I generally believe that if bike equipment is working well, the rider shouldn’t be consciously aware of it. You should be able to enjoy the flow of a trail with your mind free of mechanical distractions.
That’s why I love Avid’s BB7 brakes. I can forget they exist. But I like these mechanical disc brakes so much that I often remember to appreciate them as I squeeze the levers. I even bought a pair to replace the hydraulic brakes on my Specialized Epic, prompting an outburst of laughter from a mechanic at the shop where my daughter works. I was undeterred. These little buggers are awesome.
These brakes are everything a good bike part should be: Inexpensive, reliable as hell, a breeze to install, easy to maintain, and nearly perfect at doing the job they were designed to do. From what I can tell, they’re on more fat bikes in Alaska than any other brake because they work well through brutal winters, and they’re on a hell of a lot of summer trail bikes, too.
I’m told that BB7s aren’t a great choice for downhilling, but I don’t care because I think downhilling is lazy and silly, so I don’t do it. And I don’t huck off anything because that’s a good way to break expensive stuff. Like bones.
But I still manage to ride XC descents at fairly high speed, and I’ve never found a cross-country ride that these brakes can’t handle. I can modulate my braking to scrub off a little speed before a turn, or grab fistfuls of brake to stop quickly if shit gets real.
Best of all, there’s no futzing around with bleeding lines or spilling messy fluids, and if someone unloading bikes at a trailhead accidentally squeezes a brake lever when the front wheel is out of the fork, there’s no need to waste precious ride time digging out a tool to open up the pads. These brakes work, and they’re simple. Simplicity is a beautiful thing. It’s part of what riding a bike is all about.
*Yeah, I know it really stands for ball bearing, but this ain't Mountain Bike Action, OK?