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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    Who makes the most powerful brakes?

    I've got a fixie and I just want to add a front brake with maximum bear trap like clamping power. I seem to remember the Mavic SSCs being pretty strong...suggestions?
    "How did all those 'Keep Off the Grass' signs get there?"

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    What type of brake? disc, caliper, canti, V, U etc

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    Senior Member Matt Gaunt's Avatar
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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    If your brake will lock your front wheel, at speed, with a reasonable amount of hand pressure on the lever, there is really no purpose for "maximum bear trap like clamping power". With any decent brakes your wheel is going to lock well before you run out of "clamping power". The big difference in types and quality of brakes is not at lockout, but how smooth and controllable the transition is from lightly feathering the brakes to maximum deceleration. Notice I said "deceleration" not lock out as your maximum braking comes at the point just prior to the wheel breaking traction and sliding. Power sliding is not efficient braking. The precision with which you can apply pressure to the brake pads and the return feel you get determines how accurately you can keep a bike at maximum braking without locking up the wheels.

  5. #5
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    If your brake will lock your front wheel, at speed, with a reasonable amount of hand pressure on the lever, there is really no purpose for "maximum bear trap like clamping power". With any decent brakes your wheel is going to lock well before you run out of "clamping power".
    It's all but impossible to lock a front wheel with your brakes - it just doesn't happen unless maybe you're on ice.

    OP has a fixie... most likely any sidepull caliper will give him plenty of stopping power... might need a long reach version if he has fenders and big tires.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    The Bengal discs on my Terratrike will lock the wheels. In an emergency locking the wheels on a trike wont cause much problems. Lock the front wheel on a bike is going to bring road rash. BTW LWB bents can stand far more brakinng action of the front wheel than a DF, because of the load shift, and the fact it is almost impossible to fly over the handlebars.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    It's all but impossible to lock a front wheel with your brakes - it just doesn't happen unless maybe you're on ice.
    Not really. It's more difficult to lock the front wheel on dry pavement but not impossible. Change the surface even a little and locking the front wheel becomes much easier. Gravel, rocks, marbles, paint, etc. on pavement reduce the friction and make locking up the front wheel easier. Changing the body position of the rider has a huge influence on locking the front wheel. An endo is, by definition, a front wheel lock. The rider pivots around the hub because that's the front wheel is locked.

    There are very few brakes that aren't capable of causing pitchover. And the ones that can are very old. Most all of the 'power' of braking comes from technique, not from the mechanical parts of the bike.
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    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Brembo:

    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Brakes do not stop your bike. Brakes stop the wheel from rotating. Tires stop bikes. If you have a narrow tire on the front, that's what determines the stopping power. Any decent road caliper will be sufficient.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    It's all but impossible to lock a front wheel with your brakes - it just doesn't happen unless maybe you're on ice.
    I have absolutely no problem getting enough brake force to lift the rear wheel off the ground if I want to. Naturally this isn't desirable, but that represents the absolute maximum possible stopping power.

    Any decent brake, with decent shoes and clean rims should be able to do this. Usually when they can't it's because of glazed brake shoes, though brake rigidity and brake arm length are also factors.
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    For a specific recommendation, any model Shimano double pivot caliper brake will provide all the stopping power you can possibly use. BTW, is your front rim aluminum or steel? If it's steel, that's the first thing you should change.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It Would have to bolt on thru the fork crown and thus limited to a road bike caliper.
    I would look at a dual pivot type , rather than a single pivot.

    now if you fit a very strong fork, on the bike, and a powerful disc brake on front..
    you get something so strong that it turns the rider into a ballistic projectile
    to be flung to the ground, as all the momentum is transferred to the Weakest Link.

    I've got a fixie and I just want to add a front brake
    with maximum bear trap like clamping power.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-14-11 at 11:21 AM.

  13. #13
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    Maybe you should hold off a little while.

