first road bike - some advice on brakes please

mellisr1 Posts: 67
edited February 2009 in Road beginners
Hoping you guys can help.

I've always riden mountain bikes, then got a hybrid for commutting to work. When I started doing miles just for fitness, I decided it'd be best to have a proper road bike.

Not wanting to rush in and spend masses, I bought a fairly basic entry level bike to see me through the winter and if I liked it. Got a Dawes Giro 300. I know some people might think you should pay more, but like I said, just wanted to try one again as I figured it'd be a bit different to my memories of my old Raleigh Equipe when I was 15! So far, I've really enjoyed it and its a revalation how much quicker you can go.

However, question is, should I be expecting much from the brakes or is it just I've been spoiled by v-brakes and disc brakes on a mountain bike?

The bike comes with Tektro dual pivot Calipers and no idea what pads. I set them up best I could, 1-1.5mm from the rims and pretty much centred. I even tried to toe them in by holding them against the rim by the front of the shoe then releasing and tightening them up. Saying that, only one is noticably toed in and the others are flat (and one is slightly heal in). they run pretty central round the rim and I've done 20 - 25 miles on it since Wednesday.

However, I've got no confidence they'd stop me in an emergency, certainly not when holding the tops of the leavers so I can operate the gears and brakes. If I drop down and pull them fully (not sure the terminology) then they do feel slightly better but I guess the leaverage is more - however, I'd not necessarily want to ride like this all the time, not least as I cant operate the down shifter. it is worrying me some what because although I ride lit up like a christmas tree, you never know when 'sorry i didn't see you mate' will happen.

So some questions:

Does toeing in really help?
Will performance improve with more miles
or are there any other tips to get more out of the brakes, different pads etc.

I'm kind of hoping your not going to say ditch them and upgrade them straight off.

Cheers and hears hoping.
Looking for a friendly & welcoming club in Warrington/North Cheshire area ?
Try North Cheshire Clarion :


  • softlad
    softlad Posts: 3,513
    The Tektros are probably fine, but you need to bear in mind that caliper rim brakes are never going to be as powerful as a disk set up. If you are expecting a few emergency stops, then rim brakes are probably not ideal - but to be fair, they were never intended for that kind of use...
  • GibboGT
    GibboGT Posts: 287
    There is a thread a little further down the page on improved brakeing where I asked a similar question. Most people seem to recommend Kool Stop salmon or dual compound pads. Will give mine there first run tomorrow and report back.
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    I had Tektro dual pivots and they were just a bit crap whatever I did to them. I've got Shimano long-drop a550s on my winter bike which are pretty good and Ultegra dual-pivots on my summer bike which are brilliant.

    You could try better pads (Koolstop dual compound are excellent) which should help a bit.

    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • GibboGT
    GibboGT Posts: 287
    Kool Stop Dual compounds (or the salmons) improved braking. Still not as good as discs etc obviously, but with the new pads I now have the confidence that the brakes were lacking before.
  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    The brakes should be capable of stopping adequately. It's only really a question of leverage, and all brakes of this design are broadly the same. I have been able to stand all the road bikes I've had on the front wheel, braking from the hoods (the top of the levers), which is the last thing that happens before you fly over the bars. My earlier bikes had old-fashioned single pivot brakes which had slightly lower mechanical advantage. I don't mean to sound facetious, but perhaps you just need to squeeze harder.

    Apart from that, I'll add my support for Kool Stop red pads. Toe-in, however, is a ritual that doesn't do anything (the idea is to reduce brake squeal). Your brake pads will wear parallel to the rim quickly.
  • 40427
    40427 Posts: 119
    just a general question; does the dawes giro 300 come with the shifters integrated into the hoods and brake levers or are they somewhere on the frame?
  • Thanks guys, very helpful advice

    I think I will have to invest in some Koolstop pads as well (though I can't just buy the inserts, as my current ones aren't cartridge type - I;ll have to get the lot).

    However, I went through Dodgy's advice and it's improved things no end. Today's morning ride in the damp and felt I could stop if i had to.

    probably the most useful thing was that I had the lever travel set up to hard (i.e. very little travel till it moved the brakes). backing this off seemed to make braking whilst holding the hoods give much better stopping.

    Though I'll also try one recommendation and just squeeze harder :D

    thanks again
    Looking for a friendly & welcoming club in Warrington/North Cheshire area ?
    Try North Cheshire Clarion :