Why do my brakes suck?

by sponging-machine   August 4, 2009  

Although I don't expect hydraulic disc performance, my brakes seem a bit crap and riding in the wet can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience. Set-up is Tiagra levers, Jagwire inners/outers and Tektro R350 Dual pivot calipers.
I keep my rims good and clean too.

Is there anything I can do to significantly improve performance? I was thinking of a different compound pad or summat. Will upgrading the calipers make a significant difference?

10 user comments

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doesn't sound like a particularly unusual setup so it may be that a pad change would be the most help, it's certainly the easiest thing to try. also worth going over your rims with an emery pad once you've cleaned them.

I'm currently testing the new Ultegra 6700 groupset and for all the incremental performance increases elsewhere in the system, the brakes are noticeably better. Shimano claim that stopping power is increased by 100% in the wet, not sure I'm buying that but they're certainly impressive. Not sure when the pads are on sale though, Madison don't have them on the website yet

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7804 posts]
5th August 2009 - 8:49


A pad change should certainly be the first port of call, I run Swissstop Flash greens, and they are very good, braking in the wet is certainly better than the Shimano pads, and they don't leave that evil black residue on the rims.
The price looks over the top, until you notice that they are sold in sets of 4 rather than the usual single pair.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [688 posts]
5th August 2009 - 9:58


People continually reccommend Kool-Stop salmon pads as well, slightly cheaper than the Swisstop FWIW.

posted by poppa [25 posts]
5th August 2009 - 10:47


I have happily used the Kool Stop twin compound brake pads and found that they have the best stopping power, even in the wet. They seem to last quite well too.

posted by SimpleSimon [114 posts]
5th August 2009 - 18:58


Plain Face A simple pair of side-pull, or dual-pivot brakes with scored brake pad surfaces(do this yourself with something sharp) work best.Or keep away from hills and don't go out when it's wet!

posted by velosipeed [6 posts]
7th August 2009 - 10:27


Living in North Devon means hills and rain are pretty unavoidable.

As I've got Tektro calipers, do I need Shimano compatible pads?

sponging-machine's picture

posted by sponging-machine [108 posts]
8th August 2009 - 0:09


Thinking Only trying a bit of humour re hills and rain.Make sure whatever brake pads used-they are 'toed-in' i.e the front part touches the rim just before the rest of the pad.This should ensure smooth but effective braking.How, and with what tool(s) you adjust the angle of the brake shoes ? I have used a pair of pliers, or an adjustable spanner-but be very gentle, nothing too fierce.Hope this may help.

posted by velosipeed [6 posts]
11th August 2009 - 18:03


I knew you were only joking, cheeky monkey! Wink

sponging-machine's picture

posted by sponging-machine [108 posts]
11th August 2009 - 22:28


I've found just about any alloy backed cartridge pad better than plastic one-unit replacement pads, no need to get fancy and expensive swiss stops. I'm using some fibrax numbers which are terrific.

posted by anotherdeadhero [17 posts]
18th August 2009 - 13:04


I've used Kool Stop and Jagwire pads on standard rims and found them both fine. If you've been using the pads for a while, rough them up a bit with a file or bit of sandpaper and make sure you pick out any bits of grit, rim splinters or glass.

I've got Shimano Dura-Ace ceramic pads on my bike with ceramic rims. They've been excellent in all weathers.

: P

posted by Pierre [91 posts]
18th August 2009 - 18:21