Brake Upgrade Avid BB7

edited November 2011 in Rover
With some encouragement from Peter_C, I decided to bite the bullet, and upgrade the brakes on my Rover from the stock Zoom brakes to the Avid BB7, which are the most recommended mechanical disc brakes on all the cycling forums and discussion groups. I pull a 75 pound dog trailer and dog combination periodically, and the Zoom brakes, while stopping the trike OK with that weight on a steep hill, seemed to be at the end of their limit as far as smoothness. I found the BB7 mountain disc brakes on sale at Jenson.com for about $47 a wheel which is a really good price. Naturally, if you haven't ordered your trike yet, having the dealer or Terratrike install the brakes would be the easiest way to do it.

You need the following tools, in addition to the two brake sets ( which include new rotors) , to install the brakes properly:

1. A torque wrench, and I strongly recommend the Park Torque wrench TW-2 3/8 " wrench. It's easy to use, and will last forever, and runs about $48 at Bikeman.com

2. Park SBS-1 Socket and Bit set. ( $26 at Jenson USA) These tools fit the 3/8 drive and will fit every nut and bolt on any trike or bike and should last forever. You have a T-25 torx to install the new rotor on your wheel, and torque it to the proper spec, after you remove the existing rotor with the 3mm allen tool that is included in the set. There is also a 8mm allen for removing the front wheels on your trike, which is really easy, using the Torque wrench.

Now all you have to do, is remove the existing brakes from the trike, by loosening the brake cable clamp, the bolts that mount the disc brake assembly to the bracket, and then loosen the 8 mm allen holding the wheel on and pull the wheel off. The wheel bearings are sealed, so you don't have to worry about ball bearings rolling away when you pull the wheel.

Once the wheel is removed, you use the 3mm tool in your tool kit attached to either a 3/8 drive or to your torque wrench, and remove the old rotor from the wheel. Starting with the right wheel, as you are sitting on the trike, you install the new rotor using the supplied Torx 25 and torque to 6.2 NM or 55 in pounds. These brakes a very well made, and they have even put a thread locker on the bolts, so that once tightened they won't come loose. I would recommend that you tighten the bolts holding the rotor to the hub, slowly and alternate from one side of the rotor to the other, rather than tightening them in a row. On the right wheel, the Avid logo must face out, or away from the spokes. On the left wheel, you flip the rotor over so that Avid logo is on the spoke side.

Now hear is the tricky part. When you remove the old mount, make sure you save the two washers that are between the mount and the bracket for each brake assembly ( there are 2 for each bolt, or a total of four) . These serve as spacers and should be used in the same place as they where on the original brake,when you put the new brake mount on. The other tricky part is to make sure you use the new correct bracket that is furnished in your brake kit, and it is turned the correct way. You want to use the bracket that says only 160mm on it. Do not use the bracket that says, 160F-140R, which is the wrong bracket. If you use the wrong bracket, the wheel won't turn after you mount the brake. Now the second thing in mounting the correct bracket to the brake assembly, is to have the bracket pointed in the right direction on each wheel. There is an arrow on the bracket, and that arrow should point towards the rear of the trike, and should be visible when looking at the bracket though the spokes. If you turn the bracket around, and mount the brake with it pointed the wrong way, you won't be able to get the wheel to turn.

These are the only tricks to getting everything installed correctly, and then all you have to do is look at the instructions that come with the brake, torque everything to specs, adjust the brakes and go for a test ride. If you pull the little metal ends off the brake cable, you could either slip them back over the cable and crazy glue them back on, or go to a bike shop and buy a few, so that you can put them on the cable end after you have everything installed.

Peter has some pictures that he did, when he did his, so I imagine he will probably post them on this thread. Again, it was with Peter's help, that I got these brakes and managed to get them installed.

There are also many videos on the internet on setting up BB7 brakes, that you might want to look at. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1kezXQVnLY

If you are not mechanically inclined, you could always bring your trike to a bike shop, and installing disc brakes is an easy project for them.

Comments

  • Call me slow in replying - my bad~!

