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Brake upgrade - Giant SCR2

Phil RPhil R Posts: 22
edited February 2009 in Road beginners
I have a 2 year old Giant SCR2 which is a great bike, but the brakes are not so good. I only realised how bad they were after riding a Trek Madone 5.2, which has phenomenal stopping power!

How easy is it to upgrade the brakes on the Giant, what would I need to upgrade (ie pads, the lot), any recommended equipment, and how much would I be looking at roughly?

Sorry for all the questions but I'm not too clever when it comes to bike maintenance/servicing. I know I'm now tempting fate but after about 2000 miles on the Giant I haven't even had to deal with a puncture as yet :o

Thanks,
Phil

Posts

  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    I fitted Shimano A550 callipers to my SCR2 and it made a massive difference. Look much nicer too. You need 'deep drop' brakes so most road callipers won't work
    More problems but still living....
  • Hi Phil,

    I have an '08 Giant SCR4 (and I love it!) - it has unbranded brakes and the stopping power, compared to other rim brakes, aint that great to be honest.... something I will address when I eventually get round to it (but I'm not doing anything too scary at the mo, so I might as well put up for a bit).

    Cheapest option to consider trying first would be to replace the brake pads (the bit that actually contacts the rim) - perhaps do that first if you are happy with the feel of the brakes?

    I've not used their road brake pads yet, but for MTB (and previously BMX) I swear by Kool Stop pads - link;
    http://www.koolstop.com/brakes/index.ph ... -Also-6785

    If you do go with this option then it can be a bit a baffling making sure that the pads match the brakes - there are a few different road pads on the web page linked above. Kool Stop are quite widely distributed - if you pitch up with your bike at a (local bike) shop that sells them and the staff can't identify the right pads, then don't buy from them!

    Also you say that your not too techy - your local bike shop should be able to install and set them up pretty quickly too - setting the hight, angle and 'toe in' can be frustrating if you're not that way inclined!

    Hope this helps. Happy riding and safe stopping,

    SF.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,685
    Try pads first - I agree with SlightlyFuzzy that Kool Stop inserts would be good ones to try.

    Make sure your brakes are adjusted so that both pads hit the rim at the same time and you're not using up lots of lever travel before that happens.

    It may be worth replacing your cables and outers too as dirt and wear can cause them to lose the slickness and power they had when new. Do you clean your rims thoroughly?

    edit: Kool Stop road pads at dotbike.com
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • Phil RPhil R Posts: 22
    Thank you all for the replies :)

    I'll try giving the rims a good clean and getting some kool stop pads and see how I get on. I have already adjusted them so there is not too much travel on the brake handles, but they are still a bit poor.

    Phil.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Decent pads will improve things, but they're just mediocre brakes and there's no getting round that.
    More problems but still living....
  • Phil RPhil R Posts: 22
    Could someone please explain what makes brakes better?

    You would think that brakes would be designed to work, full stop. I realise fitting new pads will obviously help, but how much more advantage can be gained by changing the whole mechanism? Surely it can't make that much difference? At the end of the day you are just pulling a lever and exerting pressure on the rims via the pads, so I can't get my head around how expensive brakes work so much better!

    Phil
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    I'm another convert to Kool-stop. They work.
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • Phil R wrote:
    Could someone please explain what makes brakes better?

    You would think that brakes would be designed to work, full stop. I realise fitting new pads will obviously help, but how much more advantage can be gained by changing the whole mechanism? Surely it can't make that much difference? At the end of the day you are just pulling a lever and exerting pressure on the rims via the pads, so I can't get my head around how expensive brakes work so much better!

    Phil

    Good question, i'm looking forward to an qualified response on this one too.
  • robrauyrobrauy Posts: 252
    Another Kool Stop convert here.

    I suffered really rubbish braking with bog standard Tiagra and Tektro brake pads.

    The Kool Stops made a huge difference..
  • topdudetopdude Posts: 1,557
    Could someone please explain what makes brakes better?

