Spied! Prototype Avid BB7 Road SL Mechanical Disc Brakes

prototype 2013 SRAM Avid BB7 SL mechanical disk brakes with titanium hardware

You never know what you’ll find walking around Eurobike. Sometimes prototypes and future products are hiding in plain sight, like these presumably MY 2013 Avid BB7 Road SL mechanical disc brakes.

Visually, there’s not a ton to differentiate them other than perhaps a slightly more chiseled body. The plates that bolt to the fork/frame look a hair thinner and the outer face of the rotating arm seems a bit slimmer, too. Word on the street is it gets titanium hardware, and there’s not much to dislike about the dark chrome finish. Rumor has it we’ll know quite a bit more about these in short order. More pics, anyone?

prototype 2013 SRAM Avid BB7 SL mechanical disk brakes with titanium hardware

The black adjustment knobs should go much better with today’s current crop of stealthy road bikes…and with SRAM’s various road groups. Just for comparison, here’s the current BB7 Road:

 

prototype 2013 SRAM Avid BB7 SL mechanical disk brakes with titanium hardware

Comments

Aaron - 09/03/12 - 11:54am

I like the polished look, but I’ll never put discs on a road bike.

MarkB - 09/03/12 - 12:21pm

Aaron, if you feel your sidepulls stop you well enough, by all means, keep them. I will personally never ride ANY multispeed bike WITHOUT discs. (Well, Electra does make the Rat Fink in 3-speed IGH, so ONE exception….)

Everybody's friend - 09/03/12 - 12:41pm

Stoked! A different finish and titanium bolts on a 10-year old brake design! I’m going to run out and buy some because I am a sheep and I do what the bike industry tells me. The performance is so superior that nobody has bothered to care for years, until the UCI and the bike industry figured out there’s money to be made.

It’s the future, yo!

DhBrO - 09/03/12 - 12:46pm

lol how have the pro (or any) roadies done it all these years without discs???

vectorbug - 09/03/12 - 12:51pm

I don’t really like chrome, but I’m not a baby boomer.

Everybody's friend - 09/03/12 - 12:58pm

Some are refusing to race discs for CX this fall. Despite the sponsors. Because, you know, they’re so superior an all. Here’s where someone posts a “yeah but once they get good blah blah hopes and dreams. Realistically they’ll get paid to ride them, and folks will line up to buy them. It’s about selling new bikes. Period.

Anyone notice how redline and Bianchi production disc bikes from 2004 totally dominated the races and and took over sales at shops?

Nivlac - 09/03/12 - 1:27pm

Hi Everybody’s Friend. You fail to realize that people are buying new bicycles constantly – and these look better than the old ones and are a little lighter. Looks like a good product to me. If you race Cat A/Pro CX you probably know that you save a lot of time by turning with the rear wheel in the air. Switchbacks, 180 degree turns, barrel turns, etc are taken faster this way, and disc brakes provide WAY better control for this maneuver. Also, many people ride in heavy rain and mud on their cross bikes where disc is better. I feel I have to say this every time someone shoots down road disc – when rim manufacturers start making road disc specific carbon rims – without braking tracks – they will lose a 1/4lb at the outside of the wheel. This is a huge performance gain and it’s what I think will propel road disc to common acceptance. You sound like a dingus.

Sevo - 09/03/12 - 1:42pm

Niviac-I agree with a bit of what you have to say….but a 1/4 off the wheels is a bit ambitious regrading disc rims vs non-disc rims, you’re talking about 113 grams per rim. If you are talking a pair of rims, that’s still alot. Maybe 10-20 grams realistically can be saved.

but yes, discs are a huge benefit for cross bikes. I did my first real cross race last fall, thinking all the disc stuff was fluff and marketing. I run TRP’s mini-v’s where are pretty damn tough to beat breaking wise. I was 240lbs back then, and even now at 220lbs I still wish I had discs on my cross bike. I get it now.

Why not on road bikes? Why pro riders don’t use them? Last I checked, UCI sad it was a no-no on pro tour bikes to run discs. And honestly, after getting a chance to ride with Cipo for 2 days a few weeks back and watching that guy descend at 55+ and corner at speed…..didn’t seem like his Campy sidepulls were a detriment to his riding at all. :)

Everybody's friend - 09/03/12 - 2:16pm

Turns out I’ve raced elite CX for 5 years.

