Hand Brakes

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by jhendrix, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. jhendrix

    jhendrix New Member

    I was just curious as to whether a front brake or rear brake will work better and what kind of brake is best. are the regular V brakes good enough? Thanks

  2. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    I'll speak from experience and say, don't rely on just a coaster!

    Search the threads and you'll find adaptations for disc breaks! Either way, you'll be logging miles and most important is to keep breaking surfaces clean!

    There's a lot of worn out heels on sneakers!
  3. professor

    professor Active Member

    I just put a V brake on the back, instead of the caliper that was there (the bike already has a V on front) - huge difference in stopping ability.
    Don't even think of using a single brake.
    I like V brakes, disc are better because water affects them less.

    Riding in the wet yesterday, the dual Vs were fine with a total bike and rider wt. of 250#
  4. jhendrix

    jhendrix New Member

    ok thanks i think i'll order some of the V brakes since i dont really ever ride in water
  5. professor

    professor Active Member

    Um, Jh- V brakes require a post attached to the frame/ fork to work off of, unless you obtain an adaptor. I think an adaptor is available somewhere.
  6. jhendrix

    jhendrix New Member

    ok i'll look for one of those or try to rig something up
  7. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    V-brakes are awesome, if using a quality brake, lever, pads, with well lubricated parts.

    Try the Cane Creek "direct curve" vbrakes and levers. They are inexpensive and very powerful, and stylish.

    Bike Nashbar (www.nashbar.com) sells the set of Jail Brake v-brakes and levers, and a variety of replacement pads for conditions.

    Remember, a 26 wheel becomes a 26" brake rotor with two 1" pads. I will ride v-brakes as long as they are available. I like them better than disc brakes for performance and familiarity.
  8. Htown

    Htown Member

    Well was wondering if you have run both and what you like better on the V Brake performance-wise? I'm just curious as I currently have a v brake on the front of my bike and am seriously looking at putting a big disc brake on the front. On the other bike I plan on building it already has a drum in the back and a V-Brake on the front and will likely keep it that way using a double brake lever.
  9. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Disc brakes are nice, if they are hydraulic. I don't care for the cable ones, esp the walmart/low end ones.

    V brakes are cheap because they are "out of style" now but they have pretty much been perfected in the XT and XTR parallel push models from shimano, and the Cane Creek Direct Curve v-brakes with calculated leverage.

    Even cheap v-brakes with good pads will have loads of stopping power and work fine. The best upgrade to any v-brake is a good cable set like Odyssey Slic-Cable linear cable housings and teflon inner wires. ($5-15 a cable and housing)

    I am using a beach bike with a cheap caliper front brake, but v-brake pads, on sanded sidewalls, and it works passably. I have a coaster brake rear wheel and it is used mostly for a hill control brake/ drag brake. I can skid the tire on dirt or sandy roads, but it does not have as much power as a v-brake. It was improved by using a lower pedal gear.

    If I ever change forks I'm going to a v-brake and long v-brake lever.

    I've ridden some friends bikes with the cable operated disc brakes. I feel like they required a lot of work by the hands to operate vs the v-brakes, and that they had a "dead" feel. It was easy to tell the amount of brake power used by the bike speed changes, but it felt the same throughout except at the hardest stopping power.

    I rode a Cannondale bike once that had a Hayes front disc brake. I almost endoed (flipped over bar) the first time I touched the front brake. It was very powerful. It did have a feeling of modulation (could feel how much tension applied to brake rotor). It was very sensitive though.

    Remember that closed loop systems (no reservoir or ventilation) can overheat eventually, causing the brake to drag and finally fully engage until the fluid cools. Most bicycle disc brake systems are cable operated or closed loop. The best ones have finger knobs that let you loosen or tighten them while riding to prevent this problem, like the Magura hydraulic rim brakes levers.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  10. Htown

    Htown Member

    Cheapskate thanks for the wealth of info! What is your opinion of Magura H33. I read a closed loop V brake system but perhaps quite a bit more stopping power.
  11. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    My opinion of the hydraulic rim brakes (Magura) is that they are heavy, complicated, and expensive, but have rim-flexing gripping power and felt great. I tried them on a bike in the store, and briefly while "trading" bikes in the parking lot with a couple mtb guys.
    A cycle tourist website talks about air in the lines or possibly dirt preventing the free motion of the brake.

    I think if you can get some yesteryear Maguras for a reduced price, they would be super badass MB brakes. Just stock up on the stuff that goes with them such as pads, fluid, and any cleaning brush you need. Try looking in the Trials Bike community. They like the maguras a lot, and there is a lot of Youtube debate over Hydro Disc vs Hydro rim brake.

    The v-brake is mechanical with a simple bushing pivot (except the Parallel Push Shimanos), so there is very little to go wrong with it unless you taco a wheel. They are designed for a lot of side play though, so even an out of true wheel will not lock up the bike unless its a real taco.

    The Maguras move straight in and out, and do not have much mud clearance like cantilevers or v brakes. The Brake Arches on them are 1/2 of what gives them the super stopping grip leverage.

    If your frame flexes a lot with standard v-s, either set up the pads for proper toe-in, or buy a Salsa style brake arch (it goes behind the v-brake, and the mounting bolts hold it on, works wonders! About $20 each from MTB or BMX shops, looks like a horseshoe.)

    [​IMG] http://www.cambriabike.com/Images/product/MAGURA_HS33_HYDRO_RIMBRK_BLK.jpg
    Cambria bike selling magura. Cambriabike is decent on prices, and a long term click and mortar store. I've bought from them before many times, before I found nashbar and Niagaracycle .
  12. Htown

    Htown Member

    Thanks man. I'm going to give these a go and see if I can live with the added complexity. Already saw new ones in the box for 50 bucks. Beats the snot out of the BMX wheel (Halo) and disc set up I was going to do on my bike around 2 bills, shipping not included.

    I don't ride this bike in the rain, or in mud, it is strictly a pub ride/in the neighborhood /paved bike trail machine. I do not believe the current vbrakes/coaster (engine brake as far as I can tell) will stop me in an emergency. The other bike I ride is a Trek District, which is 180 degrees from the motored bike, both are amazing fun in their own right. Brakes on the Trek could pitch me. I'm certainly not looking for that just something that will stop me in less than 30 yards. If you ever make it down here to Houston I'll buy you a beer, thanks for all the knowledge.
  13. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Great. Thanks. I like building bikes as much as riding them, but you can tell which is the cheaper hobby.
  14. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    You guy's are right about V brakes. Your choice of cables makes a huge difference. Better cables do not stretch and give under load when you pull the brake lever!!!