    While there is nothing wrong with the stock 'Zoom' brakes, I love my Rover so much that I wanted to upgrade to the Avid BB7s - course, being a big guy had nothing to do with wanting more stopping power - LOL

    As Bob stated, it's an easy upgrade to do with the right tools, they look wonderful, you have roughly twice the stopping power, and pads are super-easy to replace with no tools~!

    To see *all* of the photos, please follow this link: http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/Peter_C%20Trike%20Album/Trike%20Mods/

    Here are a few to give you an idea...

    BrakeChange05-05-11015.jpg

    BrakeChange05-05-11011.jpg

    BrakeChange05-05-11019.jpg
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    Peter_C
    TerraTrike Rover W/N360 by NuVinci
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/Peter_C Trike Album/
    
    (copy and paste into your browser) to see ---> My Trike Photos
    ---
  • Good job, guys!

    Since I was already making mods to my Rover out of the box, I just went ahead and had the brakes upgraded to the Avid BB7s by my LBS. After all, it didn't make sense to put better tires and a custom hub on my "steed" and not put better brakes on. What CaptainBob states is correct: if you are going to upgrade and you are considering Avids, get BB7s rather than the cheaper BB5s. The BB7s seem to be better liked and more reliable, I get this information from not only forums and reviews, but my LBS owner's experience using them on his own trike.
    Alex in Barstow, California
    Route 66 ... the Mother Road
    Rover NuVinci "Winky"
    Rover by TerraTrike ... customized by T.Ryx
  • CoonCatMom wrote:
    Good job, guys!

    Since I was already making mods to my Rover out of the box, I just went ahead and had the brakes upgraded to the Avid BB7s by my LBS. After all, it didn't make sense to put better tires and a custom hub on my "steed" and not put better brakes on. What CaptainBob states is correct: if you are going to upgrade and you are considering Avids, get BB7s rather than the cheaper BB5s. The BB7s seem to be better liked and more reliable, I get this information from not only forums and reviews, but my LBS owner's experience using them on his own trike.

    In a conversation I had with one of the tech people at Terratrike, when I asked about the BB7's, he said that "they are the best mechanical disc brakes you can find".
  • I will be upgrading to BB7s when I'm modding my Rambler. While it will be mostly stock, I decided that brakes, fender(s) - at least rear - and rack are necessities. I am not mechanically inclined enough to trust myself in installing my own brakes, so that will be something I'll have UT do.
    I Have My Rambler, SUNNIE!
    My Noob Blog - frontfendersngum.com

    IGP1323-Th.jpg
  • After re-reading Bob's great how-to, I need to mention that Avid seems to have changed the writing on the mounts, as I just did two other Rovers last week, with BB7 kits bought from UTT.

    You still use the mount that is in the kit loose, rather than the one already installed, it just has different lettering on it. Using the two washers on each bolt (only one washer if you have the fender kit) is still needed, and all other instructions are the same. I do not know why they changed the lettering on the brackets - but my second and third install when well too.
    ---
    Peter_C
    TerraTrike Rover W/N360 by NuVinci
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/Peter_C Trike Album/
    
    (copy and paste into your browser) to see ---> My Trike Photos
    ---
  • Great pictures Peter, thanks for sharing them! I'm only 105 miles into my Rover, and my stock brtakes seem to rub and 'sing' more often than I would want, but I haven't tried to do anything other than brake cable adjustments so far. I am starting to rue not having had BB7 upgrades on purchase, but at that time I felt any disk brakes would be such an improvement over old rim brakes that the stock ones would be fine. (My only disk brakes on bikes experience is on a high end Giant bike I bought a year ago, that has hydraulic disk brakes that are super effective!)

    So I shortly will take a try at adjusting the disk brakes to eliminate their rubbing when brakes are not applied. (LBS is not near, and it would be hard for me to get it to them). But it was nice seeing all your pictures even if I never upgrade the brakes. (What type rear box is that you have on your trike?)

    Thanks,
    Paul H
  • That's the stock S/A 8-speed (which I love). If the stock brakes can be kept in good adjustment, I think they are fine for most people in most cases. I simply enjoy how powerful and smooth the BB7s are, plus adjusting them is cake, and rarely needed either.

