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I have a 2012 Specialized Tricross Elite Disc on layaway at my LBS. The bike comes with Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes, but I've recently read a lot of horror stories about BB5's (adjustment issues, dramatically short pad life, brakes going out on steep decents etc). Should I have my LBS upgrade it to BB7 before I even bring it home, or is this an older model BB5 issue I shouldn't be worried about?

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Yes. Also, yes. If you can replace them, go ahead and do it. You won't regret it. 

Well, I can't speak about the BB5s because I've never ridden them, but I got my Crux Disc in October with BB7s and I love them love them love them love them love them.  When researching the bike, everything I read indicated that a little extra money for the BB7s was well worth it.

Yes, the BB7's are fantastic.  You shoud be able to pull the BB5's and sell them on Craig's/ebay for $50-$60. 

I'd prefer having brakes that everyone agrees are solid. I'll pick up a pair of BB7's and put them on after I bring it home next month. Along with CX and commuting, this rig will occasionally be a road bike. Wiping out on grass and dirt because your brakes go out is one thing, but another altogether when you're on pavement going 35+! Thanks for the advice.

The BB5's are plenty safe, but they are no where near as powerful, easy to modulate or easy to adjust.  I would also stay with Avid rotors, G2/G3's vs some of the newer "lightweight" rotors.  The lightweight aftermarket stuff works ok functionally but howl and screech like crazy in my experience vs the smooth quiet power of the Avids.  I ride all winter on my CX bike in MN and the BB7's work wonderfully in salt, snow, rain, and mud.  Easy to change the pads and with Gore sealed cables they are very smooth and powerful.  Good luck.

Thanks. I'll be switching over to the CX bike from my MTB for my AK winter commute. Good to hear the BB7's perform well in those conditions.

I've ridden both the bb5 and bb7 on a mtb and I don't think you'll see much difference.  The are vary similar brakes in terms of performance.  Never had issues with the brakes going out on either.  As for the pads that was an issue on both models. 

I'd probably wait since I think in the next few years one of the big companies will come out with a cx specific disc that will be better than any of the current models.

I'll be picking up the bike in the next two weeks. Unfortunately I'll also be potentially getting
Surgery on my wrist as well, so the new ride will be stuck on a trainer for a while. I'm going to
put it through the paces for a while with the current set up and make a determination after
that. Based on all your recommendations and others I've read, I'll probably switch to BB7 eventually, but am going to give the BB6 a shot. Thanks for all the advice. I'm sure my wife will appreciate me waiting to make "yet another bicycle related purchase" for a while!
My new Fel F65x came with BB5s. They're a little bit of a pain to get dialed in at first because they only adjust from the inside. It took me a little while to get them to run silently, but they're ok. I dial the adjustment about 3/4 of the way open (wide spacing) then loosen the mount and center like a hydraulic. This worked ok. Like another guy said, I'm going to run them until hydraulic disc levers come out. The BB 7s are better, but not enough so to justify a change. I'm waiting for the Force hydraulic brakes.

BB7's all the way....If you tune your brakes yourself do it otherwise don't worry about it

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