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Brake pad recommendations?

Old 04-01-13, 12:48 PM
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Black Jaque
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Brake pad recommendations?

I've got an early 2000's model Jamis with linear pull brakes that have a weird dampening spring on the pads. So as the pad contacts the rim the brake lever keeps advancing but the pad remains stationary. I have no idea what the purpose is for. I suspect they were an attempt at fixing something that never went over well because I do not see this feature on linear pull brakes anywhere else.

The brakes are Tektro "SU 20".

Anyway the brakes are kind of weak. I am not a lightweight rider, plus I carry commuting panniers.

Can anyone recommend a brake pad that is softer or more grippy? I need something to counterbalance the weakness of the brake.

P.S. If anyone can suggest a more appropriate forum. I am surpised there is no forum titled "general bike maintenance".

Last edited by Black Jaque; 04-01-13 at 12:50 PM. Reason: added post script
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Old 04-01-13, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Black Jaque View Post
Can anyone recommend a brake pad that is softer or more grippy? ...
P.S. If anyone can suggest a more appropriate forum. I am surpised there is no forum titled "general bike maintenance".
I'd go with Bicycle Mechanics, maybe Commuting, maybe General Cycling.
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Old 04-01-13, 02:29 PM
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Kool Stop Brake pads .. made here.. Oregon.

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Old 04-01-13, 03:22 PM
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Moved from Electronics (of all places).
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Old 04-01-13, 04:05 PM
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I have good luck with shimano pads.
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Old 04-01-13, 04:14 PM
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I don't have any experience with a bunch of different brands.

Kool Stops worked so much better than the stock pads that I didn't look further.

I couldn't decide between the black and the salmon (sometimes it rains, sometimes it don't) so I got the combo.
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Old 04-01-13, 04:34 PM
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Kool Stops, FTW - grey ones for me. (I can't find the salmon ones here in the UK)
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Old 04-01-13, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Black Jaque View Post
I've got an early 2000's model Jamis with linear pull brakes that have a weird dampening spring on the pads. So as the pad contacts the rim the brake lever keeps advancing but the pad remains stationary. I have no idea what the purpose is for. I suspect they were an attempt at fixing something that never went over well because I do not see this feature on linear pull brakes anywhere else.

The brakes are Tektro "SU 20".

Anyway the brakes are kind of weak. I am not a lightweight rider, plus I carry commuting panniers.

Can anyone recommend a brake pad that is softer or more grippy? I need something to counterbalance the weakness of the brake.

P.S. If anyone can suggest a more appropriate forum. I am surpised there is no forum titled "general bike maintenance".
Is it possible the spring is actually inside the curved, aluminum brake noodle? Is it is, you can just remove the spring from noodle and re-adjust the brake. The mushy feeling with disappear.
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Old 04-02-13, 06:59 AM
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Is the "spring" on the pads or pad holders themselves? Also, what make and model are your brakes? There were a few early Shimano V-brake models with parallelogram pad mounts that maintained the alignment of the pads with the rims as the brakes were applied. These linkages developed wear and rattles with use and were discontinued after a few years. I wonder if that's what you have.
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Old 04-02-13, 07:06 AM
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Don't they still do the XT(R) p-gram linkage V-brakes that are apparently so prone to slop caused by that wear?

Hunh - just found this:

'The new '08 XT v-brakes do NOT have the parallelogram linkage. I wonder if Shimano listened to our complaints?'
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Old 04-02-13, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Black Jaque View Post
I've got an early 2000's model Jamis with linear pull brakes that have a weird dampening spring on the pads. So as the pad contacts the rim the brake lever keeps advancing but the pad remains stationary. I have no idea what the purpose is for. I suspect they were an attempt at fixing something that never went over well because I do not see this feature on linear pull brakes anywhere else. The brakes are Tektro "SU 20". Anyway the brakes are kind of weak. I am not a lightweight rider, plus I carry commuting panniers. Can anyone recommend a brake pad that is softer or more grippy? I need something to counterbalance the weakness of the brake. P.S. If anyone can suggest a more appropriate forum. I am surpised there is no forum titled "general bike maintenance".
Jaque; As a general input; If the brake arms are whimpy (as I have found for a lot of common/generic v-brakes), increasing the stickiness of the pads may cause other/more problems such as vibrations, stuttering or squealing when those better pads exceed the ability of the whimpy arms to hold them solidly against the rims so they can do their job.

