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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Brake Pads

Old 10-11-15, 08:40 AM
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Brake Pads

Was wondering if anyone has any ideas to improve brake performance and to quite them down?

I recently purchased a new ride and it has Fulcrum 2.5 (Focus OEM, I think rebranded Fulcrum 3 but not sure). And Sram Force brakes.

The braking seems dull to what I am used to, and can be loud. Not squealing, but rubbing. Almost as if they are wet. And the brakes don't seem grippy.

I am assuming crappy brake pads but not sure. If it's the pads, what recommendations are out there for pads for alloy wheels?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-11-15, 10:37 AM
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Kool stop salmon
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Old 10-11-15, 10:46 AM
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Old 10-11-15, 03:31 PM
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Thank you both, I'll check them out.
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Old 10-11-15, 10:02 PM
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Another vote for Kool Stop salmon pads.

Check the pad holders for toe-in (orientation of the pads with respect to the rim), they should be set so the front of the pad is closer to the rim than the back. Most pad holders have eccentric washers that allow the angle of the pads to be adjusted.

Last, take a rag soaked with alcohol and wipe down the brake surfaces of the rims to make sure there's no oil or grease on them.
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Old 10-11-15, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by inspclouseau
Was wondering if anyone has any ideas to improve brake performance and to quite them down?

I recently purchased a new ride and it has Fulcrum 2.5 (Focus OEM, I think rebranded Fulcrum 3 but not sure). And Sram Force brakes.

The braking seems dull to what I am used to, and can be loud. Not squealing, but rubbing. Almost as if they are wet. And the brakes don't seem grippy.

I am assuming crappy brake pads but not sure. If it's the pads, what recommendations are out there for pads for alloy wheels?

Thanks in advance.
The specs look pretty solid:

https://www.sram.com/sram/road/produ...nical-brakeset

This is a dual pivot design with cartridge pads and cold forged design.

Braking power and modulation should be very good. A few things:

-make sure all 4 pads hit the rim squarely. The pads should pivot to allow either for toe in or not.

-make sure the brakes are centered

-make sure the pads are far enough from the rim so that you can get proper leverage from the levers. I set my brakes up so that the back shift paddle is about an inch from the front of the handlebar when the pads hit the rim.

My brakes were not set up very well by the shop, and when I told them that braking was not very good, they said there wasn't much they could do.

It just turns out they didn't want to take the time to adjust the brakes properly. After some trial and error, I get my brakes set up and they are pretty darn sweet. Follow my instructions and see if you don't get a far better result.
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Old 10-11-15, 11:22 PM
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Koolstop Salmon's are decent, I think Shimano Dura-Ace pads are good to.
Other thing to do is to wipe down the rim of the wheel - if it's making noise that's the most likely cause.
You might also take it to a different shop to get the brake pads installed - I tried installing some myself, got poor performance, took it to a shop, and with the same pads they adjusted them correctly and they got a lot better.
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Old 10-11-15, 11:26 PM
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Take the pads out and inspect for embedded debris. Pick it out with a blade. Then sand the pads lightly on 240 grit paper to remove glaze. Reinstall.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:31 AM
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Great advice from all. Love coming here to learn. Thanks.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:46 AM
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I believe sram force calipers are equipped with swiss stop pads. These are high end, very expensive pads.

If your brakes are not working well, it's very unlikely due to the quality of the pads themselves.

You should make sure your pads and rim surfaces are clean and adjust the calipers themselves properly.

Rim brakes can take a bit of TLC and time to adjust properly. You will also have to take the time to clean pad and rim surfaces with regularity.

But force calipers should work very well. They are rated highly everywhere. Take the time to adjust your brakes properly and you will be well rewarded.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:46 AM
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I have the salmon pads and do not like them. Very weak stopping power. Not noticeably better in the wet. The cheap $5.99 Diamondback pads I bought at Dick's sporting goods for my older bikes are twice as good. The best I've ever used, actually. I have black Koolstop Eagle Claw canti pads on my MTB that are twice as good. My next pads will be the black Koolstops.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
I have the salmon pads and do not like them. Very weak stopping power. Not noticeably better in the wet. The cheap $5.99 Diamondback pads I bought at Dick's sporting goods for my older bikes are twice as good. The best I've ever used, actually. I have black Koolstop Eagle Claw canti pads on my MTB that are twice as good. My next pads will be the black Koolstops.
I had the same experience and wound up taking them off and returned to using the stock pads on axis 1.0/tektro dual pivot cartridge brakes.

The thing is, the salmons are a thin pad, whereas the stock pads is quite thick. The salmons are a thin, soft pads. As a result, they flex A LOT. This means the lever feel and overall braking feels "mushy" and soft.

I also run black koolstops on my mtb and they work quite well.

The swiss stops should be excellent. There is definitely something wrong with adjustment if your force brakes aren't working well now.
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Old 10-12-15, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by calimtb
I believe sram force calipers are equipped with swiss stop pads. These are high end, very expensive pads.

If your brakes are not working well, it's very unlikely due to the quality of the pads themselves.

You should make sure your pads and rim surfaces are clean and adjust the calipers themselves properly.

Rim brakes can take a bit of TLC and time to adjust properly. You will also have to take the time to clean pad and rim surfaces with regularity.

But force calipers should work very well. They are rated highly everywhere. Take the time to adjust your brakes properly and you will be well rewarded.
Beat me to it... I have the Sram Force calipers and they do indeed come with the Swiss Stop pads. I like that the calipers are super stiff and generate lots of stopping power. I get pretty good grip in the dry but riding in the rain is another thing altogether.

Cleaning your rims and pads is a good way to improve performance. You might be surprised by how much improvement you get.

Also, if you just got the bike, new or used, don't assume it is properly set up. A good rule is to position the pads so that the pads is closest in the back, not the front. The back, or rear end, of the pad should contact the rim first. This doesn't have to be a large angle of contact, but enough so that the pads quickly settle in when you brake. It will help with your squeal.
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Old 10-12-15, 12:05 PM
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The same pad is quiet on my double pivot side pull and squeals on my cross bike with Cantilevers .
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Old 10-12-15, 12:13 PM
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Have Kool Stop dual compound. Definitely better than what came stop on my 2014 Spec. Sectuer Sport (Sora 9 sp). Better modulation and better stopping power. No noise. It has the salmon and a 1/3 black section and seems to work well.
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Old 10-12-15, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
The same pad is quiet on my double pivot side pull and squeals on my cross bike with Cantilevers .
Too much trouble to keep swapping them back and forth.

I'd leave them on the side-pulls...
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Old 10-13-15, 08:27 AM
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It was a test .. 2 quartets .. 2x 2 pair, dude. 1 set Dura , other Dura 2..
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Old 10-13-15, 08:53 AM
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I did 40 miles yesterday with some baby hills. Without any adjust they worked much better and we're quiet. Guessing either the newness was a factor or maybe my pads or rim was dirty.

And yes, they are swiss stop. Thanks again all. Some good info in this thread - hopefully other can use as well.
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Old 10-13-15, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
It was a test .. 2 quartets .. 2x 2 pair, dude. 1 set Dura , other Dura 2..
I was teasing...
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