I am a bit of a bigger guy (260lbs) and I'm not too confident with riding my bike at higher speeds just yet. Mainly because I feel as though my brakes, (Stock V brakes that came with my Specialized Sirrus) are just not beefy enough to adequately perform under the stress I put on them.

I do not ride my brakes. I try to use them only when necessary. But I am a bit bigger than other people, and I feel like my pads will wear out faster because of that, as well as feeling like I'm putting them through too much.

The other day I was at my LBS and I noticed a set of BMX brakes that seemed a bit more sturdy. The pads were twice as thick as my ones I have now. The brakes appeared to be caliper brakes, and just appeared to be better than my stock v-brakes.

My question is, given that the sizes matched and I technically could switch them if I wanted too, would that be the best option? Or should I simply buy some larger pads and maybe change my brake cables?

(P.s. Unfortunately I don't have the model of my current brakes or the ones I saw at the shop, I was just looking for some general advice.)

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    The first thing I'd try is high quality large brake pads. I put "Kool Stop Dual Compound Mountain Pads" on my road bike and found them to give me significantly more stopping power than the pads that came with the bike. Sheldon Brown/Harris Cyclery website claims "these are the best brake shoes you can buy at any price.".
    – obelia
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:43
  • That was going to be my first try. I mean the brake pads on it now are working alright, but I still feel a little concerned when I'm hauling tail, you know? Anyways, thank you for the advice, I will look into those pads.
    – Weirix
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:48
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    @obelia is right, try decent brake pads first. Not least because they're cheap. Cheap pads are often awful, and good ones dramatically better. It seems unlikely to me that you'd get better braking from caliper brakes than V brakes. In my experience the ranking is more like caliper-V-disc, with more crossover between expensive one and cheap next one up than difference between them. That said, the cheap crappy disc brakes on my cross bike are no better than cheap crappy caliper brakes. You might gain more by buying decent V brakes.
    – Móż
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:59
  • Yeah I was thinking about it and I think I am just going to try that for now. I will probably change the cables as well, just for the heck of it. From the sounds of it, even some really good pads and cables would stI'll cost less and probably work better than the caliper brakes. Thanks for the help!
    – Weirix
    Aug 20, 2015 at 4:07
  • If you are easily able to bring the rear wheel up when braking hard there is nothing to be concerned about. Good brake pads will mostly improve performance in wet weather. The cables on a new bike are hopefully in good condition and properly routed.
    – Michael
    Aug 20, 2015 at 12:57

3 Answers 3


Not easily.

V-brake levers pull twice as much cable as a calliper brake levers, so you'll not be able to swap them without swapping the levers too, and these are often attached to the shifters, so you'd end up swapping an awful lot of parts.

Additionally V-brakes are mounted to a pair of bosses on the seat stays & fork legs whilst calliper brakes are mounted to a hole in either the bridge of the seat stays or fork crown, you might have these holes on your frame, but it does leave the ugly V-brake mounts unused. Although BMX brakes seem to use the 2 boss mount like V-brakes, I'm not an expert in BMX, that's more my brothers area.

As an aside, what makes you think the BMX stuff will be better? BMX stuff is usually designed to be robust rather than the absolute best.

Your V-brakes are almost certainly good enough.

  • I suppose I probably just need more time to get used to them. As I said, I am a big guy (260 lbs) and I just get a little concerned with the efficiency of the v-brakes. Alternatively, do you think I could just get thicker brake pads? Or maybe replace the brake cables?
    – Weirix
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:42
  • Oh, and I was just looking at the BMX brakes because they seemed a bit more beefy and seemed as though they would perform better. But I see how looks could be deceiving.
    – Weirix
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:45
  • See also obelia's comment above.
    – alex
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:48
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    I did just read her comment, I think I will try some new pads and, albeit maybe not totally necessary, I might change the cables as well. Thank you for your help. I do believe you just saved me a lot of time and money. Cheers!
    – Weirix
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:50

Typical BMX brakes are u brakes and require 990 posts. Road bikes don't have these posts (nor do mountain bikes or hybrids). If you can't see the posts look at the position of the posts. U brake posts are above the rim. Cantilever posts (your v bakes) are below the rim.

V brakes can stop you. You might need better brakes or better pads but I bet that some practice pushing the limits of your front brake will get you confidently stopping on dimes.


I am a big guy at 100 KG, (was bigger 120 when I started biking) and we have one advantage while braking - which is ballast, or weight transferance.

The most braking you can do is 100% on the front to the point where the rear wheel has almost zero weight. Any more braking and you're over the handlebars and/or the rear wheel is going some direction its not supposed to.

So, get your backside off the seat, stretch out your arms, and stick your bum out. Hang it out the back like you're mooning someone behind you. Drop your shoulders as well, and brake hard on the front brake.

If you feel yourself rotating forward, modulate your tension on the front brake lever.

This is the most effective braking you can do on a bike, regardless of the brake type.

Maximum duration should be about half a minute, the limiting factor here is the temperature of the rim/pads leads to brake fade on a long downhill.

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    I could see what you mean by weight transference, and I agree, Us Bigger guys have a bit of an advantage. I'm not so sure if that particular braking technique would work for myself because I personally feel that with that position, what ever power you gain for braking is power you've lost from safe bike control. But I understand the concept.
    – Weirix
    Aug 21, 2015 at 0:27

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