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  1. #1
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Please help me out with a brake problem

    Hello all - I finally bought my new bike, much thanks to advice I got on this forum. Well, the bike is new to me. It's a 2005 Kona Jake cyclocross bike that I bought used. It pretty much looks like a new bike and am told it has very low miles and has pretty much been sitting in a basement for a couple years.

    When I bought it the tires were flat (back tube needed replacing) and the brakes and gears were loose (from disuse I assume). I dropped it off for a tune up and picked it up tonight. I should mention that although I very much want to learn how to tune up this bike myself, I just don't have the knowledge yet.

    The components are all low-end, but passable stuff. Sora components and Avid Shorty 4 brakes. To me it is all bling because I'm not a pro. I thought I was stepping way up from my old bike. At least my old bike F-ing stopped.

    So I just got back inside from what I thought was going to be a long first night of riding. Everything works great, except the stupid thing won't stop. The brake cables are tight, and if I really squeeze them there is plenty of room left between the brake levers and the bike handles. It's just that it feels like I'm pressing a hard piece of plastic (say, like a toothbrush handle) against the metal of my tire. It's like there is no friction.

    What do I do? I want to enjoy my new bike but this is pretty much the one thing that I can't deal with. The streets around here are pretty busy.

    Like I said before, I don't have much knowledge about the mechanics of bikes, I'm a noobie. I really would like to learn though. But I also spent my budget on the bike itself. Is this an expensive fix?

    They are Avid Shorty 4 brakes. They also have the second pair of brakes on the front. Those are to help me transition from the apparently awesome mtn bike that I gave up for this.

    That is all I know. Here is the bike: http://www.konaworld.com/shopping_ca...3&parentid=182

    ANY help is appreciated. Even if it is just to log on and hurl an insult or two!

    Thanks in advance!

    -B

  2. #2
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    You might want to look into replacing the brake pads...

  3. #3
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Do I have to stick with the Avid brand, which clearly must be crap?

  4. #4
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    No...many people seem to like the Kool Stop pads...

    The Avid pads might have just gotten hard from age...even though they aren't all that old. Strange.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks for the responses. I'll pick up a new pair. Out of curiosity, road bikes stop like every other bike, correct? Meaning I should be able to lock them up if I want. This is my first road bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    The Avids you have are fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by bryoth
    They also have the second pair of brakes on the front. Those are to help me transition from the apparently awesome mtn bike that I gave up for this.
    What do you mean by this? You have two sets of brakes in the front? Are you trying to stop with only the rear brakes?

  7. #7
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Sorry, I should have been more clear on that. I have four brake levers. Two brifters on the drop bar and two of the "cyclocross" type on either side of the stem, on the flat part of the drop bars. I think I've heard them referred to as safety brakes, although I might be wrong about that.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    Ahh right, you have a cyclocross bike. Take the bike back to the shop that did the tune up. Those Avids should stop you just fine. Either they did not adjust the brakes well or something is wrong with the pads. That is if you are using the front brake to stop. I'm still not sure because I can't skid my front brake. Either I stop or do an endo, no skidding. The rear brake only, yes I can skid.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
    ...I can't skid my front brake. Either I stop or do an endo, no skidding. The rear brake only, yes I can skid.
    That's dynamic weight transfer for you. When you brake your rear wheel will go light, which makes for easy skidding.
    Your front OTOH will go heavier, and the heavier it goes the more available friction you get.
    For the average rider this means that you'll endo before the front breaks loose on a good surface. It's not really a loss though, since I don't think I've met anyone ready to claim that they could do a controlled front skid...

    If you do manage to get the front to break loose(by careful positioning and/or riding on a slick/loose surface) you usually go down quite fast as it is terribly difficult to keep the front wheel horizontal while it's sliding.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    The brake pads need to be adjusted to get the proper mechanical advantage to allow them to work. You can have too much leverage, which will prevent the brakes from working.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  11. #11
    Hypoxic Member head_wind's Avatar
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    I've had problems glazing Avid pads when stopping from high speeds down hills.
    Light sanding may be a temporary solution if the pads aren't dried out. I've had
    no problems with Kool Stops.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by head_wind View Post
    I've had problems glazing Avid pads when stopping from high speeds down hills.
    Light sanding may be a temporary solution if the pads aren't dried out. I've had
    no problems with Kool Stops.
    This was going to be my suggestion too - light sanding. OP can do this before going to the trouble of taking the bike back to the shop.

    On the other hand, he paid good money for a tune up. If the quick fix above doesn't do it, take it back. In fact, I'd take it back anyway. They didn't do what you paid them to do.

    Part of the tuneup should have been brakes, and all adjustments should have been tested by the mechanic with a quick spin around the parking lot. The brakes are the LAST thing any competent shop would fail to test - IMHO.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    ...
    On the other hand, he paid good money for a tune up. If the quick fix above doesn't do it, take it back. In fact, I'd take it back anyway. They didn't do what you paid them to do.

    Part of the tuneup should have been brakes, and all adjustments should have been tested by the mechanic with a quick spin around the parking lot. The brakes are the LAST thing any competent shop would fail to test - IMHO.
    Exactly!

  14. #14
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Yeah, unfortunately they didn't take the bike out for a spin. The pads had already glazed over apparently from disuse. I had sanded them down last night but didn't get very good results. I'm a little let down in that I live in Charlotte, NC which is a very corporate little city and I only go to the single privately owned bike shop that I can find. In fact I have been going to this same guy for nearly 20 years now and he's somehow managed to hang with BikeSource, Bicycle Sport, REI, Dick's, Bike Line and all the chains around here while still giving me tune-ups for only $30 (as opposed to the $100 Bike Sport quoted). Cool old Italian guy. His new mechanic was the one that apparently messed up. That and I need to learn to change my own brake pads I guess. I was sorry to see them drop the ball.

    I like this guy so much that I didn't want to make waves. I brought it to a chain and had the pads replaced with some expensive Shimano pads. I'll pick up some Kool Stops next time. Of course the chain I went to shafted me on the price, but what can you do. Brakes work like a charm now. Well- as good as a cyclocross brakes are supposed to work it seems. Still can't stop on a dime but why would I have to I suppose? I'm not taking it downhill. And if my original bike store messes up again I'll take it up with them.

    Thanks for all the advice! One more thing I know about my bike.

    -B

  15. #15
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    Did you get the Jake on craigslist? I'm up in Salisbury, I remember seeing a Jake posted on the Charlotte CL...

    Kind of strange that the brakes still aren't stopping very well...

  16. #16
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    Those Avids should stop you. Some people have a hard time setting up cantilevers, but they should stop you going down hill.

  17. #17
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Yeah, I got the Jake on craigslist. That's cool that you recognize the ad. I paid $400 ultimately, which I thought was a pretty good deal, minus the tuneup and new brake pads required. It's an allright bike, especially for a beginner like myself.

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