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  1. #1
    Turbo Monkey Hacktastic's Avatar
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    What are the best 2012/2013 brakes for extended steep downhills?

    I've been out of the game for a bit and haven't kept up on every new product, so I'm looking for some input here. I've been a pretty religious Shimano user over the bunch of years when it comes to brakes. My gen 1 and gen 2 Saint brakes were pretty much flawless, except for the crappy lever ergos of the gen 2. With a newer XT lever put on it, I loved the feel, but then the bike got stolen. I've heard only so-so things about the 2013 Saint stuff.

    I've always had a soft spot for the Hope Moto V2's and whatever their other high-end DH brake is nowadays (I think the Evo V4?) so that is definitely on my radar as well for the new build.

    I don't give a damn about weight. I can take a dump, cut my hair, shave a little closer, vomit, or go commando if I'm really concerned about that. I want power, good ergos and reliability.

    Despite my distaste for anything SRAM, I do think the Codes are one of their more solid products. If I find them cheap enough, I could be tempted.

    Owned Formulas, and found them to be finicky as hell after their first bleed. Never got them feeling right again. I do love the K18's that I have on my trail bike though. I don't know why their DH brakes can't be that simple. In any case, probably not considering those, especially since they come at a high premium for the weight.

    So, the main 3 I'm considering are Saints, Hope V2/V4's, and Codes, presently leaning heavily towards the Hopes. Any other suggestions? Real-world comparisons between those?
    "It won't happen again. I can promise you that. Willie here has low blood sugar. That's all."

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  3. #2
    Turbo Monkey frango's Avatar
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    After many year of riding on Avid brakes I switched to Shimano (XT 2012) last year.
    I've just had first opportunity to test them. Few days in rainy, muddy, sometimes sunny Sanremo of dragging brakes
    They have never failed me, so far. No loss of power. Great brakes.

    So, if you want something seriously powerful, I would go for new Saints with finned rotors or, if you've got too much money Kettle Cycles carbon rotors

  4. #3
    Turbo Monkey norbar's Avatar
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    Little to say about the new hopes but the 2011 V2's felt great, rode 2011 m4's and they were a bit weak but the modulation and fading made me happy.

    V2's had a very firm lever feel but for some reason easy to get a feel for them. If you have insanely long fingers go for 810 saints as it was pointed out to me on RM it may be the only reason I like them.
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  5. #4
    Turbo Monkey mattmatt86's Avatar
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    Formula RO's are the best brakes I've ridden. They have definitely improved some of the "finicky" issues of past models.

  6. #5
    Monkey
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    Another vote for the V2's. My buddy just got some of the V4's but does not have enough time on the to get some good info on them. The V2's use a special rotor from Hope that has a larger contact area, the V4's just use regular discs.

    -Brett

  7. #6
    just shake your rump Sandwich's Avatar
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    You might be guinea pigging, but my vote is for the 2013 saints.

    I (absolutely) loved my 810 saints. The lever adjustability was great, ergonomics were great, power was great, modulation was great, reliability was great. I had zero complaints with those brakes.

    I also have 2009 XTs and they've been good, not real powerful but incredibly reliable.

    I have 2013 xts now, and I don't have enough time on them to report anything, but they've improved the ergonomics quite a bit. The lever feels notchy in the stand but I'll be damned if I could feel it out on the trail. Power felt good though the pads weren't even bedded in yet.

    I know some people have reported bad things with the saints but they're so new still. Four pistons, two radiators, improved ergonomics and caliper design....

    I've heard good things about the V2s, but the expense and availability were kind of a downer for me.

