Just out of interest on my setup above :
* I run the pads very close (My wheels are very true).
* I dont have a spongy lever.
* I dont have a long lever travel.
I think the solid feel is helped A LOT
* Good quality cables (inners and outers).
* Correct cutting / grinding of the ends of the inners (no pressure points).
* Correctly fitting / supporting ferrules.
The only problem :
* I cant release the straddle cable.
But its an easy fix :
* Let the tyre down - its probably coming off to fix a puncture anyway
Out of interest, I set up my sisters 200GS (i.e. crap plastic
) brakes the other day with all new cables etc. I used the same setup tricks as I did on the bear valley but with Ashima cartridge pads and the brakes work surprisingly well.
With the old OE setup and crap shimano pads I struggled to lock the rear (on tarmac) and had little chance of doing an endo (on tarmac) - they were lethal !
Even dad jumped on and tried them after I had done them (but they hadnt bedded in), commented they were better than his road bike (top end campy) but not as good as his MTB (Spez with some avid hydro disks) - but I think that is to be expected