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  1. #1
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    How can I make my Avid BB5's better?

    Ive tried rubbing the roters with rubbing alcohol, I took out the pads and cleaned them with rubbing alcohol and sandpaper too and got all the black stuff off them. They needed to be broken in again but they worked better. The thing is these brakes arent half as good as the V-Brakes on my 1997 bike. It's hard to do an endo with these disc brakes, they just don't grab and if they do grab it takes alot of hand power. I have the inner pad adjusted all the way out too towards the rotor which I heard was the proper setup, so the rotor dosent flex when the brakes are applied.

    Please what tips and tricks do you have to make these brakes perform!
    Last edited by Rockadile; 06-24-07 at 07:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Is this gonna hurt? MaxBrokeAway's Avatar
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    take the bike to an LBS and tell them what the problem is...with avid bb5's you shouldnt have issues.

    Also the proper set-up is to insure that both pads are an equal distance away from the rotor..about 1mm in between each...that little bit of flex that the rotor does(I would assume) would only increase the stopping power if anything.
    Last edited by MaxBrokeAway; 06-24-07 at 07:38 AM.
    Myidolis Says: "clickety flickety? Well i have no idea what your bikes problem is, but your description probably contains the most onomatopoeia i've seen in awhile."

  3. #3
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    You could try organic pads. I think they're grippier. One of the bike magazines suggested 1 organic, 1 regular on each wheel. So you only have to buy 1 pair to test the theory.

  4. #4
    ಠ_ಠ DevilsGT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsyptak
    You could try organic pads. I think they're grippier. One of the bike magazines suggested 1 organic, 1 regular on each wheel. So you only have to buy 1 pair to test the theory.
    It's metallic which are grippier, and that sounds like a dumb idea having different pads in the same caliper. Maybe metallic on the front and organic on the rear is what they meant.

    You can also drop $40 and get a larger rotor & adapter for the front.
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  5. #5
    Should be riding Bike Lover's Avatar
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    Devils, that is what was meant. They suggested running the organic on the rear so that you'd have more modulation and less likelyhood to lock up the brake. The front being metallic still will give great stopping.
    Regret lasts longer than pain
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    a) Are the adjusted properly.
    b) Are they contaminated.

    If they're not adjusted properly, you need to fix it so that the pads run free when you're not pulling the lever but grab as soon as you do.

    If you do adjust them and they are bed in, then chances are your rotors/pads are contaminated. Rubbing Alcohol wont to bumpkis. Use EBC non chlorinated brake cleaner. Spray in across the rotor surface on both sides in front of the caliper. Then reset the rotor position and clamps on over the sprayed portion of the disc. Then lightly hold the the brakes down and push the wheel through it's full range of motion. Repeat until the whole things squeaks. That will tell you when it's clean.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    a) Are the adjusted properly.
    b) Are they contaminated.

    If they're not adjusted properly, you need to fix it so that the pads run free when you're not pulling the lever but grab as soon as you do.

    If you do adjust them and they are bed in, then chances are your rotors/pads are contaminated. Rubbing Alcohol wont to bumpkis. Use EBC non chlorinated brake cleaner. Spray in across the rotor surface on both sides in front of the caliper. Then reset the rotor position and clamps on over the sprayed portion of the disc. Then lightly hold the the brakes down and push the wheel through it's full range of motion. Repeat until the whole things squeaks. That will tell you when it's clean.

    thanks for some good info Ill be doing just what you said.

  8. #8
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilsGT2
    that sounds like a dumb idea having different pads in the same caliper.
    There's nothing wrong with that setup if it's what you prefer.

  9. #9
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    a)

    If you do adjust them and they are bed in, then chances are your rotors/pads are contaminated. Rubbing Alcohol wont to bumpkis. Use EBC non chlorinated brake cleaner. Spray in across the rotor surface on both sides in front of the caliper. Then reset the rotor position and clamps on over the sprayed portion of the disc. Then lightly hold the the brakes down and push the wheel through it's full range of motion. Repeat until the whole things squeaks. That will tell you when it's clean.
    How many damn times do I have to say it?
    The only thing (other than dish soap and water having rinsed well afterwards) you should be using on BICYCLE ROTORS is:
    DENATURED ALCOHOL


    Look at your owner's manuals people.
    It says Denatured (some will say Isopropyl) Alcohol. It does not say: Automotive Brake Cleaner, or gasoline, or acetone, or even Moose Piss.
    It says:
    DENATURED M**********ING ALCOHOL
    I prefer Denatured Alcohol due to the fact you know that everything in it is working for you rather than with drug store Isopropyl which is typically diluted with water which is useless in cleaning grease and oil.