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  14. #14
    Rolling along fas2c's Avatar
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    SCOTT PEDERSEN SUNTOUR SE from Sheldon Brown: http://sheldonbrown.com/tandem-brakes.html
    Self-Energizing Cantilevers

    Because of the myth that conventional cantilevers aren't strong enough for tandem use, some people favor Self-Energizing cantilevers. These don't have a simple pivot, instead, each arm moves on a steep multi-start screw thread, so that as the shoe approaches the rim it also moves forward. When it rubs on the moving rim, the forward pull tends to increase the inward pressure, providing a "positive feedback."
    This design can apply greater braking force for less finger force than a conventional cantilever, but it is difficult to modulate it. The original Scott Pedersen SE brakes were available either for front or rear use (opposite direction threadings), but when Sun Tour bought the design, their legal department vetoed the front version, so only the rear model was made by Sun Tour. I advise against the use of Self Energizing brakes, because they make it too easy to lock up the wheel.


    Self-energizing Brakes http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_sa-o.html#self

    Self-energizing brakes use some of the braking force to provide a "power assist" to the brakes. The best-known self-energizing brake is the Scott-Peterson (Sun Tour)cantilever, which has a steep, helical thread as its pivot, so that the forward force exerted by the rim against the pads helps cause the pads to press harder than they would from hand effort alone. Self-energizing brakes are quite controversial, because they can have a non-linear response, which may lead to wheel lock-up.
    Last edited by fas2c; 10-14-11 at 11:53 AM. Reason: adding content

  15. #15
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I have absolutely no problem getting enough brake force to lift the rear wheel off the ground if I want to. Naturally this isn't desirable, but that represents the absolute maximum possible stopping power.
    All right... I was thinking of skidding the front tire, not doing a partial endo. So I amend my statement to say "it's all but impossible to SKID the front wheel unless you're on ice or something." Which is what I understood Myosmith to be talking about.


    There has been a lot of discussion of this in the commuting and fixed gear forums because some jurisdictions have a statement in their bike rules that "A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement."

    Now that's obviously a stupid law written by somebody who doesn't understand bicycles or the physics of braking, but since there's virtually no way anyone could meet this requirement with a front brake only (as common with fixies) it has sometimes been interpreted (by fixie haters) to mean a bike must have a rear brake.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  16. #16
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    Yes technically those who are saying that when you endo you are producing the maximum braking force possible are incorrect. You could still brake harder if you shifted your weight further back. If you drop your butt behind the seat like on a mountainbike, you could probably brake even harder without an endover. At some point you will lose front wheel traction. That is the true maximum braking force possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    sometimes been interpreted (by fixie haters) to mean a bike must have a rear brake.
    or by people who think bikes should have two brakes.

  18. #18
    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Between different dual pivot calipers, there shouldn't be a huge difference if you are using good pads and have prepped it well. Tektros work fine for most people.

  19. #19
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    If your brake will lock your front wheel....
    I have found that there is often blood in front of the bike after locking the front wheel.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  20. #20
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
    Brakes do not stop your bike. Brakes stop the wheel from rotating. Tires stop bikes. If you have a narrow tire on the front, that's what determines the stopping power.
    Uhh... what?
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    Dual pivot - side-pull
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I have absolutely no problem getting enough brake force to lift the rear wheel off the ground if I want to. Naturally this isn't desirable, but that represents the absolute maximum possible stopping power.

    Any decent brake, with decent shoes and clean rims should be able to do this. Usually when they can't it's because of glazed brake shoes, though brake rigidity and brake arm length are also factors.
    brake rigidity Yes! Which brake sidepull dual pivot has the most rigidity??
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  23. #23
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    I have found that there is often blood in front of the bike after locking the front wheel.
    And from what little I can recall, some associated pain.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sincitycycler View Post
    brake rigidity Yes! Which brake sidepull dual pivot has the most rigidity??
    Any decent model (for Shimano that's Sora and up) will be plenty rigid and powerful. Teltros are fine as are anything Campy makes if cost isn't an issue.

    What's with your quest for extremes?

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Which brake sidepull dual pivot has the most rigidity??
    the most expensive one, until the 'make it lighter' factor reduces the rigidity.

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