Disc brake help

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Disc brake help
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Posted: Dec 19, 2019 at 0:27 Quote
So through doing som research I have learned that there are several ways to increase the power of your brakes on a budget by proper set up rather than just buying a new brake set. Presently I have have very little disposable cash for new brakes since my wife and I just had our first baby so I am looking for the budget options such as new brake pads and potentially new rotors to get the most out of what I have.

Details on new pads seems to be pretty easy to come by (although please leave pad recommendations if you have some) but I am trying to learn about rotors. Other than the rotor size are there different materials that they are made out of that improve performance or is there a standard material that the disc as machines out of?

Any tips are appreciated!

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 at 0:32 Quote
For reference my present set up IsTektro M275 Hydraulic disc brakes on a 2019 Marin San Quentin 2 hardtail.

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 at 1:38 Quote
PDX050 wrote:
So through doing som research I have learned that there are several ways to increase the power of your brakes on a budget by proper set up rather than just buying a new brake set. Presently I have have very little disposable cash for new brakes since my wife and I just had our first baby so I am looking for the budget options such as new brake pads and potentially new rotors to get the most out of what I have.

Details on new pads seems to be pretty easy to come by (although please leave pad recommendations if you have some) but I am trying to learn about rotors. Other than the rotor size are there different materials that they are made out of that improve performance or is there a standard material that the disc as machines out of?

Any tips are appreciated!
Ice-tech from Shimano is suppose to be improvement over standard rotor - but rotor size will be probably most important in your budget upgrade. Along with metallic pads.

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 14:05 Quote
x2. Your best improvement will come from rotor size, rather than material; this affects the leverage placed onto your hub by the same amount of friction at the pad, and it is significant.
Secondly, metallic pads have a healthier "bite" when you first apply the brakes. Couple that with a quality rotor and you'll get the best friction results.
Finally, don't forget the small details: make sure your brakes are properly bled so you don't have power-robbing air bubbles in the line and make sure your pads have plenty of material remaining so you get good performance in the initial part of your lever travel.

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 14:34 Quote
Falcon991 wrote:
x2. Your best improvement will come from rotor size, rather than material; this affects the leverage placed onto your hub by the same amount of friction at the pad, and it is significant.
Secondly, metallic pads have a healthier "bite" when you first apply the brakes. Couple that with a quality rotor and you'll get the best friction results.
Finally, don't forget the small details: make sure your brakes are properly bled so you don't have power-robbing air bubbles in the line and make sure your pads have plenty of material remaining so you get good performance in the initial part of your lever travel.


Thank you so much for the response, something I’ve noticed with rotors is that they range in cost anywhere from cheap $20 to way up there. Any differences between those other than branding costs?

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 14:35 Quote
changing my rotor size rfom 180 to 203 helped me incredibly

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 14:58 Quote
PDX050 wrote:
Thank you so much for the response, something I’ve noticed with rotors is that they range in cost anywhere from cheap $20 to way up there. Any differences between those other than branding costs?

Yes, but not necessarily due to cost.

Super light rotors generally have less friction, produce more wear on brake pads, don't last as long, and can have issues with heat.


A more conventional design with plenty of material at the outer edge will perform better, for a given size, and sometimes the weight is surprisingly similar to the "super light" models.


Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 15:27 Quote
yeah thats fair, one of my mates went from 180's to 203's aswell, but got really good rotors, and he has significantly more power than me, who got the cheapest 203's I could. Brakes are not somewhere you want to short out on, right now, I don't have a rear brake, it doesnt work at all

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 16:14 Quote
traqs wrote:
yeah thats fair, one of my mates went from 180's to 203's aswell, but got really good rotors, and he has significantly more power than me, who got the cheapest 203's I could. Brakes are not somewhere you want to short out on, right now, I don't have a rear brake, it doesnt work at all

There's not necessarily anything wrong with cheap rotors. If there's plenty of swept area, there should be plenty of friction.

One consideration I forgot to mention: Some rotors are hardened and some are not. The latter can have more friction, but will wear quickly, especially with "sintered" / "metallic" pads.

Note: All pads have some metal and some non-metallic material, so the terms "organic" or "sintered" / "metallic" refer to "somewhat less metal content" and "somewhat more metal content".

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 16:17 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
traqs wrote:
yeah thats fair, one of my mates went from 180's to 203's aswell, but got really good rotors, and he has significantly more power than me, who got the cheapest 203's I could. Brakes are not somewhere you want to short out on, right now, I don't have a rear brake, it doesnt work at all

There's not necessarily anything wrong with cheap rotors. If there's plenty of swept area, there should be plenty of friction.

One consideration I forgot to mention: Some rotors are hardened and some are not. The latter can have more friction, but will wear quickly, especially with "sintered" / "metallic" pads.

Note: All pads have some metal and some non-metallic material, so the terms "organic" or "sintered" / "metallic" refer to "somewhat less metal content" and "somewhat more metal content".


Okay cool. So what are some cheap/good rotors that you guys would recommend?

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 16:21 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
traqs wrote:
yeah thats fair, one of my mates went from 180's to 203's aswell, but got really good rotors, and he has significantly more power than me, who got the cheapest 203's I could. Brakes are not somewhere you want to short out on, right now, I don't have a rear brake, it doesnt work at all

There's not necessarily anything wrong with cheap rotors. If there's plenty of swept area, there should be plenty of friction.

One consideration I forgot to mention: Some rotors are hardened and some are not. The latter can have more friction, but will wear quickly, especially with "sintered" / "metallic" pads.

Note: All pads have some metal and some non-metallic material, so the terms "organic" or "sintered" / "metallic" refer to "somewhat less metal content" and "somewhat more metal content".

yeah that is my mistake, I forgot to include that the rotors I have do not have very much braking surface, and are extremly flimsy, which causes the pads to rub slightly every time the wheel moves, causing uneven residue deposition on each side of the rotor leading to an un-reliable breaking surface

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 16:29 Quote
traqs wrote:
yeah that is my mistake, I forgot to include that the rotors I have do not have very much braking surface, and are extremly flimsy, which causes the pads to rub slightly every time the wheel moves, causing uneven residue deposition on each side of the rotor leading to an un-reliable breaking surface

I'm not sure about that diagnosis.

Even a terribly wobbly rotor applies only a tiny fraction as much force when it rubs as when you apply the brakes. If the force was comparable, it would slow you down comparably to applying the brakes. There's going to be essentially zero deposition from the rubbing.

Similarly, when you apply the brakes, the pistons can move a little and the rotor can flex, so the forces during braking on a straight rotor vs. a wobbly rotor are essentially identical.

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 18:28 Quote
i stand corrected, thank you for the more clarified approach

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 18:47 Quote
Try sanding the pads to remove the surface glaze; for the rotor, either sand them with fine sandpaper or give them a good scrubbing with steel wool or Scotchbrite. You'll be starting from scratch and, with a proper break-in, they ought to be as good as any others.

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 at 19:28 Quote
awesome, will give it a shot. thank you

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