Thus it may just be time to upgrade to a better brake and to better pads (Koolstop Salmon's are current pad winner, imho). I have no valuable experience to offer on v-brakes as haven't found any I really like nor been willing to explore higher priced ones.

If you are willing to move away from the current linear pull / v-brakes, the current studs on your bike should be in the right location for cantilever brakes. If so, I could recommend the Tektro c720's as stout and inexpensive and they seem up to be well up to the task of getting down with the Kookstop Salmons without flexing. But you would need to add a cable stop/hanger on each end of the bike (about $16 total for those). You current cables should be long enough and the housings plenty so. Before considering such a change, check to see if you brake levers are compatable with canti's.

fwiw;
/K
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Old 04-02-13, 09:33 AM
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The brakes are Tektro SU 20. And on the floating pad mount itself it says "SRII Floating Modulation"

The spring is in a little bracket that the pad mounts to. It is not in the noodle. A very odd set up. I just put some of the salmon "Thinline" pads on. It seems like an improvement although I still can't lock 'em up not that that is all important. I will report back after I have had a chance to test them in foul weather.
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Old 04-02-13, 09:58 AM
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Also try cleaning your rims with something like a pad scourer and some alcohol - your new blocks should 'bed in' in no time at all, although in the future it can be a good thing to occasionally take them off and give them a quick rub with some sandpaper to the 'glaze' that tends to appear and to also check them for rim-eating metal shards/road bits etc. - also check to make sure that the wear is even on them and they are still mounted square to the rim track.
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Old 04-02-13, 10:30 AM
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This is a pic of the Tektro SU-20s, and they do indeed appear to have some kind of funky-looking pad holders - it doesn't appear that it would be a simple matter to replace them with normal ones...


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Tektro_SU20.jpg (20.0 KB, 16 views)
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Old 04-02-13, 10:34 AM
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those 'modulators' were one of several ill-conceived attempts at 'softening' v-brakes, which were so much stronger than the typical bicycle brakes that people were launching themselves over their handlebars.

Get some Shimano Alivio grade v-brakes and be done with it. they come in silver or black. will be a bolt on replacement. figure about $20 each end for new. Do be prepared for some massively powerful braking, I use them with '2-finger' style brake levers as they are so strong.


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Old 04-02-13, 12:30 PM
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+1000 on the *Brake Modulators* being the source of your problem.

They were specifically designed to reduce/eliminate the chance of "locking up" the wheels on low end *path rider* type bikes (by this I mean generally low speed, very casual, following the kids on their Barney and/or My Little Pony bikes).
I recall many discussions in the past on these forums about poor brake performance due to modulators installed on the braking system.
I would attempt to remove the modulators if possible. Just be aware that you will need to be cautious/smart when you apply the brakes until you get used to the much improved performance.
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Old 04-02-13, 12:56 PM
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That's interesting - I do remember reading somewhere (maybe from Mr. Sheldon Brown) that the idea of V-brakes being 'mega powerful' was a bit of a myth. Maybe just *seem* that way to someone coming from vague memories of piss-poor centre-pulls with prehistoric brake blocks on steel rims.

So Tektro actually went to the trouble of crippling some of their V-brakes for 'casual riders'. LOL

Last edited by Continuity; 04-02-13 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 04-02-13, 01:10 PM
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I guess the myth of the supernatural power of V-brakes came from those comparing them with, as you so elegantly put it; " piss-poor centre-pull with prehistoric brake blocks on steel rims." I installed Avid SD7 V-brakes and matching brake levers on a Surly Cross Check that previously had Shimano canti's and the "power" did indeed increase somewhat but certainly not dramatically and only to the point where control was actually better.

I agree the OP should replace those Tektros with Avid or Shimano brakes and enjoy the improvement.
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Old 04-02-13, 01:40 PM
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heh. I installed VBrakes on a 'cruiser' that previously had a s-a drum rear and a 'piss poor side pull' front. went from barely-able-to-slow-down to toss-out-the-anchor-and-hang-on, we're stopping NOW.
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Old 04-03-13, 09:17 PM
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Huh. It sounds more like they were designed for adults who hardly have a day more experience riding than the kids they are following. Well if they were designed to make the brakes weak, they certainly work.

I will see how the new pads work then go for a Shimano upgrade if I'm not satisfied with the "salmon" trimlines.
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