    Bear in mind, it isn't about the rotor being affected,l its the pads. Any chemical other than what the manufacturer suggests can and will have an adverse effect on performance and pad life.

    Automotive products are NEVER TO BE USED. Bicycle rotors don't generate enough heat to burn off these materials.

    A heavily applied bike disc can excede 450 deg F. Trail riders doing anything more than cruising can reach 350+ without any trouble. However, family car's brakes can hit up to about 600 degrees CELSIUS which is 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit. Sports cars get even hotter so please no car products on bike parts.


    Quote Originally Posted by Person I argued with
    Avid says only soap and water. but it sounds like it is more because if you use the wrong item you could contaminate the pads.
    Which is exactly why you shouldn't use automotive brake cleaner on bicycle rotors
    Quote Originally Posted by Person I argued with
    so they don't give a bunch of things to keep it simple. does that mean they won't work? who knows has anyone tested it?
    I've seen all sorts of stuff used on rotors. Why do you think I'm so adamant on the issue?
    Quote Originally Posted by Person I argued with
    a simple test of cleaning the pads with one thing till the wear and keeping track of miles then cleaning with something else keeping track of the miles and see if it makes a difference is the only valid way to really know.
    I'm aware that the Avid manual says dishwater, however the rest of your statement is bunk. Any solvent other than alcohol can and often will leave a residue on the rotors. Also I'm not one to risk compromising my braking ability to prove a point.
    Here's what the other major manufacturers have to say.

    I champion Denatured Alcohol because it's a better solvent than Isopropyl (especially the watered down crap they sell in drug stores) meaning you can use less and it retains all of the desirable attributes of Isopropyl.
    The bottom line is if you leave a residue it's going to get on the pads which WILL compromise the braking ability and possibly the integrity of the pad itself. Denatured Alcohol is quicker, easier, and won't leave anything behind.

  10. #10
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    I've built a lot of bikes with bb5s at the shop I work at. They're really easy to set up ok (loosen caliper bolts, squeeze lever, tighten caliper bolts cinch down cable), but to get a lot of power, you need to spend a bit more time with them, since the fixed pad isn't adjustable. I'd take it to a shop with a good mechanic. 10 minutes of them monkeying around will improve your braking substatailly.

    Or if you wanna waste an hour or so(YMMV), you could do it yourself. Basically, try to get the fixed pad as close as possible to the rotor without it touching. Its tougher than you think since there's no fine adjustment. the less you flex the rotor during braking the better. think about how hard you squeeze the lever. you dont want half that force going towards flexing the rotor, you want to to go towards stopping you. I've gotten pretty good braking by adjusting them in this fashion, you could give it a shot.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 4SEVEN3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    I've built a lot of bikes with bb5s at the shop I work at. They're really easy to set up ok (loosen caliper bolts, squeeze lever, tighten caliper bolts cinch down cable), but to get a lot of power, you need to spend a bit more time with them, since the fixed pad isn't adjustable. I'd take it to a shop with a good mechanic. 10 minutes of them monkeying around will improve your braking substatailly.

    Or if you wanna waste an hour or so(YMMV), you could do it yourself. Basically, try to get the fixed pad as close as possible to the rotor without it touching. Its tougher than you think since there's no fine adjustment. the less you flex the rotor during braking the better. think about how hard you squeeze the lever. you dont want half that force going towards flexing the rotor, you want to to go towards stopping you. I've gotten pretty good braking by adjusting them in this fashion, you could give it a shot.


    What do you use as a shim for the pad???
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    How many damn times do I have to say it?
    The only thing (other than dish soap and water having rinsed well afterwards) you should be using on BICYCLE ROTORS is:
    DENATURED ALCOHOL


    Look at your owner's manuals people.
    It says Denatured (some will say Isopropyl) Alcohol. It does not say: Automotive Brake Cleaner, or gasoline, or acetone, or even Moose Piss.
    It says:
    DENATURED M**********ING ALCOHOL
    I prefer Denatured Alcohol due to the fact you know that everything in it is working for you rather than with drug store Isopropyl which is typically diluted with water which is useless in cleaning grease and oil.

