Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Clean Brake

I've covered municipal and international politics. Now to move onto a subject where I have absolutely no authority: bike mechanics.

I replaced my rear brake pads late last week. I finally decided that metal on metal wasn't stopping me as well as I needed. This became obvious when I approached a red light at the bottom of a big hill (Hoggs Hollow) and had to make an abrupt right turn.

The new ones look pretty slick. I know that's very important when it comes to brakes. The shiny metal backing holds replaceable brake pads. I have always just bought the cheap rubber ones from MEC in the past, but this time I thought I'd try something different. They weren't much more expensive, especially if you consider the trouble of heading all the way to MEC.

The pads have a large surface area, so I've convinced myself that they're stopping me better than the regular short rubber ones. Stopping power comes a close second to shininess when comparing brakes.

Darren J 11/07/2006 08:44:00 a.m.


You REALLY shouldn't let your cable ends fray like that. If the strands happen to unravel past the locking bolt... - one broken strand reduces the cable strength by 50%! MEC sells cable end caps for 5 cents a piece! Or... you can use solder, or even glue in a pinch. Frayed cables are asking for trouble. Replace a $2.05 cable and end cap. It's cheap insurance.
Also. Check the lock nut on your brake mounting bolt. The picture looks like the two nuts aren't tight together. Is that so? If that's the case.... holy crap. If that bolt comes loose, you have a brake that will fall off your fork and bounce off spokes until it lodges itself into them!!! Then guess what happens? You wake up in an ambulance.

Judging by these two points your bike is in DESPERATE need of maintenance. If you can't do it yourself, please, please, please take it to someone who can. It's not something to fool around with. An unsafe bike can very easily kill you.
replace the word "fork" with "frame". my eyes... they're not so good.
Hey there, Thanks very much for the concern.

The cable does actually have a cap on it, but I guess it's a bit too far away from the brake. It's just out of the picture. I should make it shorter to reduce the separation. And I checked the lock nut and it is snug against the other one. I think it's because of rounded edges that it looks like there's a gap there. I might put some loctite on though after reading your prediction!

Thanks again.
You might want to try the Kool Stop pads next time - salmon coloured ones (if you can find them) are particularly good in the wet. They can, under the right conditions, wear down extremely quickly, but their stopping power is worth it.
I might head down to MEC this weekend. I'll pick up a set of those Kool Stops if I do. I'm willing to replace pads more often if it means I'll actually stop fast. These side-pull brakes are nowhere near as good as my mountain bike brakes.

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