I have rim brakes on my bike both rear and front, but have been lately decreasing in efficiency, making weird noise when I brake hard and the braking distance has increased too.

Neither my brakes nor my rim have any problems like wear, tension, gap and such. I clean off dust from the rims every now and then. Any ideas what might be contributing to the decreased efficiency of my brakes?

  • Check your pads. Also, tell us what kind of brakes you have, e.g. V-brakes, cantis, calipers, etc. Jan 3, 2015 at 21:21
  • Likely your pads are getting harder. And they were perhaps too hard to begin with. Jan 4, 2015 at 4:20
  • @DanielRHicks, the brake pads are b-twin, and its winter here (subzero at night and below 5 during day)could that be making the pads harder
    – user14633
    Jan 4, 2015 at 11:13
  • 1
    I assume that Celsius, so it's not terribly cold, but cold enough that you may need a softer pad. If Fahrenheit then you definitely need a softer pad. I'm not familiar with the various brands, but there may be something designed for colder temps. Otherwise, check out the pads as your local brake shop to see what feels a bit softer than your current ones when you press your fingernail into it. (You don't want terribly soft since that will be "grabby".) Jan 4, 2015 at 12:13
  • I'm guessing that the brake comes on as expected, and that your brake lever is not bottoming out. This would be caused by cable stretch, which can be tweaked using the barrel adjuster in the brake lever, and sometimes the brake itself has a second adjuster for tension. Comment cos its not the answer, because this will not cause strange noises while braking.
    – Criggie
    Jun 26, 2016 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


I would look for contamination of the pads and wheels. Oil residue from the roadway may have gotten on to the brake surfaces. Try to clean them with a mild cleaner. I typically use the blue glass cleaner. If the brake pads are several years old they may be getting dried out or glazed. You can try to resurface the rubber face of the pad with a file. The improvement if any tends to be short lived. Avoid sanding the pads with sandpaper as the grit can imbed in the pad and damage the rim. Also consider some performance oriented brake pads. The pad materials have different characteristics such as wet stopping, dry stopping, durability and price.

  • After checking a bit it turned out to be the oil residue and required some cleaning. and also I would like to add to your answer from the comment that brakes were getting harder
    – user14633
    Jan 4, 2015 at 11:34

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