Brake Buying Advice

I need new brakes.
They’ve been going for a while now but the past couple of months they’ve been getting noticeably worse. I have almost no stopping power in the rear brake (none on a steep downhill) and not much more power in the front brake. To make things worse I was squeezing the front lever so hard at Fight today I broke it.
So yeah, I need new brakes.

I’ve been reading reviews and googling brake options but there are so many conflicting opinions. So I thought I would ask the opinions of the people riding the same trails as I am.

Budget is my biggest issue, I’m a stay at home dad with not a lot in the way of disposable income, but I want something that will last with (hopefully minimal) maintenance.

I know mechanical disc brakes are cheaper anyone riding mechanical?

For reference the (now useless) brakes on my bike are Hayes Stroker.

What’s your budget? I have a set of shimano deore M505 hydro’s that I may sell.

I recommend anything Shimano Deore or higher for excellent performance with very little maintenance required. I have Deore and SLX on my bikes. Avid BB7’s are very good mechanicals, but not that much cheaper than hydraulics.

If you hadn’t broken your lever, I would have said get new pads and your brakes bleed.

I would say your best bang for your buck hydraulic disc brake is Shimano Deore or SLX. The difference between SLX and XT is minimal, and unless you get a good deal the XT’s aren’t worth the extra money. Deore’s should be mechanically the same as SLX except they don’t have the tool-less lever reach adjustment, but that’s not really needed anyway, just nice to have that once in a blue moon time you need it.

If your rotors are in good shape, you can re-use them to cut down on the cost.

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+1 for Deore. Over 3000 kms on mine and they’ve been stellar. A couple brake bleeds and pad changes as needed but that’s it maintenance-wise.

Wow thanks for all the advice so far.
As for budget I have about $300 bucks so far from doing some freelance graphic design work on the side. I’ve been saving to buy a DSLR camera but I think I need brakes more.

Jetter, I looked into new pads and a bleed when they started to get a bit unresponsive and was told the issue was that the seals were gone and could not be replaced. I figured I would ride them until they got bad and replace them, but in the last month or so they degraded very quickly.

My rotors seem fine and I was hoping to re-use them.

I have heard good things about Shimano brakes from the folks at Bikes by Dave too so it’s good to hear more praise for them. I was kinda leaning that way since I’ve heard (and read online) a lot of conflicting opinions about Avid brakes.

If you have $300 you should be able to find a decent set.

+1 for Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes.
You can find them pretty cheap online, and they have plenty of power for normal trail riding around these parts.
I’ve had the same set for the last 3 summers and they are working great.

I’ll sell the set of Deores that I have for $80. They are actually the M477 model and still look brand new, rotors not included. Let me know if you’re interested.

You can pick up brand new BL/BR-M615 brake combos off ebay as well for really good prices. Looks like you should be able to get a brand new set for $120-140 bucks with free shipping.

Unfortunately Shimano components are always going to be much cheaper online vs your LBS. It never hurts to shop around though. There could be some older stock sitting on a shelf somewhere that a local shop would like to make a deal on.

I’ve been using mechanical Avid BB7 for a few years and never had a problem with power or squealing, If I ever need to buy new brakes they will probably be Shimano Deore or SLX… Bonus that they use mineral oil instead of DOT.

I’m riding xt’s and SLX and can’t really tell the difference between them. They are also pretty easy to bleed the rare time you have to. I have a set of Avid 5 and Hayes strokers in a box at home that you can have but I won’t be back there for two weeks.

Yes I am interested, they’re used I take it, but still in good condition?

Yup, they have been used but only for about a month before I swapped them out. They look brand new.

Sounds awesome I think I’ll take you up on your offer. I’m new to the site so I’m not sure how to send a personal message so I’ll just post here.
I can meet pretty much anywhere in the city, evenings are pretty tough for me with the little guy, but I can meet anytime anywhere during the day.