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Old 06-26-07, 11:01 PM   #1
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what kind of brakes are the "best"?

what kind of brakes are the "best"? i'm currently riding a mountain bike with v brakes. they are made of steel which is quite heavy. so another question would be what makes a brake a good brake?
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Old 06-26-07, 11:05 PM   #2
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Good question, I'm also wondering the same thing, still using the stock vbrakes that came with my bike, breaks without problem. I guess as long as it's properly adjusted and fitted with good pads, it should do the job?
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Old 06-27-07, 01:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by exas
so another question would be what makes a brake a good brake?
Matthauser pads!!
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Old 06-27-07, 02:30 AM   #4
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Avid makes very good V-brakes. I prefer the Single Digit 7. Also the type of pad makes a big difference. Kool Stop pads seem to have more bite than any other I have tried.
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Old 06-27-07, 02:48 AM   #5
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I owned bikes with bad V-brakes (take it you mean calliper on rims) (my '73 Schwinn LeTour), good disc brakes (Cannondale Cyclocross Disc), and now, good V-brakes (Giant TCR).

I prefer good V brakes to the disc brakes.

If I rode bikes with fat tires, I might prefer the disc brakes, especially if I were doing a lot of riding on steep mountain trails, etc., where you might have, for instance, really long stretches of slow, controlled, downhill stretches where you used the brake most of the way.

My disc brakes were from Avid, cable controlled. They tended to be noisy (especially in wet weather), and were very difficult to keep centered on the disc. More times than not, when you went to get on or off the bike and would move it, one or other brake pads would touch their respective disc and cause it to sing like a water glass vibrating. Used to really annoy me.

They were great at stopping the wheel rotation (always) in any weather. Unfortunately, IMO, when you needed to stop the hardest, generally, any good brake is probably adequate, and any can be over modulated in an emergency stop and throw you to the ground.

The brakes on my Giant are more than adequate (in all the types of weather in which I ride), and are much lighter, and do not restrict the sorts of things I want to do to my bike.

In the weeks leading up to an accident that totalled the Clyclocross, I experienced a wheel failure (unrelated to any accident) and shopped to upgrade my wheels. Choices were very limited because of the disc brake setup.

Also, I find it much simpler to install the wheels on my Giant Calliper setup. You open a little quick release lever on the calliper and take out the wheel. Installation is the reverse - insert the wheel, close the quick release. If you miss, the tire hits the calliper - no big deal.

More than once, when fixing a flat out on the road, I inadvertently misaligned the disc rotar when installing the tire, knocked the little spring that holds the brake pad to the calliper, it fell out and, due to the overgrown area, was lost. Had to ride home not only on a soft tire, but without my rear brake.

Those little metal pads are quite pricey, too.

Dont' get me wrong. Those discs were good brakes, and, while I had them, I was quite proud of them.

But, in the end, they are more brake than most of us needs, they are heavy, and, IMO, not as easy to work with as plain old (but well designed) V-Callipers.

My Giant brakes are self-centering and never rub the rim when I'm not braking.

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Old 06-27-07, 03:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exas
what kind of brakes are the "best"? i'm currently riding a mountain bike with v brakes. they are made of steel which is quite heavy. so another question would be what makes a brake a good brake?
One that stops smoothly, quietly and with minimal amount of effort, first time, every time in all kind of weather.

That is what makes a brake a good brake.
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Old 06-27-07, 03:47 AM   #7
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The best brakes are the ones that work perfectly. Usually that requires meticulous adjustments and installation and high quality pads.

I prefer v-brakes, but anything that can be pulled with flat bar levers can stop quite well.
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Old 06-27-07, 05:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stacey
One that stops smoothly, quietly and with minimal amount of effort, first time, every time in all kind of weather.

That is what makes a brake a good brake.
Also I want the pads to move simultaneously both when I apply the brake and when I release it.
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Old 06-27-07, 07:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey
One that stops smoothly, quietly and with minimal amount of effort, first time, every time in all kind of weather.

That is what makes a brake a good brake.
I agree....
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Old 06-27-07, 08:01 AM   #10
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Also I want the pads to move simultaneously both when I apply the brake and when I release it.
Doh! How could I have ever overlooked that?
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Old 06-27-07, 09:01 AM   #11
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What makes a good brake is the hand that actuates it. Every medium price+ brake I've come across, whether a centerpull or side pull or v-brake I've been able to get the back wheel to start to come up at maximum braking. The only exception are 3 spd bikes with steel rims. They just don't work well dry and don't work at all wet.

