Disc/rim/drum/coaster brakes; braking technique, maintaining brakes, anything else about stopping a bike.

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77
votes
15answers
17k views

Why are disc brakes rare on road bikes?

Window shopping for road bikes, can't see many that have disc brakes, any reason for this?
45
votes
18answers
33k views

Do skilled cyclists really “use the front brake alone probably 95% of the time”?

Sheldon Brown's Braking and Turning Your Bicycle page states that: Skilled cyclists use the front brake alone probably 95% of the time and "Generally I advise against using both brakes at ...
43
votes
16answers
43k views

What is the practical advantage of disk brakes over rim brakes?

Disk brakes are becomming more popular on bikes now, and I was just wondering what the advantage is of this type of brake over the older rim brakes.
40
votes
14answers
12k views

Safest way to slow down a bike quickly if both sets of brakes fail

This may sound like a crazy question, however today in the wet my rear brakes decided to stop working effectively. It has been pouring rain here which makes the problem more apparent. I managed to ...
33
votes
8answers
35k views

Why don't brakes come with 'Safety Levers' any more?

It used to be very common to see bikes with dual pull brake levers (if that's even the right name) as shown below. However now it seems almost impossible to find brakes like this. Even finding a ...
32
votes
5answers
37k views

How do I make my brakes stop squealing?

I am having a very loud squeaking voice in the brakes of the rear tyre. I don't know what the problem is, but I am sure it has nothing to do with rain, because it happens all the time even if it is ...
31
votes
10answers
19k views

Why is the front brake lever on the right if you 'drive' on the left and vice-versa?

I live in the UK and I expect my front brake lever to be operated by my right hand. However, I recently went on a friend's bike that had the brakes 'back to front', which would be the 'right way round'...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do the front and rear brakes work independently?

Why do bicycles have two individual brake levers that work independently to brake each wheel? I've always used my right brake lever because it is more comfortable to do so and I haven't noticed any ...
25
votes
8answers
14k views

Can your rims wear down from too much braking?

I have a question about rims based on information in another question. The person asking states that he doesn't want his rims wearing down. Is this really a problem? Assuming you don't wear the ...
24
votes
14answers
19k views

When should I not use my front brake?

I have only been riding for a short time and I remember when I was a child there was a belief that if you used your front brakes going downhill that you would fly over your handlebars. However, my ...
24
votes
10answers
49k views

Why don't road bikes use v-brakes?

In my experience, linear pull brakes (v-brakes) have more stopping power than other types of cantilever brakes (let the flames start ;). Modern road bikes always come fitted with dual pivot brakes. ...
23
votes
12answers
5k views

What type of brakes is least subject to failure in the winter?

There is a lot of snow in the winter where I live. Different kinds of snow; soft, sticky, wet, etc. And ice too. It can get pretty cold: -25 °C (-15 °F). We drop salt, sand and gravel on our roads. I'...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Lessons from downhill crash

I was taking my usual morning ride before dawn on an 'adventure' road bike. It is a very steep hill with bends (Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex, England). I was descending and noticed (too late) some ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I prevent disk brakes from squeaking in the rain?

When I got my new bike with disk brakes, I thought that they would perform much better in the rain. While this is true, they still squeak quite loud in wet conditions, which is quite annoying. Is ...
17
votes
2answers
9k views

What does “modulate” mean when referring to brakes?

Often in a review of brakes, or an article talking about braking the author will use the term "modulate." E.g. "The brake modulates well" or "Modulate your front brake." What exactly does this term ...
17
votes
4answers
12k views

How to tighten a brake?

