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AAARRRGGHHH no brakes!!!!

hammy7272hammy7272 Posts: 236
edited January 2010 in MTB workshop & tech
Hi i am new to all this mountain biking lark.

I was out on a very muddy wet trail yesterday, when slowly but surely my cable disc brakes lost almost all stopping power and just made a grating noise. I have tried re-alligning them but not sure if I am doing this correctly?

Thanks in advance



  • Have you worn all the pad material away? Perhaps the grating sound was the metal backing plate on the rotor.

    We need more info and or pics.
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • The cheap cable disc brakes can be real nasty (I know I've got one) to adjust.

    I would check the pads by taking them out. I damaged my pads when I slotted in the wheel. The pads were on 2 tiers and I'd knocked out the top one when the disc hit the pad instead of slotting straight in.

    Try and get a few pictures and post them if you can.
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • If they are mechanical/cable discs, make sure the static pad is adjusted properly. One pad is actuated by the brake lever, the other is static and so needs adjusting as the pads wear.

    You may also need to re-align the caliper to gain proper efficiency.

    Thats assuming the pads arent shot, as referred to above.

    Im sure there will be something on the web to show you how to set up your brakes...just google the brake make/type.

    Riding, wrecking and repairing mtb's for too long!!
  • hammy7272hammy7272 Posts: 236
    Cheers guys I'll try the above and see what happens. I hope they are not worn only 3 months old!

    Thanks again
  • Matt 24kMatt 24k Posts: 186
    It's possible to wear out a set of pads in a day of riding on a wet and gritty trail especially if your brakes are dragging and the pads haven't been bedded in properly, Pads cost around 15 quid an end for genuine replacements and most cable disc set ups are very basic,
    Maybe you should consider upgrading to a hydraulic set up which self adjusts as the pads wear. For 90 quid you can get a complete front and rear kit with all you need.
  • hammy7272hammy7272 Posts: 236
    Thanks again for the pointers. I took it to a shop as I am desperate to get out tomorrow!

    Turns out the pads were shot.

    The guy replaced them but the labour wasn't cheap, turns out being naive is expensive! Must learn some basic mechanics I think.

    Anyways off to Dalby tomorrow :D . Knowing my luck it will snow again :evil:

  • _Jon__Jon_ Posts: 366
    I have exactly the same problem with my mechanical disc brakes. In my case it is definetely the pads wearing down, it's surprising how quickly they do wear in wet/muddy conditions.

    It has improved since I went from organic to sintered pads but I still have to stop once a ride to adjust the right-hand pad. (it used to be 3 or 4 times)

    I'm currently looking at hydraulic disc brakes as a result.
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    Always carry at least one spare set of pads. I've worn through a set mid ride several times.

    As many others have said, if you don't know how to fix it, you shouldn't be riding it. :wink:
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
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