Great insights here. I have also enjoyed reading this article:
I am all for tinkering, but not ready for what disc takes for the 15-20 races this year with a dedicated race bike
I agree with your comments. I have only been on the BB7s for a few weeks on my new bike. I have a lot of experience with hydraulic discs, including some road riding testing a Volagi. The BB7s are a letdown compared to hydraulics, but I still prefer them in most instances to cantis.
I do some general trail riding on my cx bike. On steep descents, traditional cantis (I have not ridden linear pulls, but hear good things) seem to only retard the rate of acceleration. This can make for exciting moments. While the BB7s don't have the modulation of hydraulic discs, they are a lot better than cantis. I am running 140mm rear rotor, so I don't have the problems you are experiencing with skidding. In fact, I feel like I am short a bit of power back there. I am switching to organic pads, which should give me that little bit extra I would like. It looks like the pros ride 140mm rotors front and rear to give them less power but more modulation, and make the feel more like the cantis they are used to.
I am looking forward to hydraulics. The ride on the Volagi with a TRP Parabox showed that the modulation is amazing and quite useful on a skinny tire.
The setup is fiddly. For the first couple of weeks, every time I removed and reinstalled a wheel, the rotor rubbed. Maddening. I seem to have them dialed now.
I got the screeching noise as well. Should be better with the organic pads. I also eliminated it with the metallic pads by cleaning the rotors with acetone and lightly sanding the brake pads to clean them. I would perform the same maintenance on rim brakes, so not a big deal.