    Bear in mind, it isn't about the rotor being affected,l its the pads. Any chemical other than what the manufacturer suggests can and will have an adverse effect on performance and pad life.

    Automotive products are NEVER TO BE USED. Bicycle rotors don't generate enough heat to burn off these materials.

    A heavily applied bike disc can excede 450 deg F. Trail riders doing anything more than cruising can reach 350+ without any trouble. However, family car's brakes can hit up to about 600 degrees CELSIUS which is 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit. Sports cars get even hotter so please no car products on bike parts.
    Raiyn, I respect your perspective. I've been arguing why Isopropyl is ineffective for quite some time as this is what many people recommend. I'll summarize my results dealing with contaminated rotors with various products:

    a) Isopropyl Alcohol - ZERO effect
    b) Denatured Alcohol - Worked in some cases
    c) EBC Non-Chlorinated - It fixes the brakes IMMEDIATELY!!!! The brakes work like new.

    It's possible that there are some residues left from the EBC. I'm not feeling them. I didn't think of this, I got the information from this board. The stuff works.

    Now, the stuff IS noxious. It's not to be used indoors and if you get it on your fingers they'll tingle for a couple of days. I can understand why brake manufacturers steer you clear of stuff like that. I would also like you to acknowledge that its possible that some cleaners leave the residue you speak of while others (like EBC non-chlorinated) do not.

    In any case, the great third way is to bake the rotors or blast them with a blowtorch and burn off any grease oil on them. I guarantee that the Hayes owner manual does not recommend this. I guarantee you that it WORKS!!!!


    BTW, Isopropyl alcohol does make an excellent RINSE once you've run your chain through a degreaser suspended in water like Simple green. The alcohol displaces the water and evaporates quickly.

  13. #13
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    I'll summarize my results dealing with contaminated rotors with various products:

    a) Isopropyl Alcohol - ZERO effect
    b) Denatured Alcohol - Worked in some cases
    c) EBC Non-Chlorinated - It fixes the brakes IMMEDIATELY!!!! The brakes work like new.
    Likewise, I shall do the same
    1. Isopropyl (minimum 70% strength 90% works better) - Worked to a degree, but it took multiple cleanings for any real effect.
    2. Denatured Alcohol - Works EVERY time. Most effort I've had to put into getting something off was two cleanings (some kind of road tar? gunk)
    3. Automotive cleaners (multiple brands) - Tested on old rotors only - left a residue each and EVERY time.

    I reject your claims regarding EBC and it's not just Hayes backing me on my position Hope, Magura, Avid Shimano all say the same thing.

  14. #14
    Type 1 Racer rydaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilsGT2
    It's metallic which are grippier, and that sounds like a dumb idea having different pads in the same caliper. Maybe metallic on the front and organic on the rear is what they meant.

    Actually they (MTB Action) did suggest mixing organic/semi-metallic on the front.

    May 2007 issue, pg 78

  15. #15
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn

    I reject your claims regarding EBC and it's not just Hayes backing me on my position Hope, Magura, Avid Shimano all say the same thing.
    How can you possibly reject the claim that, residue or not, it worked well for him?

  16. #16
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gastro
    How can you possibly reject the claim that, residue or not, it worked well for him?
    He also touted suspension seatposts as a substitute for a full suspension system, when it simply ain't the case.

  17. #17
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    He also touted suspension seatposts as a substitute for a full suspension system, when it simply ain't the case.
    One has nothing to do with the other - I disagree with him much of the time myself, but in this case I think that his claim of successfully using BRAKE CLEANER to CLEAN his BRAKES is not unreasonable.

  18. #18
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChainRing
    What do you use as a shim for the pad???
    My Shimano brakes came with a plastic shim, a playing card would work too.

  19. #19
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    I reject your claims regarding EBC and it's not just Hayes backing me on my position Hope, Magura, Avid Shimano all say the same thing.
    I think the poster may have been actually referring to CRC BraKleen (non-chlorinated)

    Raiyn, I agree with you a lot, but this is one I'm compelled to wade in on. CRC BraKleen is specifically made for these kinds of applications and makes no difference whether or not it was formulated for automotive use. The materials and bonding methods for a bicycle disc brake pad do not differ from those for automotive or motorcycle use. I seriously doubt that there is some secret "magic" composition that the bicycle industry is solely privvy to.