Modern brakes have way more stopping power than most people are able to use. Disc brakes are the biggest overkill I've seen.
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Old 06-27-07, 10:11 AM   #12
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that may be so, but they look so damn cool.
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Old 06-27-07, 11:46 AM   #13
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Disc brakes are the biggest overkill I've seen.
Not really, especially on a tandem. Good rims are expensive and discs don't wear out the rims. Discs help prevent tire blow-out by not putting heat into the rim. True, discs may be overkill on some bikes, but your generalization is not totally correct in all cases. We sure appreciate them on our tandem when coming down a mountain pass at 45+ MPH.
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Old 06-27-07, 11:57 AM   #14
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Don't disk brake also put a lot of stress on the spokes? I've heard your wheel may go out of true faster
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Old 06-27-07, 02:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Also I want the pads to move simultaneously both when I apply the brake and when I release it.
Yes except that all of the "I want this brake to do" is down to how you set it up, ype of pads used and not how the brake is made.
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Old 06-27-07, 03:28 PM   #16
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Yes except that all of the "I want this brake to do" is down to how you set it up, ype of pads used and not how the brake is made.
Gonna have to disagree with you there.

You'll fight forever with some of the cheap, old single pivot caliper brakes to keep both sides releasing equally. The cheaper linear pull brakes will drive you crazy too. How about the plastic spring retainers on Shimano canty brakes that crack and keep one arm from retracting properly?
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Old 06-27-07, 03:38 PM   #17
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Avid Juicy 7 carbon things w/ 8" rotors..........or yeh, Carbon levers
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Old 06-27-07, 05:56 PM   #18
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Hershey Longnecks are my all-time favorites.

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Old 06-27-07, 06:00 PM   #19
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Don't disk brake also put a lot of stress on the spokes? I've heard your wheel may go out of true faster
Not always true.
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Old 06-27-07, 07:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Don't disk brake also put a lot of stress on the spokes? I've heard your wheel may go out of true faster
I suppose that's possible, but I haven't found it to be a particular issue in any of the disc brake bikes that I've worked on.

I've found disc brakes to be much more "touchy" about being set up perfectly. There's not much adjustment difference between having almost no brakeing power and having really great brakeing power. But maybe that's just because I have so much less experience with disc brakes than with the various types of rim brakes.
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Old 06-27-07, 07:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Gonna have to disagree with you there.

You'll fight forever with some of the cheap, old single pivot caliper brakes to keep both sides releasing equally. The cheaper linear pull brakes will drive you crazy too. How about the plastic spring retainers on Shimano canty brakes that crack and keep one arm from retracting properly?
I won't argue the plastic spring retainers. After dealing with about 30 billion of those old single pivots, I can confidently say that most can probably be adjusted by bending the spring clip.

But I do agree - effing annoying to adjust.
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Old 06-27-07, 09:24 PM   #22
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I vote for any kind of brakes as long as they are properly adjusted.
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Old 06-27-07, 10:44 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
I've found disc brakes to be much more "touchy" about being set up perfectly. There's not much adjustment difference between having almost no brakeing power and having really great brakeing power. But maybe that's just because I have so much less experience with disc brakes than with the various types of rim brakes.
This is true.

Once you get the hang of tuning discs, there is nothing better. There's a reason the most powerful performance cars and motorcycles use discs: They work.
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Old 06-27-07, 11:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
What makes a good brake is the hand that actuates it. Every medium price+ brake I've come across, whether a centerpull or side pull or v-brake I've been able to get the back wheel to start to come up at maximum braking. The only exception are 3 spd bikes with steel rims. They just don't work well dry and don't work at all wet.

Modern brakes have way more stopping power than most people are able to use. Disc brakes are the biggest overkill I've seen.
Not true in wet weather. I've been in two dangerous situations where I suddenly had close to no braking power because of wet conditions. This with v-brakes using fairly new kool-stop salmon pads on alu rims.

My commuter/rain bike will get an Avid BB7 front disc brake soon, to help with this problem. I have all the parts already, but have to finish building the wheel first. Started yesterday but didn't have time to finish it.
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Old 06-28-07, 12:49 AM   #25
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Not really, especially on a tandem. Good rims are expensive and discs don't wear out the rims. Discs help prevent tire blow-out by not putting heat into the rim. True, discs may be overkill on some bikes, but your generalization is not totally correct in all cases. We sure appreciate them on our tandem when coming down a mountain pass at 45+ MPH.
Disc brakes on a tandem seem to make sense to me - you are riding a heavier, longer passage. I doubt you could flip yourself over the bars on a tandem. Obviously, too much rear brake could cause you to lose control.

On these mountain passes, are you talking about wide smooth roadways or some sort of narrow path.

If you let it all hang out, how what top speed would you attain, and, can you coast all the way down safely, or are there curves, stops, etc?

Just curious.

It's good that I don't live in an area with real mountain roads.

Around here, there are two sections of road that I know of where just coasting downhill presents a challenge not to run off the road. Both have curves midway down the hill.

One road I've mastered, but, the other one would either cast me off the road or whip me left into the opposing traffic lane - and, I am having none of that.

Either type of brake is adequate on these relatively short but steep descents.

I'd probably be dead if there were real mountain roads within my reach.

I love speed.

Actually hate brakes, but, they are an unfortunate necessity.

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