Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [brakes]

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

89
votes
15answers
23k views

Why are disc brakes rare on road bikes?

Window shopping for road bikes, I can't see many that have disc brakes. What are the reasons for this?
61
votes
19answers
58k 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 ...
52
votes
18answers
54k 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.
46
votes
14answers
20k 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 ...
42
votes
6answers
66k 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 ...
41
votes
8answers
56k 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 ...
39
votes
10answers
28k 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'...
34
votes
15answers
33k 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 ...
32
votes
10answers
70k 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. ...
31
votes
8answers
22k 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 ...
29
votes
7answers
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?
28
votes
7answers
4k 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
6answers
102k 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: ...
23
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 ...
23
votes
12answers
9k 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'...
23
votes
9answers
19k 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, ...
22
votes
2answers
15k 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
32k 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?
21
votes
4answers
28k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
214k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
124k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
41k 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?
18
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
40k 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
20k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
35k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
48k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k 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:
15
votes
6answers
8k 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?
15
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
32k 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.
15
votes
2answers
19k 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-...
15
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Alternating brakes on descents: is it really useful?

I heard from many sources (some of them on this site, e.g. on answers to this question here) that you should be alternating the use of your front and rear brakes. Most people give as a reason that ...
14
votes
2answers
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 ...
13
votes
8answers
1k 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
5answers
4k 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
52k 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
16k views

Disabling back-pedal brake

I have a bike with the so-called back-pedal brake, but since it's for someone who's learning I think that it's more an obstacle than an advantage. Since the bike also has hand-actioned brakes, can I ...
12
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
21k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k 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.
12
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Why replace brake cartridge when grooves wear off

Many websites recommend replacing rim brake cartridges (pads) when the grooves on them have worn off. Why would this be reasonable, other than for the hypothetical reasons listed below? I am looking ...