Fun facts from the field: disc bikes are heavier, at the wheels, where rotating weight makes a bigger difference. Another fun fact: CX is about maintaining momentum, not…stopping…

And then if you were at some of the really muddy races back east last year you’d have seen early adopter teams going back to their rim brake bikes, once two laps had their acids dragging so bad that they barely rolled and bike washes didn’t remedy this. The Crumpton team guys even made noise about this on twitter.

Some people are excited about discs and that’s fine, but it cannot be denied that BB7′s have been available for a decade and very few riders cared enough to even consider them, despite the availability of brakes, wheels, frames and forks. The UCI says “approved”, the marketing machine starts spinning, and suddenly everyone talks about how awesome they are, or you know, surely will be. And the majority of riders don’t ride UCI events anyway.

If you like the idea of discs, you could have had them long before now, if you could think for yourself. If you’re just starting to preach the “benefits” it starts to sound like you’re jumping on the bandwagon, because that’s what you were told to do.

Nivlac I’m using ‘you’ in the universal sense, not you directly, just FYI.

Everybody's friend - 09/03/12 - 2:17pm

Edit: acids was ‘rotors’ before autocorrect got to it.

Bk - 09/03/12 - 2:44pm

Everybody’s friend:

Ever notice how Bianchi and Redline haven’t made a good cross bike in a decade? No wonder nobody rode their disc models.

You will be surprised how many Pro’s will be racing it this year. It’s game changing.

Also, the additional weight isn’t rotating weight really. It’s at the hubs, not the rims where the effects are much reduced.

Nivlac - 09/03/12 - 2:59pm

Your comments just irked me because I’m in the bike industry, lots of people who visit this site are too, and when someone goes shooting down new product, I think, “why?” why not try to think of the benefits that many different types of riders could yield from it? These things are inexpensive too, I could see people upgrading their old BB7s for looks only.

Cyclocross races are about maintaining momentum, and accelerations. Time spent accelerating after major obstacles (like slow 180 turns etc) can make a huge difference. Brakes help you win races, just ask Kevin Schwantz.

Tim - 09/03/12 - 3:42pm

Wonder how much weight they’ll save.
Will there be a mountain version, I wonder?

Everybody's friend - 09/03/12 - 4:10pm

Lots of people are in the bike industry, so what. I’m sorry if my comments irked you but there is some truth to both your posts and mine. As for pro’s running disc brakes….they’re paid….it’s more telling when they refuse to ride something than when they run what they’re told.

My complaint about disc brakes isn’t about the theoretical benefits to some riders. They’ll have advantages and disadvantages like everything else. But it it’s funny that so many people–companies included–are acting like this is amazing and new, when the technology of this brake in particular has been available and ignored for a decade. Oh NOW we’re supposed to get excited? C’mon….whatever company you work for, you have to admit that’s pretty silly.

Spencer - 09/03/12 - 5:20pm

So, these were actually in another bikerumor post over one week ago. And since there isn’t anything but the obvious and speculation- this post is lame. I’m excited to hear real info on these though. Pimp my commuter.

Bill C - 09/03/12 - 5:30pm

I understand the desire for a new mechanical (even if I don’t share it)- but why stick with the horrible CPS washers? I’m thinking that this is just a stopgap (admittedly a good looking one) until proper SRAM hydro levers are available.

Walter - 09/03/12 - 6:03pm

The B7 is a very good, reliable design. With good cables, performance is almost as good as hydraulics but more reliable and maintenance is easy. I can really understand they didn’t want to change it too much.

ChrisC - 09/03/12 - 6:46pm

I love that the internet is (basically) forever, because it’s going to be so awesome in 3-5 years – if/when road discs become the standard – to come back and look at all the nay-sayers. Maybe it won’t happen, but if it does, WOW are some people going to be eating crow…

Devian Gilbert - 09/03/12 - 6:52pm

wow. thank god! or well… I guess thank you SRAM.

really

it seems that the entire BB7 line is way over due for a revamp… maybe an entire revamp, like maybe actuation in both pads?

and when where there be Speed Dial in the road levers?

that seems like another no brainer.

Rival CX Speed Dial

duh.

