Suburban Assault

Posts Tagged ‘Maintenance

How The Hell Was I Stopping?

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OEM Pads

I’m usually the guy that stays up on things, when it comes to routine maintenance. I change the air filter on my home’s AC religiously. My car never goes too long without an oil change. I even keep up with my software updates on all my computers and electronic devices. How the heck did I overlook something as important as the brakes on my bike?

Part of it was procrastination – it’s hard to find time to ride, let alone time to tool on my bikes. “Just one more season” was my annual excuse. Part of it was lack of knowledge – although bike brakes are one of the few things that I can actually work on, I wasn’t familiar enough with them to know when to change them out. Part of it was not messing with the set up – it took me lots of adjusting to eliminated all the brake squealing. And part of it was me being too cheap – although new pads are inexpensive, I’ve convinced myself to use the current ones until they stopped working.

I didn’t take into account that my braking ability was slowly diminishing over the years – so slowly that I almost didn’t notice. The levers would just get pulled a little tighter and the stopping distance just got a little longer. “Just one more season.”

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) a woman in a car pulled out in front of me and I had to lock the brakes to stop in time. Something snapped. Ironically, it wasn’t the pad that failed, but rather my front brake cable. I guess it’s not so ironic considering how much additional force I’ve been applying to it, over the years, to make up for the lack of pad resistance.

I decided to change out the pads and cables before my next emergency stop. As I was changing everything out, I came to the realization that this was a process that was never done on this particular bike. That’s quite a revelation, considering that it’s my oldest bike – a 1993 Diamondback Apex. Sure, there were some months when it just hung in the garage, but I’ve put a bunch of  miles on this bike over the years. These were the 18 year old OEM brake pads that I was changing out. “Just one more season.”

How the hell was I stopping on these things?

Old OEM Pad

18 Year Old OEM Pad

New Pad

New Pad For Comparison

New and Old

New Vs Old Comparison

New and Old

New Pad Next To An 18 Year Old OEM Pad

Written by dickdavid

July 14, 2011 at 5:57 am