Travelling over mountains and ridges, are your brakes broken again?

Mountain bikes can bring a sense of freedom, exciting adventures, and breakthroughs in difficult skills in various high-intensity sports. At the same time, the failure possibility will increase vastly. In this article, let’s learn the bike brake together again.

Off-road cycling

1. The difference between rim brakes and disc brakes

Characteristics of rim brake: lightweight, low price, easy to maintain;

Characteristics of disc brake: stable braking, strong reliability, wide application range

In normal cases, there is almost no difference in braking between disc brakes and rim brakes. However, in harsher environments or when long-distance braking is required, disc brakes are more stable and reliable than rim brakes. In recent years, disc brakes have become more commonly used on bikes.

2. The difference between cable brakes and hydraulic brakes

Cable brakes control the callipers by pulling the cable to push the piston against the disc for braking. In contrast, hydraulic brakes through the brake oil to generate the hydraulic force. It’s more effective and the brake force is more stable.
Characteristics of cable brakes: low price, lightweight, easy to maintain, requiring frequent maintenance, common in entry-level bikes; 

Characteristics of hydraulic brakes: expensive, strong braking power, stronger reliability, hard to maintain, often used in high-price bikes.

There are some problems and solutions for different brakes.

2.1 Cable rim brake

(1) Abnormal noise

To solve this problem, there are some key points. First, check the wear of the brake pads and the relative position to the rim when braking. If the brake pads are severely worn, replace them in time. Except that, if the clamp pads are not completely in contact with the rim, adjust the fixing screws to make the pad contact with the rim. At last, if both sides of the clamp pad are not contact with the rim simultaneously, you can adjust the spring tension screws to optimize. 

(2) The brake lever cannot be squeezed

Check the wire and tube as well as the distance between the clamp pad and the rim. If the wire and the tube are worn out, replace and adjust them in time. When adjusting the distance between the rim and the clamp pad, first make sure that the deflection of the rim is normal. The distance between two clamp pads is better about 9 mm away from the rim. The longer the stroke, the better the linearity. But if it is too large, it will affect the brake. Finally, lubricating oil can be dripped to improve the braking feeling.

(3) The brake does not rebound

Check the abrasion of the brake wire and tube. Add lubricating oil to the tube, if it does not work, replace the wire tube or adjust the length of the down tube. Professional tools are required when adjusting the down tube, it’s not recommended to deal with the problem by yourself. 

2.2 Hydraulic rim brake

(1) Abnormal noise

It’s similar to the cable brake. Check the brake pad, if there is any abnormality. If not, it may be the oil problem, which means you need to replace the brake.

(2) Brake force is weak

If the oil circuit is damaged, the brake oil may leak from the pipe and the air may mixed in. It results in the handle being soft and the brake force to be weak. We can eject the air and refill the brake oil to solve this problem. 

2.3 Cable disc brake

(1) Abnormal noise

Check the wear of the brake pads and the deflection of the disc. Adjust the distance between the brake pads and the disc, it is usually about 1.5mm. If the wear is serious, replace it in time.

(2) Brake failure

First, observe the wear of the brake pads and discs. Check whether the brake wires are connected correctly, if there are no problems, debug the brakes by adjusting the relative position of the brake pads and discs. 

(3) The brake lever cannot be squeezed

Check the wear of the wire and pipe. Whether the length of the wire pipe is appropriate. Replace the wire pipe or wire according to the wear condition. If the problem cannot be solved, pay attention to checking the calliper. Adjust the caliper rebound tension screw, and try to solve it again.

2.4 Hydraulic disc brake

(1) Abnormal noise

There are many reasons for abnormal brake noise. For specific content, please refer to our previous article on how to deal with disc friction (蹭碟那期链接).

(2) Brake oil leakage

a. Oil leakage from brake lever

The sealing ring on the brake lever needs to be replaced; 

b. Oil leakage from line pipe joint

Cut off the old head and buy accessories to make a new joint; 

c. Oil leakage from the caliper piston 

Disassemble the caliper and use a pump to blow air through the oil hole to disassemble the piston. If the piston is broken, replace it. If the problem is not here, that means the sealing ring is broken, buy a new sealing ring and put it back.

Oil pipe

(3) Brake failure

Check whether the discs and brake pads are worn or stained with oil. If the brake pads are worn, replace them in time. If the disc is stained with oil, you can wipe it with disc cleaner or alcohol, or polish it evenly with sandpaper. Check the oil supplement, if the oil leaks from the cylinder or pipe, it is recommended to replace the brake system. If the problem is not too serious, for example, the oil pipe is mixed with water and air which leads to the pad gap becoming smaller and smaller and affects the rebound. We can drain the oil and refill the pipe. 

What other braking problems have you encountered while riding? Don’t hesitate to leave a message. We are looking forward to listening to your story.

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