Brakes Brake Performance. -



General Bicycle question. I bought a used Japanese "MTB" the other night because it met a lot of the requirements for a GEBE or even Happy time. Had slick tires on it. High handle bars. Simple, tight. Good Candidate. EXCEPT. The brakes sucked.. Hard as I tried, I could not skid the back wheel. Even pulling the front brakes in you could not get a high rate deceleration. Compared to my ebike even which has 50 extra pound of battery and motor hanging in it, the light MTB was worse at stopping. I figured I could fix them so I bought the bike. The pads were REAL small so I changed the pads to bigger but not as big as my other bikes and still no joy, still poor braking. It's like the leverage is not right and I can't get enough PSI on the pads. I may try a set of bigger pads(if they fit) but thought I would run this one by the group. In order to get my kit under way I bought yet ANOTHER MTB off of Craigs list and my wife cannot believe what she is seeing in the Garage. I just told her... "Don't ask"


I had that problem with my vintage 1973 Schwinn Suburban. I ended up putting really large brakes on it off of a mongoose. That really helped, but I don't try to skid the back tire as they are so thin.


Sabre, You didn't mention which style of brakes the MTB has. With my V-Brakes, I can lock up the wheels pulling with one finger.


I will send pictures.. I can tell a Disc brake from a rim brake but thatis about it.



Here are the pictures.


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Local time
7:44 AM
Apr 23, 2007
Safford AZ
I ended up building a new bike just for the brakes.

my original MBc is a mid 80s mountain bike with very near identical brakes. They are called side pull caliper brakes. The lowest form of brakes on a bicycle. I spent big bucks on high tech alternative for this bike and never got the stopping power I have now with my Diamond Back Outlook with v-brakes and some very good pads.

The biggest improvement for me was changing my front fork to one that had mounts for v-brakes. Be carefull as too much front brakes ends with your face meeting the ground.

Brakes to me are the most important consideration in motoring a bike. it goes faster therefore it has to stop better. good luck, I hope my advice help. If you want pics of what I have used let me know and I will get some posted.


Yeah, IMO, you may get some improvement by finding brake levers that give a better mechanical advantage. And you may be able to find higher quality brakes that will fit your bike. But your best bet would be to find a bike that has modern brakes - V-brakes, Disc, or drum.


Possibly the wrong lever?

The direct pull brakes (V-brakes) are designed for twice the cable motion at half the tension as earlier brakes (all types) used.

The levers for direct pull brakes, therefore, have half the mechanical advantage of the old style.

If a new style lever is used with non V-brakes, then poor performance will result, as you are only generating half the force the brake was designed for.

Conversely, using a V-brake with an old style lever will result in brakes that are VERY touchy, and may have issues with pads dragging, or running out of lever travel, or not being able to get the noodle out (to remove wheel) without loosening the adjusment.

Since it is a MTB, a v-brake will lekely just bolt on. They are not expensive, even new, (~$12 for Shimano, and there are some cheaper) and my LBS has a whole box of pulls (people upgrading to lighter stuff, or replacing both when only one failed) that they sell for $5.
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