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Rim brake pad lifespan in adverse conditions

Old 02-21-24, 11:29 PM
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Rim brake pad lifespan in adverse conditions

I just got a new bike last week because I was tired of riding my carbon bike in the rain, rim brake steel commuter from a shop, new. Front brake pads wore down to the metal my today, rim is scratched from metal on metal, shop and I agree that itís because itís been raining all last week and the muck is like sandpaper.

question is, whatís the bang for your buck in cleaning your rims after a ride? I got this bike specifically to be a tank commuter and not have to fuss with itÖ but it would be worth if it makes that week turn into 2 months.
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Old 02-21-24, 11:38 PM
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You really wore out brand new front rim brake pads within a week? Who produced those pads!?

Why not just ride your new CF bike with disc brakes, which definitely work better in the rain?
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Old 02-22-24, 12:07 AM
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what brakes, pads and rims? how many miles of commuting in that week, flat hilly. road, trail, gravel? (you can use local references if that helps)

pics?

this seems to be a lot of wear, even in rainy conditions
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Old 02-22-24, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
You really wore out brand new front rim brake pads within a week? Who produced those pads!?

Why not just ride your new CF bike with disc brakes, which definitely work better in the rain?
because rain kills bikesÖ

I didnít keep the old brake pads, but they were completely worn down, metal on metal. Btw while Iíve never came close to doing something like this, destroying brand new brake pads in a single epic hilly ride in horrible conditions is by no means unheard of
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Old 02-22-24, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
Front brake pads wore down to the metal my today, rim is scratched from metal on metal, the guys at the shop dispensary and I agree that itís because itís been raining all last week and the muck is like sandpaper.
ftfy
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Old 02-22-24, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
what brakes, pads and rims? how many miles of commuting in that week, flat hilly. road, trail, gravel? (you can use local references if that helps)

pics?

this seems to be a lot of wear, even in rainy conditions
like 100 miles max? Prob less. I live on the top of a crazy hill, so I brake a lot. There have been a few times on this bike where I leave my house and am immediately slamming both brakes and going side to side to shed speed
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Old 02-22-24, 03:02 AM
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While I've never come close to that level of wear I, too, live in a pretty hilly area. That was the reason why I decided to go to disc brakes for my latest road bike. I presume you'll be buying your pads in bulk, then?
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Old 02-22-24, 03:27 AM
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If you wear out a set of brakepads: automatic bad@$$.
I live down in San Diego County and have put tens of thousands of miles on Dura Ace brakepads (and on C23 & C50 rims) and bombing down Palomar Mountain's hairpins, drafting motorcycles (crotchrockets, not Harleys or Goldwings) without wearing them half-way out. (Though I do occasionally [annually, maybe] clean the rims with rubbing alcohol and scuff the brakepads lightly to enhance their feel.
Maybe I just coast too much? Maybe too much mechanical empathy?

Last edited by calamarichris; 02-22-24 at 03:30 AM.
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Old 02-22-24, 10:06 AM
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That didn't happen. Even on the worst Clarks or XLC pads you wouldn't wear them down that fast unless maybe doing nothing but going down steep hills and riding the brakes hard on maybe a fully loaded cargo bike, then maybe but if you wore them out that fast which I don't believe you would have had to have them so poorly adjusted and some how damaged them significantly. Having seen a lot of 100 mile tune ups I don't think but once we have had to replace pads and the only reason we replaced the pads on that single bike was they had been contaminated but plenty of pad material left.

Having done a 160 mile 3 day ride on fresh pads part of it in some heavy heavy rain while riding the brakes because I couldn't see more than a foot in front of me, the pads still had plenty of life left on them.
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Old 02-22-24, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
I just got a new bike last week because I was tired of riding my carbon bike in the rain, rim brake steel commuter from a shop, new. Front brake pads wore down to the metal my today, rim is scratched from metal on metal, shop and I agree that itís because itís been raining all last week and the muck is like sandpaper.

question is, whatís the bang for your buck in cleaning your rims after a ride? I got this bike specifically to be a tank commuter and not have to fuss with itÖ but it would be worth if it makes that week turn into 2 months.
I know you said the bike is new from a shop, but your experience sounds suspiciously like a loose front wheel bearing.

I even had a car once that ate rear brake pads. Mechanics never looked beyond fixing the brakes, and the car continued to eat brakes until I replaced the bearing myself. Problem solved.
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Old 02-22-24, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
I just got a new bike last week because I was tired of riding my carbon bike in the rain, rim brake steel commuter from a shop, new. Front brake pads wore down to the metal my today, rim is scratched from metal on metal,
I donít believe you.
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Old 02-22-24, 10:31 AM
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“New” like you bought it under 14 days ago?

or “new” like you bought it over six months ago and already have over 3k miles on it?

metal on metal is a good way to speed up wear.

I ride in rain or salty sandy slush for 5-7 months a year and stone dust for the remainder. The shortest I’ve had a rim last me is ~10k miles. Kool or Swiss pads are good on alloy rims. H+SON rims have the best braking I’ve used. I easily put 40k miles on my 80s Ukai Extra Hard rims ant only retired them when they got a good bend from a pothole. No name oem Surly front wheel only got ~17k before the brake track marker was gone.
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Old 02-22-24, 10:57 AM
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Bought last Wednesday, so 7 days. I have to ride the brakes hard every time I go down the hill and am 255 lbs
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Old 02-22-24, 11:25 AM
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Larry, are those pads the thin replaceable pads held in the aluminum shoes by a set screw? If yes, go out and by some Koolstop one piece pads (where what you buy is a single, throw away when done, pad and holder. They have much more material to wear through. Yes, replacing them is the old hassle of adjusting height and angles every time. You will probably have to tweak the height when the pad hits roughly mid-wear or the pad will start getting very close to the top of the rim and your tire sidewall on hard stops. (Touching the tire = ripped sidewall, no possible repair, a walk home and you coming back here to complain.)

