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Old 01-21-08, 08:39 AM   #1
jeff-o
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Argh, frozen brakes again!

OK, this is getting a little crazy. This morning it was -15C and my brakes were frozen. I have dual mechanical disc brakes on my recumbent trike. Due to the unfortunate mounting position of the right brake, it's easy for water to enter the cable housing and freeze up. The left is a bit better in this regard because it's mounted "upside down." I try to keep the entry points covered up with marine grease, but it seems to wear off so fast and it's hard to keep up when I'm commuting every day.

I have two questions:

If I switch to hydraulic brakes, will they continue to work down to -20? -25?

If I keep the mechanicals on, is there a better housing I can use to completely and reliably seal out water?


I'm tired of gorping heavy grease on my bike. I'm tired of not being able to stop! Any suggestions?
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Old 01-21-08, 09:37 AM   #2
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If I switch to hydraulic brakes, will they continue to work down to -20? -25?
Yep.

Get the hydros.

You know you want them.


Edit: Wait, would you need three of them?
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Old 01-21-08, 10:16 AM   #3
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Yep.

Get the hydros.

You know you want them.


Edit: Wait, would you need three of them?
No, just two. There's no brake on the rear wheel. Can you confirm that hydros won't freeze at -25? Is there a specific fluid I should use or look for?
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Old 01-21-08, 10:21 AM   #4
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Aren't there little rubber liner thingies that prevent this?
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Old 01-21-08, 10:56 AM   #5
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Aren't there little rubber liner thingies that prevent this?
Yeah but they don't work well enough. In my case, the water enters in that short span where the disc brake caliper arm is moving, so there isn't much room for a rubber grommet anyway.
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Old 01-21-08, 12:19 PM   #6
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I've used both mineral oil and DOT3 brakes at -25C.

As far as I could tell with big thick gloves on, they felt the same as in the summer.
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Old 01-21-08, 12:33 PM   #7
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wait a minute


if it is -25, there is no water getting in there on the ride. only dry snow, right ?


sounds more like melt is happening when you get home, not on the road

get a big can of air duster stuff and blast your brakes dry after the bike
is home thawing out
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Old 01-21-08, 01:12 PM   #8
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If the sun is shining on the dark pavement, and the road is well salted, it is possible to have liquid water spraying on the bike at these temperatures.
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Old 01-21-08, 04:21 PM   #9
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If the sun is shining on the dark pavement, and the road is well salted, it is possible to have liquid water spraying on the bike at these temperatures.
That's exactly it. If the temperature hits -5, then the roads are typically coted with a layer of saline solution (road salt + snow runoff) that sprays everywhere. I keep my bike in an unheated garage, so the temperature in there is usually only a few degrees different than outside.

So mineral oil and DOT3 both work? Good to know. Hydraulics will prevent the lines from freezing. So far I've found that the calipers themselves don't seize up nearly as much, I guess because water doesn't get trapped in there. So now I guess I'll look around for a good deal on a pair...
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