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tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 10:33 a.m.

I have a 2000ish Specialized Hardrock. It's been used and abused, and has recently been pressed back into service riding tenish mile rides on the road with my kids, equipped with some smooth tires.

 

On our ride yesterday the back brakes started acting really weak. I was able to stop well enough using the fronts, but it's not ideal. During the ride I adjusted the cable to it was tight, but still no love. When I got home, here is what I found.

 

The brakes are very biased to one side of the rim. I don't recall this before. They still pivot OK, clamp and unclamp, but the bias is weird.

 

The brake pads (all four) are extremely worn

 

The rim braking surface, especially in the rear, is trashed. 

 

What's the hot ticket for replacing them? I don't need anything but decent braking performance and not stupid price for my 165 lb self. I'm not entering any races, and as long as I am faster than my ten year old (because he is much faster than my twelve year old) I am good.

 

 

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/17/20 10:36 a.m.

Pics aren't working for me, anyone else? Sounds like they're basic v-brakes with a bajillion interchangeable options, including cheap ones. Fix the pics if it's not just me, and we can point you in the direction you want.

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/17/20 10:38 a.m.

Disc brake swap?

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/17/20 10:59 a.m.

no pics.

Start with new pads? 

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
8/17/20 11:14 a.m.

Clean up the rims, make sure nothing is binding (pivots, cables, etc.), and install Koolstop salmons. Best reasonably-priced stuff out there, and pretty decent in the wet for rim brakes as well.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 11:31 a.m.

I didn't put any pics in. Sorry. The description was intended to be "what I found".

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 11:31 a.m.
02Pilot said:

Clean up the rims, make sure nothing is binding (pivots, cables, etc.), and install Koolstop salmons. Best reasonably-priced stuff out there, and pretty decent in the wet for rim brakes as well.

Are the rims thick enough to grind flat?

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 11:31 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

no pics.

Start with new pads? 

Which ones?

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 11:32 a.m.
iansane (Forum Supporter) said:

Disc brake swap?

Parts list? If it's over $50, no go. I'd even consider rear only disc if that would make any sense.

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
8/17/20 11:36 a.m.
tuna55 said:
02Pilot said:

Clean up the rims, make sure nothing is binding (pivots, cables, etc.), and install Koolstop salmons. Best reasonably-priced stuff out there, and pretty decent in the wet for rim brakes as well.

Are the rims thick enough to grind flat?

If they're so badly trashed that you're thinking grinding rather than cleaning, I'm afraid you may be looking at new set of wheels to really make it right. If it were me and I was trying to keep costs down, I'd just go over them with a Scotchbrite pad and proceed as I initially described.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/17/20 11:38 a.m.

scrub the rims with rubbing alcohol to clean them, then scuff with green scotch brite. Replace the pads on the brakes, the salmons are great but any aftermarket pad should be good. It sounds like they got contaminated with oil from somewhere or they're just trashed. Did you oil the chain recently? Drip on the rims afterward?

Linear pull brakes, which should be what you have, have a tendancy to pull one side or the other. Take the screws loose on the posts and make sure they arent sticky or binding. Clean them up and give each post a drop of chain lube when reassembling. There is a spring on each brake arm with a little screw that can be adjusted in or out to preload it. Fiddle with these enough and you can balance the action side to side but it's something that has to be adjusted regularly.

My first real mountain bike was a 1999 Spc Hardrock. Last year they made steel ones, I think. Great bike. 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
8/17/20 11:38 a.m.
tuna55 said:

 

The brakes are very biased to one side of the rim. I don't recall this before. They still pivot OK, clamp and unclamp, but the bias is weird.

Some of the brakes of that era used plastic mounting for the spring adjustment screws used to center the brakes. Sometimes the plastic splits from age and instantly the brakes go off center. Also make sure the wheel is straight in the dropouts.

The rim braking surface, especially in the rear, is trashed.

Sandpaper is your solution to give you a new surface.

The rubber of 20 YO brake pads has dried out so they're not "grippy" even if they weren't worn. Buy new pads.

 

 

 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 11:40 a.m.
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) said:

scrub the rims with rubbing alcohol to clean them, then scuff with green scotch brite. Replace the pads on the brakes, the salmons are great but any aftermarket pad should be good. It sounds like they got contaminated with oil from somewhere or they're just trashed. Did you oil the chain recently? Drip on the rims afterward?

Linear pull brakes, which should be what you have, have a tendancy to pull one side or the other. Take the screws loose on the posts and make sure they arent sticky or binding. Clean them up and give each post a drop of chain lube when reassembling. There is a spring on each brake arm with a little screw that can be adjusted in or out to preload it. Fiddle with these enough and you can balance the action side to side but it's something that has to be adjusted regularly.

My first real mountain bike was a 1999 Spc Hardrock. Last year they made steel ones, I think. Great bike. 

Thanks! That was helpful.

 

They are just worn out. The rims themselves are grooved. No recent oil or contamination, just really really worn pads. I'm often up over 30 mph and then realize I have two kids struggling to keep up and need to throw the anchors out before they get hit by cars.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 11:40 a.m.
NOT A TA said:
tuna55 said:

 

The brakes are very biased to one side of the rim. I don't recall this before. They still pivot OK, clamp and unclamp, but the bias is weird.