    I point first CRC's own product sheet for BraKleen:
    http://www.crcind.com.au/catalogue.nsf/(TDS)/TDS5084%20Non%20Chlorinated%20Brakleen/$FILE/TDS.pdf

    Secondly I refer to their MSDS:
    http://www.crcind.com.au/catalogue.nsf/(MSDS)/5084%20Brakleen%20Non%20Chlorinated%202007/$FILE/MSDS.pdf
    . . . where you will find theat, besides acetone (a high-volatility residue-free solvent) and naptha (a strong industrial solvent), one of the ingredients is isopropyl alcohol (and not of the low-percentage drugstore variety)

    The caveat I would use is that it is probably most appropriate for systems using DOT3 or 4 fluids; but it should strip away any oily contaminants without leaving any residue.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mtnbk3000's Avatar
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    or you could get compressionless cables, they work and are only 6 bucks for two from nashbar, rather than 26 for the same stuff at a store
    hi

  21. #21
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor
    I think the poster may have been actually referring to CRC BraKleen (non-chlorinated)

    Raiyn, I agree with you a lot, but this is one I'm compelled to wade in on. CRC BraKleen is specifically made for these kinds of applications and makes no difference whether or not it was formulated for automotive use. The materials and bonding methods for a bicycle disc brake pad do not differ from those for automotive or motorcycle use. I seriously doubt that there is some secret "magic" composition that the bicycle industry is solely privvy to.

    I point first CRC's own product sheet for BraKleen:
    http://www.crcind.com.au/catalogue.nsf/(TDS)/TDS5084%20Non%20Chlorinated%20Brakleen/$FILE/TDS.pdf

    Secondly I refer to their MSDS:
    http://www.crcind.com.au/catalogue.nsf/(MSDS)/5084%20Brakleen%20Non%20Chlorinated%202007/$FILE/MSDS.pdf
    . . . where you will find theat, besides acetone (a high-volatility residue-free solvent) and naptha (a strong industrial solvent), one of the ingredients is isopropyl alcohol (and not of the low-percentage drugstore variety)

    The caveat I would use is that it is probably most appropriate for systems using DOT3 or 4 fluids; but it should strip away any oily contaminants without leaving any residue.
    If the manufacturer says to use alcohol, I'm not one to question engineers who get paid to make those calls. The danger in opening the scope to automotive products (no matter how seemingly benign) is that people will start to use them indiscriminately and there are plenty of auto products that have no business being used on bicycle brakes.

  22. #22
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    If the manufacturer says to use alcohol, I'm not one to question engineers who get paid to make those calls. The danger in opening the scope to automotive products (no matter how seemingly benign) is that people will start to use them indiscriminately and there are plenty of auto products that have no business being used on bicycle brakes.
    I imagine that they have to keep it to those recommendations, given that an alarming number of bicycle owners cannot even work on their own bikes let alone possess the tools, ability or shopful of sundries needed to tear apart their cars or motorcycles.

    I guess what I'm saying in my usual short-story-long fashion is that just because the owners manual doesn't specifiy it does not necessarily mean it's not a valid solution.

  23. #23
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor
    I guess what I'm saying in my usual short-story-long fashion is that just because the owners manual doesn't specifiy it does not necessarily mean it's not a valid solution.
    However, sticking to the manual will never be the wrong answer. You know as well as I do I do there's more than one way to do things, but when it comes to brakes I don't screw around with stuff that may have unforeseen consequences. All we'd need is for some poor dumb schlub to spray the wrong stuff on his brakes, f' up his seals, and plunge off a cliff. I'm not willing to give advice that could lead to that.

  24. #24
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    All we'd need is for some poor dumb schlub to spray the wrong stuff on his brakes, f' up his seals, and plunge off a cliff. I'm not willing to give advice that could lead to that.
    Ahh, I see. It's the LCD approach - don't give them all the information because someone may find it confusing. How responsible of you.

  25. #25
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gastro
    Ahh, I see. It's the LCD approach - don't give them all the information because someone may find it confusing. How responsible of you.
    Considering some of the people we've had come through here (like PTerman) can you blame me?

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