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  1. #1
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    Help with disc brakes

    Hi, all!

    I'm about 98% in the dark about all things mountain biking, so I could really use some help.

    I recently bought a Cannondale Trail 6 with Tektro Novella disc brakes. They were working fine until today when, while riding, the brakes didn't stop with the same power. At first I could barely press the brakes and i'd be thrown off, but today I had to squeeze ridiculously hard to stop (almost like a kid's bike with v-brakes).

    All I've done recently to the bike is ride it and spray it down with the hose. The water is all I can think would do it, but I didn't figure that water would mess up disc brakes.

    Any suggestions on how to get my brakes back to their original state?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Sounds like maybe you wore the inboard pad down to the housing, or wore a pad down to the metal back plate.

    There's a screw on the inboard side of the caliper for adjusting that brake pad. See if that takes care of your problem. Otherwise, pull the brake pads out and have a look at them. It'll be pretty obvious if you've worn off the pad material.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Just out of curiosity, about how long does it take to wear the pad on disc brakes? I understand that it will be a function of the kind of riding one does, etc., but a ballpark will suffice? Yearly? More often? Less frequently?

    Thank you for the help.

  4. #4
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    Try cleaning the rotors (metal disks) with rubbing alcohol. Are they hydraulic? If so, you may have to bleed the break lines.
    Last edited by Woozle; 07-06-2011 at 11:19 AM. Reason: misspelling

  5. #5
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    if they are mech and new check for cable stretch

  6. #6
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    They are mechanical brakes. I don't see how you could wear the brake pads down already unless you really just hold them the entire time. You could check them like andrew said, wouldn't be bad to use metallic pads anyways (at least on pad per caliper). You could also check to see if the cable has stretched by loosening the allen bolt and pulling excess slack out of it. Also you could move the little swing arm on the caliper up a little by loosening the allen bolt on that. That would create less distance it has to pull, giving it more force or a faster braking response.
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  7. #7
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    sounds to me like you continamted your pads when you were washing your bike or some other time. I would take the pads off and same them down alittle with sand paper to rough them up, then wash the pads and rotor with some rubbing alcohol. Also check to see if your caliper got mis aligned during the cleaning or something. Make sure that the rotor isn't rubbing the pads at all when you spin the wheel. A mis aligned caliper can do the same thing. I doubt your pads are worn out as it just doesn't happen over night. But you can tell if they are worn down to the metal when you take the pads out to clean them.

  8. #8
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    I'd also guess that your fixed pad adjuster needs to be moved inward. Aside from contamination, the most common cause of poor breaking on disc brakes is bending the rotor. Squeeze the lever and watch the rotor, if it bends more than a millimeter or two then you need to adjust it. If it still doesn't stop after that then you are probably dealing with a contamination issue.

    RDOwens; brake pads for my use will usually last a bit longer than a year. Of course, I don't usually do a lot of long rides and the most inclement weather we see here is dust.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    RDOwens; brake pads for my use will usually last a bit longer than a year. Of course, I don't usually do a lot of long rides and the most inclement weather we see here is dust.
    Thank you kindly.

  10. #10
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    If you have a bent rotor you'd be better off ordering some alligator rotors. Trying to true a bent rotor is a pain, takes longer than truing like 5 wheels and usually isn't possible anyways.
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  11. #11
    Maaaaan
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    Brake pads have to bed into a rotor. Sometimes when I wash my Fury off to do some major maintenance, it takes a few stops to bed the pad material back into the pores of the rotor. Once that happens, everything is fine again.
    It's just that washing takes out the embedded pad material sometimes and then things don't stop as expected for a few stops.

    Don't use degreasers on rotors. Don't get grease, oil etc on them.
    Don't get brake fluid on them, or the pads for that matter.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks, everyone, for the replies. Hopefully all I need to is let the pads re-bed.

    Would it be worth changing shifters and brakes completely on a $500 bike, or am I just better off upgrading entirely later?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPasley View Post
    Thanks, everyone, for the replies. Hopefully all I need to is let the pads re-bed.

    Would it be worth changing shifters and brakes completely on a $500 bike, or am I just better off upgrading entirely later?
    that's a hard question to answer. If your looking long term its always cheaper to buy a whole bike than to piece together part by part. But in the same respect its alot harder to save $1000+ all at once versus spending $100 bucks here and there.

    My personal opinion I think you should ride that bike and just replace worn out or broken stuff and save for a new bike. This will give you more time to get better and know what you like and don't like. On your next bike you might want something with a longer travel fork. Right now you are limited to 100mm or you change your geometry of your frame. On a new bike you can start with a frame designed around 120 or 140mm. Or if you want full suspension then you would have to atleast upgrade your frame and half of your components. A new bike would also give you more choices like 15mm, 20mm, 24mm front axle, tapered head tubes, 12mm rear axles, etc etc. These can only be changed with getting a new frame and wheels something you couldn't do to your current bike. Also gives you the option of looking at different types of bikes, SS, XC, AM, FR, DH, Dirt jumper, Trails, etc. By the time you save up for a new bike you will have a better understanding of your skills and trails you ride and what bike would best suit you.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPasley View Post
    Thanks, everyone, for the replies. Hopefully all I need to is let the pads re-bed.

    Would it be worth changing shifters and brakes completely on a $500 bike, or am I just better off upgrading entirely later?
    I agree that it's almost always better to buy a complete, especially if you want to change the type of bike you're riding (FS, longer travel...)

    I don't know what's wrong with your shifters but if you're just concerned about your brakes, then you can find the best mechanical brakes out there, the BB7s for relatively cheap. Putting in a couple hundred to get the performance up isn't a terrible cost especially if it'll keep you running longer to be able to afford a different bike at some point (should you want one). I would hesitate to replace any part on your bike that is functioning properly though.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

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