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Better Brakes????

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Over The Hill, 18 Apr 2008.

  1. Just read the thread on converting to Disk Brakes and the suggestion of upgrading normal brakes.

    Being quite a newbie to this, I have not really thought of upgrading or making brakes better. I ride a mid quality road bike and while the brakes are OK they could be better.

    I had always assumed the weak spot in braking to be the road to tyre link as the contact point must be very small (about the area of my little finger at a guess) so if you get better brakes can you actually use them without skidding?

    I tend to under use my brakes and so am a bit doubting as to the point of upgrading, but am keen to know if it is worth doing and how it is better or worth doing. Really only from a safety aspect as I am not chasing better times or performance.

    Present use and spec-
    I ride mostly on back roads and lanes for leisure with little town riding. Bike (Felt) has ...

    Brake Levers
    Shimano Sora STI Dual Control
    Brakeset
    Tektro 423A dual pivot brakes, Shimano Sora STI Dual Control levers
    Front Brake
    Tektro 423A dual pivot
    Front Brake Lever
    Shimano Sora STI Dual Control
    Rear Brake
    Tektro 423A dual pivot
    Rear Brake Lever
    Shimano Sora STI Dual Control


    I run it on slightly oversize road tyres.
     
  2. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    The easiest and cheapest upgrade, if you haven't already, is to change the pads - I'm amazed by the difference between the generic blocks I'd been using and my current dual compound Koolstops (I've ordered a set of Salmon blocks on the strength of that - those will go on the front, and the dual compound will move to the back).

    Cyclesports have them cheapest (that I know of) so far, and their service seems to be good.

    http://www.cyclesportsuk.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=3306&cPath=507
     
  3. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    Location:
    S of Kendal
    On a road bike with up to (generally) 25/28mm tyres, the better Shimano (or Campag) dual pivot brakes with decent pads are about as good as you ever need. (If you have the bigger 28mm tyres and mudguards then you will need the 57mm drop version).

    Disk brakes are usually only considered if the bike is very heavy (tandem or tourer) or you're riding in so much crud that rim wear is a problem.

    Having said that, many people are dissatisfied with the performance of their Cantilever brakes, even with replacement pads. One of the problems is the bridle on modern cantilever brakes was designed in response to threatened litigation and not because of its engineering excellence. The old style where the length of the bridle was adjustable independent of the brake cable, allowed a much more powerful set up to be achieved. This sort of cantilever is still available from small manufacturers (Frogsleg) and, I think, should provide decent braking without having to consider the complexity of disks, for those who are dissatisfied with cheaper cantis.
     
  4. Except of course you'll need to get canti bosses brazed on to your frame and forks......

    Some of the benefits of more powerful brakes have little to do with what happens at the tyre contact point, the ability to lock the wheels isn't the whole picture. Having more braking power allows you to exert less effort at the lever;
    Using one finger to brake rather than three keeps more fingers on the bar which is aids bike control.
    More power = (usually) more control of the brake bite point= more feel= better control.
     
  5. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member


    Nah. I have Froglegs (well, 4ZA, but they are the same thing) and they are useless.
     
  6. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Staff Member

    £6.50!!!!!!!!!!! my lbs does koolstop £2 a pair!!!!
     
  7. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    Bloody hell - they must like you mate - can't find them cheaper than the quoted anywhere near me!
     
  8. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    They ain't real Koolstops - just halfords ordinary's some Macca Loon has coloured in red.
     
  9. squeaker

    squeaker New Member

    Location:
    Steyning
    IME, in a straight line and on a dry road, you will pull a stoppie well before the front looses traction :wacko:
     
  10. I think I am getting a better picture of the reason to upgrade brakes amongst the above!

    Actually I think I will try to use them up to the limit a bit more before I start upgrading.