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Brakes for commuting bike

Discussion in 'Pedal Powered' started by GeX, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,406

    Location: Manchester

    Hi
    I ride a fairly old frame, it's a bit like Trigger's broom now - had it for about 8 years.
    It came with V-brakes, which we're OK but seemed to often require adjusting to keep the rim in the centre of either side of the brakes - would get a lot of uneven wear. I'd change pads by just changing the inserts.
    I wore through the braking surface on my rims with this, and went through pads every few months.

    Finally switched over to hydraulic disc brakes as my frame, forks and hubs had mounts for them. These were awesome when first fitted, but then developed an issue where they'd not really slow me down much - and make horrendous sqeauling noises.

    On advice from here, I bought some Race Matrix pads, and thoroughly cleaned the discs, callipers with brake cleaner and fitted them. Again, they were great at first - but are back to making horrible noises, and only really working well when it rains and the discs get wet.

    I also now have an issue where both brakes have become spongy, and feels like they need bleeding (rear is worse, and I need to actually pump the lever to get it to brake).

    So yeah.. I'm not really sure what to do, disc brakes just don't seem suitable for commuting - it seems just city cycling contaminates the pads in no time and then they're somewhat useless.. but then V-brakes were a pain to keep in top condition too.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. bloodiedathame

    Sgarrista

    Joined: May 11, 2007

    Posts: 7,659

    Location: Surrey

    What hydraulic brakes are you using, some of the cheapo ones can be crap.
     
  3. DereksDontRun

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 23, 2013

    Posts: 1,005

    Assuming the brakes/pads were bedding in correctly then it does sound like the disc/pads are being contaminated from commuter traffic (rich exhaust fumes?). Or, are you being too gentle with the brakes and effectively glazing the pads by dragging on them gently and not braking hard enough?
     
  4. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,406

    Location: Manchester

    Shimano SLX M675 with Shimano XT RT76 rotors (180/160)

    They were fine at first, and bedded in ok - I'm not shy with braking. Most of my inbound commute (~6 miles) is downhill.
     
  5. bloodiedathame

    Sgarrista

    Joined: May 11, 2007

    Posts: 7,659

    Location: Surrey

    They should be really quite decent. What pads are you using? The material of the pads might not be suitable for your commute.
     
  6. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,406

    Location: Manchester

  7. bloodiedathame

    Sgarrista

    Joined: May 11, 2007

    Posts: 7,659

    Location: Surrey

    Could be the calipers leaking... would explain why you have to pump the levers too. My Deore brakes do this.
     
  8. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,406

    Location: Manchester

  9. Begbie

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 20, 2004

    Posts: 23,609

    Location: .....

    Have you bled them? IIRC you can do the quick bleed on these.



    You can boil your discs to clear crap off them, I did.
     
  10. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,406

    Location: Manchester

    I've bled them yesterday to get the lever feel back.
    I cleaned the discs with brake cleaner, and as I say it was fine to start with but they seem to get contaminated ☹️
     
  11. Roady

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 7,719

    Location: Hereford

    Lots of people like those pads but I found them really poor. Got less miles out of them than rim brakes! Very noisy too and poor braking. Replaced the last ones at around 50% wear and tried 3 sets of them. I even removed them a few times and took surfaces off with wet&dry to revive them. Worked for a few hundred miles before poor again. Just didn't suit me.

    I went back to Shimano pads and have settled on the resin ones, J02A. I found the metal would glaze too easily and more noisy in the wet. Generally only a few quid more than the Uberbikes, getting easily over 1000 more miles. For me thats new pads every 6-8 months. Commuter but not generally high traffic. Only 3 commutes a week are in start/stop traffic.

    I clean my discs generally with a spray of the muc-off disc cleaner into the rear of the caliper every couple of weeks. When it comes time to do a proper clean I'll remove wheels, soak a rag in whatever other liquid disc cleaner I have for a couple of passes/rubs through the pads (not removing them), before then firmly wiping down the rotor surfaces. That's probably every month/6/8 weeks. Tend to do it more in the winter as do a full clean more...
     
  12. The_Arbiter

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 2, 2019

    Posts: 392

    What type of riding are you doing? IMHO commuting, casual XC, and touring really can use whatever brakes as long as they are setup well and maintained.

    V-brakes are often deemed out of date, inefficient, etc. But in reality they are great bang for buck, and can often be lighter than other setups. Same as cable discs, can give the same power as hydraulic in a fair playing field, but with less cost, and again weight.

    [edit]

    Apologies, immediately forgot the thread title upon reading thread xD

    So yeah, vbrakes are more than adequate for your use. But if you're finding setup to be an issue, hydraulic rim or disk will certainly offer ease of use/ quality of life improvement, if you're willing to spend the money. You could also just go with front disc if that's option. Also, depending on how many hills you are negotiating will be a consideration.

    But in all honesty, if quality of life isn't your main concern, i'd just cheap out on the whole thing. As we know with cars and computers, you can go mad with spending and get little return on your purchase, same applies to bikes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  13. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,406

    Location: Manchester

    Sounds like a very similar experience I'm having with the Uberbike pads.

    I've bought new calipers, as they were only £25 a pop and include pads. The calipers on there at the moment are about 3 years and I'm sure the pistons are leaking now. Thanks for the cleaning routine tips. I have the same cleaner.

    As I said earlier, I've had V brakes and had issues with keeping them in good working order (and also wore through the braking surface!). I have had my current hydraulic disc setup for a few years now, and to convert back to cable anything would mean new levers. I value quality of life as my main concern always, and continuously messing with my brakes to keep them working right doesn't fit in with that. I'm not going to go mad with spending, and will stick with SLX parts rather than XT(r).
     
  14. Showboat

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 11, 2009

    Posts: 2,004

    Location: UK

    How do you clean your bike? I found i was contaminating my brakes when i was cleaning it with warm soapy water.
    I now make sure i cover the disc and brakes when i clean the bike and its been grand ever since.
     
  15. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,406

    Location: Manchester

    Quick spray with muc-off and then hose down, generally. What do you cover them with? Though, tbf - my brakes didn't generally get worse after cleaning the bike, more so after riding for a bit.
     
  16. The_Arbiter

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 2, 2019

    Posts: 392

    The muc off is heavy in alcohol so shouldn't need to be applied before the spray down imo, as it just evaporates quickly. It can reduce life of tyres, but whether that's true in real world is another question.

    You shouldn't need to cover the brakes with anything prior to cleaning. From what's been said from you and others, leaky piston could be the issue. Were you pulling those levers harshly, with multiple fingers for example? Weaker brakes tend to encourage that, though like you said they were good when they were new.

    Personally i can't comment on lower end hydro disks, as would avoid them myself and opt for other options unless spending more.

    Though i will say, traffic contaminating pads i've never heard before. Never came across it in any conversation. But i also don't frequent bike forums anymore. I'll ask around out of curiosity to friends.

    Hopefully there was just some manufacturing fault at play with the calipers and the new setup does well.