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  1. #1
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    Disk brake effectiveness

    I have Hayes GX2 mechanical disk brakes on my high-end "comfort bike" (hate that terminology, but that's what they call it). The brakes work really well overall, but I'm curious why the rear brake seems so much more effective than the front brake: it can really pull the bike to a quick stop.

    I might mention that I'm just getting back into bicycling after 35+ years riding and working on motorcycles, where it's standard practive to have 80%+ of your braking force in the front brakes. Of course, a bicycle is a lot different in weight and weight distribution. I think if the front brake on my bicycle grabbed as well as the rear brake, I would be in real danger of going endo (which is really difficult to do on a motorcycle!).

    Is this intentional to have the front brake feel a lot less powerful than the rear, or is it probably just something about my particular set of disks, pads, etc.?

    -- Doug

  2. #2
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    It may be intentional. A lot of beginning riders are terrified of the front brake, and seem to be convinced they'll be thrown over the handlebars by same. On some V-brakes, Shimano inserts a spring-loaded "anti-lock" device on the front.

  3. #3
    OlyCommuter babaluey's Avatar
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    Use your bicycle brakes just as you do the brakes on your scoot - the front brake provides the primary stopping power. Too much rear brake can cause the rear tire to skid, just as with motorcycles. I even switch the cables on my bicycle brakes so the front brake is controlled with my right hand, same as on a motorcycle.

    If your front brake is not providing considerably more stopping power than the rear, then something is wrong.

  4. #4
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougG
    Is this intentional to have the front brake feel a lot less powerful than the rear, or is it probably just something about my particular set of disks, pads, etc.?

    -- Doug
    While the Hayes isn't my first choice in a mechanical disc brake, it does sound to me like the shop detuned the front brake for the reason previously mentioned. <how to handle this gracefully >
    People in the demographic that typically purchase "comfort" bikes in general aren't used to the power that discs (or V-brakes for that matter) produce. So in order to prevent injury from a rider grabbing too much front brake some shops will soften them a bit. I've always been somewhat conflicted with this in my personal experience as some people will listen to you when you explain to them about the strength of a disc system while others will give you the "I've been riding longer than you've been alive" speech (or give you the bobblehead act).
    What I would suggest is for you to take the bike back to the shop and ask them to readjust the front brake because "you don't feel it's up to it's full potential" and be aware that this will add a bit more power in the front end.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    <how to handle this gracefully >
    Who the hell are you, and what have you done with Raiyn?

  6. #6
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Who the hell are you, and what have you done with Raiyn?
    You didn't notice the ? Of course I only detuned it lest I draw fire from a certain curmudgeon in Colorado.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Ok, I understand now. Well, I'm off to the archives to see if I can offer any advice on threads 4-5 years old.

  8. #8
    One Tough Cookie. Black Bud's Avatar
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    The disc brakes probably were "detuned" in the shop--or, at the manufacturer--due to liablilty issues that could crop up if a "newbie" got hurt while trying to learn to use disc brakes properly!

    I know my "Sirrus" disc came with resin pads and unusually "soft" steel rotors for that reason; when the rotors did not last, I had them replaced with metallic (sintered) pads and "normal" Deore rotors front and rear!

    The rear brake--with any bike brake system--is "weaker" than the front, anyhow (it is roughly a 70/30 ratio).
    With discs, this normally does not mean a hill of beans--the rear will stop you cold, by itself!! Fast!!

    BTW: I hate 'modulators' on my brakes, and have them removed before I take the bike home!

    It's just as "easy" to learn how to use the darned things properly...you can do it on a single ride, if you do it right...and live where there are mucho stop signs and traffic lights just waiting to help you out with "stopping practice".
    A bad day on the bike is better than a good day at work!!

    My discussion board, another resource for the "utility" and commuter cyclist: "Two Wheeled Commuter: The Everyday Cyclist"

  9. #9
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Bud

    BTW: I hate 'modulators' on my brakes,
    Same here. I hate having to leave them on and I usually yank them when the customer brngs it back for a tuneup

  10. #10
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    I know this is an old post, but.....

    I purched a giant witht he gx2 brakes and went riding and had no brakes. suprise, suprise... I noted you guys mentioning that the manufacturere detunes the brakes. How would I go about undoing this?

    Thanks for any info..

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