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Road bike brakes

kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
edited October 2009 in Commuting chat
Just got back having picked up the new road bike. First time I've been on one since I was at school. What a joy it was! So much easier than the trusty old MTB.

One thing to note and I'm sure this has been mentioned loads before. The brakes are totally puny! How do you guys do it?

Maybe I should stick these on. :lol:

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Magura_HS33_Hydraulic_Rim_Brake/5360015089/

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Posts

  • always_tyredalways_tyred Posts: 4,965
    They'll bed in a bit, but still be comparatively censored .

    However, since you've only got skinny tyres, better brakes would mean skidding anyay.

    You get used to it.
  • mkchu84mkchu84 Posts: 41
    I always think of the brakes on my road bike as for controlling my speed rather than for instant stopping. I just make sure I try to think ahead to make sure I react in plenty of time
  • Top tip.

    Wait til it's pouring with rain, then go out for a ride in the middle of it. Fast as you can, in traffic.

    You'll never complain about your brakes in the dry after that. :twisted:
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • the brakes should be okay dry but fairly terrifying in the wet.
  • always_tyredalways_tyred Posts: 4,965
    the brakes should be okay dry but fairly terrifying in the wet.
    Is fairly terrified more or less scared than very frightened?
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    Well the woman in the car that appeared from behind queuing traffic and pulled across the bus lane got almost as big a shock as I did. My face must have been a picture as I went careering towards the side of her car. Was one of the ones where some censored flashes and she thinks 'Fine, it's safe to move never mind the other lane'. No way she looked at the road. Silly cow!*

    Anyway, I think one problem I had was that the handlebars weren't in the right place. I've rotated the whole thing round so the brake levers are higher which means I should be able to get more leverage when on the hoods.

    * bordering on a rant. wrong thread :roll:
  • amneziaamnezia Posts: 590
    If its a new bike it might be worth picking up some decent brake blocks. The stock ones are usually pretty censored .
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    Are they Shimano brakes?
    Purveyor of sonic doom

    Very Hairy Roadie - FCN 4
    Fixed Pista- FCN 5
    Beared Bromptonite - FCN 14
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    As I'm sure will be said at some point in this thread, Koolstop pads seem very good, and the salmon variety are specifically for wet riding. I have them on both my bikes and while they'll never compete with discs, they're pretty effective.

    But yeah, a road bike can only brake so much without skidding. You'll also find it's perfectly possible to launch yourself over the handlebars if you try hard enough!

    On an empty and safe piece of road, experiment with braking from the drops as well as from the hoods. It's *far* more effective from the drops, and while you won't usually need that much braking power, it's good to know it's there.

    If it makes you feel better, since I've been riding the fixie I've been making do with only one (front) brake and that's significantly worse at stopping. So you adjust your riding style and, likely, become a safer rider into the bargain.
  • Fireblade96Fireblade96 Posts: 1,123
    I have to say that since I've had my road bike (just a few months) I've been pleasantly surprised at how good the brakes are ! Clearly not as potent as the disks on my MTB, but more than adequate to lock up the wheels even when braking from the hoods (in a "really, realy need to slow down NOW" kind of way), and much better than the cantis on my commuter MTB.

    I haven't tried them in serious rain yet - but then I've got other bikes for the wet days.
    Misguided Idealist
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    Clever Pun wrote:
    Are they Shimano brakes?

    Brakes are Shimano Ultegra.

    I guess I'm just used to a bit more stopping power from the MTB. I'll get used to it.

    Love the new bike though :D
  • I've had quite a few scary moments especially in the wet. Koolstop salmon on rear black on front, because of this:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

    Road bike brakes are just not as effective as car brakes and when someone in front stops suddenly it can be dodgy. Make sure you leave yourself enough braking room.

    I often find that people I have just scalped will overtake me in traffic because I am holding back behind a car, while they are happy to tailgate. Clever.
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    biondino wrote:
    As I'm sure will be said at some point in this thread, Koolstop pads seem very good, and the salmon variety are specifically for wet riding. I have them on both my bikes and while they'll never compete with discs, they're pretty effective.

