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Hydraulic disk brakes - No stopping power?

Road NoobieRoad Noobie Posts: 6
edited July 2019 in Workshop
Hi all

I recently bought my first ever road bike (Cannondale Caad 12), which came equipped with Hydraulic Disc brakes. However the brakes feel really slack and take quite a while to bring me to a standstill, to the point I would not be confident taking it out on to the road. I have rode a mountain bike for years (Mechanical disc brakes), which has fantastic stopping power and has never let me down.

Any suggestions or easy fixes I may be overlooking? I do not drive, and live quite a fair distance from the nearest bike shop, if there are any simple fixes I can try at home before having to push it to the nearest shop I'll be glad to try them.

Posts

  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,476
    (I don't know much about any Hyrdo Disk brakes in detail - I just use the ones I've got)

    Do they feel spongy? Could be air in the system - may need a top-up and bleed. Depending on the make, the oil could be hydroscopic and be contaminated with water.
    If they don't feel spongy then the pads could be worn and needing replacement or could be contaminated with some sort of lubricant - then the disk needs cleaning and the pads cleaning or possibly replacing.

    That's the extent of my knowledge ....
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 726
    Is it brand new? They improve once they've been used a bit (or 'bedded in')

    https://cyclingtips.com/2018/03/road-di ... ing-noise/
  • Its a new bike, I've been saving up since last year and so I'd be surprised and slightly disappointing if they needed bleeding and refilling right from the factory.

    As for 'bedding in' I've not heard of that before, I don't recall having any initial bedding in issues with any of the previous mechanical disc mountain bikes I've ridden, however its been many years since my last 'new' bike and so I cannot be certain. I'll give it a try and see if I get any improvement over time.

    thanks

    Dan
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,476
    Ah - new bike ... Call the retailer and ask them - although they may want to see it ... but if you start logging the issue now it'll save hassle later on if (on the very slight chance) there is something wrong with it.
  • thistle_(mbnw)thistle_(mbnw) Posts: 3,222
    The brakes on my CAAD12 disc were awesome from the minute I got it out of the box. I doubt the shop bedded the pads in and they were really bitey right away.
    Sounds like there's something wrong with yours. New brakes shouldn't need bleeding, that's normally done in the factory (Shimano/Cannondale's).

    Bedding in just involves riding the bike fast and doing some rapid stops.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,476
    Ok - just re-read - you're not confident on taking it out on the road with the current feel of the brakes ...

    not good ...

    Have you got any cycling mates near by who ride road bikes with disc brakes - get one of them to take a look.

    If not - standing beside the bike - you should be able to apply a firm grip to the front brake and the wheel not move as you push it forwards. If it does turn, then there's probably something wrong with the brake.
  • aberdeenalaberdeenal Posts: 202
    Had a similar issue with mine although I built the bike so that's where my anxiety was coming from ha ha ha

    I bled the brakes and then cycled up and down my street with the brakes on to bed them in - after about 5 - 10 mins I could stop on a sixpence
  • Well I've just gotten in after a reserved and cautious evening ride, I figured I would try bedding them in whilst there was less traffic on the roads. Admittedly they seem to have improved a lot after riding a local 14 mile loop and actively trying to bed them in. They are still far from ideal, I wouldn't yet trust them in an emergency breaking situation.

    Anyway, during my first test ride I noticed a few other niggley little problems, so I am just going to bite the bullet and book it in for a service tomorrow and get someone a bit more qualified to make sure everything is safe and roadworthy.

    Thanks again

    Dan
  • AlejandrosdogAlejandrosdog Posts: 2,007
    Well I've just gotten in after a reserved and cautious evening ride, I figured I would try bedding them in whilst there was less traffic on the roads. Admittedly they seem to have improved a lot after riding a local 14 mile loop and actively trying to bed them in. They are still far from ideal, I wouldn't yet trust them in an emergency breaking situation.

