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  1. #1
    Senior Member wheelhot's Avatar
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    Disc Brake Failure????

    Hey I was wondering what should I do if my disc brake fails during a competition and if its possible to fix it. Because on the recent Penang International Mountain Bike challenge, I saw a guy retiring from the race because he says he cant brake anymore (uses Disc Brake) So I was wondering is it possible a disc brake to fail if the terrain is wet/muddy?

  2. #2
    Senior Member redallerd's Avatar
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    Usually disc brakes have great stopping power and aren't affected by wet/mud. But if the brake's damaged, you better not risk your health for some race
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  3. #3
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    AFAIK, most disc brake failure comes from leaks, air in the system, rotor or pads contaminated with oil/grease or a crash causing damage to the hydraulic lines/lever/caliper. Mud and water don't typically interfere with disc brake function. I've ridden mine in snow with no trouble.
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  4. #4
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Either pinkrobe has it or...


    he has crappy disc brakes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member vw addict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelhot
    I saw a guy retiring from the race because he says he cant brake anymore (uses Disc Brake)
    Sounds like maybe his system "pumped up" on a long downhill due to moisture in the fluid(if his brake system runs DOT fluid) The moisture has a lower boiling point thus when heated up on a long downhill it expands and pushes the pads against the rotor locking up the brake. This is why you change the fluid every year or two and only use fresh fluid when doing so.

  6. #6
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    My Shimano mech discs quit working when the pads wore down.. It was just the front one so I had to brake with the rear on the way back. That was no fun, I didn't think I'd miss one brake that much. The arm that moves the outer pad would fully pull without the pad touching the disc. I was able to realign the caliper and get it to work again, but I soon replaced the pads.

    Mud will sometimes hurt the pads, but only if it is very grainy.. I had under some bad advise thrown some mud on the rotor to help quiet the pads. That caused excessive wear you could see the brake pad material where it had turned to wet dust with the grainy mud on the rotor. these were an aftermarket brand pads which worked good for 300 or so miles until I did this. I had done it to the factory pads before and it worked good to quiet them. I guess the compound was different or something, they both said organic.

    On a side note my rotor says organic pads only, I wonder what a pad with some metallic content would do to them?

  7. #7
    Senior Member vw addict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtPedalerB
    On a side note my rotor says organic pads only, I wonder what a pad with some metallic content would do to them?
    groove the rotor

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtPedalerB
    On a side note my rotor says organic pads only, I wonder what a pad with some metallic content would do to them?
    If it states to use only one type of pad, then that is what you should use. I, on the other hand, only ever use Sintered pads in my Hope system. Thes are harder than the Organic pads, and should wear the disc out more- After 4 years uf having them- the discs are not showing any sign of wear. Then again the harder sintered pads are not supposed to work too well in wet or cold conditions. Never had a problem. The only thing is that syntered pads will run hotter. Whether this could affect the caliper unit or the disc with the material it is made of- is anyones guess, but if it states to only use organic pads- then Only use organic pads.
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    Of course a disc brake can fail. There are many reasons that have been noted (thanks pink) but yes, it is possible.

    If your brakes fail I would recommend getting off the track ASAP, possibly fixing it or retiring from the race.

    I wouldn't even go riding down the road without a front brake. I had to, once, when I got my new fork and the spacers weren't the right width (had to go to a hardware store and pick up some washers. Worked great ) and I nearly road in to an intersection twice.

    Rear brakes are not your friend.

  10. #10
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defiance
    Of course a disc brake can fail. There are many reasons that have been noted (thanks pink) but yes, it is possible.

    If your brakes fail I would recommend getting off the track ASAP, possibly fixing it or retiring from the race.

    I wouldn't even go riding down the road without a front brake. I had to, once, when I got my new fork and the spacers weren't the right width (had to go to a hardware store and pick up some washers. Worked great ) and I nearly road in to an intersection twice.

