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Thread: Brake Trouble

  1. #1
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    Brake Trouble

    Hi all, I just purchased a titus racer x titanium used for $500 and took it on my first ride a while ago. It has hayes el camino brakes on it, and they seem to lack stopping power. I ride dirt bikes, which have very powerful disc brakes, and even though the rotors and calipers are much, much smaller on my mountain bike, it seems like they are underpowered compared to the dirt bike. The guy who I bought the bike from didn't have the best maintenance routine, so what is most likely the cause of the problem?
    Thanks, Nick

  2. #2
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    Try bleeding the brakes to see if that helps at all. Maybe new pads too.

    If that doesn't do it for you, you could upsize the rotors.

    Or get new brakes...

  3. #3
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    Bad disc brakes are almost a "let me count the ways" proposition.

    Contaminated pads
    contaminated rotors
    worn out pads
    system needs a bleed
    worn out rotors

    Well, I guess that's four ways. If the levers feel alright - relatively symmetrical, and you can't squeeze them to the bar - I'd start by looking at the brake pads. There's a friction surface attached to a metal backing plate. About the same as a motorcycle, I think, except that the relative sizes are different. The friction surface should be rough, fairly even and not blackened. Not sure what color your particular brake pads should be, but you can probably find them on the 'net. If they've been contaminated, you should clean your rotors when you replace them, so you don't screw up your new brake pads right away.

    Worn out rotors are relatively unlikely. Lay a straight edge across the friction surface. There shouldn't be any space under it.

    If you can squeeze your brake lever to the grip, or one brake has a very different lever feel from the other, you probably need to bleed your brakes. You may anyway, if the bike's a few years old. This is different for different brakes, so try to find the manual.

    Hope that gives you a few directions to try.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Bad disc brakes are almost a "let me count the ways" proposition.

    Contaminated pads
    contaminated rotors
    worn out pads
    system needs a bleed
    worn out rotors
    Yeah, disc brakes are awesome but a lot can go wrong especially if not properly maintained. The advice given thus far is very complete and should be enough to get you going again. It is very difficult to diagnose over the internet.
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  5. #5
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    In addition to what everyone else mentioned, what exactly do the rotors look like? I see a lot of rotors today with seemingly more air than braking surface and I'm not sure how they stop anything.

    I had to borrow a wheel recently and the rotor that was on it was one of those types. I can honestly say it didn't have half the stopping power of my inexpensive stock Shimano rotors. If the original owner put on different rotors you might want to switch back to originals.

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