Avid launch BB7 Road SL disc brakes

New cable-actuated discs for the road market

by Mat Brett   September 10, 2012  

Avid BB7 Road SLsm

Avid have just sent us details of their new BB7 Road SL (RSL) cable-actuated disc brakes for both cyclocross and road riding. It’s yet more evidence that road disc brakes are starting to get a firm handhold in the market.

The BB7 Road SL is said to be a lightweight upgrade from the original BB7. It comes with titanium hardware, alloy backing plates and a lighter organic friction pad material than the original for a 25g saving per wheel.

The BB7 RSL comes in a falcon grey anodized finish and will be available aftermarket from November with 140mm or 160mm HS1 rotor and titanium rotor bolts. We don’t have a UK price yet although, to give you an idea, it’ll be €152 on the Continent.

You can use the brakes with SRAM’s new SlickWire Road Brake XL Cable Kit – SRAM and Avid being brand-mates. The cable kit comes with a reinforced compressionless housing that, SRAM say, means perfect response and modulation while being 30% lighter than a traditional wound brake housing.

The XL Cable Kit also works perfectly for larger road frames with rim brakes. It includes aluminum SRAM ferrules, rubber frame protectors and PTFE-coated 1.6mm cables. Again, we don’t have a UK price yet but it’ll be €40 when it goes on sale from November.


10 user comments

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25g weight saving for twice the price! Given that the has BB7 gained-weight over the years, is this the price of progress?

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [433 posts]
10th September 2012 - 17:37


Shave off weight, charge more, upgrade to carbon version in a year or two? The BB7 is an awesomely good brake for sensibly priced bikes. Shaving 50g off, per set, isn't going to make it better. Surely this is just a sell-discs-to-MAMILS marketing exercise. Thinking

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [257 posts]
10th September 2012 - 20:36


Always liked avid cable discs so it'll be interesting to see how these adapt for the road. Tempted to give discs a go for my winter bike.

posted by kitkat [285 posts]
11th September 2012 - 8:48


kitkat wrote:
Always liked avid cable discs so it'll be interesting to see how these adapt for the road. Tempted to give discs a go for my winter bike.

BB7 road brakes have been available as long as the MTB versions. Plenty of folks have been using them with no issues.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [468 posts]
11th September 2012 - 12:32


To be honest what I was hoping for was easier (top loading) pads and a less fiddly pad adjuster. So my wish list has not been met.BOOOOO! Crying

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [495 posts]
11th September 2012 - 12:34


I am not yet getting the point of disc brakes on road bikes.

Potential benefits:
+ Improved modulation
+ Ability to replace braking surface without replacing wheel
+ Braking surface further away from road surface water/filth

- Increased weight
- Need for increased strengthening (and weight) of front fork
- Potentially a little less aero (?)

Of all those benefits, the only one I really get is moving the braking surface away from the road. In my many years of cycling, I have never had to replace a wheel as a result of worn braking surface (although I have just started using carbons, so perhaps that will change). And there are some really great rim brakes available these days.

Can anyone really explain to me why I (as a fully signed up MAMIL Wink ) would want to spend money on disc brakes (+ new wheels)?

posted by Tjuice [164 posts]
12th September 2012 - 0:15


Tjuice - Disc brakes on road bikes don't make full sense yet for lightweight bikes. Where they make total sense and where they will become common place is on winter bikes, where weight is less of an issue and robustness, all-weatherness and cleanliness will make them a no-brainer. Guess what most disc equipped cross bikes end up being used for?

Discs will only really be worth putting on light weight machines once ultra light disc only road rims start appearing. Without the braking surface, it should be possible to reduce the weight of the rim. Yes the overall system weight may be a little higher, but the bike will actually feel lighter when riding due to the weight reduction at the outer part of the wheel.

Also, although forks and seat/chainstays have to be beefed up to take the disc brake forces, weight can be removed from frames elsewhere due to the removal of forces normally associated with rim brakes and the mounts needed for them.

The idiosyncrasies of cable disc brakes can make them a pain for all but the most patient with regards set-up and maintenance, so I doubt disc brakes will really take over on the road until good hydraulic systems have been sorted (and I don't mean the cable to hydraulic set-ups that are around at the moment).

The other problem is of course the fact that the frame must have the disc mounts, so people will only convert to discs when they move to a new bike.

posted by joules1975 [276 posts]
12th September 2012 - 13:16


Having switched from a hybrid to a road bike recently, I do miss the security of disc brakes when descending at 30+mph and that they work in the wet too.

I'll follow the development of road discs with interest, although because of the weight issue, think it will be sometime before they are common place (if ever).

Dedicated cycling price comparison | http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [222 posts]
12th September 2012 - 21:34


I've got BB7's on my touring bike, and Ultegra SL's on my road bike. I MUCH prefer the BB7's. Every time I get on my touring bike I'm shocked at how much more confident they make me feel under braking (especially downhill in the wet, when you're worried about locking up). The Ultegra brakes could actually be more powerful, but they're "grabby" and difficult to modulate by comparison.

I've also never needed to change my brake pads on the BB7's, even after a ride to Africa on a massively heavy (45kg+) bike, and I'm VERY heavy too by cycling standards.

posted by robthehungrymonkey [113 posts]
13th September 2012 - 9:41


Opponents of disc brakes on road bikes always make a big deal of the extra weight involved. But, as far as the pro's are concerned, it's irrelevant. They need extra heft to bring the bike up to the UCI minimum weight, and where the pro's go, we will surely follow.


mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [399 posts]
13th September 2012 - 18:11