You will have to open up the brake calipers to get the one-piece units in. Loosen the cable a little or maybe you can do it with the knurled adjust. (Good reason to use those crimp on cable ends so later adjustment of cable length is easy.)

My post rain ride routine - I spray the bike down lightly, both sides from front and back, with the near mist setting on the garden hose, then blast each brake pad along the line of the rim with the jet setting, making sure I do not hit any bearings or derailleurs, etc. Oh, and I use full fenders, always. (Yes I occasionally get caught out on my non-rain bikes but not often. Rain bikes get fenders, either always or are set up so I can put them on in minutes. This routine is a luxury I've had the past few decades. The second reason to buy or rent a house. (The first is to get the shop where you can mount a bench vise.)

If I had to go back to no hose for longer than Portland's short freezing season, I'd study up an the best way to slip the appropriate fabric, leather or plastic sheet between the pad and rim to brush the grit out of the pads. There's also the matter of acceptance. Accepting that this is what rim brakes do. Pads wear, rims wear. Both need to be watched. There are good combos and poor combos. Have the right tools for easy brake maintenance. Wheel building skills and access to exact replacement rims is a huge plus for those wheels.
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Old 02-22-24, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by koyote
i donít believe you.
+1.
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Old 02-22-24, 11:45 AM
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Larry is over 250 pounds. Commuter bike plus stuff might be another 35+ pounds. Descending steep hills in the rain at close to 280 or even higher is going to wear pads down if there is sand/grit involved. I give him the benefit of the doubt on this claim.

I used to trash rims and destroy canti pads when I lived in mountains and rode 1000s of feet descending on snowy trails. I've also worn much of the way through a set of vee brake pads on a single very wet mtb ride with 4000ish feet descending. My total weight was around 260 pounds.
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Old 02-22-24, 01:47 PM
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Larry, donít feel alone. I wore out a brand new set of low profile v-brake pad inserts on a rainy section of single track on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in 3 hours. Between the worn off pads and the aluminum rim wear the wheels looked like they were covered in wet gray cement. So not impossible.
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Old 02-22-24, 02:12 PM
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7 days to take one actually brand new set of pads down to the metal is crazy. I guess there are some cheap oem pads that can wear quick, but this really seems like maybe you got sold a used bike that had perfect paint but had already been ridden for at least a year daily. Did you buy this bike in the US?

If you’re riding the brakes the whole way down instead of just coasting and only braking at tight turns or intersections, you definitely would kill disc pads real quick.

Good thing you’ve got a rim brake bike, you have room on the left chainstay for hooking up a drag drum brake from a tandem.

Bring the bike to the shop and show them the pads and have them check how much life is left on the rims. Coming from someone who had 2800’ of climbing/descent to do daily through college with a trailer loaded with 2 gallons of water, clothing, and the day’s textbooks & notebooks: Something is not right. You may have a warranty claim or a BBB claim
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Old 02-22-24, 02:22 PM
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Was the bike actually "new," or just new to Larry? I thought steel rim-bake bikes went the way of the dinosaur.

Last edited by smd4; 02-22-24 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 02-23-24, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
Larry is over 250 pounds. Commuter bike plus stuff might be another 35+ pounds. Descending steep hills in the rain at close to 280 or even higher is going to wear pads down if there is sand/grit involved. I give him the benefit of the doubt on this claim.

I used to trash rims and destroy canti pads when I lived in mountains and rode 1000s of feet descending on snowy trails. I've also worn much of the way through a set of vee brake pads on a single very wet mtb ride with 4000ish feet descending. My total weight was around 260 pounds.
This is pretty much what happened. If I didn't start using the back brake more than usual to compensate, I bet I would have reached metal to metal on the front brake in like 5 days instead of 7. Weighed myself today, 257 lbs
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Old 02-28-24, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
This is pretty much what happened. If I didn't start using the back brake more than usual to compensate, I bet I would have reached metal to metal on the front brake in like 5 days instead of 7. Weighed myself today, 257 lbs
Stop with all the dam twinkees. It will help with braking in the future saving some weight.
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Old 02-28-24, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
This is pretty much what happened. If I didn't start using the back brake more than usual to compensate, I bet I would have reached metal to metal on the front brake in like 5 days instead of 7. Weighed myself today, 257 lbs
This bike plus my 220 pound body gets a brake change once a year after usually 1,300 or more touring miles, often in hilly and/or mountainous terrain, plus lots of commuting miles where Iím often at least slowing down as often as 250í.

As stated aboveÖI donít believe you.

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Old 02-28-24, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
This bike plus my 220 pound body gets a brake change once a year after usually 1,300 or more touring miles, often in hilly and/or mountainous terrain, plus lots of commuting miles where Iím often at least slowing down as often as 250í.

As stated aboveÖI donít believe you.

You must be using thin-line brake pads if they have to be replaced annually.
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Old 02-28-24, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
You must be using thin-line brake pads if they have to be replaced annually.
Kool Stop Salmon. I replace them yearly because I usually go on tour out west in mid-June and donít want to start out with worn brakes from the year before, especially if Iíll be doing unpaved miles and bike shops are basically not available. And again, true urban commuting takes its toll. Lots of stop signs and lights.

The point is that they donít wear out in anywhere close to a week, or whatever the OP is claiming, even with all that weight.
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Old 02-28-24, 07:12 PM
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Well they did wear out, and no I didnít take pics
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