    Anyway, during my first test ride I noticed a few other niggley little problems, so I am just going to bite the bullet and book it in for a service tomorrow and get someone a bit more qualified to make sure everything is safe and roadworthy.

    Thanks again

    Dan

    more qualified than muppets on the internet????? Surely you cant be serious???
  • More qualified than muppets on the internet????? Surely you cant be serious???

    I was actually thinking more qualified than a muppet like me :lol:
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    If its a bleed issue it will show itself with full lock coming when the levers at the bars or not coming at all. Shimano hydraulic brakes though have alot of lever travel even when Setup right. That unnerves some.

    Bedding in the pads is the most likely solution. The his really needs to be done as a succession of sharp stops. If pads don't start to bite your better off starting from sctrach.

    It is also possible there contamination on the pads or discs from the bike assembly. This normally would not get better with riding though. It is normally accompied by a howl as well. So this is not a likely cause.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,932
    Shimano hydraulic brakes though have alot of lever travel even when Setup right. That unnerves some.

    I was told that but prefer my brakes to be sharp and work straight away but the LBS who fettled the brakes only needed to do two bleeds and me to do two rides and my R7020/SLX set-up is superb. The initial bleed was the initial set-up then I took it for a ride and included a bit of rough path to get any air up the hoses to the reservoir then the LBS had another go and topped up the system after taking a little air out and also advanced the pads slightly by pressing the lever with no rotor in place then adding more fluid which means my brakes are very sharp. A recent big ride meant a 40mph hill was controlled with 2 fingers on the lever from the hoods.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    edited July 2019
    My statement and yours are true. I can control mine with two or one finger but there is more lever travel than a cable brake. My brakes work very well but there is lever travel and there is no air in the system. I make sure of that but the bite point is over half the distance to the bars. That unsettles some who are used to it sooner.

    I should not have to clarify what I mean like this.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • My statement and yours are true. I can control mine with two or one finger but there is more lever travel than a cable brake. My brakes work very well but there is lever travel and there is no air in the system. I make sure of that but the bite point is over half the distance to the bars. That unsettles some who are used to it sooner.

    I should have to clarify what I mean like this.

    This makes a lot of sense to me and fits with my own experience. I think my naivety of hydraulic braking could be the problem and through using mechanical disc brakes for so long, I may have developed a preconceived notion as to how disc brakes should 'feel'.

    On my mountain bike with mechanical discs, I have almost no travel in the brake levers with the brake biting almost immediately. On my new bike, as you mentioned I'm not getting any kind of bite until the half way point (which I am not used to), I think my issue has also been compounded by a lack of experience with drop bars, on the hoods I find I am struggling get enough leverage on the brake leaves to pull them efficiently, whilst experimenting on the drops where I can reach the bottom of the brake lever and get much better leverage in order to fully engage the brakes, I've found my stopping power increases massively.

    I dare say I need a few tweeks and adjustments, I'm dropping it off at my local bike ship later for peace of mind. But I am feeling a bit better about my brakes now.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,828
    If they are not stopping you on a sixpence then something is wrong.

    1. Do the levers touch the bars when you pull them hard? If yes, most likely they need bleeding.
    2. If the levers don’t touch the bars and you pull them on hard is the braking inadequate? If yes, most likely pad contamination. Unlikely on a new bike but it could be an incompetent bleed that has dripped some fluid on the pads, or someone cleaning the bike/ brakes and contaminating the pads with something.
    3. Bedding in. Just riding down a hill on a normal ride and pulling the brakes on hard should do this. Some people hav3 a strict regime, but in my experience, three or four hard braking efforts does the trick.

    If you are not confident, take the bike to a reputable mechanic.

    PP
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,932
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    but in my experience, three or four hard braking efforts does the trick.

    PP

    That works for me when I've put new pads in my Hy:Rd callipers and when both ends need new pads don't do them both together, do one end then a day or two later do the other. When I christened my R7000 set-up the initial ride was only 3 miles but I could feel an improvement when I got home.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
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