Questions tagged [brakes]

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

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97 votes
16 answers
29k views

Why are disc brakes rare on road bikes? (circa 2010) [closed]

Window shopping for road bikes, I can't see many that have disc brakes. What are the reasons for this?
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69 votes
19 answers
81k 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 the ...
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56 votes
18 answers
56k 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.
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  • 663
52 votes
8 answers
73k 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 ...
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50 votes
14 answers
29k 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 ...
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44 votes
6 answers
71k views

How do I make my rim brakes stop squealing?

My rear rim brakes are squeaking loudly. 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 dry. Anybody have an idea what ...
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  • 543
44 votes
10 answers
36k 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'...
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39 votes
15 answers
55k 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 ...
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  • 1,439
37 votes
10 answers
94k 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. ...
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35 votes
6 answers
12k views

Why are regenerative brakes uncommon on e-bikes?

Few electric bicycles have regenerative braking. Most quality e-bikes seem to be settling on mid-drive, which even makes regenerative braking impossible because there is a freewheel between the wheel ...
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33 votes
8 answers
25k 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 ...
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32 votes
7 answers
10k views

What is best for your brakes when stopping at the bottom of the hill?

You are at the top of a hill and want to stop at the bottom. What is best for your brakes so you don't wear them down: brake continuously; or brake when you reach the bottom?
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31 votes
15 answers
4k views

Braking one-handed to signal down steep traffic-heavy slope

I've just recently picked up biking and will be cycling to work when I start in a few weeks. One thing that's really bothering me on my route is a very steep hill that gets very busy during rush hour. ...
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30 votes
7 answers
5k 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 ...
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29 votes
6 answers
132k 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: ...
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28 votes
1 answer
128k views

What is the difference between I.S., post, and flat mount disc brake mounting standards?

What is the difference between "I.S." (international standard), "P.M." (post mount), and flat mount disc brake mounting standards? Does one have a clear advantage over the other and is there a ...
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27 votes
1 answer
39k 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?
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26 votes
10 answers
30k 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, ...
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  • 1,525
26 votes
2 answers
6k views

Are Penny-Farthings Legal to Ride on Public Roads (UK)

Are Penny-Farthings legal to ride on public roads in the UK? Note: For laws regarding riding Penny-Farthings on public roads in other countries-ie "US" or "EU"- please start a new ...
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  • 2,093
25 votes
2 answers
21k 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 ...
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25 votes
12 answers
13k 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'...
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24 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
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  • 343
24 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
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23 votes
5 answers
6k 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 to ...
22 votes
8 answers
61k views

6-bolt vs centre-lock: pros and cons?

I am having a new set of wheels built, and am trying to decide on whether to go with 6-bolt or centre-lock rotor interface. What are the pros and cons of the two systems?
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  • 609
22 votes
4 answers
38k 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 ...
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  • 323
21 votes
3 answers
149k views

How do I stop my rim brakes making a squeaking/squealing sound?

I bought a Schwinn Frontier Sport few months ago and started riding happily. After a few weeks my front rim brakes started creaking. It's so annoying in public places. My rear brake doesn't produce ...
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  • 313
21 votes
2 answers
247k 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 ...
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21 votes
5 answers
97k views

How often should hydraulic disk brakes need bleeding?

The brake handles for my disk brakes became very loose four months after I bought the bike. The bike shop bled the brakes and put new oil in them, which sorted it. They're feeling a bit loose again (...
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  • 569
20 votes
8 answers
55k 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 ...
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  • 978
20 votes
5 answers
8k views

How does the SureStop braking system work?

There's a new braking system put out by a company named SureStop that controls both front and rear cantilever (side-pull) brake systems with a single brake lever. They seem to be mainly appealing to ...
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  • 28.5k
19 votes
8 answers
31k 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 ...
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19 votes
6 answers
51k 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?
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  • 5,855
19 votes
10 answers
7k views

How can I safely go downhill on an antique penny-farthing bike?

I recently picked up a vintage penny-farthing (high wheeler) at the flea market and, after restoration, adopted it as my normal mode of transportation. It works well for the most part, but going ...
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19 votes
6 answers
3k views

Suggestions for braking with severe osteoarthritis in both hands

I have severe osteoarthritis in both my hands and have had to give up cycling as I am unable to squeeze the brakes for safety. Are there any available options for braking, as I would like to get back ...
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18 votes
2 answers
5k views

On a long smooth descent, do brakes really heat less with intermittent hard braking compared to dragging?

It is my impression (both from experience and from online opinions) that braking on a mountain bike is to be done in intermittent hard engagement of one or both brakes. The reasoning being that ...
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18 votes
5 answers
27k 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 this noise after using it for couple of days, but it is ...
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17 votes
9 answers
4k views

V-brake vs hydraulic disk-brake - which is more environmentally friendly

Let me start the question by saying that I have a pretty good impression of the advantages of disk brakes vs. V-brakes, so I'm not asking about performance comparisons. I'm MTB-ing several thousand ...
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  • 277
17 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is disk brake effectiveness mitigated by tyres losing traction under strong braking?

So I understand that disk brakes are superior to rim brakes and this leads to faster stopping particularly in wet weather. I have wondered though, in wet conditions when you wish to stop as fast as ...
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  • 319
17 votes
3 answers
65k 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 ...
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  • 293
17 votes
2 answers
7k 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 ...
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17 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why are disk brakes not completely round on the outside?

Why are disk brakes not 100% round? Why is the outside edge "rough"? Here's a pic of what I'm describing:
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  • 171
16 votes
5 answers
5k views

Cantilever brakes gets very weak if it rains

I have a bicycle with cantilever brakes. Under light rain or dry weather the braking action is not very powerful, but good enough. However, under heavy rain the braking action gets close to 0. This ...
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  • 329
16 votes
6 answers
10k views

How to build surge brakes on bike trailer?

There are a couple of pretty good answers in How to make a cargo trailer?. After looking at those, at the answer to What are the safety concerns of a high vs a low mount trailer hitch? and doing some ...
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16 votes
8 answers
44k 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.
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16 votes
2 answers
24k 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-...
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  • 1,525
16 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
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15 votes
7 answers
10k 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 ...
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  • 18.6k
15 votes
6 answers
43k views

How do I prevent my hydraulic brakes from getting pressed/damaged when the wheels are off?

When I was buying my bike, the technician in the shop told me not to press the brakes when the wheels are off (detached), otherwise the brakes will get damaged (I don't know how). I need to detach ...
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  • 1,119
15 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
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