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Our Guide to Buying: Brakes: Road Bike Brake Pads
Our pick of the best bike brakes.1) SRAM Guide Ultimate Disc Brake | 2) Docooler Cable-Actuated Hydraulic Integrated Bicycle Front / Rear Disc Brake Set | 3) Magura MT8 Mountain Bike Disc Brake | 4) Tektro HD-M290 Hydraulic Disc Brake | 5) SRAM cantilever brakes Brake-set RIVAL | 6) Shimano Sora Shift Levers | 7) Avid MY09 Shorty 4 Cantilever Mountain Bicycle Brake Set | 8) Shimano BR-4700 Tiagra Caliper Front and Rear Road Bicycle Brakes | 9) TRP RG957 Bike Brake | 10) TRP Inplace Adjust M Road Pad for Cantilever or Linear Pull Brake | 11) Magura MT7 Next 4-Piston Disc Brake | 12) Jagwire Mountain Elite Link Bicycle Brake Cable Housing Kit | 13) AFTERPARTZ NV-5 G3/ HS1 Bike Disc Brake Kit Front | 14) Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes | 15) SHIMANO DEORE XT BL/BR-M785 Hydraulic Disc Front Brake | 16) Tektro Ergo Alloy Road Bicycle Brake Levers | 17) Kool Stop Kool-Lite Bicycle Brake Pads with X Pad | 18) Shimano Deore XT M8000 Hydraulic Disk Brakes | 19) SwissStop Full FlashPro Original Black Brake Pad Set | 20) Sturmey-Archer S2 Kick-Shift Hub Kit 32h 120mm Black |
When V-brakes came onto the scene they revolutionised rim braking performance for off-road bikes, tourers and hybrid bikes. Although increasingly new models of these bikes are being fitted with disc brakes V-brakes still offer fantastic braking. With two long arms providing leverage when the brake cable pulls, there’s plenty of power on offer and the best V-brakes should perform well in all but the muckiest conditions.
How Do I Set Up V-brakes?
V-brakes are easy to install and set up, but make sure your brake levers are compatible – longer cantilever brake levers and road levers can lead to poor performance. Most V-brakes come with cartridge style brake pads, so replacing pads is as simple as can be – remove a small retaining pin or bolt, slide the old pad out and replace with a new – you may need to tweak the cable slightly, though.
Shimano V-brakes are reliable, while Avid’s Single Digit V-brake is a classic. Cyclocross riders looking to improve power should look towards TRP’s offerings, which are designed to work seamlessly with drop bar brake levers.
What are Cantilever Brakes?
Cantilever brakes mount much like V-brakes, but with a straddle cable between them, which is pulled vertically to actuate the brakes. Cyclocross riders love them because they offer near V-brake levels of performance, without getting clogged up with mud. Cantilever brakes can be a bit tricky to set up but persevere and you’ll get a great set of brakes. Like V-brakes, pads are often cartridge-style – making them quick and easy to change.
If you spend winter weekends getting covered in mud, you may be riding a cyclocross bike with cantilever brakes. The cyclocross scene in the UK has exploded in recent years and whilst many new ‘cross bikes come fitted with disc brakes older models still carry cantilever brakes. Fortunately, at Evans Cycles, we offer plenty of the best cantilever brakes which will provide power and mud clearance.
Mounting points for the straddle cable are getting wider and wider, which offers greater leverage and therefore more power – TRPs Eurox magnesium cantilever brakes might be pricey, but they’re light and powerful, a winning combination. Less expensive, but still effective, are Shimano cantilever brakes.
If you have a road racing bike and want to stop a bit quicker and lose a bit of weight, you could replace your standard caliper brakes with something new.
Road bikes rely on caliper brakes to bring them to a stop, although disc brakes are now becoming popular. However, if your frame is built for caliper brakes there are still options to upgrade these. If you’re looking to go quicker, stopping faster will help and a good pair of brake calipers will give you powerful, reliable stopping power in a wide range of conditions.
Regular Caliper Brakes vs Direct-Mount Caliper Brakes – What is the Difference?
Most bicycle caliper brakes attach via a single bolt either in the frame or on the fork and come as a single unit. Increasingly, though, bikes are coming with direct-mount caliper brakes – where the brake mechanism pivots, with two bolts attaching the brake to the bike. While regular caliper brakes offer ample amounts of power, direct-mount calipers can offer extra power thanks to the additional stiffness afforded by the two mounting points.
If you’re purchasing new caliper brakes for your road bike, check which version your frame/fork will accept. The Shimano Dura-Ace brakes are a good example of direct-mount calipers that work well.
With road tyres getting wider, dropping the wheel out of the frame or fork can lead to the tyre getting stuck between the pads – but most brakes come with a little cam-lever which opens the brake to aid wheel removal – remember to set the cam back in place before you ride off!
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