Brake upgrade, worth it?

Steppylud

Senior Member
Location
Epsom
Evening. I test rode a Trek Madone 2.1 this afternoon.

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/trek/madone-21-2015-road-bike-ec072394

I am on the verge of placing the order but one thing I noticed when on the ride was that the brakes didnt seem that great, my question is would it be worth upgrading them to Shimano 105's to match the rest of the kit on it? I am on cyclescheme so wouldnt be able to stretch to Ultegra, but wondered if any one had any opinions. Cheers!
 

MikeW-71

Veteran
Location
Carlisle
Change the pads first, it makes a massive difference for not a lot of beer tokens.
 

MikeW-71

Veteran
Location
Carlisle
That could easily double the price of the bike. My Defy Advanced has 105 brakes with the stock Shimano pads (I assume). They work brilliantly I have to say.... unless it's wet, when they need, errrrm, some encouragement. (but it was a £2k bike!)

The Defy 2 (£800) came with Tektro calipers and pads. They were utterly useless, and turned into black goo in the wet. Changing the pads for some Clarks triple compound ones sees braking performance equal to the 105's in the dry and outperforms them significantly in the wet.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
There is nothing wrong with 105 brakes!

Either you need to do what MikeW-71 suggested and try different brake blocks ...

OR ...

Perhaps all you need to do is to scrub the wheel rims. If the test bike has been out on crappy winter roads, the rims may have picked up a greasy film which reduced braking friction. A friend nearly crashed her bike on a recent descent into Hebden Bridge when the brakes let her down. That was due to mucky wheel rims. 5 minutes with a scouring pad and some washing up liquid sorted that problem out!
 
OP
Steppylud

Steppylud

Senior Member
Location
Epsom
Thanks for the advice, the stock brakes are described as "Alloy Dual pivot" so no name at all, so my thoughts that for £50 I can get brakes that match the rest of the kit on there as well. It is true the demo bike did look like it had been round the block a bit so maybe its something to leave and see how it goes...
 

Cyclist33

Guest
Location
Warrington
I have a secret hunch that the reason upgrading brakes or pads "works" 99% of the time is because when the replacements/upgrades are fitted people either take the time to get the pads lined up right and the tension correct, or pay someone to do it.

In which it is akin to people buying an upgraded derailleur instead of taking the bike to the local mechanic and getting the current one properly set up.

Blokes will always allow themselves to shell out pointless wodges of cash to improve their lives, rather than doing things that come from within, such as learning to look after their toys properly, going to the doctor if they constantly smell petroleum, stretching as a daily routine, and training to lose weight and/or ride quicker.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
If it's the right bike, why wouldn't you for the sake of £50
 

bpsmith

Veteran
I have a secret hunch that the reason upgrading brakes or pads "works" 99% of the time is because when the replacements/upgrades are fitted people either take the time to get the pads lined up right and the tension correct, or pay someone to do it.

In which it is akin to people buying an upgraded derailleur instead of taking the bike to the local mechanic and getting the current one properly set up.

Blokes will always allow themselves to shell out pointless wodges of cash to improve their lives, rather than doing things that come from within, such as learning to look after their toys properly, going to the doctor if they constantly smell petroleum, stretching as a daily routine, and training to lose weight and/or ride quicker.
I can assure you that my Tektro brakes were set up in exactly the same way as the 105's that replaced them. The Tektro calipers just don't compare to the 105's. Simple.

Absolutely nothing to do with setup and everything to do with being cheaper brakes, of which you cannot expect as much from.
 

MikeW-71

Veteran
Location
Carlisle
It's true that while different pads on the Tektros improved the braking performance, they don't have the same "feel" as the 105's. I prefer the 105's, but once the stock pads wear out, I'll put something different on them that would be better off in wet weather.
 

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
The Defy 2 (£800) came with Tektro calipers and pads. They were utterly useless, and turned into black goo in the wet. Changing the pads for some Clarks triple compound ones sees braking performance equal to the 105's in the dry and outperforms them significantly in the wet.
My SCR2 had Tektro long drop calipers on.

Changing the pads made some difference, changing the calipers for Ultegra level (I think - BR-650) and they are way, way better, even on the Shimano stock pads. Definitely try changing the pads first, but if Trek spec at a similar level to Giant, changing the calipers will make a massive difference.

EDIT: Before m'learned friend weighs in, I ran the Tektro calipers from 2007 to 2014 - with a fair bit of tuning & pad experimentation throughout. With the best pads I could get, the Tektro calipers weren't as effective as the BR-650s on Shimano stock pads. Everything else was the same, save for a set of wheels (Alex DA22 on formula, supplied with the bike, which were never used with the Shimano calipers. The other wheels I've used (DRC-ST18 II on Tiagra, Mavic Aksium) were used with both sets of calipers).
 
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Cyclist33

Guest
Location
Warrington
My SCR2 had Tektro long drop calipers on.

Changing the pads made some difference, changing the calipers for Ultegra level (I think - BR-650) and they are way, way better, even on the Shimano stock pads. Definitely try changing the pads first, but if Trek spec at a similar level to Giant, changing the calipers will make a massive difference.

EDIT: Before m'learned friend weighs in, I ran the Tektro calipers from 2007 to 2014 - with a fair bit of tuning & pad experimentation throughout. With the best pads I could get, the Tektro calipers weren't as effective as the BR-650s on Shimano stock pads. Everything else was the same, save for a set of wheels (Alex DA22 on formula, supplied with the bike, which were never used with the Shimano calipers. The other wheels I've used (DRC-ST18 II on Tiagra, Mavic Aksium) were used with both sets of calipers).
Did they allow you to brake safely and avoid all accidents and collisions throughout their life cycle?

So what was the risk of not upgrading them? Broken fingers as you desperately wrenched the brake levers to get the bike to stop?
 
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