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…ON. That is the first thing to say, my brakes work, they just jam on when I use them.

This winter seems to have been the wettest, muddiest on record. The roads are still covered in mush and it has never been cold enough here in Manchester to break it down, or maybe the council just never sweeps it up. As such my bike is always covered in a build up of fine mud, even though I regularly scrub it off.
My main concern is my back brake. The spray off my wheel works its way into the calliper and just jams it up. It will engage but once there it will not flex back, it just grinds against the rim, wasting my pads and slowing me down.
Needless to say I have stopped using it unless I need to do an emergency stop or can reach down at a set of lights to flick the pads away. I mainly use the front brake as I am right handed anyway but even that is now not as responsive and I have caught it hissing and grinding recently.

I have tried removing the calipers and giving them a good bath in hot soapy water. This does help, but quite quickly the back brake freezes up again when out in the wild. I don’t have time to be removing and washing these every day, but the mud doesn't go away.

I had a similar problem with another pair of calipers in the past, which I just had to replace and bin in the end. These are just six months old.

Has anyone suffered from this problem? Have you got any suggestions as to how I can get some flexation back into my brake and keep it there despite the weather?

thank, G

12 comments

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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Right, you need to take them off, give them a bath in degreaser, not just water.

Then use some TF2 spray, coat them in it.

I would also take your cables off and replace them, while at it, give you levers a good lube up

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jonb [39 posts] 2 years ago
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One thing that can cause this is pad wear creating a lip that hooks under the rim, stopping the pads returning. Worth checking anyway. Otherwise it's only been shagged cables that have caused anything like this for me. If you're riding in gunky conditions a lot then the Gore Ride-on sealed cables are great. Stay smooth for ages, whatever the conditions.

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stuke [335 posts] 2 years ago
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As anyone in the roadcc office will happily point out I'm rubbish at cleaning bikes so I do tend to suffer with this on my own winter steed.

One thing that I do find helps if it's been a wet commute is to give everything a good soaking in WD40 or similar when you put the bike away and then you can give it a good wash at the weekend.

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Trull [81 posts] 2 years ago
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Fit mudguards, or even better man up and get yourself a hack mtb/tourer with discs/guards and do the job properly.

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stuke [335 posts] 2 years ago
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Trull wrote:

Fit mudguards, or even better man up and get yourself a hack mtb/tourer with discs/guards and do the job properly.

Mine get covered in salt and road spray even with full length mudguards so not necessarily the solution plus the OP might not have the funds/space for a second bike

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Leviathan [2275 posts] 2 years ago
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Funds, yeah, if I had them I would be looking to turn my current bike into the winter/commuter and getting the 'special one.'

n=1 for the time being.

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
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The no funds solution is to just remove the rear brake and leave it that way. But what caliper is it?

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giff77 [1258 posts] 2 years ago
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If not already done. Swap out your cables and outers. This is most likely the issue. Happened to me before and this had been the problem all along. Also when cleaning a wee squirt of degreaser into the outer helps out.

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ezra421 [7 posts] 2 years ago
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lel in the game Tf2 there is a weapon called the degreaser and it took me 30 seconds to realise that you meant something else. but yeh, you're right

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Leviathan [2275 posts] 2 years ago
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I have just ordered some citrus degreaser and TF2 off Probikekit. I hope that will do the trick. If not I will have to get involved and learn the difference between brake cable and gear cables and buy some wire cutters. Fiddly and expensive but I can now fit brake calipers, cranks, rear deraillieruier, chain, hanger, bottom bracket, swapped a shift, handlebar tape (wooh, high-five) wheels etc.
Never done my cables or front derailurrr before.

Thanks GKam. As usual your advice on technical matters is top notch. I hope you are successful with your new mechanic service. It is on some of the more subjective subjects like Professional racing that some of your pronouncements can be somewhat divisive; very entertaining of course.

I am not sure how a full mudguard (I do have a AssSaver) would stop spray getting on the calipers, surely there are no guards that go under the calipers?

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Jack Osbourne snr [570 posts] 2 years ago
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Any "full" guard will run under the caliper, but requires mounting eyelets. If you don't have eyelets on the frame, you could try SKS race blades or crud race guards. both of these can be fitted to almost any frame.

Keep the calipers clean and give them an occasional squirt of lube such as gt85 at pivots and spring contact points (the bit of the spring near each end where it slides over the plastic guide). This will ward of off your woes in most instances... and is simple good practice. try this before you splash out on cable cutters.

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dunnoh [199 posts] 2 years ago
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I have given up commuting on the road bike this winter - its such a pain washing it. Im back on the Nexus hybrid until the streets get cleaner!