How long should my brake blocks last?

No direct experience, but I still have the original blocks on my 1979 Viking (and indeed, they could do with changing.) My 2013 Bianchi is demanding its third set already. The big difference is that the Bianchi does actually stop when I put the brakes on.

I guess what I am suggesting is that brake blocks are softer, more effective and much more short-lived than they used to be. There seems to be little difference between the blocks I have used in terms of life. The best are probably the Swissstop greens, but I wouldn't say they were spectacularly better.
 

MikeW-71

Veteran
Location
Carlisle
The stock Tektro pads on my Defy 2 lasted about 600 miles before the fronts were about gone (they were terrifying in the wet too). Changed to Clarks triple compound jobs which gave much improved braking, and have been on for 2400 miles now. They are about ready to replace.

105 pads on the best bike are nowhere near worn out at 1500 miles (but they aren't as good in the wet as the Clarks)
 
OP
OP
doughnut

doughnut

Über Member
Thanks for the replies. When I replaced the blocks first time, I wondered if they had been binding on the rims and made sure that the second set were not touching the rim at all - but the second set didn't last any longer. I don't think I am over braking - though when I am racing down steep hills I suppose I do lightly hold the brakes on when I start getting nervous ^_^

I've been looking at the Clarks triple compound blocks and also Koolstop Salmon that seem to be liked a lot on here. If I managed to get over 2000 miles out of a set of brake blocks I would be happy.
 
My B'Twin 500 was new about 6 months ago. I've ridden about 1000 miles and am about to change the brake blocks for the second time. I replaced the original blocks with these from Decathlon - www.decathlon.co.uk/300-road-bike-brake-pads-id_3256958.html. Is 500 miles normal for changing brake blocks? Or have I used cheap and nasty blocks?
You may as well ask how long is a piece of string, because if you were to ask 10 different people you would likely get 10 different answers dependant on factors such as, where you live; weight of rider; experience of rider; freewheel or fixed; make of wheel, etc etc. For instance on my geared bike I get anywhere between 10 and 20,000 miles, on my fixed I have only changed them once in over 50.000 miles, which probably makes no sense to you at all.
 

tournut

Active Member
Location
altrincham
You may as well ask how long is a piece of string, because if you were to ask 10 different people you would likely get 10 different answers dependant on factors such as, where you live; weight of rider; experience of rider; freewheel or fixed; make of wheel, etc etc. For instance on my geared bike I get anywhere between 10 and 20,000 miles, on my fixed I have only changed them once in over 50.000 miles, which probably makes no sense to you at all.
That does make no sense at all. 50.000 on one set wot make ?.
 

vernon

Harder than Ronnie Pickering
Location
Meanwood, Leeds
That does make no sense at all. 50.000 on one set wot make ?.

The legs are the major source of braking on a fixed wheel bike hence the extended life of the brake blocks.
 
Yip I was going to say similar to @totallyfixed , there's too many variables, weight, technique, conditions, compound (soft compounds brake better/ do less rim damage but wear faster). Ive had stock pads last 14,000 miles and more expensive soft compounds last sub 1500. Pads generally last better for me in summer and can fail fast in a gritty winter. I've also heard of folk on a particularly wet mtb ride having pads last one or two rides.
 

bikeman66

Senior Member
Location
Isle of Wight
As mentioned, there are so many factors that would have a bearing on the lifespan of your brake pads. A few wet rides, especially if you're braking a lot, will produce a very efficient grinding paste, that will play havoc with both pads and rim. Personally, I prefer a slightly softer compound, which will wear out a bit quicker, but will also provide you with superior braking performance.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game procrastinator!
I can't remember ever changing brake blocks on my Cannondale, which is almost exclusively ridden in dry conditions.

Winter rides on gritted roads on my Basso grind down brake blocks pretty quickly. New blocks put on in the autumn are looking a bit worn now and will probably need replacing by the spring. (I have to do a lot of braking on steep descents round here so the brakes get a lot of use.)
 

deptfordmarmoset

Full time tea drinker
Location
Armonmy Way
My B'Twin 500 was new about 6 months ago. I've ridden about 1000 miles and am about to change the brake blocks for the second time. I replaced the original blocks with these from Decathlon - www.decathlon.co.uk/300-road-bike-brake-pads-id_3256958.html. Is 500 miles normal for changing brake blocks? Or have I used cheap and nasty blocks?
Are you fully using up the screw adjustment thingy (sorry about the technical jargon)? Is it called a barrel adjuster? It's a screwy thing with a locking washer-type thing on it, which when you expose more thread it effectively increases the length of the cable and this brings the blocks closer to the rims. Anyhow, if you'd set the barrel adjuster as low as it would go with new blocks you can then tweak them for a good distance - as a mostly urban rider I'd expect at least a couple of thousand miles, even with Decathlon own brands. The only thing to worry about is when the housing thread has little hold of the thread going into it.

EDIT: summat resemblive of this:
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRP-xWxpktBAuoI0LIxljz1MrpflvbTMzEoyzrPZqJGdcXkmstRMw.jpg
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game procrastinator!
Are you fully using up the screw adjustment thingy (sorry about the technical jargon)? Is it called a barrel adjuster? It's a screwy thing with a locking washer-type thing on it, which when you expose more thread it effectively increases the length of the cable and this brings the blocks closer to the rims. Anyhow, if you'd set the barrel adjuster as low as it would go with new blocks you can then tweak them for a good distance - as a mostly urban rider I'd expect at least a couple of thousand miles, even with Decathlon own brands. The only thing to worry about is when the housing thread has little hold of the thread going into it.

EDIT: summat resemblive of this:
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRP-xWxpktBAuoI0LIxljz1MrpflvbTMzEoyzrPZqJGdcXkmstRMw.jpg
The thing to really worry about is trying to make the blocks last too long and wearing them out mid-ride, especially if you are going down a steep hill at the time and have no choice but to carry on braking. The expensive sound of a wheel rim being destroyed by a brake cartridge is not a nice one! DAMHIKT! :whistle::cursing:
 

Smurfy

Naturist Smurf
Depends a lot on road conditions and the brake blocks. Softer blocks, wet and gritty roads will wear quick, harder blocks and dry, clean roads will wear a lot slower.
 
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