You are hereForums / By Discipline / Mountain (off road) / MTB Gear / Suitable Brake Upgrade ?

Suitable Brake Upgrade ?

By Jordan - Posted on 29 October 2006

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.


Im looking to upgrade the stock brakes on my 2005 giant ac, there hayes solo with 6 rotors.

Im not to sure what to get, i havent been riding mountain bikes for long at all but so far i mainly ride tracks, single track with some downhill sort of stuff. I dont want the brakes to bite to much, especially on the front. Ive been looking at juicy 5's & 7's & some hayes like 06 hfx 9 HD.

Can anyone give me any ideas or head me in the right direction. Would be greatly appreciated.



The Jekyll has Hayes brakes, and although they are a bit old, look very similar (if not identical) to the current HFX range.

The problem with these is that there's a small adjustment screw in the lever which works loose (or sometimes tightens itself) all the time and is very annoying. Speaking to other guys with the same design seems it's a common complaint.

Think I'll be going the Juicy route on replacement (whenever that is), but ask Craig - I know he has them. Have a look overseas - Pricepoint has J7's for $140US (they are a whopping $495AU at Phantom!!).

Have been using Avid Juicy 5's (hydro) for about 6 months and they have been great.
They came standard on the Giant Trance2 (06) and it was a big change from Vbrakes for me and I haven't used any other disc brakes.
Don't know about the pricing but the quality is pretty good.

Just to make things hard for you I use shimano have had them for just over 3 years now and cannot fault them, not yet had to pull them to pieces. I only use the small rotor as i think is the case with Rob ans Shane. Best bet is to talk to your local bike shop and see if they think a 3 inch or 6 inch rotor is best. I have played around with the Avids shane has and they feel pretty sweet. try checking out mtb review and see what other people think for the various brake types, it can't hurt to do more research.
Good luck.


IMHO juicy 5's are nowhere near as good as my 3year old XTR calipers. Yes different market etc. But I don't like the juicy 5's, nowhere near the stopping power and they squeeeaaaalll like a pig stuck in a fence...

So I'd suggest you couldn't go too far wrong with a deore level or XT level hydraulic kit.

Yeah - Shimano's are sounding nice - but their discs need a special hub to mount to. I guess you don't have to use their discs though, huh?

Thinking about interchangeable components - anyone know if I could replace my Hayes levers with some from another vendor (Juicy or Shimano)? Given that it's only the levers I have a problem with. In theory this would be easy but doubt in practice it would be as simple.

you can get aftermarket rotors for shimano, you can also even get a converter I think for splined to six-bolt.

WRT to levers and calipers from different manufacturers - good luck - it's about the hose fittings and banjos - it's a compatibility nightmare, I went through two sets of fittings just to get shimano xt levers to work with xtr calipers.

Ive been reading reviews like a mad man

I keep reading really good things about the juicy's besides the squeeling on the disc's which seems to be fixed by using hayes rotors which apparently work better anyway.

I really like the idea of being able to adjust the brakes with the lever knob, el camino have this also but ive read there very flymsy(check spelling lol) and discs warp etc.

Ive been trying to look into the shimano, theres a fair few deore sets on ebay but they seem so cheap that they cant be an upgrade on what i have, around 40+ US for a complete front or rear set. Is there specific models i should be looking for ? The ones im looking at are M535,M600 etc.

Thanks for everyone's help, Really appreciate it

I use straight Deore Disc Brakes. They are awesome. Lots of stopping power and good modulation too.

They should be an upgrade to the Hayes Solo. In fact they are meant to be better than the Hayes 9 brakes, and are certainly easier to maintain (ie bleed etc). I've had mine since 2003 and wouldn't consider upgrading.

The Avid Juicy 5/7 are meant to be pretty good too.

For reviews, can't go past

Torpedo7 has Deore XT brakes for $289 each end, pre-bled and including levers of course. Use the link from our links page, we are an affiliate.

Note these will need the splined hub tho.

Also - remember there is Deore, (low-end) Deore LX (mid), and there is Deore XT (high-end). There is also Saint and Hone

I think you'll be fine with Deore LX.

Hi Justin,

What does it mean being an affiliate? Does clicking onto Torpedo 7 via your link have any advantage over jsut going onto the site normally?


Just to play devils advocate...Why do you want to upgrade?
I have used Hayes with zero problems and juicy 7's with no problems. 6in rotors.
If your brakes are doing the job maybe you could spend the money on a nice dinner with some good company! Jokes aside...The major consideration for me would be replacement levers. I tend to bend them alot and having to replace the whole system is a pain in the arse and wallet!

Good luck with the decision

Well, T7 have this affiliate program whereby we get a tiny credit each time someone clicks a link on our site that sends someone to theirs and that person then buys something. You know - it's just a form of advertising... I don't really like ads but T7 seem a decent online store with some good deals so why not.

So anyhow - there's nothing in it for you, aside from feeling good that a tiny part of our site expenses might come back one day.

Jordan has - they look well used and abused. fixing brakes can be expensive esp. if there are problems with the caliper

Yeah the brakes are really pathetic. Not sure if its just age or pads or what but theere's defernatly somthing going on. I just went to pickup the bike from the shop, dropped it off to get the front brake fixed and a general service & the bike has a fair few more issues that need addressing which will cost abit. Need to decide wether to pay the money or sell it and get another bike. Arghh not having much luck hehe. Thanks again for everyones help i have alot better idea what to get once i have a working bike.

Thanks for the answer Rob, that makes sense.

Well since I've joined this thread now, I guess I'd better contribute something as well!

For those of you who keep bending your brake levers, here's a tip. Don't do up the bolt on the handle bar too tight. Leave them loose, not so loose that they will spin around obviously, but just loose enough so that they stay put but if you wack them with your hand they will move.

That way when you crash the brakes just spin on the handlebar, instead of staying put and the levers bending.

I was running the Hayes HFX9s and had some real problems with fade, don't know what the trails are like round here but back inthe uk I would find myself binning it toward the end of a big ride as the brakes were just not cooling fast enough... Yes to experience the trails here, ut I was using 160mm rotors and had this issue, probably be ok with 180-200mm rotors however

I got another giant ac but a ac1 this time, with hayes hfx9's and pike team 2005 Smiling, the hf9's work a ton better than old soles, everything else runs really nice and has been looked after. Unlike my previous purchase. Hope to meet you all finally on a ride very soon. thanks for your help it has been great.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Best Mountain Bike