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  1. #1
    flatlander in paradise
    Reputation: joeycmsu's Avatar
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    Need brake suggestions, disc upgrade?

    Hey,

    I ride a Kona Mokomoko frame with some sort of Mavic rims and XT hubs, and the bike came with XT v brakes. Aside from the howling/honking that comes from the front brake, my main problem with this setup is brake fade and heat. If I'm going down a good sized hill and ride the brakes for say, 50-100', the rims heat up VERY hot and the brake fade is pretty bad. I assume this can be from worn out/old pads, but I don't know much about brakes so bear with me.

    I figure I have two options, the cheapest being to switch to a different pad and try that out (suggestions for good v brake pads and where to get them are very welcome) or to switch to mechanical disc brakes, which would require buying the brakes and switching wheelsets to a disc compatible hub (or buying some 6-bolt adapters for my XT hubs). Are the vee's even worth my time trying out different pads? I don't have much confidence going downhill because I feel like I can't stop when I need to (also I'm a little scared of going OTB after a few ~3 crashes in the last 6 months, but I'm working on my technique).

    Yes, I could switch to hydros, but I'd have to buy the brakes, new wheels or adapters, AND new shifter pods b/c my XT shifters are integrated with the brake levers.

    Another reason for the wariness on the front brake is that the brake howl/honk is pretty embarrassing, sounds like I'm riding an old Huffy or something. Maybe I just need to get over myself?

    TIA for any help.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Bikinfoolferlife's Avatar
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    If you have sufficient pad left on your v-brakes take a file to the pad surface and take off any glazed surface. As far as howl goes, could be the amount of toe-in you're running on the pads, so whether or not you put in new pads you might consider different toe-in from what you're using now.

    My favorite v-brake pads for standard rims were the WTB dual compound pads but they're not around any more, but I bought enough last time out where I haven't gone shopping lately but the Kool-Stop dual compound pad would probably be what I'd go for. Who knows could be the same thing.

    If you do go mechanicals, sounds like your wheels are already disc compatible for the price of a pair of adapters? Why consider a new set? Your frame/fork are also disc compatible?

    I use XT shifter/brake combos too, I actually like them a lot, run them on several bikes and they work great with the Avid BB7, the only mechanical brake to consider if you go that route (and I have on several bikes, no regrets whatsoever).
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  3. #3
    flatlander in paradise
    Reputation: joeycmsu's Avatar
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    Well I thought the XT hubs were center lock, but I went out and looked and they're older than the center lock design, M751 hubs. So I guess would need new wheels to run discs. The fork (Marz marathon SL) is disc ready and the frame is, too.

    Thanks for the info about the pads, I'll get the glaze off. The toe is probably wrong, b/c I know nothing about brakes. I'll read some of the FAQs in here.

    Does having glazed pads increase the onset of brake fade? Sounds like I'll try running some better pads for a few rides at least before I go the distance to buy new brakes, wheels, and cables.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    I ride Kool-Stop salmon pads. They are easy on your wheels and I haven't ever noticed any brake fade. They wear great I haven't changed mine in nearly two years. Also try cleaning your braking surface on your wheel with rubbing alcohol before you ride your new pads. Good luck hope it works for you, I can't stand loud brakes either.

  5. #5
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    Reputation: Bikinfoolferlife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeycmsu
    Well I thought the XT hubs were center lock, but I went out and looked and they're older than the center lock design, M751 hubs. So I guess would need new wheels to run discs. The fork (Marz marathon SL) is disc ready and the frame is, too.

    Thanks for the info about the pads, I'll get the glaze off. The toe is probably wrong, b/c I know nothing about brakes. I'll read some of the FAQs in here.

    Does having glazed pads increase the onset of brake fade? Sounds like I'll try running some better pads for a few rides at least before I go the distance to buy new brakes, wheels, and cables.
    I was wondering why you might have centerlock hubs with a v-brake rim, but stranger things are out there. Check out Bicycle Wheel Warehouse (sponsor at top of page), they have some good wheel deals.

    Try reading this as far as a guide to adjusting your brakes http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=21. Glazed pads can definitely decrease performance and roughing them up with a file can bring them back to life (and a very cheap "fix"). If the file doesn't help much trying new pads shouldn't be too painful before you go for new wheels and brakes...
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

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