This is probably a really basic question but I'm confused by the whole brake mechanism so... My left (front wheel) brake has to be pulled in really far before it actually starts to brake (I guess ...
17
votes
1answer
18k views

What is the difference between different types of disc brake pads

I've seen several different descriptors for disc brake pads: Metallic, Semi-Metallic, and Organic. What is the difference between these types of disc brake pads?
16
votes
2answers
122k views

Converting bike from rim brakes to disc brakes

I just bought a used 2009 Kona Dew and it comes with regular rim brakes. I'm perfectly happy with them so far, but have been wondering if disc brakes would come handy when it rains. What is involved ...
16
votes
3answers
21k views

do I need to change my disc if the brake pads got oil on them

In trying to change the brake pads on my mountain bike, I managed to get oil on my new pads and empty out all the brake fluid, and consequently also get some oil on the disc. I took the bike to the ...
15
votes
6answers
21k views

Why don’t fixed gear bikes have brakes?

It seems to be assumed you will not have any brakes on a fixed gear bike, why?
15
votes
8answers
11k views

Is having your hands “on the hoods” of drop handlebars safe for braking?

I've never had a bike with drop handlebars, but may get one for commuting in busy London (likely a single-speed with mechanical disc brakes). This would mean riding with my hands mostly on the hoods, ...
15
votes
7answers
54k views

Direct Pull (V-Brake) vs. Center Pull Cantilevers (pros and cons)

I am looking around for an old mountain bike to ride this winter (and this summer when it is wet). I was just browsing around and was curious what the difference was between Direct pull brakes: ...
13
votes
8answers
777 views

Are there devices to moderate speed on mountain descents without braking?

In my neck of the woods there are some mountain descents that are pretty substantial: say 600 meters vertically averaging 7% grade, with lots of curves and other obstacles like potholes. Typically the ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Are road brakes designed not to brake too much?

All of my cycling fellows always told me that it's much more difficult to fully stop a road bike, compared to a mountain bike, because "road brakes just don't work so well" (and perhaps because of ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

What kinds of brake designs exist, and what are their general pros and cons?

Here are the ones I'm aware of: Center Pull Cantilever Slightly better braking than side pull brakes. No recentering problem. Relatively rare V-Brakes Cheap to produce. Similar in braking power ...
13
votes
3answers
13k views

Why are single-speed bikes with disc brakes hard to find?

I've been looking around for bikes (decent frame & components), and find that hybrids do have disc brakes (hydraulic), but are never single-speed. While single-speed bikes typically have linear-...
13
votes
2answers
975 views

When to change disk brake pads

I was wondering how to tell when your disk brake pads need replacing. My front seems to be not stopping as quickly as it used to, or as I would like. I know this could be road grime build up, but I ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you adjust the set-up of road bike brakes for women with small hands

My girlfriend has recently bought her first road bike. While the frame size is pretty much spot on and comfortable for her, she finds that the brakes are difficult to use and she ends up with pain in ...
12
votes
7answers
32k views

brake lever will not return

My friend has a mountain bike that survived last years Queensland's floods (Australia, that is), but is all battered and bruised after not being ridden for a year. With my beginner's repair skills, I ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How to build surge brakes on bike trailer?

There are a couple of pretty good answers How to make a cargo trailer? after looking at them, the answer at What are the safety concerns of a high vs a low mount trailer hitch? doing some other ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

How many fingers on the brake lever?

I have seen people stop with one finger, two fingers or the whole hands on the levers. Is there a recommended number of fingers on the brake levers when stopping/anticipating an emergency stop? Do ...
12
votes
1answer
8k views

Chart for bicycle component quality?

I'm not very familiar with all the different component groups available and wondered if there's a chart that ranks their quality (or price). So I'd know that Shimano 105 is the same level as SRAM ...
11
votes
7answers
6k views

Why aren't hub/drum/roller brakes suitable for touring?

I've got a Dutch town bike with Shimano IM80 roller brakes. They're brilliant. Maintenance free, clean, and effective. I've been looking at getting a long range touring bike for an initial 3 month ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Do brake cables become more elastic with time?

I bought a used bike a few months ago, and I've noticed a drastic reduction in brake power. At first, I was easily able to lock-up the rear wheel while squeezing the brake lever only half-way to the ...
11
votes
8answers
17k views

Why do my disc brakes squeal when wet?

