160:180 difference is like 8:9 - you might not even feel it. What you describe sounds like fade - most likely pad fade. You can fix that with a different pad compound. If you're not sure what you want, you might want to test out w/ just 1 pair first.
There are like 4 types that I can think of right now: kevlar/carbon ceramic, sintered metallic, semi-metallic, and organic(resin). Ceramic is theoretically best but it's still an art and quality depends on whoever makes them. Of the conventional sintered tolerates heat best and lasts the longest but it's also the most noisy. Resin/organic is probably smoothest but it tends to wear faster and boils faster as well.
If you can find someone who sells pads for the cursed things lol.
I could be wrong but I'm not so sure it's fade.
I thought fade was when you begin to brake and after some time of continuously holding on the brake the rate of slowing down is diminished.
Like while going down a long hill, holding the brake most of the way, at the top of the hill the brakes work better then they brake less as you approach the bottom.
Mine seem different than that, mine brake equally at the top and bottom of the hill, but if I am on a level plane they break sharp every time.
I get the impression that I need more braking surface or a stronger hydraulic brake.
I am drawing my conclusions based on my many years of experience with vehicle disk brakes, though I am not sure if it translates to bikes.
Another thing I noticed last night, my brakes have HUGE holes in them to help dissipate heat.
That's fine and all but the size of holes are massive and greatly reduce the braking surface.
When I began using drilled rotors on my car I had the same experience, my brakes felt noticeably weaker, especially while going downhill. I switched back to a solid rotor and my vehicle brakes came alive again.
Any thoughts on my ramble?
I think I'll replace my rotors first and see if that helps, if not then I guess I will upgrade to the new Shimano XT or similar.
Hey, hopefully somebody may be able to help me... Last week I got a new bike, a Cannondale Trail SL5, it's a lovely bike, and. I've already fallen in love with it, I ride as often as i can, and I'm skillful on a bike. As I was braking today my front disc brake sounded funny, as if you could hear the liquid being feed down to the disc brake, It was clearly making a different sound from the rear brake. I've thought that it may just be that with it being so new, that I'm still breaking it in (Like you do with new shoes), but i've also thought about taking it into the shop for them to have a look at...
I am just wondering to what all you guys think??
It would be a huge help