    Rear brakes are not your friend.
    Haha...you learn quickly how to be fast. I actually blew a front brake on a dh run and did 5 more runs afterwards. It teaches you quickly that most (myself included) people brake toooooo much. Ya, I had many a pucker moments, but I ended up being 4 or 5x faster without the brakes. The front worked well enough that if I knew what was coming I could at least slow down a bit so I wouldn't launch anything, but it really forced me to commit.

    Try it sometime. You would be surprised what you are your bike can do when you don't have a front brake haha

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom
    Haha...you learn quickly how to be fast. I actually blew a front brake on a dh run and did 5 more runs afterwards. It teaches you quickly that most (myself included) people brake toooooo much. Ya, I had many a pucker moments, but I ended up being 4 or 5x faster without the brakes. The front worked well enough that if I knew what was coming I could at least slow down a bit so I wouldn't launch anything, but it really forced me to commit.

    Try it sometime. You would be surprised what you are your bike can do when you don't have a front brake haha
    Maybe I'll try and conciously try to not use the front brake as much, but I'm not very comfortable with ripping off the brake and going down a trail of any magnitude.

    At least not while I've got this rear brake. I know a rear brake isn't meant for stopping, more for regulating speed, but if my bike has any decent momentum my rear brake does nothing.

  12. #12
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    now that I actually look at my rotor it says for resin pads only.. Is resin the same thing as organic?

  13. #13
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defiance
    Maybe I'll try and conciously try to not use the front brake as much, but I'm not very comfortable with ripping off the brake and going down a trail of any magnitude.

    At least not while I've got this rear brake. I know a rear brake isn't meant for stopping, more for regulating speed, but if my bike has any decent momentum my rear brake does nothing.
    Ya, I had at least one that worked well. I didn't skid, I made sure to keep up the modulation so I could slow down. But you will be shocked at how much faster you can go if you REALLY try to not use the brakes

  14. #14
    Senior Member wheelhot's Avatar
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    Hmm, ok all you guys responds is possible because the race was muddy, sandy and there is a river crossing. Maybe sands damage his discs. Hmm, well all this while I though disc brake would be great for all weather and wont have such problems. Haiz

  15. #15
    Long haired freak. wethepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defiance
    Of course a disc brake can fail. There are many reasons that have been noted (thanks pink) but yes, it is possible.

    If your brakes fail I would recommend getting off the track ASAP, possibly fixing it or retiring from the race.

    I wouldn't even go riding down the road without a front brake. I had to, once, when I got my new fork and the spacers weren't the right width (had to go to a hardware store and pick up some washers. Worked great ) and I nearly road in to an intersection twice.

    Rear brakes are not your friend.
    Thats funny, my BMX only has a single U-brake, it works fine, same with my steelhead, only a rear disc. Works fine for me.

    My other BMX is brakeless, still havent had a problem.

    "the bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began...there was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of a bus to never-ever land."


  16. #16
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelhot
    Hmm, ok all you guys responds is possible because the race was muddy, sandy and there is a river crossing. Maybe sands damage his discs. Hmm, well all this while I though disc brake would be great for all weather and wont have such problems. Haiz
    Most likely it had nothing to do with the conditions, such as the sand, mud or water. Most likely it was just bad luck and he developed a leak. There is always a chance that something will go wrong no matter what you use. I wouldn't worry about it too much. So far I have been using discs for four years and have yet to have a problem with them during a race.

    Actually, I haven't really had any problems with them period other than needing to bleed them.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  17. #17
    Commited Suicide WannaGetGood's Avatar
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    You Don't Need Brakes.

  18. #18
    Junior Member Rendark's Avatar
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    Riding without brakes makes you a better rider very fast. It makes you plan your lines better and think about your riding more.

  19. #19
    Forecaster WeatherMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wethepeople
    Thats funny, my BMX only has a single U-brake, it works fine, same with my steelhead, only a rear disc. Works fine for me.

    My other BMX is brakeless, still havent had a problem.
    Skidding isn't stopping. There's more usable stopping power in a front brake than there ever would be in a rear brake setup.

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