    But yeah, a road bike can only brake so much without skidding. You'll also find it's perfectly possible to launch yourself over the handlebars if you try hard enough!
    Both the above are examples of the brakes being strong enough that they're not the limiting factor in how fast you're stopping. In other words, better brakes would be completely useless.
    biondino wrote:
    If it makes you feel better, since I've been riding the fixie I've been making do with only one (front) brake and that's significantly worse at stopping. So you adjust your riding style and, likely, become a safer rider into the bargain.
    At least as far as maximum deceleration is concerned, the back brake is completely irrelevant in almost all circumstances (unless the front wheel skids, which has never happened to me). There's almost no reason why a fixed with one brake won't stop as fast as a road bike with two.
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    I've had quite a few scary moments especially in the wet. Koolstop salmon on rear black on front, because of this:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

    Road bike brakes are just not as effective as car brakes and when someone in front stops suddenly it can be dodgy. Make sure you leave yourself enough braking room.

    I often find that people I have just scalped will overtake me in traffic because I am holding back behind a car, while they are happy to tailgate. Clever.

    In this instant the road had 2 lanes, 1 of which was a bus lane which was empty. I was pushing it a bit trying out the new bike and some numpty drove straight across my path do go into a side street. Didn't see said numpty because the car she appeared from behind was a big w*nky people carrier.

    Granted I should have been riding more defensively as the traffic was queued in the right hand lane so its the sort of thing I should have been expecting.
  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    _Brun_ wrote:
    biondino wrote:

    But yeah, a road bike can only brake so much without skidding. You'll also find it's perfectly possible to launch yourself over the handlebars if you try hard enough!
    Both the above are examples of the brakes being strong enough that they're not the limiting factor in how fast you're stopping. In other words, better brakes would be completely useless.

    This is completely true, in the dry. In the wet if you are used to MTB discs then road brakes are censored terrifying, absolutely no chance of locking up, slowing down a bit would be nice!
    Gonna get me some of these salmon pads to see if that improves things.
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • Kurako wrote:

    In this instant the road had 2 lanes, 1 of which was a bus lane which was empty. I was pushing it a bit trying out the new bike and some numpty drove straight across my path do go into a side street. Didn't see said numpty because the car she appeared from behind was a big w*nky people carrier.

    Granted I should have been riding more defensively as the traffic was queued in the right hand lane so its the sort of thing I should have been expecting.

    I wasn't having a go at you, just making a general comment. As far as I can tell you did nothing wrong and the driver was a muppet, happens all the time to me too as I ride assertively too.
    Stuey01 wrote:
    Gonna get me some of these salmon pads to see if that improves things.

    The salmon pads do help, but only put them on the rear. Technique is to stop with only front in the dry, both in the wet with the rear being engaged first. Read the Sheldon link. It takes a bit of getting used to but I found the technique helped a lot more than the pads.
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098

    I wasn't having a go at you, just making a general comment. As far as I can tell you did nothing wrong and the driver was a muppet, happens all the time to me too as I ride assertively too.

    No worries. I didn't think you were having a go at all :wink:

    Good advice on the pads and brake technique though. Cheers all.
  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    Kurako wrote:

    In this instant the road had 2 lanes, 1 of which was a bus lane which was empty. I was pushing it a bit trying out the new bike and some numpty drove straight across my path do go into a side street. Didn't see said numpty because the car she appeared from behind was a big w*nky people carrier.

    Granted I should have been riding more defensively as the traffic was queued in the right hand lane so its the sort of thing I should have been expecting.

    I wasn't having a go at you, just making a general comment. As far as I can tell you did nothing wrong and the driver was a muppet, happens all the time to me too as I ride assertively too.
    Stuey01 wrote:
    Gonna get me some of these salmon pads to see if that improves things.

    The salmon pads do help, but only put them on the rear. Technique is to stop with only front in the dry, both in the wet with the rear being engaged first. Read the Sheldon link. It takes a bit of getting used to but I found the technique helped a lot more than the pads.

    I read the link, my technique is pretty good thanks to my first love of MTB. I'm gonna put them on the front and the back. I trust my ability to modulate the brakes enough not to need to intentionally handicap the front brake by having worse pads on it.
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • Stuey01 wrote:
    I read the link, my technique is pretty good thanks to my first love of MTB. I'm gonna put them on the front and the back. I trust my ability to modulate the brakes enough not to need to intentionally handicap the front brake by having worse pads on it.

