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Old 06-18-12, 08:29 AM   #1
newnewbie
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brake pads wearing down quickly

I bought bicycles around half a year ago (before that I didn't ride bicycles for almost 25 years).
Anyways.... I use them mostly for commuting to the train station.
I have a very steep and long downhill (uphill on the way back) which wears my brake pads pretty good.
I don't want to replace my pads every 1-2 months (costly) but it is important to have them working.

I thought about various ways of minimizing wear. Taking an alternative route is not an option and trying to slow down with my feet isn't really helpful and also dangerous.
The only way I came up with it to use the rear brakes (which are pretty worn down by now). I am able to slow down with them enough to maintain proper speed. But to really stop I have to use the front brakes.
I figured I should always use the rear brakes for slowing down and the front brakes only when I really need to stop.
This way I can significantly extend the life of the front brakes which can bring me to a full stop when I really need them.

Was just thinking if there are any other tricks I may not be aware of.
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Old 06-18-12, 08:44 AM   #2
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Bad idea. You should ALWAYS be using the front brakes. You need to condition yourself to use them, as they're the ones that do the bulk of the actual stopping. Perhaps you're using them more than you need to if you're not comfortable descending at high speeds?

You can try making sure that your rims are as free of grit/etc as possible, but other than that, pads are a wear item. There's really no getting around the fact.
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Old 06-18-12, 08:58 AM   #3
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Bad idea. You should ALWAYS be using the front brakes. You need to condition yourself to use them, as they're the ones that do the bulk of the actual stopping. Perhaps you're using them more than you need to if you're not comfortable descending at high speeds?

You can try making sure that your rims are as free of grit/etc as possible, but other than that, pads are a wear item. There's really no getting around the fact.
^^This. My guess is that you are using the brakes too much, to keep you going slowly, rather than descending at higher speeds and then braking harder to slow down at the end. Whatever, don't avoid using the front brake, you'd be better off, on a sound surface, using the front brake exclusively. And brakes are, to state the obvious, important. When the pads need replacing, replace them.
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Old 06-18-12, 09:09 AM   #4
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I agree that when pads needs replacement I should definitely replace (especially front brake pads). However, what is so wrong with using the rear brakes to slow down and have most of the wear over there instead of the front brakes/pads? I'll use them only on that downhill and the front brakes for everything else.
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Old 06-18-12, 09:18 AM   #5
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I agree that when pads needs replacement I should definitely replace (especially front brake pads). However, what is so wrong with using the rear brakes to slow down and have most of the wear over there instead of the front brakes/pads? I'll use them only on that downhill and the front brakes for everything else.
For one thing, you'll wear your rear brake out even faster, since it has much worse stopping power, and so you'll be wearing it out that much faster to achieve the same amount of deceleration. I.E. Pretend that you're using just your front brake to stop, and you're holding it for 15 seconds at the bottom of the hill. It might take 25-30 seconds of constant pressure of the rear brake alone, with the associated additional wear.

But even more importantly, as I said before, using the front brake needs to be your instinctive reaction because when you really need it, you don't want to be grabbing it in a panic stop and compound the problem by doing an endo.
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Old 06-18-12, 10:02 AM   #6
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If you have rim brakes you'll want to replace the pads with Kool Stop salmon pads. There are a few different ones for different brake types. Here's the standard one for Shimano and Tektro but there other variations. http://aebike.com/page.cfm?action=de...=30&SKU=BR2157 The red color comes from iron content within the pads. They last several times longer than the stock black pads. There are pads called Swiss Stop brand which people like too for their long-wear.

If you have disk brakes you'll want to replace the pads with hard gold/sintered pads instead of the red or green soft type. The harder pads can cause more noise but that's generally an indication that your calipers aren't perfectly parallel with your disk rotor, so it can be fixed.
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Old 06-18-12, 11:31 AM   #7
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Front brakes provide about 75% of the stopping power for a bike. Also clean the rims , soap and water will do just fine.
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Old 06-19-12, 01:32 PM   #8
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If the pad wears down rather than the rim, it's all good,
Kool Stop has a 'Rim Friendly Compound'
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Old 06-21-12, 12:06 AM   #9
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if you havent already, switch to cartridge pads
this way changing them is easier, also cartridge inserts are cheaper than full pad replacements

if possible use the long mtb style pads as opposed to the short road style pads, the additional material means they take longer to wear out.
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