Having been a huge fan of Hayes hydraulic disc brakes for a long time, I was a bit reluctant to try anything else. Hayes brakes are powerful and offer a familiar level of stopping power.
Well, now there’s plenty of hydraulic disc brakes on the market and the ones generating the biggest buzz aren’t filled with sloppy fluid — they’re powered by the familiar braided steel cables found on mountain bikes for years.
Avid mechanical disc brakes are by far the most powerful mechanicals on the market. Heck, they’re one of the most powerful set of stoppers money can buy. Heralded by the press and touted by the mountain biking faithful, I wanted to see exactly what all the hullabaloo was about.
Avid Discs On The Trail
For 2002, the Avid ball bearing disc brakes come with a sleeker, stiffer caliper and additional rotor sizes. I happened to choose the 203mm rotors for sheer stopping power. Since I was already hooked on the Hayes 8″ rotors, I thought a head-to-head test was in order.
Decked out with the trick Speed Dial Ti levers, the Avids offer plenty of braking power.
The best feature of the Avid mechanicals, by far, is the ease of adjustability and setup. These brakes require very little time to get set up perfectly. The pads adjust so easily, you’ll wonder why you ever dealt with those finicky Hayes for so long. The post-mount brakes really offer superior adjustability for any setup.
On limited tests prior to the winter freeze, these brakes held their own with the best hydraulic brakes on the market. The 203mm rotors provide extra braking power and the adjustability of the system is unsurpassed.
The Bottom Line: Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes
Setup with traditional cable housing and the 203mm rotors, the Avid mechanicals provide nearly the stopping power of Hayes discs, but offer superior adjustability.
The Avid mechanicals, combined with the Speed Dial Ti levers is just the ticket for the most adjustable and powerful set of disc brakes available.
Look for a more detailed review of the Avid mechanical disc brakes and the Full Metal Jacket cables come springtime.