Monday, May 21, 2012

The Worst Is Over

I don't know how the hell the nut and washer came off of Ginger's front brake assembly, but that's definitely what happened.  I should've known that they were getting loose.  Her front brake suddenly developed a loud squeak that was progressively becoming both more pronounced and lower of pitch.  But whatever; the bike is fixed now.  The squeak is gone and the brakes are working properly.  And to make sure that they stay that way, I used a split lock washer with a nylon-insert locknut to bolt the brake back on the fork.  It's not going anywhere any time soon.  Unfortunately, the bent brake bolt went back on the bike, as that seems to be a particularly difficult piece of hardware to replace.

On a related note, for the past few years, I've been putting Grey Matter brake pads on all of our road bikes.  I think these particular pads are made by Dia Compe.  I buy them because they're very cheap - usually around $2.50 apiece at my LBS.  But when I put new brakes on my Peugeot, they came with two sets of Nashbar road shoes/pads.  I couldn't believe the difference in stopping power.  Now, I can't totally blame the higher quality road pads for the enhanced braking performance; after all, the bike also had brand new calipers and NOS levers.  But I was literally skid-stopping at every stop sign I came to until I got used to the more subtle touch that was required of the new brakes.  I can easily stop my bike with one finger on each lever, which is something that I was never able to do with my Raleigh.  What's more, I have also had repeated troubles with squealing brakes, which is probably due to the softer pad compound of the Grey Matters.

For right now, the machines that have the Grey Matter pads will probably keep them.  But when tune-up time comes around, I'm thinking I'll start swapping out the old pads with some higher quality road shoes/pads.  Then I can compare any difference in braking performance a little more directly.  And besides, a quick browse through some of my favorite online retailers tells me that I can get some harder-compound road pads for around the same price that I've been paying for the Grey Matter pads.   So there's always that.

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