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Everlasting brake blocks!!

carlstonecarlstone Posts: 602
edited June 2007 in Workshop
My old MTB that I have commuterised has never had new brake blocks. It is running Shimano Deore XT cantilevers from around 1990. It was very rarely used up until 2 years ago when it was put into commuter service and has probably covered around 2000 miles since.

The amazing thing is that I am still on the original brake blocks. I use the front much more than the back, but the back blocks seem to be more worn[?] The brakes are plenty good enough for road riding but do get a bit worse in the wet.

Is this lack of brake wear normal? I've seen threads on hear about road bike blocks wearing out in one ride! Would fitting new blocks give me even better braking?

Any comments would be appreciated [:D]

My bikes:


  • JWSurreyJWSurrey Posts: 1,173
    That's pretty good going - Are you still on your original set of rims?!
    If the compound is very hard, what usually happens is that the rim wear is increased. Either that, or your stopping distance is increased.

    I swapped my Tektro blocks on the road bike with Campag. rims over to Swissstop blocks. The extra stopping power wet/dry is very noticable, as is the decrease in rim wear. However, I would add that I've toasted the blocks in about 500 miles - Mostly over the last gritty/wet weekend when the Audaxer came back looking like a well used MTB!

    I'd say stick with it, if there's nothing wrong. You may find that on a road bike with less powerful dual-pivots (compared to V-brakes/cantis) that a softer block would provide a more noticable difference worth spending money on.
  • pbiggspbiggs Posts: 9,232
    <i>"If you brake, you don't win"</i>

    - Mario Cipollini
  • carlstonecarlstone Posts: 602
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">"If you brake, you don't win"

    - Mario Cipollini<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    I must admit that I brake as little as possible, I always think it is wasting the effort I've put in. Tend to try to read traffic and pre-empt when I need to coast, slow steadily.

    My bikes:
  • NigeyyNigeyy Posts: 140
    Well, horses for courses..... the first thing I do if I have Shimano brake pads is..... throw 'em out. Personally, I find them terrible -a consistency akin to rubberized concrete (which is probably why they last so long). I find them very "digital" (i.e. they either brake or they don't) with no feel to them, and further act like sandpaper to a rim -take a look at what's embedded in those pads!

    Of course, if they work for you and you're happy with them, keep them. All my brake pads are Koolstop salmons -to me they give considerably better feel and better performance in the wet compared to the stock Shimanos. If anyone asks me what is the best and cheapest upgrade they can do to a bike, I usually reply "get some Koolstop salmons".

    But to answer your question: yes, I believe you'd get better braking with Koolstop pads. However, your rims might be considerably chewed up by now that would negate much benefit.

    Fight Cystic Fibrosis: do something.
    Fight Cystic Fibrosis: do something.
  • Mosschops2Mosschops2 Posts: 1,774
    Fair enough if you don't brake much, but if the brake pads aren't wearing, keep an eye out for your rims wearing instead!!

    In my case I bought a low end Dawes, so naturally, with perfectly normal use, all four break pads were shagged within about 600 miles....

    <font size="1">Haszn lat ut n hideg v¡zben mossa ki, ‚s t”r”lje sz razra. Ne hagyja k”zvetlen napf‚nynek kit‚ve.</font id="size1">
    baby elephants? Any baby elephants here?? Helloo-ooo
  • Them old blocks lasted forever. they've glazed over and the braking surface ain't that good anymore.
    modern pads will be a lot more grippy, but will wear faster. AS suggested Kool-stops work well.

    You can make the old blocks grip a little more and slow you down quicker. Just take some sandpaper to them and score up the surface a bit.

    Mleh Mleh Mleh
  • carlstonecarlstone Posts: 602
    Cheers for all the advice. I was worried about the rims, so I'll do what has been suggested and get some new modern pads. Do they do kool-stops for these old cantilever brakes?

    My bikes:
  • NigeyyNigeyy Posts: 140
    Yes, they definitely do -though I don't know if there are some in the UK. Another recommendation from me are Deltacycle Aztec pads (I fitted them to my brother's bike) but again, he may be the one of the few bikes in the UK with them on as far as I know...... They did make for very nice brakes though.

    I'd assume you could get Koolstop salmon canti pads in the UK somewhere?

    Fight Cystic Fibrosis: do something.
    Fight Cystic Fibrosis: do something.
  • pbiggs...i'm a biggs too[:D] sorry not many of us around!

    dangerous jules.
    dangerous jules.
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