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Woeful road bike Brake Performance

By darkmuncan - Posted on 22 June 2011

I picked up a cheap 09 Scott Speedster S50 (Flat Bar) roadie as a cheap commuter and the braking performance on it is atrocious.

From the Scott Specs
Brakes Scott Sport L SCBR 510 A 41-56mm

I understand that there are the cheapy OEM ones, but should I still expect being up to pull up from a medium pace within 5-10m?

Is my perception all out of whack from being used to decent hydro brakes all my life?

Should I throw on a set of 105's or put 3rd party pads on?

Any advice would be warmly welcomed, as I really dislike riding it as I have no faith at all in it's ability to stop me from that driver turning across the cyclepath who isn't looking (and there are many)



In my experience, you should be able to lock up and chirp the tyres with decent road brakes on a smooth road in the dry. At the very minimum you should be able to lift the back wheel under emergency braking.

Maybe the pads aren't worn in yet or the rims are contaminated???? Ultegra and Dura-ace pads work exceptionally well.

Or maybe my brakes have better grip than my tyres?

bike was 2nd hand, so the pads are well-worn in.

How would I de-contaminate the rims? Isopropyl and new pads?


Koolstop Salmon are the all-weather brake pad favourites of the roadies at Supposedly they provide great performance and don;t destroy your rims in the process.

I use metho to clean my rims and pads. IPA should work a treat.

They could also have a low leverage ratio. Are the levers and calipers the original fitment? Drop bar levers and flat bar levers can have different pull ratios so if it isn't pads it could be configuration...

I'm up for some new brake pads for my roadie, hawkeye have you used Kool stops at all? With all the rain lately (but how awesome is it riding today!) it would be good to have a pad that handles the water a bit better than whatever pads I have at the moment! It gets hairy riding to the CBD when you're not 100% confident in being able stop suddenly.

Sometimes friction between old brake cables and casing will stop the force you apply at the levers getting through to the calipers

@daveh: haven't used them myself, but hardcore commuter folks whose opinions I respect swear by the Salmons.

Both my bikes have hydraulic discs, it's a bit hard fitting caliper brakes to a Lefty Eye-wink

That' good enough for me especially as they are not exactly expensive pads. Will be ordering some today and will try to remember to report back!

Clean the rim 1st but it's more than likely your cables, be careful braking once you change them it makes that much difference.


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