How long will disc break pads last vs rim?
I think I get 4 months wear from a set of rim pads at the moment..
I've done over 2000 miles on my Tektro disc brakes and I haven't had to adjust them or change pads - from last October to today and it looks like there is still a decent amount of pad left. I've been very impressed. I've got Shimano 200 series on the other bike with disc brakes and that also works fine still after 1 year or so without adjustment or replacement, although that bike gets used a lot less. I had cable discs on one bike I had and while they worked well in terms of stopping, I had to adjust cable tension every month or so.

With rim brakes I was having to change blocks about once every month, depending on the manufacturer. They don't seem to make decent long lasting blocks any more. Also, during that month, I'd have to adjust the cable tension every week to keep decent braking efficiency as the block wore down.

I think some of it comes down to the alloy type used for the rim. I always found the rear blocks would wear out much faster than the front, to the point where you could feel more travel being needed after a single hard braking event. So after a while I'd end up just using the front brake.

Shimano blocks seemed to be made of a kind of rubber not much more resilient than a hard cheddar in terms of life on the back. Those on the front would last a little longer. Sometimes the cheapest rubbish seems to perform much better than expensive "Swiss made" versions. I would still like to know of a decent block manufacturer as I still have several bikes that do not have fittings for calipers.
 
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WheezyRider

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No all are mix and match
Its only with the better levers you get the servo wave action. So you can increase power by marrying a servo wave lever to a basic caliper.
Calipers are pretty much the same a world over. they're just 2/4 pistons in a metal shell, and thats about all she wrote there. the innovation and power (For The Most Part, before you get to xt/xtr) is in the levers.

Its a bit like Hopes new tech 4 brakes. different pistons(stainless jackets) but the power of the brake is in the lever, so if you have an older tech 3 system(or earlier), just be keeping the same calipers and swopping the levers to Tech4, you can seriously increase the power of the brake.
I can understand that having a higher spec lever with a lower spec caliper works ok, but would the other way around be a bad thing? Eg, having a 4 pot caliper and running it with a basic lever designed for a 2 pot caliper - would you end up with really bad performance?
 

matthewslack

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I can understand that having a higher spec lever with a lower spec caliper works ok, but would the other way around be a bad thing? Eg, having a 4 pot caliper and running it with a basic lever designed for a 2 pot caliper - would you end up with really bad performance?
Probably lower power and longer lever travel. Latter becomes an issue if pistons retract further than ideal, which is not unusual with low end calipers.
 

Nealh

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I can understand that having a higher spec lever with a lower spec caliper works ok, but would the other way around be a bad thing? Eg, having a 4 pot caliper and running it with a basic lever designed for a 2 pot caliper - would you end up with really bad performance?
No one won't see bad performance.

I changed to a front 4 pot on my Roadrat build following the replacement of the rubbish Tektro braking I was getting on the Ute.
The Ute I changed both levers and the front calliper for upgraded M6100 servo assisted levers and 4 pot calliper but kept the 2 pot on the rear . Braking improvement is night and day difference esp with the heavier towing loads.

For the Roadrat I simply kept the same Br m445 levers and just swapped out the front calliper to a m6100 4 pot , braking is better then the std 2 pot. Std lever will work with upgraded callipers without issue, 20% better braking is that which is stated with just a calliper change only.

I also upgraded front rotors to 180 to enable a bit more braking improvement , I felt 203mm were simply too large and uneccessary for my usage. Unless one is downhilling or riding very fast then 203 aren't a needed upgrade.
160 to 180 is a nice improvement without the rotor size actually looking much different.
Rear rotors one can only fit max 180 but needs a 203 adapter where as the front one uses the same adapter and rotoe sizing.
 
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AGS

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Feb 12, 2023
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I replaced a Tektro 2 pot caliper with a Risunmotor 4 pot caliper on a 180mm front disc and kept the original Tektro hydraulic brake assembly. My braking improved and I don’t have any problems with leverage.

It’s still the same Tektro sloppy feeling as it was before. I am also not a Tektro fan boy.
 
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saneagle

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I can understand that having a higher spec lever with a lower spec caliper works ok, but would the other way around be a bad thing? Eg, having a 4 pot caliper and running it with a basic lever designed for a 2 pot caliper - would you end up with really bad performance?
I've never found a pair of standard branded hydraulic brakes that weren't adequate for a bike ridden on normal hilly roads, and I'm 100kg.. Even the low end ones are really good. I can't understand why anyone would want more unless they're doing downhill sport riding.
 

WheezyRider

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I've never found a pair of standard branded hydraulic brakes that weren't adequate for a bike ridden on normal hilly roads, and I'm 100kg.. Even the low end ones are really good. I can't understand why anyone would want more unless they're doing downhill sport riding.
Yes, I've found them to be good, even the basic ones with 160 mm discs. Maybe if you have a cargo bike hauling 1000kg, you might need something with a bit more bite... :)
 

matthewslack

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I was happy with my basic MT200s until I rode that Tern GSD the other week. Different world, and now I want to join it!
 

AndyBike

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Eg, having a 4 pot caliper and running it with a basic lever designed for a 2 pot caliper - would you end up with really bad performance?
Not sure why you would do that but i think anyone looking to mix and match would look to do things the other way around.

Although personally I havent ridden mixed component shimano(just complete systems.), ive heard its not a problem, and on other make where you can replace all the parts, ive been mixing and matching.
 

WheezyRider

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Apr 20, 2020
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Not sure why you would do that but i think anyone looking to mix and match would look to do things the other way around.

Although personally I havent ridden mixed component shimano(just complete systems.), ive heard its not a problem, and on other make where you can replace all the parts, ive been mixing and matching.
It's good to understand what combos will work and which won't. It seems from people's experience here that all are fine.

I could imagine a situation where someone swaps out their caliper for a better one, but doesn't want to change their levers. Eg, a lot of levers are not set up for e-bikes and you have to add a sensor and magnet and glue them on. This can be a bit of a pain to do if you don't have to.

I've got lots of bikes and a pile of parts built up over the years. So I often end up swapping things around on different bikes to keep them running, so it's easy to end up with a "Frankenbike" :)