Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby JETNZ on Tue 10/Mar/15 6:14pm

On remote backcountry rides (overnight e.g., Poulter, Old Ghost Rd, Hakatere C. Park etc)…. are there any known quick fixes/repairs that can be done to hydraulic brakes to get you safely home? Eg blown seals, damaged brake lines (Kea damage)…
A friend is convinced his next bike should have mechanical brakes because of the inability to fix hydraulic brakes without taking a full bleed/seal kit along…
Thoughts?
Last edited by JETNZ on Tue 10/Mar/15 9:46pm, edited 1 time in total.
JETNZ
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby Dougal on Tue 10/Mar/15 6:39pm

I've been riding hydraulic brakes for 15 years now. Never had anything break on a ride.

Maintenance is the key to avoiding failures.
Dougal
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby JETNZ on Tue 10/Mar/15 6:53pm

Agree totally. Except if a Kea took a fancy to the lines, highly unlikely of course :-)
JETNZ
Member for: 4 years 5 months

Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby pushbikerider on Tue 10/Mar/15 8:18pm

I also have been riding hydraulic brakes since the late 90s (both disc and rim type) and providing that the brakes are well maintained then you shouldn't see any issues with them in an overnight context. The one thing I would make sure was that the length of the brakes lines is appropriate, ie not too long that they will catch on the undergrowth, but they need to be long enough that if you spin the bars in a crash that the line doesn't get pulled out.

Briefly looking at the bikes the riders were using in the recent Kiwi Brevet and Brevette, the bulk of riders were on hydraulic brakes, and especially for the Brevet riders there was potentially quite long distances between support for hydraulic systems
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby Danny B on Tue 10/Mar/15 9:20pm

I was one of the Brevet riders with hydros that PBR was talking about. I was running SLX M675 brakes. My only issue was running too small rotors (160mm F&R) for a fully loaded rig and getting some bad pad glazing. I'll probably still run the hydros just next time just with 180mm rotors instead.

That of the five riders that I was in the same general vicinity of me I knew of two riders who had brake caliper issues. One chap with a set of Avid X0 which were fouling on the rear of the caliper (which seemed like it could actually have been a frame issue to me, perhaps?); and two, another person had a set of XT M785 with a piston that was not returning properly.

It is worth noting that a lot of the Kms on the Brevet were on roads (sealed and unsealed) and when riding singletrack there was a tendency to riding a fair bit more conservatively that had you just gone for a day mish.

My experience with mechanical discs have only been secondhand and only with BB7s, but they seemed to require adjustment all the f-ing time. I have heard good things about the TRP Spyke which is the first dual piston mechanical. http://www.trpbrakes.com/category.php?productid=1223&catid=184

I guess at the end of the day if you catch your hose on something and you're miles from nowhere you wont have a shit show of getting a brake working, but at least with cables you'll have a chance of repairing it or replacing a cable provided you're carrying a spare.
Danny B
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby Dougal on Tue 10/Mar/15 10:04pm

JETNZ wrote:Agree totally. Except if a Kea took a fancy to the lines, highly unlikely of course :-)


Kea's seem to love rubber more. I had one eat my bike back in 97 before I had discs.

Chewed a hole in a kevlar seat.
Pulled the rubber buttons off the bike computer (so water got in and it stopped working).
Picked holes in the fork boots.
Ate the little rubber boots on the V brake noodles.

I think he only went for the kevlar seat because of the foam rubber inside. Kevlar braided brake lines should be pretty unattractive.

I suspect it was the same Kea that flew off with a ski glove of mine a few years back. Thanks to my mates who weren't watching my gear while I was in buying the tickets.
Dougal
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby Rik on Tue 10/Mar/15 10:14pm

Danny B wrote:It is worth noting that a lot of the Kms on the Brevet were on roads (sealed and unsealed) and when riding singletrack there was a tendency to riding a fair bit more conservatively that had you just gone for a day mish.

:withstupid:

I think the others have illustrated exactly how robust hydraulic brakes are. You are considerably more likely to run out of pad and this scenario is easily mitigated by checking before a multiday ride or carrying spares. I've only done a Petite Brevet but a spare set of pads is a must have item.

The beauty of bi-cycle brakes is if you have a catastrophic brake failure, there is always a backup brake on other end.
If however you (or your friend) where so unfortunate as to suffer the misfortune of double, catastrophic brake failure then I would take that as a sign to get the hell off the bike, and I'd be happy to walk it down the hills.
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby huffnpuff on Tue 10/Mar/15 11:10pm

Just do it
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby dwgknz on Tue 10/Mar/15 11:47pm

JETNZ wrote:A friend is convinced his next bike should have mechanical brakes because of the inability to fix hydraulic brakes without taking a full bleed/seal kit along…
Thoughts?


Lol

Well a 'friend' of mine has this burning sensation and he's too embarrassed to admit it so I was wondering....
dwgknz
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby JETNZ on Wed 11/Mar/15 10:49am

Thank you one and all… been very helpful. I hope Martin (my friend) finds it equally so, eh Mart?… he's read the comments. (LOL he really does exist).
How well would the Avid BB7's perform on a long downhill, like Old Ghost Road for eg?
JETNZ
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby BrokenKonaRider on Wed 11/Mar/15 11:32am

Just fine. It isn't steep and there are many opportunities for letting the brakes go and coasting. Plus you should really focus on the wider scenery and stop and look/listen as often as possible. It's beautiful. Thereby letting your brakes cool.
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby JETNZ on Wed 11/Mar/15 11:39am

The hell-bikers I crossed paths with during my ride up to Lyell Saddle Hut last week - were riding down at a cracking pace… it's doubtful those Americans saw much at all….
JETNZ
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby RHR_Rob on Wed 11/Mar/15 1:09pm

Maybe your mate should just stay home where he can worry in safer surroundings.
RHR_Rob
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby znomit on Wed 11/Mar/15 1:32pm

Get a fixie?
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Re: Backcountry Repairs To Hydraulic Brakes

Postby ape on Wed 11/Mar/15 5:31pm

how much does a full mech lever, outer, inner, caliper weigh?.., since all these points could be where the failure happens, you may as well carry the lot... and since you're carrying a complete spare system, stick with your hydraulics on the bike, carry an entire spare rear brake arrangement, with the outer coiled and zip tied to fit the front length... cable levers work upside down ok... just a thought. the lightest bits are the ones that are less likely to get mangled in a crash, and would you trust a lever or caliper that you'd done a track-side bodge job on? or you could also fit rim brakes, in case you run out of pads half way that gnarley descent...

Of course, you'll also be needing spare drivechain, wheels, frameset, etc...
ape
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