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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-03-10, 06:59 PM   #1
HappyStuffing
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Frozen break pads

So today i was having trouble with my front V-Break glazing over with ice, rendering it useless. For some reason the back break didn't suffer from the same problem.

Anyway, after doing a search for this problem, it seems that the most popular response is somewhere along the lines of "get a disc/drum break".

So does anyone have realistic solutions to this problem? I'm sure i'm not the only one who isn't up to swapping to a disc breaks for one reason or another.

The best solution i have read so far is to bring some alcohol along in the bottle and spray it on the pads.
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Old 01-03-10, 07:06 PM   #2
IR Baboon
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This may or may not work. I've been successful with this technique a few times. I jam the brakes on, and then pedal like a madman. This creates friction, melting the ice on the rims, shedding snow off of the pads, and presumably softening the rubber a bit. It takes about a good 2 or 3 minutes, but it seems to work for me. Of course, you have to be able to go without needing your brakes until they "warm up." I'm sure after awhile they cool back down and freeze again if you don't use them for awhile.

Braking is seldom a problem for me, the snow gets that job in the winter.

I'm not endorsing this technique for use with anyone else, I'm just saying I've done it.
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Old 01-03-10, 07:14 PM   #3
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Brakes, please!

Anyways, what exactly is freezing up? If it is just the contact area of the pad the solution is to clear the rim properly - the reason the rear brake doesn't freeze up as much is because your probably drag it longer while the front is applied for a shorter time, which melts the snow and then is off for a while and that water then freezes to the pad. The solution is to occasionally clear the rim same as you do in rain... the friction will melt the ice on the pad and eventually clear the water off the pad.
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Old 01-03-10, 08:05 PM   #4
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Perhaps it's the wind? Since the rear brake doesn't ice. Perhaps some kind of DYI wind cover?

A.
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Old 01-04-10, 12:23 PM   #5
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my eyes are glazing over. thought we weren't using the front brake in the icy cold days of January ...
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Old 01-04-10, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Perhaps it's the wind? Since the rear brake doesn't ice. Perhaps some kind of DYI wind cover?

A.
nope, not quite.

think of how the brakes are positioned in relation to the direction of the spinning wheel and the frame.

Front brakes are like a rake. All that slush is kicked up by the tire and collects on the fork blades and brake. There's a sort of 'scoop' there for crap to collect on. The deposit is in front of the pads, and this stuff will melt and freeze on the pads when the wheel deposits more.

Rear brakes are like a plow or wedge. The crap still builds up on the frame, but the biggest difference is that the brakes are in front of where it all builds up. The deposit sits behind the pads, and there's nothing for the pads to ice up in.
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Old 01-04-10, 08:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Perhaps it's the wind? Since the rear brake doesn't ice. Perhaps some kind of DYI wind cover?

A.
Nope, once an object reaches the ambient temperature the wind will have no cooling effect.
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Old 01-08-10, 09:57 AM   #8
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Depending on the road conditions various things can happen. On bad days I've had either the front or rear brakes freeze on me. I've also had the rear derailler freeze on me a few times. When it snows here in Buffalo we get plenty of it, but throughout an entire winter I'd say that I probably ride 90 + % on dry roads. The last two weeks have been very snowy, but otherwise we've had none that affected me for commuting till mid December. I deal with the problems as they happen. One Friday going home was wet. Over the weekend the temps dropped by 20 degrees. That following Monday I had no working rear derailler. I just used the front one to give me 3 gears. Not ideal, but I got to work OK. During the day my bike defrosted and on the way home everything worked fine. Usually when the brakes freeze the roads are covered with snow so slowing down is no problem. Just stop pedaling and the hugh resistance slows me down quickly. I also generaly have at least one remain partly functional so that is enough to get me home in one piece.

Some things that have helped are:
- Good cables with a very light coating of grease. Yes dirt will stick to it a bit, but it also keep the water out, and during winter riding that is more important.
- Pogies on the front. The prevents moisture from getting into the Brake and Shifter cables from the top. My 1st winter I had my shifters and brakes freeze up a lot more often. Now I still have problem if things freeze due to moisture entry at the end of the cable, but this is less of an issue
- Good brakes. I had problems with the bushings on my lower end Shimano V brakes (no model name) rusting. I replaced them with Shimano XT brakes. The area with the bushing has more protection to keep moisture out, also the little rubber ballows that goes on the end of the brake line to the "J" bracket attaches much more firmly and is also doing a much better job of keeping moisture out. So far this year no frozen brakes yet. Disk brakes would be nice, but since I already have custom wheels (generator hub up front and XT hub in the rear w/ 36 spokes) I don't want to get rid of them to get disk brakes. I can live with the V brakes, but my next commuter will have either disks or drum brakes.

Happy riding,
André
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