Brakes Not Braking

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Brakes Not Braking

Postby kaysee » May 15th, 2013, 10:10 pm

I have a pretty new bike. Rode it about 15 times. It has Elixir 7 hydro brakes.

It was working great and then yesterday, all of a sudden, the rear brake had no stopping power. The pads closed on the rotor, but it just seems like they are not 'grabbing' it at all. If I hold the brake all the way in, it takes little force to push the bike and have the rear wheel roll.

The only thing that I did was apply a spray lube to my chain between rides. MAYBE it is possible that I got some on the rotor, But I wiped down the rotor and the pads real good with a dry rag today and still had the same problem.

I'm new to hydro brakes, but I didn't think that I would need to bleed the lines or anything so soon. The tension on the brake level feels normal as well

Any thoughts on this lack of stopping power?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby c0nsumer » May 15th, 2013, 11:27 pm

I'd wager you got some on the rotor, and just wiping oil won't get it off. You probably contaminated your pads as well. Pull the pads and wheel, and clean them both liberally with 99% isopropyl alcohol, then bed them in again. You may still have to replace the pads.

There's no need for spray lube, just get something in a drip bottle and put one drop on each roller, pedal backwards for a while to work it in, let it sit, then thoroughly wipe off the outside of the chain.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby ibisman » May 16th, 2013, 5:48 am

What he said. You can use brake clean on the pads and rotor. It's in the automotive section at K-mart etc.sometimes it will fix the pads.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby Sortaslow » May 16th, 2013, 7:00 am

Sometimes contaminated pads are simply done for. You can't always clean them successfully.

Time to visit disco brakes.
These will cost less than the can of brake cleaner. ;-)
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby c0nsumer » May 16th, 2013, 7:34 am

Sortaslow wrote:Sometimes contaminated pads are simply done for. You can't always clean them successfully.

Time to visit disco brakes.
These will cost less than the can of brake cleaner. ;-)


uselesspickles had a good suggestion for me: clean then with alcohol (NOT BRAKE CLEANER), then hit the pad material quickly with a torch to burn off any organics left on the surface.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby iamkickstand » May 16th, 2013, 7:45 am

c0nsumer wrote:
Sortaslow wrote:Sometimes contaminated pads are simply done for. You can't always clean them successfully.

Time to visit disco brakes.
These will cost less than the can of brake cleaner. ;-)


uselesspickles had a good suggestion for me: clean then with alcohol (NOT BRAKE CLEANER), then hit the pad material quickly with a torch to burn off any organics left on the surface.

Both of these suggestions.

Nothing is wrong with your brakes (from the sounds of things) which is good because we all know hydraulic brakes are expensive. You may need new pads, but you can try these suggestions first.

Good luck.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby bikerector » May 16th, 2013, 7:58 am

After cleaning the pads, seems like sanding some the the brake pad off for some fresh material might help some too. Not nearly as much material on mtb pads as motorcycle pads but might help save the pads if just leaning them doesn't work. Just need to freshen up the surface, no need to sand it to sand it to nothingness. I've done this with canti's for cx that had sand imbedded in them, I feel this would apply to mtb disc brakes as well as the lube residue shouldn't make it's way into the pad, just mess up the surface a little.

Pads are pretty cheap too so getting a pair is a whole lot better than a new brake system.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby iamkickstand » May 17th, 2013, 7:18 am

bikerector wrote:After cleaning the pads, seems like sanding some the the brake pad off for some fresh material might help some too. Not nearly as much material on mtb pads as motorcycle pads but might help save the pads if just leaning them doesn't work. Just need to freshen up the surface, no need to sand it to sand it to nothingness. I've done this with canti's for cx that had sand imbedded in them, I feel this would apply to mtb disc brakes as well as the lube residue shouldn't make it's way into the pad, just mess up the surface a little.

Pads are pretty cheap too so getting a pair is a whole lot better than a new brake system.

The only problem with this is that our braking/friction material is so thin that typically you don't just contaminate the top surface it soaks all the way in like a sponge.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby bikerector » May 17th, 2013, 8:44 am

iamkickstand wrote:
bikerector wrote:After cleaning the pads, seems like sanding some the the brake pad off for some fresh material might help some too. Not nearly as much material on mtb pads as motorcycle pads but might help save the pads if just leaning them doesn't work. Just need to freshen up the surface, no need to sand it to sand it to nothingness. I've done this with canti's for cx that had sand imbedded in them, I feel this would apply to mtb disc brakes as well as the lube residue shouldn't make it's way into the pad, just mess up the surface a little.

Pads are pretty cheap too so getting a pair is a whole lot better than a new brake system.

The only problem with this is that our braking/friction material is so thin that typically you don't just contaminate the top surface it soaks all the way in like a sponge.


I was thinking that it wouldn't really soak in but just sit at the surface, or at least most of it. Admittedly, the other suggestions are probably better, I was trying to give another option.

For what new brake pads cost ($15 retail for serfas), I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time trying to fix it personally. Maybe one or two easy efforts, after that, new pads. I'm lazy though, so that should be taken into account.
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Re: Brakes Not Braking

Postby iamkickstand » May 17th, 2013, 9:30 am

bikerector wrote:
iamkickstand wrote:
bikerector wrote:After cleaning the pads, seems like sanding some the the brake pad off for some fresh material might help some too. Not nearly as much material on mtb pads as motorcycle pads but might help save the pads if just leaning them doesn't work. Just need to freshen up the surface, no need to sand it to sand it to nothingness. I've done this with canti's for cx that had sand imbedded in them, I feel this would apply to mtb disc brakes as well as the lube residue shouldn't make it's way into the pad, just mess up the surface a little.

Pads are pretty cheap too so getting a pair is a whole lot better than a new brake system.

The only problem with this is that our braking/friction material is so thin that typically you don't just contaminate the top surface it soaks all the way in like a sponge.


I was thinking that it wouldn't really soak in but just sit at the surface, or at least most of it. Admittedly, the other suggestions are probably better, I was trying to give another option.

For what new brake pads cost ($15 retail for serfas), I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time trying to fix it personally. Maybe one or two easy efforts, after that, new pads. I'm lazy though, so that should be taken into account.

pads are super cheap, discopads.com or whatever website was suggested earlier in the thread is fantastic.

Want to talk about cheap? I buy new pads and save my old ones for back ups, then run the new ones down to nothing, order new pads and run the back ups down to nothing before switching to the new pads....I have a whole bucket filled with pads that still have "some life" left in them :mrgreen:
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