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Thread: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

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    Default Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I've just started down the path to acquiring a mostly gravel bike, and the "Leaky Reservoir" thread got me wondering about durability and serviceability of the major groups. Any of you who wrench on hydro regularly seeing anything that might push me towards/away from any of Rival/Force/Potenza/105/Ultegra?

    I have, or have regularly ridden, rim brake versions from all three makers and have been happy with all of them, so no particular axe to grind on that front.
    Larry Sampson

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I have ridden (hard, in mud, snow, steep descents) an SLX disc equipped mtb for 3 years. I would not know how to service it because the only thing it's ever needed has been brake pads (once/season) and new rotors (once in 3 years). It has been completely bullet proof and a vast improvement over the service that rim brakes would have required on comparable terrain.

    Shimano 'til I die.

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryA View Post
    I've just started down the path to acquiring a mostly gravel bike, and the "Leaky Reservoir" thread got me wondering about durability and serviceability of the major groups. Any of you who wrench on hydro regularly seeing anything that might push me towards/away from any of Rival/Force/Potenza/105/Ultegra?

    I have, or have regularly ridden, rim brake versions from all three makers and have been happy with all of them, so no particular axe to grind on that front.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I have three sets of Rival 22/CX1 I've never needed to bleed them or touch them unless I change the brake pads, in which I need to bleed them everytime. I'd go with shimano personally. I havent had a single other issue other than ones involving crashes, but even then, the issues were never with the hydraulics.

    On my MTB, I have never once bled my shimanos, even when I shortened the housing and on my third set of pads. I also recently started using a 6 year old Avid OEM brake, that I used for 4 of those years and never touched. I bled the rear when I installed and didn't touch the front.

    Its crazy how little work i've put into hydro setups. I know people can get picky about them, but im not one of them. I would choose them for a bike to be used in the backcountry in a second. My avid mech calipers have failed before, with the piston falling out.
    --------------------
    another jaunt
    REBAR

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    fwiw the leaky reservoir was on an older generation lever; the new 105 and ultegra stuff has trickled down from the last dura ace family which was designed after the one mentioned in the other thread. we haven't seen any issues, plus the newer levers are much less bulky. you also get shimano shifting and it's pretty hard to argue with that. will admit that I have no experience with sram and they certainly make good product on the mtb side of things so would expect it to be good too
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    They are all good and they all have problems. I haven’t worked on the campag stuff but I work on everything else day in and day out.

    The newest batch of Shimano (7000/8000/9100) can have leaking issues at lever and caliper. I have also seen a lot of front shifters fail inside the mechanism causing the front shifter to no longer upshift.

    The lower end sram levers -rival and apex - are prone to sticky return on the lever. This is easy to fix, the issue is the internal assemblies are lubricated at the factory, this can be addressed in 10 minutes plus bleed in any shop. I have seen very little to no issues with force or red. These levers all use the same internal piston assembly so it’s not a matter of quality but more assembly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sram hydro with leak issues. (Avid is another story)

    I wouldn’t have a problem recommending any of these brakes though, they’re all good products and as long as you’re buying them new, there will be 2+ years of warranty in case anything goes bad.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I set up, filled, and bled my 685 levers and 785 calipers in September of 2017 and haven't messed with them since. I'm a campy guy on the road, but Shimano really seems to have hydraulics and pedals nailed.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Only roadies who live on Cycling News think disc brakes are new and untested.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Quote Originally Posted by Applesauce View Post
    Only roadies who live on Cycling News think disc brakes are new and untested.
    that’s funny.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Quote Originally Posted by Applesauce View Post
    Only roadies who live on Cycling News think disc brakes are new and untested.
    As a roadie who's not enamored with disc brakes, I will absolutely confirm that the Shimano hydro discs on my gravel bike are functionally without fault. No leaks or maintenance issues at all. They haven't been touched since I took the bike out of the box 2 1/2 years ago. I don't think they're necessary for the riding I like to do and I'd rate Shimano mechanical as my least favorite of the big 3 groups, but if you like Shimano and need discs, you're not likely going to have any issues.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryA View Post
    I've just started down the path to acquiring a mostly gravel bike, and the "Leaky Reservoir" thread got me wondering about durability and serviceability of the major groups. Any of you who wrench on hydro regularly seeing anything that might push me towards/away from any of Rival/Force/Potenza/105/Ultegra?

