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  1. #1
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    Need advice on using disc brakes

    I bought a new bike at the end of last season which has front and rear Avid mechanical brakes. My first time ever using disc brakes was today and I had a problem. I was descending on very steep singletrack so I was just feathering the brakes and controlling my speed when all of a sudden it appeared that the brakes were not working at all. When this happened I stopped feathering and pulled the brakes levers extremely hard. As I did this the brakes squeeled very loudly and the braking did not get any better. Fortunately, in the middle section of the trail there is a slight rise so I was able to get the bike stopped. I did not have any problems before or after this happened but I did not ride any singletrack which was nearly this steep. My question is: Is it my error which caused the braking problem?

  2. #2
    Jm.
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    no, you didn't do anything wrong that I know of.

    This used to happen with my maguras...but it's impossible for it to be related to that problem.

    It is possible that you glazed over the pads, the smaller avids have heat-dissapation problems on extended descents, this is maybe the problem, and it would be solved by going to a larger rotor, although I've use a lot of hydralic brakes as well and never had as many heat/pads glazing over-problems with the hydros. I had an 8" avid and it dramatically cut down on any heat-problems that the brake had.

    On the other hand, if you were just feathering it lightly, your brake power shouldn't have dropped to "zero", usually pads glaze over after a few seconds of really hard braking at high speed on a very steep slope, not from "feathering".
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  3. #3
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by moose
    I bought a new bike at the end of last season which has front and rear Avid mechanical brakes. My first time ever using disc brakes was today and I had a problem. I was descending on very steep singletrack so I was just feathering the brakes and controlling my speed when all of a sudden it appeared that the brakes were not working at all. When this happened I stopped feathering and pulled the brakes levers extremely hard. As I did this the brakes squeeled very loudly and the braking did not get any better. Fortunately, in the middle section of the trail there is a slight rise so I was able to get the bike stopped. I did not have any problems before or after this happened but I did not ride any singletrack which was nearly this steep. My question is: Is it my error which caused the braking problem?
    This was your first ride on the new bike? The brakes need to bed in before they work with full power and the first few stops may have nearly no power. If they are setup properly they should be fine in a ride or three.
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  4. #4
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    Why is it that my Avid was worn in nearly instantly? I can't recall any break in period to speak of. Just a couple of hard stops and that was it.

    And they are as perfect as can be now. My LBS wishes he could get them in stock, but the local Avid distributor pulls vacuum.

  5. #5
    Bodhisattva
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    normal break-in...

    Someone should have warned you that disc pads require break-in.
    10-20 hard stops oughta do it.

    If you don't achieve proper power, then I agree with Jm. that the pads might have glazed. In that case simply remove them and run them lightly over a medium grit sandpaper in a circular motion. This will remove the glaze and expose the braking surface.
    Life....the original terminal illness

  6. #6
    Jm.
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    Yeah, avids don't really need to bed-in. They use a very grippy pad compound. It also wears down a lot faster than any other disc I've used, but they don't seem to require a "brake in period" like hayes and hopes do.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  7. #7
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schtoojp
    Why is it that my Avid was worn in nearly instantly? I can't recall any break in period to speak of. Just a couple of hard stops and that was it.

    And they are as perfect as can be now. My LBS wishes he could get them in stock, but the local Avid distributor pulls vacuum.
    With new rotors AND new pads my Avids have needed a break in period. Usually no more than 3 or 4 longish descents. New pads alone are good from the start.

    Brake set up is a factor, too. If they are not quite right power can suffer greatly, especially before break in.
    mtbtires.com
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