Some of the brakes of that era used plastic mounting for the spring adjustment screws used to center the brakes. Sometimes the plastic splits from age and instantly the brakes go off center. Also make sure the wheel is straight in the dropouts.

The rim braking surface, especially in the rear, is trashed.

Sandpaper is your solution to give you a new surface.

The rubber of 20 YO brake pads has dried out so they're not "grippy" even if they weren't worn. Buy new pads.

 

 

 

Thanks! That's helpful also.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 11:41 a.m.
02Pilot said:
tuna55 said:
02Pilot said:

Clean up the rims, make sure nothing is binding (pivots, cables, etc.), and install Koolstop salmons. Best reasonably-priced stuff out there, and pretty decent in the wet for rim brakes as well.

Are the rims thick enough to grind flat?

If they're so badly trashed that you're thinking grinding rather than cleaning, I'm afraid you may be looking at new set of wheels to really make it right. If it were me and I was trying to keep costs down, I'd just go over them with a Scotchbrite pad and proceed as I initially described.

Will do

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/17/20 12:09 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

If the wheels are heavily grooved, make sure you pull the tire and assess the thickness of the rims. Those brake surfaces were formed thick, but you can wear them to the point that the pressure from the tire bead will break one over. It ain't pretty if happens while riding. Replace the rims/wheels if you have any doubt.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 12:14 p.m.
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to tuna55 :

If the wheels are heavily grooved, make sure you pull the tire and assess the thickness of the rims. Those brake surfaces were formed thick, but you can wear them to the point that the pressure from the tire bead will break one over. It ain't pretty if happens while riding. Replace the rims/wheels if you have any doubt.

I briefly looked at wheels and then saw prices and closed the windows to avoid any eye contamination. Some of those wheels were more than the bike. How do I do that?

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/17/20 12:22 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

The problem with the replacement wheels you're looking at online is that those are upgrades and race items. If you have a local bike shop they can often get OEM grade replacement wheels for reasonable money, although they are never as cheap as I'd like. The other option is finding some used ones around - 26" wheels are getting scarce though. They are harder to find but when you do they can often be had cheap. Finding decent ones that aren't beat to death can be challenging.

 

edit - a quick search turned up these for under $120 for a set, assuming you have 9speed. That's not a bad price, but I know that's not the same thing as affordable depending on circumstances. But remember, hospital bills are even more expensive. If the wheels are really that bad off, be careful.

 

 

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
8/17/20 12:26 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

In normal times, the solution to new wheels on a budget is to buy a cheap used bike with wheels that will fit. These not being such times, I'm not sure what the cheapest way to go would be. I've been building my own, but by the time you source hubs, spokes, and rims, they don't end up being all that cheap.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/17/20 12:28 p.m.
tuna55 said:
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

no pics.

Start with new pads? 

Which ones?

Need more information - pics of the brakes would help. They are likely either Shimano or Avid, there are a few other brands they could be. 

Replacing the rim would probably cost more than the bike is worth.  If you're lucky, you might be able to find a new rim that is exactly the same as the current one and do a rim swap.

You could talk to your LBS as they might have pads in stock, but chances are you'll need to take the bike to them to make sure you get the right pads. Then swap them yourself when you get home.

Take the brakes off the bike. Clean all of the pivot points. Add a light grease. Reassemble with new pads. Find YT videos if anything seems unclear.  Linear pull or "v-brakes" are very easy to set up.  

If the cables seem old and stiff, give me a shout.  I think I still have a ton of old brake cables.  I can mail you a few. 

thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter)
thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/17/20 3:21 p.m.

Easy way to center the front wheel is to straddle the bike, lean on the bars, pop the quick release/axle nuts, then snug em back up with your weight on it. You'll hear a little click if the wheel was off. 

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
8/17/20 6:03 p.m.
tuna55 said:
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

no pics.

Start with new pads? 

Which ones?

Kool Stop. The pink ones. Cheap and good. Grippy without being grabby. I bought them a few years ago and will definitely buy them again if I wear them out.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 8:23 p.m.

Here are some pictures. I haven't started to play with them yet. 

 

 

 

 

 

Honestly they look better than I thought they did. I'll start with scotchbrite. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
8/17/20 8:46 p.m.

Looks like pad misalignment may have caused that to happen. 

Even though those are chunked, any pads that are 20+ years old should be changed ASAP. Even if they look good on the bike, they probably aren't! Case in point: 



Those came off that bike before I converted to the V-Brakes. They looked fine on the bike, but check out the cracks! The compound was rock hard, too. I second the recommendation of the Kool Stop "salmon compound" brakes. They were a night and day difference on my Mongoose cruiser build, even with the cantilever brakes. 

Like others have said, light sanding/scuffing the braking surface should help. Those do look grooved up, but new pads and a scuffed surface will do wonders. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/17/20 9:59 p.m.

The light scuffing looks successful and only left a minor groove in one side. I do believe this backing plate in one of the pads is what caused the big issue.

 

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