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Braking a P-38

As I speak, my new P-38 frame ought to be in the latter stages of being built and I'm beginning to jump up and down with impatience!

Ok, I've specced most of the new bike but I've still to make a decision on the brakes. I've been slightly turned off Shimano V-brakes (XT/XTR) because the XTs on my commuter mtb squeal like it's going out of fashion, and I gather it's not just mine. I have to admit that it's only ever been the front brake on my mtb that's made all the noise, something to do with tensile braking forces rather than compressive, perhaps. I'm also rather fond of the power of the Hope hydraulic discs on my lower, heavier recumbent, so I'm fishing for ideas.

I'm looking at Avids particularly, the Arch Rivals, the Single Digit 7s (and SLs if I can find a pair), and perhaps Shimano LX V-brakes. I'm not sure I can justify the Avid Ultimate brakes on 'bang for the buck' terms. I've asked Tim Brummer to include the pre-bent brake levers.

I'm also fairly sure about the brake bosses on the bike. Mine will be an XL frame with the rigid fork for a 20" wheel. From what I've seen, the bike effectively calls for two rear brakes if the front one is mounted to the rear of the fork - is that right?


Hi Becky-

I know that V-brakes in general can be prone to squealing. The Shimano V-brakes with the special mechanism to keep the pads lined up with the rim braking surface have a reputation for being more troublesome than others. I would avoid them. If Tim Brummer says the Avid brakes will work, that may be a better choice.

Another possibility: Magura hydraulic rim brakes. I have been using them with excellent results for many years on my P-38, my Stealth (older version of the Phantom), and other bikes too. I see them on eBay frequently, sometimes cheaply.

I have never understood the difference between a so-called front V-brake and a rear one though. Just be sure the cable orientation will allow you to avoid interference problems.

Good luck with your new bike!

Safe riding,


I use the Ciamillo Zero Gravity on my P-38.

Superlight, stops.

Just don't use the carbon rim pads for your non-carbon rims.


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