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Brake Effectiveness

Old 02-27-12, 02:10 PM
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Brake Effectiveness

Hey all, I recently replaced the worn out break pads on my bike and got new ones. They don't seem to work very well. I had a huge BMW pull out in front of me and I had to slam on the brakes and they squeaked like crazy and still didn't slow me down all the way. Is there any way I can make these pads work any better or are there pads that will do a better job I can swap in? Thanks.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:11 PM
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What pads do you have currently? Did you try adjusting the brakes?
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Old 02-27-12, 02:12 PM
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I'm sure there are different qualities of brake pads.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:15 PM
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They're cheapies similar to these. Appear to be hard rubber and couldn't have cost me more than $6. They were essentially new versions of the crappy ones that were on the bike when I bought it.

Edit: and I did adjust the brakes.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:23 PM
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Maybe you have the pads parallel to the rim or slightly "splayed".
Check that the pads are toed in so the leading edge hits the rim first.

Cable adjustment can affect power too because of leverage.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:24 PM
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probably should be in bike mechanics but...

1. make sure your pads are making good, straight contact when the brake is squeezed
2. make sure you can't move the brake shoes with your hands alone
3. make sure the cable is tight and it's seated well at the contact points. there should be near zero dead space (pulling the brake lever and not seeing the caliper move)
4. make sure the anchor bolt is tight enough
5. make sure the brake is centered by using the centering screw or moving it manually. pads should contact the wheel at around the same time

if that doesn't work, make sure there isn't any debris on the pads. file them down if yes. if you're squeaking a lot, play with the toe of the brake pads. don't make it too extreme.

got cable friction? rusty cables? chewed up housing?

you could also have problems with your wobbly wheels. get it trued at your local collective. your braking surface (hopefully not painted) could also suck. the brake could be busty too, but that's less likely.

nice pads are more about feel, imo. you'll still be able to flip yourself over your handlebars.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:29 PM
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That's good advice. Thanks guys. How can I toe in my pads? It doesn't seem like there's any adjustment I can make to get them angled like that, although I have read about the important of toeing them in slightly.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:54 PM
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Moving to bike mechanics from SSFG. This is not a SSFG issue.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:55 PM
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your pads should already have spherical/dished washers so that the pads can be angled. Just loosen, angle and tighten.

If not, you can pick up some washers at any decent LBS.
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Old 02-27-12, 02:57 PM
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You can usually angle them by hand while tightening the fixing bolt. Toe in will eliminate the squeal in cantilever and linear pull bakes
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Old 02-27-12, 04:25 PM
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put rubber bands around the heel.
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Old 02-27-12, 06:51 PM
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Marx: "They were essentially new versions of the crappy ones that were on the bike when I bought it."

Brakes are sort of important, I would cut corners on quality elsewhere. Dump those crappy ones. Get some quality pads; Kool Stop Salmon are frequently recommended. Then install and adjust them properly and you should be in great shape.
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Old 02-27-12, 08:41 PM
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I note that the pads you used are threadless cantilever pads.
The older style canti's which use those are extremely sensitive to adjustment.
tips:
get the straddle wire as low as possible
mount the pads as far out on the tips of their posts as possible (so that the brake arms are spread wide)
make sure the wheel is absolutely true and minimize the distance from rim to pads


also if you dont already, use the front brake to stop fast, (like the car situation)
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Old 02-27-12, 09:16 PM
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Cantis are notoriously difficult to set up and even then are not the best stoppers. Take a look at the Park web site for some pointers https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...-brake-service
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