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Old 04-18-09, 03:18 PM   #1
Kalistoga
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Some brake help for a noob

Hey folks,

I am new to road biking (and to the forum) and am wondering if I can get some advice. I have this great new specialized allez (the base model). I picked it up from my LBS after trying a bunch of different styles out. This model was the most comfortable for me - no contest. Right now I am still becoming comfortable with the bike and am still hanging around the brakes, either on the hoods or in the hooks (forgive me if I misuse terms!) because I don't full trust myself just yet. This will keep getting better the more I ride. Something I have noticed in doing this, however, is that the breaks feel a bit soft, and this means a ton of effort and energy is being used to apply the brakes while on the hoods. Now, I realize that this is not the strongest position to brake from, but might there be anything I can do to make it a little easier on myself? I realize I will become stronger with time, but I am becoming frustrated...my forearms are more tired than my legs! Is this normal? I am comfortable tinkering around with my bike as I enjoy learning how to maintain it.

Thanks ahead of time for the guidance - there is a lot to be learned here!
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Old 04-18-09, 03:20 PM   #2
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Oops! I meant to write *brake* in the title. Aw man, what a rookie...

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Old 04-18-09, 03:29 PM   #3
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Brakes are over rated. All they do is slow you down.

Seriously, I'm surprised you're getting sore arms from brakeing a road bike. Here's a couple of affordable things that you can try.
1. Try dressing the surface of your brake pads with a fingernail emery board.
2. If that doesn't work, try a set of Kool Stop brake pads.
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Old 04-18-09, 05:47 PM   #4
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Brakes are over rated. All they do is slow you down.

Seriously, I'm surprised you're getting sore arms from brakeing a road bike. Here's a couple of affordable things that you can try.
1. Try dressing the surface of your brake pads with a fingernail emery board.
2. If that doesn't work, try a set of Kool Stop brake pads.
3. Clean the rim while you're at it. Degrease and some steel wool would do the trick.
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Old 04-18-09, 07:06 PM   #5
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Most road bike brakesets are quite powerful if adjusted properly. If this is a new bike, you may simply have stretched the cables a bit. Normally, the bike shop will want you to come in in a month or so after purchase to re-adjust those slightly-stretched brake and shifter cables.
Usually it's free...

You might pop a wheel off and visually inspect the pads. Are they getting full contact? If not, they may not have been properly adjusted to begin with.
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Old 04-18-09, 09:11 PM   #6
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4. Make sure that you're doing most of the squeezing with your fingers below the pivot of the brake levers. Some people might accidentally grip them too high and, in effect, pull against themselves because the higher fingers are pulling back on the top end of the lever.
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Old 04-19-09, 02:34 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone - I'm going to look into all of these things, starting with the brake tension.
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Old 04-19-09, 05:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kalistoga View Post
Hey folks,

I am new to road biking (and to the forum) and am wondering if I can get some advice. I have this great new specialized allez (the base model). I picked it up from my LBS after trying a bunch of different styles out. This model was the most comfortable for me - no contest. Right now I am still becoming comfortable with the bike and am still hanging around the brakes, either on the hoods or in the hooks (forgive me if I misuse terms!) because I don't full trust myself just yet. This will keep getting better the more I ride. Something I have noticed in doing this, however, is that the brakes feel a bit soft, and this means a ton of effort and energy is being used to apply the brakes while on the hoods. Now, I realize that this is not the strongest position to brake from, but might there be anything I can do to make it a little easier on myself? I realize I will become stronger with time, but I am becoming frustrated...my forearms are more tired than my legs! Is this normal? I am comfortable tinkering around with my bike as I enjoy learning how to maintain it.

Thanks ahead of time for the guidance - there is a lot to be learned here!
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Originally Posted by Kalistoga View Post
Oops! I meant to write *brake* in the title. Aw man, what a rookie...

Fixed it for you. Next time just use the edit if it's your post to make any changes. Don't you just love open source? And welcome to the forums!
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