    FYI - there is many, many more photos on my photo-bucket page that shows most all the mods I have done, trike-stand, trailer, etc... link is in my signature line.
    ---
    Peter_C
    TerraTrike Rover W/N360 by NuVinci
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/Peter_C Trike Album/
    
    (copy and paste into your browser) to see ---> My Trike Photos
    ---
  • Oops, let me try that again - you're asking about my 'tail-box', right? Sorry bout that.

    I've had two, and like them both.

    The first one is a 'Swagman' "whee", cost is $35 bucks - http://www.amazon.com/Swagman-Bicycle-Carriers-80975-00-Whee/dp/B000GTRJCM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321558375&sr=8-1 The downside is it bolts to the trike rack (no drilling), but is not removable without unbolting.

    My newest one, suggested by another forum member, is

    413WPBuqUPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

    Cost is $40 bucks, bolts to the trike rack (again, no drilling) and *IS* removable - make it much easier to load in my Tucson :)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042Z54JQ/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details

    Comes with all the hardware needed (cheap bolts though, I upgraded mine at Home Depot)

    From a recent ride:

    ride-11-01-2011001.jpg
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    Peter_C
    TerraTrike Rover W/N360 by NuVinci
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/Peter_C Trike Album/
    
    (copy and paste into your browser) to see ---> My Trike Photos
    ---
  • Finally upgraded the calipers on my Rover to the BB7's.  Thanks for the post to get me started Captainbob! Incidentally, I bought them for a good price (<$50) from Art's Cyclery, http://www.artscyclery.com.
  • Just wondering since I'll do this for my rover eventually but is there a limit to useable rotors? For example could we use 200mm rotors or is it limited to 160mm?
  • To use larger than 160mm rotors requires different mounting adapters. My Rambler came with Alhonga brakes and had "20mm IS" offset adapters for 160mm rotors. Switching to BB7's was easy as they used the same 20mm adapters. To use larger rotors you would need to check with a bike shop and find out which adapters you would need.
  • how much of a difference or improvement do you see with the BB7's verses the original Alhonga's
  • To be honest, the main reason I am switching is because Alhonga doesn't support their product.  I searched for parts and manuals and found little to NOTHING. Sram/Avid, on the other hand, has loads of information, parts and manuals for all their products. Avid even has information on identifying bogus products. That is things that look like Avid but aren't.
    I haven't put the BB7's on yet. I've been slowly building up parts to do a complete overhaul this winter. My Rambler is 2 years old and the Alhonga brakes are still usable, but getting close to needing new pads. When the weather gets too icky to ride, Pedals is coming into the apartment for TLC and upgrades/pimping.
    Another selling point is that Avid has metallic pads available. These can take a lot of heat without fading and last a good long time. That's good for me living in hilly western Colorado.
    PLEASE don't anyone come back and tell me that you found Alhonga parts and manuals. As far as I'm concerned, if they can't be found with a simple Google search, they aren't worth my time.
  • I switched to BB7's a little over a year ago and the difference was like night and day.  Admittedly I probably don't ride as much as you, but they are only just now needing adjustment.  Install them and forget them. 

    TheDuke 
  • @gern Have to agree, I'd rather just upgrade the brakes with the easier to maintain BB7s.
    Besides who wants to have to wait on shipping every time you need pads (If you can find them) when most shops already stock the Avid pads?
  • I haven't experienced Alhonga but Zoom was very poor quality and dangerous. BB7 made a huge difference. I use a hub motor for regen braking and I only use the mechanical brakes to stop from about 3-5mph. Brake pads last at least 10x longer (I've replaced BB7 pads once in 12000+ miles)
  • Does anyone remember what type of BB7's to order?

    Think I recall, although I cannot find the post, that someone stated a certain type of Avid BB7's were needed, and a certain spacer (iirc) was needed. Unsure, as I lost data due to a hard drive crash, that it was best not to buy the set - but to get two fronts?

    ¬ ITL
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