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  1. #1
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    Help with V-brakes

    So I've finally got my 08 rockhopper all upgraded and it's almost just the way I like it. Took it out yesterday and wow the brakes just aren't cutting it.

    The bike came with Pro-Max Linear brakes similar to these

    Promax TX-121 Linear Brake 100094068 at CambriaBike.com

    The levers (according to Specialized's website are "Pro-Max alloy two finger w/ adj. reach " They have an extremely long pull. I just had the brakes adjusted and while they work, it's a chore to pull them. Outside of upgrading the pads (maybe some koolstops). Is there a way to adjust the pull of the brake levers to make them engage earlier or could I swap out the levers to say some single digit 7 levers. I've heard good things about those but not sure if they would make a difference.

    I'm not looking to upgrade to disc brakes at this time. I'm also looking for the least expensive solution possible. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    You may be able to find a set of used, Shimano XTR V-brakes. http://www.cycle-route.com/images/pr...rge/4/4338.jpg

    Also might look at some from Paul Motolite from Paul Component Engineering

  3. #3
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    those are great options but if I were to throw that much money into the brakes at this point I might as well upgrade to disc (my bike is fully compatible). I was just hoping that there was a less expensive fix that would get me through a couple of more seasons since I spent a decent amount of money on some new wheels, fork and some other parts already

  4. #4
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    What exactly do you mean by "long pull". Are the levers positioned too far from the bar to start with? Is it just that you have to pull the lever a long way until it engages the brake? Or do you need to keep pulling the lever a ways after the brake engages due to it being "mushy"?

    Be very specific about your issue, as the solutions to these situations are all different.

    BTW, there is no reason to look at other levers or brakes at this point. Cable/housing and pads make a bigger difference than either the calipers or the levers.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    What exactly do you mean by "long pull". Are the levers positioned too far from the bar to start with? Is it just that you have to pull the lever a long way until it engages the brake? Or do you need to keep pulling the lever a ways after the brake engages due to it being "mushy"?

    Be very specific about your issue, as the solutions to these situations are all different.

    BTW, there is no reason to look at other levers or brakes at this point. Cable/housing and pads make a bigger difference than either the calipers or the levers.

    I feel like its all of the above. I had the brakes adjusted a couple of days ago. I have to pull a decent amount before the brake engages. Then after the brake engages I have to go full on clamp down at some points and I still don't get a lot of braking power. At this point the little rubber sleeve that covers the cable just past the noodle gets squeezed because I'm pulling so much cable. Maybe my pads are just worn down.

    I don't have much problem stopping on medium declines, but barreling down a decline into a corner is where I have problems. I can feel my wheels slide in the pads. I know my brakes aren't locking up because I'm not skidding at all.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like they have not been properly adjusted. I have seen brakes with somewhat stiff rubber sleeves that actually block the brake from moving. Sounds to me like the spacers on the pads need to be switched around, so that the thicker ones are on the inside, and the thinner ones on the outside.

  7. #7
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    You say you got the brakes adjusted, but it sounds like they did a lousy job.

    First, check if you pads are worn down. Replace them if they are. And don't skimp, the biggest difference I find between cheap and expensive v-brakes are the pads, and good pads are not that much more expensive than crappy ones.

    Second, look at these instructions from Park tool for setting up v-brakes.
    Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Linear Pull Brake Service (V-brake style).

    As far as needing to pull a lot of cable before the brakes engage, it sounds like you need to either
    a) take up some cable slack at the lever barrel adjuster,
    b) take up some cable slack where you clamp the cable at the caliper,
    c) space the pads out a little more (new pads will take care of this if yours are worn down), or
    d) some combination of a, b, c.

    As far as the squishy-ness of the brake once it is engaged, this comes from there being flex and give in the braking system. When you apply force to the cable, you are doing things like flexing/stretching the cable housing, frame, and fork, rather than just apply force to the bakes. There are a few things you can do to reduce this:
    1) Make the housing runs as short as you can while avoiding sharp bends. This eliminates the amount of cable that flexes when you apply the brakes. I see many cheaper bikes with 6" more housing than is needed, and that has a lot to do with why the brakes feel crappy.
    2) Invest in some decent cables/housing. I like Jagwire Ripcords, but other compression-less brake housing will also help. Again, this reduces flex in the system.
    3) If, after you do the first two, you see that the frame or fork is flexing from the brake bosses being pushed apart under heavy braking pressure, consider getting a brake booster
    Black Cycling MTB Bicycle Part Bike V-Brake / Cantilever Brake Booster on eBay!
    I have found this to make a HUGE difference on some frames and forks. Very little on others, it really depends on how much flexing there was to start with.

    Good luck.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  8. #8
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    get some new pads (kool stop's are good, salmon compound or dual compound, especially if riding in the wet).
    check out Park's linear brake service page.
    [SIZE=1][/SIZE]

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the input everyone. I recall replacing my pads at the start of last season and it made a huge difference. I just didn't think they would need to be replaced so soon.

    As far as the length of the cable housings, they're run probably as short as they can get. I'll look into some jagwire cable housings.

    After looking at the brake when compressing the lever, It looks like the brake engages when I pull, it's just mushy. If I tightened the cable at the lever or at the brake, I'd be compressing the boot on the brake to high hell. Would this be a pretty good indication that my pads need to be replaced?


    Another question, say I wanted to swap out the levers for something a little nicer. Would any mechanical brake lever designed for a linear pull brake work and if I decided to upgrade to mechanical disc brakes in the future could I use the same levers or could I evern use the same levers I have right now for mechanical disc brakes?

  10. #10
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    do you have all the spacers / alignment parts installed behind the pad, and are they aligned with the braking surface, so that when you pull the lever the do not ride under the rim toward the spokes? are the brakes far from the Rim as in A on the diagram?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Help with V-brakes-v-brake.png  


  11. #11
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    i've ordered some new koolstop brake pads (its going to rain the rest of the week here anyways) so hopefully when they arrive that'll fix the issue. If not I'll investigate all of the other ideas brought up in this thread, thanks for the suggestions guys

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