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  1. #1
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    More Brake Power?

    I currently have some brakes that aren't providing as much stopping power as I'd like. I wonder if replacing the brake pads would help, or, if I should just throw down and upgrade to some Dura Ace Brakes. BTW I'm currently using some Cane Creek SC 3 brakes.

  2. #2
    break-beats turtle77's Avatar
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    First of all, have they ever provided enough stopping power? If not, then upgrade. I remember someone on this forum mentioning that the Cane Creeks were "flexy" and that they didn't have quite the power of other brakes. I don't remember if they were speaking about your particular model, though, and I have a friend that swears by them.
    Okay, so then, if they have provided enough power in the past, there are a few things to do. First, replace the cables and housing. That always seems to help many issues, whether brake or derailler related. Second, check how worn your pads are, replace if necessary. Third, make sure the pads are making maximum contact with the rim. Fourth, make sure that both of the pads are contacting both sides of the rim evenly, i.e., at the same time. If not, depending on the brake, there will often be a little screw that adjusts this on the actual brake body. If it's way off, though, you may want to check to make sure your wheel's hub is seated in the dropout correctly. Another thing to check: Make sure that your brake body pivot point isn't sticking when you release the brakes. Lightly lubricate if necessary. (NEVER lubricate the pads, obviously). Make sure your rims and pads are clean.

  3. #3
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    You could try upgrading the pads. I don't know what the stock pads were like, but this could improve performance beyond the original level.

    Kool Stop Salmon pads are very popular around here... http://biketoolsetc.com/index.cgi?id...m_id=KS-DURADL

  4. #4
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Squeeze harder... Don't get leverage-ratios mixed up with deceleration-rate. Stickier pads will give you higher-deceleration for the same lever-force. Up to the limits of adhesion of the front-tyre. Even with crappy brakes, you can reach that limit by squeezing harder. Also make sure that your cable isn't adjusted to tight, you want the lever to be close to the bar, but not quite touching it when you're at maximum-braking. Your fingers are stronger when they're closed and it's easier to modulate the lever-force as well.

  5. #5
    I ain't no newbie redirekib's Avatar
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    Brake problems have a lot to do with cables, read this

  6. #6
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, smoothly operating cables are simply divine! I like the DiaCompe rolled cables, very smooth; you can lock up the front brake with just one or two fingers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Squeeze harder... Don't get leverage-ratios mixed up with deceleration-rate. Stickier pads will give you higher-deceleration for the same lever-force. Up to the limits of adhesion of the front-tyre. Even with crappy brakes, you can reach that limit by squeezing harder. Also make sure that your cable isn't adjusted to tight, you want the lever to be close to the bar, but not quite touching it when you're at maximum-braking. Your fingers are stronger when they're closed and it's easier to modulate the lever-force as well.
    I agree. Personally, I've never seen a set of brakes I couldn't lock up, even on old crappy bikes. If you can lock 'em, you're stopping as fast as your tire will allow. Not to mention which - I'd rather not have the touchiest brakes around. Rather they didn't lock until I'm ready.

    +1 on adjusting the cable. I'd add that it's also likely that it's too loose - last time I got pissed at my brakes, it's because I had the lever all the way extended but it still wasn't enough to engage the brakes sufficiently. Glad I tightened the cable before I bothered replacing the brakes, fixed the problem.

    I'd say in general, with typical road bike tires...the brake pads, assuming they're in good condition, are almost never going to be the limiting issue in your ability to stop. Your tires will be the limiting device.

  8. #8
    cab horn
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    Replace pads with kool stops. Failing that get vbrakes then move on to disc brakes.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  9. #9
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    First step is to ask what problem you are trying to solve. Do you have to exert an uncomfortable amount of pressure on the levers? Do the rims keep sliding past the pads no matter how hard you push on the levers? Do you want to do front wheelstands?

  10. #10
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    First of all, I'm pretty satisfied with the brakes except when coming down steep hills. I do not want to do front wheelstands, and the rims do stop if I squeeze hard enough. I tend to have to squeeze harder then I want to on the levers to decrease my speed (and the rims continue to keep rotating) to a comfortable level. I'm in the bay area, so as some of you know, the hills can get pretty outrageous in the city, hence the need for more stopping power. Ideally, I'd like to have to squeeze on the levers with less force in order to slow down on some of the steeper hills (as oppose to squeezing very hard). I simply don't like having to squeeze so hard to slow down to comfortable speeds. Hopefully I can make the adjustment fairly cheaply, the last resort being replacing the whole brake system to either Ultegra or Dura-Ace. Several people have mentioned trying the kool stop pads, would this help? Would adjusting the tension (I assume tightening the cables) help? I wonder what steps I should take BEFORE replacing the whole system, to hopefully save some $. Thanks for all the help guys.

  11. #11
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Several people have mentioned trying the kool stop pads, would this help?
    No. Several people have suggested it, meaning that it will not help at all.

  12. #12
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Hmm, well sounds like your on a road bike and technically upgrading every piece in your whole system would help. I had the same concern with my mtb after I decided to stay with v-brakes. I upgraded the pads, cables/housing, and levers and how they stop as good at mechanical discs, if not better.

    I would suggest adjusting them first to see if you can get the results you want and making sure the whole system is perfect (cables and housings are smooth, etc.). The next step would be to upgrade the second cheapest thing which would be cables/housing or pads. And if that doesn't work, upgrade your cables/housing and pads.

    Kool Stops are good for everything and I have heard good stuff about Swiss Stops, although I've never used them. I would also suggest spending more money and using nicer cables/housing. Nicer cables/housing grants you one of two main upgrades (or both of them): smoother operation (via PTFE/Teflon coating, minimization of compression, etc.) and/or longer life (by being fully sealed).

    Of course the last resort would be upgrading the brake body, but that is the most expensive and it will definitely be better, but would it be worth it? It all depends on whether you want good enough to make you happy, or the best ever. For my mtb, I've made my front brakes as good as possible, but my rear is just semi-sealed.
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  13. #13
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    I gave in and bought a front brake Dura Ace. It flippin STOPS so much better than any brake I've ever had. Even with their brake pads.
    A: Use the front brake. Move to the right hand.
    B. Dura Ace (haven't tried Ultegra,) but the DA is GREAT
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  14. #14
    Erectible Member pedalMonger's Avatar
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    I replaced the heels on my boots, and man, that made a difference in stopping power. As a bonus, there are a steel plates on the back of the new heels, so I throw sparks off the pavement now.

  15. #15
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    You want a good show, use magnesium!

  16. #16
    Erectible Member pedalMonger's Avatar
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    Good idea Stacey!

    (*gets out yellow pages and looks up "metallurgist"*)

  17. #17
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Scrap metal, it's cheaper that way.

  18. #18
    Your mom
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    Could your problem be reach? Are your hands small? I sometimes find I have trouble applying enough pressure from the hoods because I have small hands. There are levers designed to compensate, if so.

  19. #19
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    Only item I have not seen mentioned is to make sure your cable housing is not overly long. Best option for efficient transfer of energy is a cable that does not have much room in the housing but still slides easily under pressure. Front brake on right hand is the only way I have ridden for 30 years. Only disadvantage was when I was wrenching I kept reaching for the wrong brake lever when working on someone else's bike on the stand!

  20. #20
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    Whoops, remembered two more options.

    1. Clean rim and pads with a cleaner such as Fantastik or 409.

    2. Deflate the tires. Get an emory board, place it lengthwise between one of the brake pads and the rim and then hold the board firmly to the rim. Have someone lightly depress the brakes and then move the wheel (with the board) back and forth. That will remove any glaze that has occured on the surface of the pad.

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