Josh - 09/03/12 - 8:02pm

I love my bb7′s. Im a bike mechanic and I run them on 2 of my mountain bikes
once set up correctly they give all the power of hyrdos with a slight trade off in lever feel and modulation

jeff - 09/03/12 - 10:18pm

@Walter – how exactly is a mechanic disc brake more reliable than a hydraulic?
I had a BB7, and it is a good brake for what it is. Very useful for matching a disc with a V-brake only frame.
But cable stretch and contamination are regular, unavoidable issues. I have had Shimano discs that I had 4 years and didn’t have to do anything more than change one set of pads. Another I’ve had to bleed once after 18mos of hard use.
Performance wise, it’s not even close…the BB7 only moves one pad, relying on a slave pad and flexing the rotor.

Jdog - 09/03/12 - 10:31pm

Call me when both pads move. Till then these are still a hassle. No one wants to hear discs rub on a road bike. Discs and 650 b are coming and coming hard. Resistance is futile.

Tim - 09/03/12 - 10:58pm

I’ve used BB7s for over ten years without cable rub ever being an issue. You do have to twiddle knobs, which is never a big deal, unless maybe you lose serious pad thickness in one long DH run- I can’t comment as I don’t live in a place with that kind of riding. About the pad flexing the rotor- we’re talking a short distance here, less than a millimeter. Cable stretch? Sure, but if you use Jagwire cables and housing, or get spendy and go Nokon, then it will be –close– to a non-issue (at the price of making it as pricey as a hydro).
Hydros are in some ways more reliable- there are plenty of people out there who’ve never bled or adjusted them after years of use. But if something does go wrong, particularly in the woods, you’re unlikely to be able to rig them to work and get back to the car. There are also special little parts, olives, special bolts with holes in them, banjos, and so on, and if something gets tweaked, you have to order and wait for non-standard parts. These are all rare occurrences, but they do happen sometimes to some people.
Anyways, each system has its pluses and minuses, and it’s good to see a high-end mechanical brake come onto the market.
BTW- there is a mechanical brake with two moving pads, the IRD Dual Banger. Unfortunately, it seems to be rather poorly executed, and the reviews on it seem to be generally bad.

BBB - 09/04/12 - 3:03am

Jdog – 09/03/12 – 10:31pm
Call me when both pads move. Till then these are still a hassle. No one wants to hear discs rub on a road bike…

Unlike hydraulic systems which have both pads moving and usually start rubbing sooner or later, BB7s have both pads independently adjustable. They won’t rub if you don’t want them to.

Framex - 09/04/12 - 10:16am

I was told from an insider at eurobike they will be some 25 grams lighter than regular BB7.
To me it can be mostly from the titanium hardware, the design looks pretty much the same.

ws - 09/05/12 - 1:08am

If you like disc brakes on a road/cx bike buy one, if you don’t, don’t. Disc brakes have proven themselves in the automotive, motorcycle, and mtb arena. Maybe the road segment is too antiquated and/or stodgy to accept “rapid” changes in technology. As noted above road disc brakes have been around for 10 yrs. The industry has had to compete with glacially responsive UCI rules. Yes the cycling community is trendy…trends come and go, but show me someone who thinks road disc and electronic shifting is dead in the water (and has ridden a Di2, ESP, or road disc set-up extensively), I’ll show you someone who thought the i-pod/i-pad were a bad idea.

ws - 09/05/12 - 1:10am

*EPS*

Walter - 09/05/12 - 8:23pm

@jeff I use my bikes basically for commuting, summer and winter. My bike gets no clean up after every ride, more like one clean up in spring and one before the big tour in summer. Hydraulics can’t stand this. They get stuck, need to be bleeded too many times and loose their power. The BB7 just works. Always.

Scottrider - 09/05/12 - 9:33pm

How about this for an angle, I have been having a lot of pain in my thumbs and wrists do to tendonitis. So much, that I hardly MTB ride much anymore. When I am descending on my road bike at speed, it can sometimes be pretty painful slowing down. I for one can not wait until hydraulic road discs are available for just this reason. I am not much of a weight weeny, so a little extra weight is cool with me when I can do 1-finger braking on the road like I do on my MTB.

cx fun - 09/06/12 - 3:08am

Is this something new? Cyclocross Magazine highlighted these brakes nearly a year ago. Tim Johnson rode them for a season. They are the BB7 Ultimate, and are polished and have a few bolt changes. CXmagazine also highlighted them again at Press Camp. “You never know what you’ll find walking around Eurobike” should read “You never know know what you’ll find by using Google or reading other sites.”

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