Picture the scene... It's just been raining and you are getting ready to commute home after work, you cycle out on to the tarmac, the scent of fresh rain on hot tarmac fills your nostrils, you notice ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the recommended type of tire for riding on wet pavement?

I am commuting in rainy Seattle, and the rain has started. Right now I have Continental Gatorskin tires on my commuter, but yesterday I noticed I was braking to stop the wheels and skidding quite a ...
11
votes
5answers
18k views

Front brake only on a fixed-gear bike

Is it considered safe-enough to only have a front-brake on a fixie in a urban area that has many hills? I've been considering buying one, but I want to get some opinions before I move forward.
11
votes
3answers
799 views

can only use right hand to brake reliably, due to disability - safer/possible to modify bike?

I'm new here and hoping someone might have thoughts on this - had a look and couldn't find an answer elsewhere! Apologies for the kind of long question, and if it's silly, but any thoughts would be ...
11
votes
4answers
10k views

Fixing noisy V brakes

My V brakes make a lot of noise when I brake!! I am annoyed by such noise not to mention the pedestrians. My Mechanic said that it will not make those noise after using for couple of days, but it is ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

Hydraulic Disc Brakes Maintenance

I have Hayes Nine hydraulic disc brakes on my mountain bike. I have recently replaced the brake pads and after that it seems that the pads are almost touching the rotor. How can I adjust it? I have ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are there metal shavings in my brake pads?

I have several brake pads on my cantilever brakes that have several small metal shavings embedded in the pad. Is this normal? What should I do about it?
11
votes
3answers
418 views

What is the purpose of the little wings on caliper brake pads

I noticed that caliper brake pads (holders) have little wings on the bottom that aren't present on v-brake pads. What is the purpose of these little wings? Photo by RoboKaren. Released to Creative ...
10
votes
11answers
47k views

What is safer…coaster brakes, regular brakes, or fixed gear braking?

I currently have a 'regular' bike, i.e. a bike with typical brakes but I've been more fascinated recently with single speed and fixed gear bikes. One of the reasons that I've held off on getting on is ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

does anyone sell bicycle trailers with brakes?

I recently was involved in a wreck, because I was unable to slow my trailer. I am thinking about building a refit kit to install brakes on a trailer, but I don't want to reinvent the wheel.
10
votes
4answers
4k views

Enhancing brake force with steel rims in wet conditions?

I currently own an old racing bike, that still has ripped steel rims and a side pull caliper brake. The braking power is acceptable when the street is dry, but as soon as it gets wet (even morning dew)...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Rolling backwards while pedaling forward on a Freecoaster

Can anyone tell me what happens when rolling backwards while pedaling forward on a freecoaster bike? I mean does it gradually slow it down, or does it come to an abrupt hault? I have not tried it yet.
10
votes
2answers
378 views

How can a recumbent tadpole trike brake three wheels with only two levers?

So this is probably a terrible idea, but I was looking at recumbent tadpoles recently and it just clicked. I would have two brake levers but three wheels. I would need to have to... 1.) Calibrate the ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

My brake lever is coming loose from my handle bars; how can I tighten it?

I have a road bike with drop bars, and the left brake lever is slightly loose - it can rotate a few degrees around the handle bar from side to side. How can I tighten it? Is it possible to do so ...
10
votes
2answers
703 views

Can I replace my self-energizing brakes with regular cantilevers?

I recently bought a used tandem and am going to be tuning it up over the winter. It's a Yakota Twin Peaks (i.e. 20 years old) and it has Scott-Peterson Self-Energizing brakes. I haven't taken them ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Disk brake squealing after bike shop changed my pads. Is it enough reason to ask them to re-service (for free)?

I recently took my bike to the shop, since it started making a weird metal on metal (not squeal, just hard brushing sound). After checking it out they saw that the back brake pads were really (REALLY) ...