Brake Upgrades


Well-Known Member
Not a request for what to do, but a note of my brake experiences that may be useful to others...

A while back, when my wife had her Trek Lexa, she found the brakes on it a bit scary (she has small hands and couldn't apply much leverage when on the hoods), so I decided to replace the standard brakes (Tektro I think) with a set of Tiagra's I bought from ebay. They fitted (just) and were a little better but not much. She then replaced the Trek with a carbon Scott and the 105 brakes on that she found much easier and more powerful.

In the meantime, although the standard brakes on my Defy 3 were working, the rear would not always return properly, leaving the cable slack and causing an annoying slapping against the frame. I know I could have fixed them, but having put the standard brakes back on the Trek to sell it, I had a set of Tiagra brakes spare. On they went, and they fitted the Giant much better than the Trek. No more problems with the return and no worse braking, but not really better.

Since then, after a few wet rides, I found that the braking performance has dropped off and the pads seemed to be shaving metal off the wheels. This became embedded in the rubber causing more wear and an awful scraping noise whenever the brakes were applied. I spent time picking aluminium out of the pads, but whatever I did I couldn't get rid of the noise, especially with the front brake.

My wife's brakes have been fine, and they have standard pads, but the type that are held in a carrier, so I thought I would try some on mine. Looked around and researched a bit and almost bought some Fibrax pads, but in the end got some Jagwire carriers and pads from ebay (to use the hobby fund paypal!). Thinking was, even if the pads were no good, I could swap them out more easily.

Fitted the new carriers and pads, which was quite easy, although the carriers have a swivel fitting so you can adjust them to the right angle. Took a little fiddling to get them more or less right, but I think they are OK. What a difference! braking is now almost silent and the power has increased substantially. They have much more bite and modulation is still good.

So, in summary, whilst the new brakes themselves sorted out my sticky calipers and added a bit of bling, the real improvement came from a new set of pads. I paid £24 for two pairs, so they are not cheap cheap, but more reasonable than a set of new brakes and worth every penny.
Top Bottom