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Bike maintenance video part 2: How to get rim brakes to perform to their best

If there's one thing that's more important than making your bike go it's making it stop

In the second in our series of bike maintenance videos we take a look at your bike’s brakes - how they work and more importantly how to make work them work better - because while ‘going’ is an important part of the cycling experience ‘stopping’ is arguably even more important. 

In this video we are concentrate on rim brakes (we’re saving discs for our next series) and we have again teamed up with former Cycle Surgery chief mechanic Andrew Brown for some expert input. 

The whole series of our bike maintenance videos is available now on Youtube to help you get to grips with the essentials of keeping your bike running efficiently all year round. 

How to Clean and Lube Your Bike for Maximum Cycling Efficiency
How to Get the Best from Your Bike's Brakes
How to Keep Your Bike's Wheels Round, Tight and True
How to Adjust Your Bike's Gears for Maximum Shifting Performance
How to Choose the Right Gear Ratios for You and Your Bike
How to Cure Your Bike's Creaks and Squeaks
How to Choose and Set Up the Right Tyres for Your Bike

road.cc's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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9 comments

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IanEdward | 3 years ago
3 likes

Could probably be condensed to "buy Swissstop BXP pads". A revelation on all my bikes be they cheap OEM Tektro callipers or posh TRP mini-Vs.

Quote:

At this point you should be changing bike to a disc brake version

Yawn. Total overkill when what probably 90% of people need is just to clean their rims and maybe pop some decent pads in there.

I went disc brake, I came back. Marginal benefits in stopping power not worth the squealing in the wet when my rim brakes are 90% as good (even better if shock horror, you pull the levers a bit harder) and totally silent. 

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ktache replied to IanEdward | 3 years ago
0 likes

I was a big fan of the Swissstop Greens, when I couldn't get them anymore I finally tried Kool Stop Salmons, wish I had many years ago.  The low profiles for the fronts, which I have always had more issues with in seting up,  and the MTB for the rears, worked wonderfully.  They wear quick, but the braking is good, especially in the wet and rim wear might be (well seems...) reduced, perhaps.

I now have to give the Swissstop's disk brake pads a go, see if they are an improvent on the Hope pads.  Any opinions?

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CXR94Di2 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Rim brakes are best when not used.

At this point you should be changing bike to a disc brake version

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Stebbo replied to CXR94Di2 | 3 years ago
0 likes

With modern milled rims and half decent blocks I can lock up both wheels quite easily. 

Brakes are just something I don't  think about as my rim brakes do everything you want them to do. On my summer and winter bikes. 

No keeping the drivetrain clean and lubricated is something I think about and much more important. 

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Tuslareb | 4 years ago
0 likes

Thanks for the business card tip! 

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
1 like

cleaning rims, astonish paste and a clean rag/duster.

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Anquetilslovechild | 7 years ago
0 likes

A really useful series of 'how to' and 'best tips' videos, so subscribed for future updates.  Cheers!

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ktache | 7 years ago
0 likes

Got the tacx brake pad tuner.  Setting up my ancient curve cantilevers will never be a joy, but it does make it that little bit easier.  Wish I'd known about them many years ago.  I used to use a non working bank card.

Avatar
step83 replied to ktache | 6 years ago
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ktache wrote:

Got the tacx brake pad tuner.  Setting up my ancient curve cantilevers will never be a joy, but it does make it that little bit easier.  Wish I'd known about them many years ago.  I used to use a non working bank card.

 

I use one too, works great just a bit fiddly at times.

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