Losing Pads – Avid Mechanical Disc Brakes
Update:6/19/08 Lost another pad. This time the local bike shop adjusted my brakes. I had a flat and when I fixed it the one of the pads must have fallen out. It was obvious when I had no rear brakes. Take away – always carry a spare set of pads while touring.
On Monday, I finally figured out why I have been losing disc pads on my Slipstream and it is my fault. The problem is being set up when I improperly adjust the brakes.
Avid’s Instruction for Installing and Adjusting Brakes in PDF format can be found at Avid Brakes or you can use the better illustrated instructions from the Park Tool Site. The process is simple and easy, almost fun-to-do. I can’t believe it is not working well for me.
This was a real problem on my Northwest tour. I lost the front pads and only had rear brakes from Yelm to Hood River. This was a pisser, after a hot night of savage camping with no dinner, I discover that I have 2 broken spokes on the rear wheel. After fixing the broken spokes and riding for a while, I notice that the I am also missing front brake pads. This is no way to start a day and no way to descend steep hills fully loaded.
After the mechanic in Hood River adjusted my brakes after installing a new wheel, I couldn’t believe how well they worked. I apparently had not done a very good job of setting them up originally. When properly adjusted, these Avid Mechanical Brakes are a thing of beauty. They just work great.
The Avid are very easy to adjust but I have been having a devil of a time getting them right. I finally figured out that I have been doing two things wrong.
1. I haven’t been holding the body in against the mount when I tighten the pads against the disc. The result is that when I tighten the mounting bolts the mechanism tilts.
2. I have also been turning the inside adjustment knob in the wrong direction. It is a standard right hand screw but reaching around and turning it from the back, I’ve occasionally gotten the direction reversed. This is the most serious problem because it leaves the pad hanging loose instead of pulled in against the brake body. The result is that the next time I take the wheel out the pad falls out. I discovered this last week in my drive way after changing tires and tubes.
3. I also need to be sure to work the brake lever after every adjustment to let the pads seat and recheck before I say I am done.
I still have a long way to go before I can adjust these brakes as well as the mechanic at Discover Bicycling in Hood River, so if you have any suggestions please share them.
BTW, I’ve added spare brake pads to my list of items I carry on Tours.