    I have, or have regularly ridden, rim brake versions from all three makers and have been happy with all of them, so no particular axe to grind on that front.
    The only issue with asking folks who work on bikes all day about equipment issues is that their day job is to fix things.
    In other words, all they see are issues. --this is not a criticism--

    As other have said, hydros are 'set it and forget it' item a very very large majority of the time.
    They are all easy to service and maintain for those very rare times that you have to touch them.



    Quote Originally Posted by Applesauce View Post
    Only roadies who live on Cycling News think disc brakes are new and untested.
    Spot on.

    When did discs for mtb come out? 20-30 years ago?
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I think Brian nailed it with his answer. I don't wrench on my own bikes but I haven't had a single issue with the Shimano hydro set up on my Seven all-road bike. Completely satisfied.No leaks, levers work properly and the brakes stop the bike when I ask them to. I would add that they were set up by Justin and the gang at Signature, who I consider to be consumate pros. I think some of the negativity out there on the web comes from home mechanics who don't necessarily know what they are doing, or people who just don't maintain their stuff.

    Case in point. I'm getting the itch to replace my mountain bike with something designed more towards bike packing and less technical stuff. I was on the fence about braking systems because a lot of what I see on these bikes (on the web) is mechanical, not hydro. When I ask people, they tell stories about hearing stories about boiling the cylinder fluid, leaks, not being able to get parts etc. Most of this is hearsay and hasn't actually happened to the people reporting it. Granted, stuff can break but I think the frequency is exaggerated by everyone's access to social media and the ability to complain in public.

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Got it - thanks all.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I'm using both shimano and sram and had zero issues on both. I prefer the Sram ones but it is a matter of personnal taste really.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Only place I could see someone advocating for mechanical discs would be with extreme bikepacking. Should you snag a cable it is easier to replace a cable in the middle of nowhere than a hydro line. You can also swap a rear brake cable and housing to the front worst case.

    For cx and general gravel I would strongly recommend the shimano hydrolic systems. Leaks almost never manifest outside almost immediately, and service parts are available at most bike shops
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I have had two disc brake setups that I’ve used enough to comment on.

    Avid BB-7’s have been incredibly reliable and durable, if underwhelming with sheer stopping power. The calipers outlasted many sets of pads, and several rotors. Not a single failure, and there was never a time that I could not adjust the cables and/or pads in the field for decent braking. Three bikes and I dunno how many seasons, maybe a dozen. I have friends who have melted the plastic knobs off them.

    The Shimano XT 8000’s blow them away for power and modulation. No contest. That said, in two years I’ve had the pads wear to where I barely had any lever travel left. No adjustment remaining and it’s not metal-on-metal yet. And one lever goes completely soft if I store the bike on its side in my car, but a few pumps bring it back up to pressure and it works AOK for the duration of the ride.

    So for a bike for the apocalypse, I’d choose the mechanical simplicity of cable-operated brakes. And I’d give the nod to TRP Spyre over BB-7 because I’m impressed with the few months I have on them.

    I just ordered another pair.
    Last edited by thollandpe; 3 Weeks Ago at 10:07 PM.
    Tödd Höllând

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    I've had so many problems bleeding SRAM/Avid brakes over the years that the SOP in the shop was to call for a warranty.

    ...and even then SRAM/Avid brakes were a 'hold a chicken over your head and spin around 3x clockwise, then hop on one foot turning counterclockwise, then hope that worked.' The default fix for SRAM brakes? XTs

    No thank you. Period.

    M

    edited to add: talked a buddy into buying a pair of Juin Tech brakes from across the hall. Cable actuated hydros. Feel really good with M-Sys housing. Probably feel better with true compressionless housing, but I didn't have any. Nor did the LBSes we both go to.

    M
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    bleeding sram is fine, but you need the proper locking syringes and follow the pressurization procedure carefully.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew flowers View Post
    bleeding sram is fine, but you need the proper locking syringes and follow the pressurization procedure carefully.
    Bleeding SRAM brakes is easier than anything else. No vague guessing at what gravity is up to, just predictable vacuum pressure. Does this make them the best brakes? No. But everyone else could learn a lot from the predictability of SRAM’s bleed procedure.
     

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    No issue bleeding my Sram guide brakes. A lot of bad press has its root from the Avid era. That era is over.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Hydro Serviceability and Durability

    Any stories to be told re Campy H11?
     

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