Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like.

  • Discuss Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. in the BMX Bike Tech forum in area BMX-Forum Community; I've been riding my new one for about a week now, and I run only on the back brakes. For some reason, the brake isn't gripping as much, and I... ...
D

Dirtchad

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #1
I've been riding my new one for about a week now, and I run only on the back brakes.

For some reason, the brake isn't gripping as much, and I often have to put my foot down on the ground to stop. I've checked the brakepads, and they're in line with the rim and all, but is there anything other than curse at it to make my brakes grip better?

I want it to stop the damn bike when I pull on it, instead of giving me a couple skids.
 
mack_turtle

mack_turtle

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #2
clean the rim and the brake pads. Simple Green works best for this, but regular window cleaner should suffice. DO NOT use soda on your rim, it will eat away the finish.
 
J

jawn

Guest
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #3
Is there any glaze on the pads? If so, take them off and file it away, or scrape it across concrete.
 
johnuk

johnuk

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #4
I never liked U-brakes, they never grip as tight as I want them to. You could try messing around with different pads - some will produce much better grip than others.

I have a V-brake on mine now. They're crazy sharp and you'll skid the wheel with one finger barely trying. Some people don't like them because they're so sharp they can make it hard to modulate speed on things like manuals. Same thing, try messing around with different pads if that's an issue. Also, you can buy levers that will let you change the squishyness of the lever.

I'm using Coolstop pads at the moment in mine and they're a lot easier to control than Shimano's. Also use significantly fewer pads with V-brakes and they're really easy to set up. I can set the cable tension by hand, then adjust each arm independantly to get them both the same spacing from the wheel as I spin it. Then tighten up the cable with the twisty bit on the lever to get the pads right up to the rim.

 
Last edited:
mack_turtle

mack_turtle

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #5
i doubt dirtchad is going to be able to put v-brakes on his bike. most of us have u-brake mounts and you cannot put v-brakes on a u-brake bike. the mounts are spaced differently and the are a different size.
 
sixdegrees

sixdegrees

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #6
I never liked U-brakes, they never grip as tight as I want them to. You could try messing around with different pads - some will produce much better grip than others.

I have a V-brake on mine now. They're crazy sharp and you'll skid the wheel with one finger barely trying. Some people don't like them because they're so sharp they can make it hard to modulate speed on things like manuals. Same thing, try messing around with different pads if that's an issue. Also, you can buy levers that will let you change the squishyness of the lever.

I'm using Coolstop pads at the moment in mine and they're a lot easier to control than Shimano's. Also use significantly fewer pads with V-brakes and they're really easy to set up. I can set the cable tension by hand, then adjust each arm independantly to get them both the same spacing from the wheel as I spin it. Then tighten up the cable with the twisty bit on the lever to get the pads right up to the rim.

My brakes lock with 1 finger. can hold fufanus with one slight pull of the lever.

U-brakes are ample for BMX when set-up properly, v-brakes are over-kill!!

:)
 
johnuk

johnuk

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #7
My brakes lock with 1 finger. can hold fufanus with one slight pull of the lever.

U-brakes are ample for BMX when set-up properly, v-brakes are over-kill!!

:)
Let dirtchad know which pads you're using

I dunno, I just like V-brakes :wink:
 
sixdegrees

sixdegrees

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #8
Let dirtchad know which pads you're using

I dunno, I just like V-brakes :wink:
I switch pads all the time. Jag Wire MTB pads are good, I also use Eagle Claw IIs (Salmon) but not enough monulation for me. Next up Aztec's work nice as do KoolStop BMX pads, mic combo.

The key to good u-brake braking power lies in pad / rim combo, ie chrome rim thats cleaned of all grease and dirt, and pads that are aligned well and also clean, ie no dirt or grease.

Next up you need to ensure that as much power from the lever is getting to the pads. Most brakes I work on you see about 1/2 the power being lost through friction in the cables, lever and springs/lugs.

Lube that cables, lube the lever linkage and ensure the arms pivot smoothly on the lugs.

When you pull the lever it should be easy, quick, smooth and come to a solid stop when pads make contact; any stiffnes, spongyness or resistance means you are losing power before it gets to the pads/rim and hence braking is reduced.... and not necessarily a fault of the pads!

:)
 
2008HaroF3

2008HaroF3

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #9
hold on,has anyone though to tell the kid to adjust the springs?

mine neva worked,until i adjusted the spring tension
 
mack_turtle

mack_turtle

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #10
too much spring tension= crap brakes. i use the absolute minimum chain tension to make my brakes pop back.
 