    The point is that the koolstop salmon are specifically designed for use in the wet, the koolstop black are specifically designed for use in dry conditions. Therefore if you use that technique it would make sense to have koolstop black on the front as stopping in dry conditions is most efficiently done with front brake only and in the wet with mainly (or only) rear. My view is that it's not handicapping the brakes but optimising them by having salmon rear / black front. The koolstop black are not inferior to the salmon just designed for the dry.

    But whatever floats your boat man...
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    ...stopping in dry conditions is most efficiently done with front brake only and in the wet with mainly (or only) rear.
    Careful now, that's simplifying it a bit too much.

    The front brake will always stop faster because under braking it has more weight over it than the rear and therefore more grip. That much is physics, and can't be argued with.

    The reason it's sometimes advised to not use the front brake in slippery conditions is that if you lock and skid the front wheel, it's largely unrecoverable. Locking the rear on the other hand is easily controlled and also much fun, especially round corners.

    Using the rear brake in the wet will not stop you faster, but in some circumstances (such as when cornering) it can be safer than relying on the front brake.
  • gabriel959gabriel959 Posts: 4,227
    You can also buy Koolstops double compound (black and salmon) and jobs a'gooden :)
    x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x
    Commuting / Winter rides - Jamis Renegade Expert
    Pootling / Offroad - All-City Macho Man Disc
    Fast rides Cannondale SuperSix Ultegra
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    I should add that I've never managed a front wheel skid. I imagine that a downhill off-camber corner in a downpour might provide a good opportunity, but it's not something I'm particularly keen to experiment with.
  • AidyAidy Posts: 2,015
    I find road bike brakes perfectly adequate, with plenty of power behind them.

    This is coming from mountain bikes with disc brakes, too.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    I did the very wet Paris Brest Paris 2007 with koolstop black front and back. They were fine

    The koolstop red or whatever the wet condtion ones are (salmon are "all conditions" ISTR)
    are sligntly better in the wet and the "dual compound" red+black seem to work well
    Shimano XTR blocks seem pretty good but they wear quicker than koolstop

    Unfortunately what you have to do for rim brakes to work on a wet road is apply them gently before you need to stop. This doesn't slow you up but removes the built up water from the rim

    Hopefully my next commuter bike will have a disc brake at the front at least
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    Best braking ever on my MTB with hydraulic rim brakes...

    Was accelerating away from some lights and had just passed a girl on a roadie (may have been fixed) and some fool decided to pull from the right hand lane, right over the bus lane and into a car park. Only problem is there was no warning and no awareness of all the bikes that were behind.

    No way to avoid the car so I locked up the brakes and ended up skidding towards the back of the car while up on the front wheel. The only thing that stopped me was hitting the back wheel where my momentum caused my end bars to hit the side of the car. Shame.

    Luckily the girl managed to stop too but understandably was a bit shaken up.

    I'm starting to think that an empty bus lanes only gives the illusion of safety because the road is only clear until some d*ck decides to do something stupid. In some ways allowing motorbikes into bus lanes may actually improve safety in this respect as they can at least clear a path as they go a bit faster.
  • vorsprung wrote:
    The koolstop red or whatever the wet condtion ones are (salmon are "all conditions" ISTR)
    are sligntly better in the wet and the "dual compound" red+black seem to work well
    Shimano XTR blocks seem pretty good but they wear quicker than koolstop
    Dual compound kool-stops is what I use. The first revolution of the wheel after you apply the brake in the wet is a bit frightening but after that they are every bit as good as they are in the dry. My MTB disc brakes avoid that 1st rev of nastiness. I suspect the MTB brake is more powerful as its much easier to lift the back wheel on that bike. Not sure how much of that is down to bike geometry. In terms of actual stopping power and modulation there isn't that much in it.

    Mike
  • DonimoDonimo Posts: 16
    I really like the disk brakes on my humble hybrid. I used to road-race many, many moons ago (on a white Raleigh Rapide - that should date me!) and the hunt for the best brake blocks was interminable. It sounds like Koolstop are good these days, however, I'd like to stay with disks.

    The only road bike I can find with disks is the Focus Mares Disk (OK its a CX not a pure roadie, I know) and its too expensive for me. Are there any other options? I briefly considered the hybrid Halfords Gryphon disk spec then buying a set of drops and shifters...

    Thanks,
    Donimo
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