  8. #7
    Press Button, Receive Stupid jonKranked's Avatar
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    one thing to consider re: shimano vs hope... you can walk into pretty much and reasonably well stocked LBS and get replacement parts for shimano brakes. Can't really say that for hope.
    set your sarcasm meter to Level 4:butt hurt

  9. #8
    Monkey yd35's Avatar
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    Don't have any experience with Hopes, but I love the easy serviceability of Shimano. Parts are easy to find, and bleeding is simple. Formula The Ones were the best performing brakes I ever had, but they were a PITA to bleed. I couldn't ever get back to that magical place of braking Nirvana they took me to out of the box.
    Last edited by yd35; 04-02-2013 at 07:20 AM.

  10. #9
    Turbo Monkey Hacktastic's Avatar
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    My experience with the Formulas and Shimanos mirrors the statements above. The Formulas felt great, but what a mofo to bleed correctly. Don't like the newer style lever ergos too.

    My Saint 800's and 810's were also damn good, but the lever ergos on the 810 did start to bother me after a while. I switched to the newest XT levers a couple years ago just before my last bike got stolen, and loved that feel. The only thing steering me away from the newest Saint brakes is the poor reviews of the lever consistency, or some such thing.

    You'd think that any old shop would have Shimano parts, but I've been pretty let down by brake parts availability at basically every southern California LBS I've been into when I needed something in a pinch.

    I didn't know that about the V2's. So they can't work with a standard rotor? Only the wider area Hope rotors? That certainly adds some cost.

    Thanks for the input. Keep it coming.
    "It won't happen again. I can promise you that. Willie here has low blood sugar. That's all."

  11. #10
    My name is Nick Nick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yd35 View Post
    Formula The Ones were the best performing brakes I ever had, but they were a PITA to bleed.
    That.

    I used Ones and love them save for the bleed process. I replaced with m810 Saints. I loved the Saints but they weren't trouble free as other Shimano brakes I've owned. Bleeding was simple, but I was doing it more often.

    I intended on "upgrading" to m820 brakes but didn't. I use m785 XT brakes on my trail bike, and now w/8" rotors on my DH bike as well. Awesome consistent brakes, light and cheap, pad compound options and the perfect lever for me.

  12. #11
    Turbo Monkey William42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonKranked View Post
    one thing to consider re: shimano vs hope... you can walk into pretty much and reasonably well stocked LBS and get replacement parts for shimano brakes. Can't really say that for hope.
    Can you? I'm not trying to be a jackass here, just asking. I know in my neck of the woods, chances are if you walk into a shop, its not going to have anything in the way of DH stuff for brakes besides maybe hoses/olives. And its very very infrequent that a new hose/olive is necessary. I would say you're about as likely to find hope DH brake products as you are shimano DH brake products.
    I like to ride bikes.

  13. #12
    just shake your rump Sandwich's Avatar
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    hayes mags

  14. #13
    Celebrating No-Pants Day kidwoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacktastic View Post
    My Saint 800's and 810's were also damn good, but the lever ergos on the 810 did start to bother me after a while. I switched to the newest XT levers a couple years ago just before my last bike got stolen, and loved that feel. The only thing steering me away from the newest Saint brakes is the poor reviews of the lever consistency, or some such thing.
    XTs aren't exactly out of place on a dh bike. If I were buying completely new brakes, I wouldn't buy saints for my dh bike either.
    Strava: turn off your dork logger when you're not on sanctioned trails, numbnuts.

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  15. #14
    Monkey
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    I have seen people use regular rotors with the V2, but the pads are going to overlap the braking surface some. The V4 seems like a good bet though without the extra costs.

    How often do you need extra parts. Brake pads don't mysteriously wear out and they use dot fluid for bleeding.

    Brett

  16. #15
    Monkey Ithnu's Avatar
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    I've run Hayes Stroker Aces for years racing DH. I've never had them fade. The lever may get a little soft or pump up on long runs but they always work. *Probably more my lack of skill at bleeding than the brake design.

    Last year at Snowmass some racers were getting leery of their brakes, one guy even crashed because his blew out. Mine were fine.
    Last edited by Ithnu; 04-02-2013 at 08:51 AM.

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