My wife bought a new Trek 7.1 FX this spring and commuted on it most days through the fall. She had noted the brakes not working properly during one of her last rides. Today was her first day back commuting so I was sure to tune the brakes up this weekend. The rims were cleaned thoroughly, pads were checked for wear/cleaned/aligned, and cables tightened so that the brakes are fully engaged with levers 1/2 inch from the handlebars - everything I am aware I should be doing.
The brakes work well when the bike is warm and inside in the basement - they felt like you could endo with them if you tried. However, once we left for our 5deg F commute in the morning the brakes had very little power, requiring 20ft plus to stop! I inspected them on the street and the pads were engaging the rims (I thought it could be frozen cables preventing contact, but that does not appear to be the issue). So, could this be an issue of cheap pads not working in the cold? How could the performance be so different from warm to cold? All I could read from the pads on the bike is that they are "Tektro Aluminum".
Has anyone experienced the same issue? What troubleshooting tips would you recommend for this situation?