Lilwillywilly

Lilwillywilly

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #11
There is a reason v-brakes never really got to popular in the BMX crowd, same with u-brakes not being big in racing.
Everything listed below is what i found in my personal experiences.

U-brakes:

pro's :
more control
dont lock up as easy (less grabby)
IMO easier to set up properly
dont need constant adjusting when set
most all BMX bikes have mounts for them, 990 etc.
durable

cons:
generaly dont hold as hard as V's
require a lil more pull at the lever
more sensitive to pad choices
heavier


V-brakes:

pro's:
Stop on a dime
excellent holding force
much less effort at the lever
3 sizes for different rims (mini, pro, and expert)
lighter

cons:
most BMX bikes dont have mounts for them
less control
constantly need adjusting as spring looses tension
3 different sizes (see above, make sure you have the right one, makes adjusting almost impossible if you dont)
slightly more resistance than u-brakes due to knoodle
not so durable

again, just my findings from my experience with the 2.

All of this above being said, i like a short pull, positive engagement of my brakes, that being said, you cannot beat a v-brake at that....... period. That is why 99% of race bikes use v-brakes when they want to stop, they need that lock up stopping force.
PS. I run evolvers on my bike :)
 
wickyman

wickyman

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #12
I agree with JohnUK. I am a v-brake fan, then again, I also race... :D I just can never get a set of 990s to grip... They are cheesy, and heavier than they should be! You might as well run without brakes at all! Considering more people have no idea how to set them up, themselves, and therefore, make them damn near useless... Why do you think, so many people run brake-less?!
 
azman

azman

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #13
too much spring tension= crap brakes. i use the absolute minimum chain tension to make my brakes pop back.
I would like to see you use little chain tension and have nice brakes ;)

but yeh spring tension plays an important part.
 
johnuk

johnuk

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #14
I am a v-brake fan, then again, I also race...
I race as well, but I'm getting used to using the V-brakes more precisely. I have my lever set to maximum squishyness. I know people into U-brakes won't agree, but I think you can teach yourself to modulate V-brakes. I've just grown up always having to crush the lever on badly set up U-brakes, so I expect it to take time to get used to barely pressing it.

The peak of my U-brake failure came last christmas when I was cycling down to a lab I was working at late at night. It was absolutely freezing cold and dark, but I had to finish something. As I approached the site gate, I tried to liven up my ride with a skid up to the lock only to have the remaining lever snap off in my hand. I was stopped by the gate and my fail filmed by the gate cameras. It wasn't what I had in mind, but I found it kind of funny limping around for a few minutes. Then I got V-brakes.

I agree with most of what Lilwillywilly said, but I'm not sure about maintainance. One of the things I really like about mine is that I never have to touch them - although, I'm also using Shimano XTR's, which are decent calipers.

To each his own.
 
Last edited:
wickyman

wickyman

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #15
Shimano XTRs are the shiznit! They are seriously the best BMX brakes, that you can get. Next would be the DXR, which is the absolute best, but then again, they are more expensive. A ton of mountain bikers run the XTRs, for the same reasons as you stated. They can be easily manipulated! :D I manipulate my cheesy tektro brakes... Then again, I have been riding the V-brakes some 10 years. lol
 
johnuk

johnuk

New Member
Brake doesn't grip as well as I'd like. post #16
Shimano XTRs are the shiznit! They are seriously the best BMX brakes, that you can get. Next would be the DXR, which is the absolute best, but then again, they are more expensive. A ton of mountain bikers run the XTRs, for the same reasons as you stated. They can be easily manipulated! :D I manipulate my cheesy tektro brakes... Then again, I have been riding the V-brakes some 10 years. lol
I also considered getting Avid Sram calipers - the Avid Speed Dial lever is lighter than Shimano's, but the Avid mag version is lighter still (it was white and hi-tech looking, they don't make it anymore). The avid SD is cheaper than most normal BMX levers. The Shimano calipers are ligher than the Avid's I think, apart from the magnesium version that they don't sell anymore due to manufacturing problems. They also have the the 'funky arms'

I originally set out to get the DXRs but got the XTRs because they have a spring mechanism on the pads. If you look at pictures of the two, you can see the XTRs pads look angled in some and are attatched to a kind of slider arm thing. When you squeeze the brake lever, normal brake pads travel in an arc, the centre of which is the mounting bolt of the arm. The angle they make contact with the rim at also sets how much force gets transmitted. The XTRs pads adjust themselves as your squeeze the brake so the pads are always parallel to the rim when they touch it. And, for some reason, they're cheaper. :wink:
 
Last edited:

New Topics

Top