1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Good push brake pad?

    Okay, after all the little quirks I have had with my Trek 4300, I was finally able to do a full ride yesterday!

    It was very exhausting, but the bike was performing wonderfully!

    I did have some trouble going down some very steep grades and it's not like I could have coasted down them because of the deep ruts on both sides and the rocks and roots going down the path, so I had to be a little technical with it....I noticed that my brakes would slip every so often.

    I didn't go with the disc brake option because the salesman said that I would probably never ever take full advantage of them in Georgia, and that for a beginner like me, I'd be fine and save money just using the regular push brake system.

    I just looked, and I have the factory Tektro brake pads....there is only maybe 35-40miles on them....am I getting brake fade or do the pads suck, or this is normal for push brake systems?

    I am now kinda pissed that I didn't go with the disc brake setup, and it's probably gonna cost me more than it would have to just get the 4300 with the disc option...I know that the 4300 with disc brake system isn't the best, but I am curious if it would have performed better than the push style

  2. #2
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    Brake fade is not....

    necessarily and idication of poor brakes. It is an indication that the brake pads are heating up. That causes the fade on rim brakes. You can have the best vbrake system in the world and you'll STILL get brake fade as the pads and braking surface of the rim heat up. It CANNOT be prevented unless you simply don't use the brakes!

    And YES a disc brake system (even a cheap one) will perform MUCH better in heavy braking situations than rim brakes. The 4300 Disc comes stock with Shimano M465 mechanical disc brake. While not the best on the market, they are VERY serviceable and perform quite well.

    The guy at your LBS is basically full of SHIZA!!!! I would sell disc brakes and highly recommend them to ANYONE that rides off road (enven a noob)!!!! They simply perfom that much better! Yes they do take a little more to maintain than a v-brake, but it ain't rocket science and can be learned as long as you're not a total door knob.

    I don't know what it'll cost you to upgrade if you decide to. It depends on how the bike came set up from the factory. I don't recall if the 4300 non-disc comes with disc hubs or not. I know Trek specs them on some non-disc bikes with an eye to easier future upgrades. But I'm not sure on the 4300. But, a reasonable set of disc wheels will run you as little as $180, then for the best mech discs on the market, Avid BB7's, you'd be looking at right around $175 for front and rear (about $87 per wheel). You could go cheaper, but you'd be looking at lower end brakes and the wheels might be questionable. I recommend the BB7's for the dual adjustable pads (both inner and outer are adjustable) and the drop dead simple ease of set up.

    Anyway, sorry to hear that some idiot at a shop didn't think a noob could use the full potential of discs. A beginner is likely to use the potential of discs more so than a seasoned rider. It's because they use the brakes quite a bit more than an experienced rider. As you've discovered you need them a little more in hairy situations. Next time just remember this, if you want it, INSIST ON IT! Not everyone at a shop is as knowlegeable as they think they are. Yeah the guy probably feels good cause he saved you a few bucks that HE didn't think you needed to spend. But he really did you a disservice by saving you that few bucks.

    If you do decide to upgrade to disc brakes, you'll be amazed at the increase in performance and you'll NEVER go back to rim brakes again.

    Oh, and you might consider finding another LBS, or at least a different salesman next time eh!

    Good Dirt

    p.s.
    Sorry for the rant! It just chesses me off to hear of a salesman giving poor advice like that to a new rider.
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  3. #3
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbsolutGT
    brakes would slip every so often.
    Can you describe this a bit more?

    Did you actually lose braking power or was it like you had slippery spots in the rims? With V brakes, clean rims help a lot, just like you do not want any lubricants on brake disks.

    I know that my V brakes lose power in wet conditions, even though I use otherwise excellent Koolstop pads.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Can you describe this a bit more?

    Did you actually lose braking power or was it like you had slippery spots in the rims? With V brakes, clean rims help a lot, just like you do not want any lubricants on brake disks.

    I know that my V brakes lose power in wet conditions, even though I use otherwise excellent Koolstop pads.

    conditions are dry...well, extremely dry as of late....I did not get into any water or mud, as for dirt kicking up, probably dust if anything...but nothing big.

    my rims are clean...doesnt look like anything got between the pad and rim itself.

    basically, it's like a 70 degree downhill and it's probably like 120ft from top to bottom...my first go around with this spot, I was pedaling pretty fast and came up on it too quickly to react and just leaned back and gripped the handle bars as tight as I could and tried to navigate my way down without killing myself, it was VERY hairy and I'd never do it again at that speed...I'd honestly say that

    A.) dumb luck
    B.) big guy upstairs was holding my bike upright the whole time
    C.) I am the cycling master

    the next day I showed all my buddies, and they think I was bs'ing that I made it down that at a decent speed.

    Anyways, I wanted to try it again yesterday but being more technical and having control....and like I said, it was dry conditions and I had both brakes applied and began my way down....and a few spots I had to go around some bigger boulders and huge roots and I would apply more pressure to my brake and it would keep nudging foward as if the brakes were not working...and this has never happened before even when I was moving pretty fast and applied the brakes....so I am curious why there was slippage when I needed my brakes the most

  5. #5
    There's no app for this.
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    like Squash says

    you need discs for control.

    Are you sure it's 120' & 70 degrees? 70 looks like this, and it's about the same as your fork angle pointed down (i.e. near vertical).

    Jim

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    you need discs for control.

    Are you sure it's 120' & 70 degrees? 70 looks like this, and it's about the same as your fork angle pointed down (i.e. near vertical).

    Jim

    yeah, that's really about it....alot of 4x4's like to try and climb it, hence why there are deep ruts on both sides

  7. #7
    I post too much.
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    Your brakes are heating up from constant friction, that is what is causing the fading of the power. If you let go of the brakes more often it should leave them time to cool down.

    Disc brakes can over heat too you know. You can probably cook an egg on mine when they get hot(I've even had them change colours from the heat).

  8. #8
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    Try roughing up your pads a bit with fine grain sandpaper and whipe down your rims with alcohol. Also make sure there toed and set up correctly...............here's a good link. http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=21 I bet your brakes will perform much better after that.

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