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Calliper & Disk Breaks

Crazy ClimberCrazy Climber Posts: 14
edited April 2011 in The workshop
Hi. Fairly new to bikes and tinkering with them. I commute 20 miles per day thorough/around London on a road bike.

It has standard calliper breaks which are ok when its dry (not amazing tho) but when its wet they are less than good to say the least.

They have new pads front and rear and this has helped but not a huge amount.

First problem is I keep snapping cables - 3 in as many months. Is there any possibility there is a fault somewhere or is is just cheap cables? They seem to snap within the first inch or so from the leavers. When I fitted the new pads I set the breaks as per a guide I found on the interweb/Advice from a local shop.

Second question, Would it be possible to fit disk breaks to it either one on the front or rear or both? or is this likely to be a bit over kill for the costs involved?

As I said fairly new to all this but used to be a mechanic so am fairly genned up on that side of things, just not on bikes and bike mechanics so any help gratefully received :)

The bike is a Raleigh Equip, standard breaks etc.


  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    Short version: you should be able to get more than adequate performance from caliper brakes.

    You'll get best braking performance by making sure your wheel rims are clean. Which pads did you use? I like KoolStop Salmons, others like SwissStop Greens. They both perform pretty well in the wet, to the point where the (lack of) grip from the tyre is more of a problem than the braking performance, i.e. you lock up your wheels.

    Snapping cables: Eh? That really, really shouldn't be happening. If the cables are always snapping in the same place then it's probably a cable routing problem: they're kinked or rubbing on something. This could also explain why you're getting poor braking performance. Does it happen with both cables?

    Swapping to disc brakes. No, basically. (It's spelled "brakes" btw). You'd need mounting points (tabs) on your frame on which to hang the calipers, and you'd need mounting points on your wheel for the disc. That, and the cable pull ratio from your levers would probably be wrong for most disc brakes (though not all). No, can't be done without more engineering than the bike is worth.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • [quote="davis"(It's spelled "brakes" btw).

    Yea, my spelling is notorious too (even with spell check!)

    Good tips there. Yes the both cables have snapped, first the rear, then the front then the rear again (very interesting riding the rest of the way to work and to the bike shop with only one brake) and they tend to be in a similar place.

    When I fit the new ones they go through easy enough so there are no kinks or anything, might be rubbing on something within the leaver though, are they easy enough to get into to investigate? Will try that avenue first!

    Sounds like adding disks will be falling flat on its face before its even started?

    The new pads are Shimano (Ultegra I believe from memory) on the front. And On the rear I think they are Aztec but cannot remember the model on them. They are the type with replaceable cartridges though...

  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    Forget about discs. For you, they're impractical.

    Try replacing both your cartridge pairs with KoolStop (might be two words) Salmons.
    Clean your rims.

    I'd check to see if your cables are binding somewhere. Replace them with Kable brake cables (you are using *brake* cables here, yes?) and give your undivided attention to cable routing. See Sheldon Brown's webpages for good cable advice. Don't, whatever you do, disassemble your levers. That way lies pain.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
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