    I'll have a stab at this, the difference between brake calipers must be down to the following :
    1 - Leverage
    2 - Stiffness
    3 - Pad material

    1 - Leverage, depending on the shape of the caliper and the position of the pivots some calipers will have more leverage than others. Long drop calipers as on the Giant SCR have less leverage as the arms from the pivots to the pads are longer.
    2 - Stiffness, presumably more expensive calipers are stiffer and therefore flex less when pressure is applied. My Tiagra calipers are quite flexy with some slack at the pivot bolts so braking is not as good as i would like.
    3 - Pad material, I have tried DA pads (hard material) in my Tiagra calipers and braking is poor. Fibrax pads are slightly better but still poor in my opinion. I will be trying Koolstop Salmon next, as they are a softer material and should give more stopping power on cheaper calipers.
    Maybe harder pads work well in higher quality calipers. Anyone with top end brakes have anything to add :?:
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • DavidTQDavidTQ Posts: 943
    topdude wrote:
    Could someone please explain what makes brakes better?

    I'll have a stab at this, the difference between brake calipers must be down to the following :
    1 - Leverage
    2 - Stiffness
    3 - Pad material

    1 - Leverage, depending on the shape of the caliper and the position of the pivots some calipers will have more leverage than others. Long drop calipers as on the Giant SCR have less leverage as the arms from the pivots to the pads are longer.
    2 - Stiffness, presumably more expensive calipers are stiffer and therefore flex less when pressure is applied. My Tiagra calipers are quite flexy with some slack at the pivot bolts so braking is not as good as i would like.
    3 - Pad material, I have tried DA pads (hard material) in my Tiagra calipers and braking is poor. Fibrax pads are slightly better but still poor in my opinion. I will be trying Koolstop Salmon next, as they are a softer material and should give more stopping power on cheaper calipers.
    Maybe harder pads work well in higher quality calipers. Anyone with top end brakes have anything to add :?:

    I havent got top end brakes on my bike (105's from memory) but is very likely that hard brake pads are designed to put up with racing use rather than fast road use, a brake that works great in a racing environment may well need to be harder to cope with extended harsh use at high speed, whereas a soft pad might well give better low speed \ wet weather performance but may disintegrate under race conditions.

    Just because something is good for race use doesnt make it great for road use. Same with cars A brake pad meant for track use makes for dangerously underperforming brakes in normal road use. A brake pad aimed at road use can self destruct when used in the harsher world of competition.
  • Phil RPhil R Posts: 22
    Thanks again 8)

    I'll give the Kool Stops a go and see how I get on. Are they easy enough to fit? Also, are they readily available at LBS's or mail order/web only?

    Phil
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    IMHO I don't think you will find, so called, BETTER brakes than DA / Ultegra or Record / Chorus. Plenty of more expensive, blingy, lighter, colorful stoppers out there but none better than the above mentioned. If you want new brakes watch for sales on year
    old Campy and Shimano now that the new stuff is out.

    Dennis Noward
  • Mister WMister W Posts: 853
    Am I right in thinking that different pads are good for different conditions? For example, in cold weather will some pads go hard and be less effective? If so, what pads are good for use through the winter?
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,685
    Phil R wrote:
    Could someone please explain what makes brakes better?
    It's all about perception. The human brain is an inordinately complex organ. It even senses when your credit card has been swiped or a delivery arrives from CRC. Once new components are fitted it adjusts your performance parameters (known as the reliable measurement tool 'perception') appropriately. Therefore new brakes will always be better. ;-)

    Phil R, if rim cleaning and a pad change doesn't have the desired effect and you decide to splash out bear in mind you could buy a single front or rear unit and see if you notice any improvement. Most upmarket brakes are too short a reach for the SCR, though so you'd better just shrug your shoulders and get a more expensive bike instead.

    Mister W, Kool Stop's salmon pads are for mainly wet conditions. They last less well than the normal black compound. Salmon+black is half and half. My OE pads have worn down at an alarming rate in the last few weeks despite my best efforts.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    Simon E wrote:
    Phil R wrote:
    Could someone please explain what makes brakes better?
    It's all about perception. The human brain is an inordinately complex organ. It even senses when your credit card has been swiped or a delivery arrives from CRC. Once new components are fitted it adjusts your performance parameters (known as the reliable measurement tool 'perception') appropriately. Therefore new brakes will always be better. ;-)

    Phil R, if rim cleaning and a pad change doesn't have the desired effect and you decide to splash out bear in mind you could buy a single front or rear unit and see if you notice any improvement. Most upmarket brakes are too short a reach for the SCR, though so you'd better just shrug your shoulders and get a more expensive bike instead.

    Mister W, Kool Stop's salmon pads are for mainly wet conditions. They last less well than the normal black compound. Salmon+black is half and half. My OE pads have worn down at an alarming rate in the last few weeks despite my best efforts.

    I'd rather wear out a couple of sets of pads than rims
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
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