Author Topic: Winter cycling - rim brakes  (Read 5173 times)

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13746
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Winter cycling - rim brakes
« on: March 24, 2014, 07:56:37 AM »
I've been enjoying my winter cycling for a while now.  Worked out a maintenance routine of oiling everything, checking the chain, washing off my bike after every long ride to get rid of salt, cleaning the rims off . . .

The most annoying part of the routine though is having to remove and clean off the brake pads at least once a week.  Is there any way around it, or anything I can do to delay doing this?  It becomes rather miserable to be fiddling around in my cold garage with gloveless hands to do the brake adjustments all winter.

The brake pads seem to be coated with enough crap (oil/grit/bits of metal) that need to be sanded off that they won't stop the bike at all after a week.  The brake makes plenty of contact with the rim, but it feels like pushing a piece of glass into a piece of glass - no traction.  It always happens on the front brake first (maybe because I use the front brake about 95% of the time).  Any ideas, or is this just the nature of winter riding?  The brake pads themselves have plenty of wear left, and always work fine once I file down the top layer of crud.

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 08:11:32 AM »
kool stop salmon pads. haven't touched them all winter.

no matter what brake performance will be slightly limited by all the slush and road grit, but it shouldn't be as bad as you describe, nor require that much work.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13746
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2014, 10:48:54 AM »
Maybe the tektro brake pads I've been using just suck.  They are about four years old.

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2946
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 11:43:39 AM »
Another vote for the kool stop pads. I ride a clown-like road bike and love how the more expensive, longer lasting pads require less maintenance.

It would also be worth it to make sure they're seated properly. They should toe-in ever so slightly at the front.

kendallf

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1056
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 11:48:15 AM »
Put some new pads on.  Four year old pads are bricks. 

Keep an eye out for a cheap, used disc brake bike if you want really great all weather brakes.  I *never* clean my disc brake equipped commuter, and it has better brakes than my high $ road race bike.  If you scrounge, you can build one pretty cheaply.

Mine is a combination of a $150 Nashbar aluminum cyclocross frame and fork, used parts from my parts bins for everything else except the wheels, which were bottom of the barrel 29er wheels.  Brakes are cable actuated cheap discs.  Pretty much bullet proof combination, total cost about $250 plus junk I had lying around. 

ThermionicScott

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2014, 12:45:34 PM »
Kool-Stop salmon pads are about the best you can get, but what I do for the winter is to ride my fixed-gear (no rear brake needed), and use a cheap wheel for the front whose rim I can "sacrifice."

No matter what you use, it's a good idea to clean the grit off the rim(s) and pads on a regular basis to prevent wear.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13746
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2014, 12:55:23 PM »
A fixie wouldn't work for me.  It's a little over 10 miles to get to work, and there are a fair number of hills.  Not to mention the winter winds.

Keep an eye out for a cheap, used disc brake bike if you want really great all weather brakes.  I *never* clean my disc brake equipped commuter, and it has better brakes than my high $ road race bike.  If you scrounge, you can build one pretty cheaply.

I've thought/daydreamed about replacing the front fork on my bike and putting in a front disk brake.  Wouldn't think that this would be a particularly difficult/expensive modification to make . . .

kendallf

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1056
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 01:45:47 PM »

I've thought/daydreamed about replacing the front fork on my bike and putting in a front disk brake.  Wouldn't think that this would be a particularly difficult/expensive modification to make . . .

It's very hard to find a disc fork for a 1" steerer bike.  If you have a recent frame with a 1 1/8" steerer, options abound.  Nashbar apparently still has some 1" steerer disc carbon forks; they're >$100 though.  I'm contemplating doing this to my travel bike, which is an old titanium frame that I had S&S couplers installed in.  I haven't been able to justify the expenditure yet though.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 02:21:02 PM »
Weird. I've had zero issue with whatever pads I've got and I've been putting 500 miles a month on the bike. I believe they are Shimanos.

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2014, 02:37:21 PM »
Weird. I've had zero issue with whatever pads I've got and I've been putting 500 miles a month on the bike. I believe they are Shimanos.
well, for one they're not four years old ;-) but also while pretty much any high quality pad will work, salmon pads (pink because there's iron oxide in the rubber compound) work better (in wet/grimy conditions, not necessarily in dry). Next time you buy pads try 'em out and be amazed.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2014, 03:13:07 PM »
No, probably not four years old. Grit typically is supposed to make you stop FASTER, though it will wear the rims out faster as well.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13746
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2014, 10:12:32 AM »
It's not really grit.  When I file the pads down they're  . . . . I dunno, shiny.  Like a glazed donut.  It's got to be some combination of the salt and grease/gas from the cars and other crap.  It's OK if the roads are clear for a few days but this year I've been biking in snow and slush more often than not.

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2014, 11:16:43 AM »
I've had a gazillion different pads over the years.  Only found 1 set that worked well in the Winter (cheap off the shelf Shimanos).  Never been able to duplicate their stopping power again.  In the Winter since I'm periodically hitting patches of ice, I'm not going terribly fast, so I don't even worry about the brakes.  At the kinds of speeds it's safe to traverse black ice at, it's not a big deal to drag your feet to stop.  The foot dragging method also dramatically improves stability while stopping on slick surfaces anyways...

shuffler

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 322
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2014, 09:26:54 PM »
I use a Sturmey Archer X-FDD front hub that is a drum-brake plus a dynamo that drives front & rear lights.
It's on a fixed gear w/o a mechanical rear brake, so I don't have any weather-exposed brakes at all.

It's not the cheapest thing ever, but it's my never-have-to-think-about-it solution for wet weather commuting.

http://www.sturmey-archer.com/products/hubs/cid/2/id/30.html

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2014, 05:43:29 AM »
Okay, to be fair, I have had trouble stopping in bad weather.

When I'm hauling my 200 pound trailer.

enigmaT120

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
  • Location: Falls City, OR
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2014, 01:50:45 PM »
Okay, to be fair, I have had trouble stopping in bad weather.

When I'm hauling my 200 pound trailer.

Even going downhill?


Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Winter cycling - rim brakes
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2014, 07:36:42 AM »
It's not really grit.  When I file the pads down they're  . . . . I dunno, shiny.  Like a glazed donut.  It's got to be some combination of the salt and grease/gas from the cars and other crap.  It's OK if the roads are clear for a few days but this year I've been biking in snow and slush more often than not.

It occurred to me on my ride this AM that maybe you have nylon pads instead of rubber? Even old rubber, when dried out and hard, would crumble - not be shiny like that.

No idea if they make nylon pads, but I know they do make nylon tires (sadly my kids bikes all have them, before I knew what I was doing).