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Weird Noise and Brake Issue
#1
I've had a problem with my bike for awhile. I'm pretty sure it has a simple solution, but I don't know much about bike repair. I've searched awhile hoping to find a solution, but it's hard when you don't know the exact terms for the bike.

My problem deals with the brakes. There's no problem peddling, but when I hit the break the bike doesn't stop immediately like it should. It skids for a second or so after i hit the brake. There's also an annoying screechy sound when I hit the break. I'm sure it has to do with the mechanics that clamps down on the tire, but I can't be sure.

What do I need to do to fix this? Is it a simple repair or do I need to take it to a bike shop to get looked at?
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#2
The screechy sound should be cured by "toeing in" the brake pads. How you do that varies a little between different types of brakes so I won't get in to specifics. (Cleaning the rims, sanding the brake pads, or putting on new pads also sometimes fix it.)

As to how they stop...you say they "skid" for a second or two. If the tires are skidding (actually stop rotating) then the brakes are plenty strong. In fact, skidding means you are applying TOO MUCH breaking power. You slow down fastest at the point just before the tires start to skid. Once they start skidding, you actually take longer to slow down. It takes a little practice to get the right balance. But it's worth purposely practicing this so you can do it automatically in a panic stop.

Note also that cheap/old tires will tend to skid easier than new, better quality tires because the rubber tends to be harder and more slippery.

But if this is not the problem you are having, please go in to more detail.
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#3
Ahh. This is where the issue of knowing terms comes in. By skidding, I meant that the tires keep turning a bit after i hit the brake. I just went and gave it a second look. It seems like the front brakes are much stronger than the back brakes. If I'm correct (which I may not be), the brakes are supposed to be stronger in the back so you dont flip off your bike. Me and my dad checked out the brakes, and they seem to be clamping down properly. However, the back brakes still don't seem to be stopping the bike like they should

Any more suggestions?? I'm not really sure what other information is important.
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#4
Actually, the front brakes have almost twice the stopping power of the rear brakes (all other things being equal). This is just due to physics and not a decision by bike makers. That said, there could be many reasons why one or both brakes aren't working as well as they could. Any decent rear brake should be able to lock up the rear wheel and make it skid. (As you state, you don't want that to happen on the front, though it is harder to achieve). Cheap, low-end brakes may not be able to lock up the rear wheel.

Most obvious issues for weak brakes are old pads or brakes adjusted too loose so you can't pull the lever all the way because it hits your hand or the bars. Note that brake pads get hard and slippery over time even if there is still lots of rubber left. Also, better quality pads are better than cheap ones. Kool Stop Salmon's seems to be what everyone recommends.

There's other issues that can affect brake performance, but I'd start there.

And read this and go practice your panic stops. Shifting your weight around on the bike will make a BIG difference in how fast you can stop and turn.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
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#5
What type of bicycle and brakes do you have?

Side pull brakes, common on road bikes, light and compact, but not particularly powerful:
[Image: BR7266.jpg]


Center pull brakes, more powerful than side pull, these used to be popular on tourers, but have mostly replaced by more powerful cantilever and V brakes these days:
[Image: 20031003-front-brake-m.jpg]


Cantilever brakes, found on early mountain bikes and still used on cyclo cross bikes. They are powerful if well set up, but are fiddly to get right and need a fair amount of toe-in to work well and not squeal.
[Image: shimanor550brake2.jpg]


V brakes, or direct pull brakes. These are quite simple to set up and powerfull, popular on mountain bikes, although disc brakes have largely replaced them recently.
[Image: V-brakes.jpg]
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#6
[quote='rynloo' pid='8893' dateline='1278618433']
I've had a problem with my bike for awhile. I'm pretty sure it has a simple solution, but I don't know much about bike repair. I've searched awhile hoping to find a solution, but it's hard when you don't know the exact terms for the bike.

My problem deals with the brakes. There's no problem peddling, but when I hit the break the bike doesn't stop immediately like it should. It skids for a second or so after i hit the brake. There's also an annoying screechy sound when I hit the break. I'm sure it has to do with the mechanics that clamps down on the tire, but I can't be sure.

What do I need to do to fix this? Is it a simple repair or do I need to take it to a bike shop to get looked at?
[/quote
it sounds like your back rim can be a little bent and the screeching is normal it's just the sounds of the brakes breaking in to the bike . just like when a engine brakes in to a car same thing with brakes . depending on how often you use the brakes will depend on when the screeching will go . you should check your back rim and see if it's a little bent . if its not there could be something on your rim thats causing it so brake a little harder. if not it could be your brake pads . you should go to your nearest bike shop and let them check it out a bit and give them a 1-2 dollar tip so if next time you come you might get a really good deal. good luck with your bike
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#7
Make sure your pads aren't worn, there isn't any rocks or debris lodged in the mechanism, etc. Up here in Chicago, salt tends to get stuck on my disc causing this. Scares the hell out of anyone within 1000 ft of you too.
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