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Brake Care Basics – Pt 1

Few aspects of maintenance have a greater bearing on your safety. These hints and tips should help you to stop faster.

 

Taking care of your Brakes

Go ahead to Part 2 >>


Wheel Mounting

Make sure that your wheel sits all the way up in the fork tips or frame drop-outs. That way the rim will always fall into the same position in relation to the brake pads. The rim should fall into a central location in the frame if it doesn’t then your wheel may be dished incorrectly or your frame or fork could be out of alignment.

Wheel Mounting
 
 

 

Pad Adjustment – Part One

You should always ensure that your pads are correctly aligned with the braking surface of the rim. Pads that are too low can creep off the bottom of the braking surface and wear unevenly. High placement can result in pad to tyre contact. In either case, the result can be dangerous. Pulling the brake lever in will hold the pads in place while ensuring that they are adjusted for the actual contact point with the rim.
Pad Adjustment
 
 

 

Tool Free Centering

Most brakes have some form of centring adjustment that requires an Allen key tool or a screw driver. With modern dual pivot brakes, it is easier to centre them over the rim by simply pulling the entire calliper across to a central location by hand. This is a simple tool-free way that you can centre your dual pivot brakes at any time.

Centering tool free
 
 

 

Pad Orientation

A large number of brake pads are directional—it is usually those with a replaceable cartridge system. While the pads pictured have an arrow showing the correct orientation, many do not. The brake cartridge will have an ‘open’ end where the rubber insert can be removed. The open side should always face towards the rear of the bike—otherwise the rubbers will fly out of their retainers and you may find yourself flying off the road.

Pad Orientation
 
 

 

Pad Adjustment – Part Two

Some brake pads allow for ‘toe-in’ adjustment via a series of conical washers. Start by adjusting your pads so they contact the rim evenly from front to rear. If the brakes squeal or vibrate, a little toe-in adjustment may help. Angle the pad so that the front contacts the rim slightly before the rear (as pictured).

Pad Adjustment
 
 

 

Carbon Specific Pads

Standard rubber based pads are designed to work with alloy rims. Carbon rims require specially designed pads. Alloy is a good conductor of heat and transfers heat that is created by friction away from the rubber pads. Carbon does not work in this way so the heat builds up and can melt the pads. Carbon specific pads will be made from a friction material that can withstand high temperatures (such as cork).

Carbon Pads
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Brake Care Basics – Pt 2