Hopefully people won't mind me asking a stupid question! I have a problem with my brakes on my bike (Trek Lexa). I got the bike about 3 months ago and i'm still getting used to it. I thought the brakes seemed very tight to use so when I was getting it serviced I mentioned that. But they said they were positioned as close as they could be. It actually hurts to use the use the brakes. I know I am probably holding on for dear life (Im a new cyclist!) but I find them almost unusable. I have asked a second opinion of my husband (Michael) and he says they are tight too. So the question is will they just loosen up and I should just work through the pain or has anyone ever had a similar problem and hopefully a solution! The brakes are Shimano Claris which after googling seems to be the very basic standard in brakes. Any help much appreciated. Don't think I can do a Tri without getting this sorted. I need to up the KMs without feeling like i'm breaking my hands! And here was me thinking swimming was going to be the problem...
The levers will move more as the brake blocks wear down a little but I am going to guess that the problem you have is two-fold:
The brake material is a bit hard
Your grip is not strong enough with the levers where they are
Both are easily explored, I may have some brake blocks you could try out and I'd be happy to slacken the cables a tad to see if you can get a better grip of the levers.
My guess is brake material however. I replaced the originals on my bike which were a bit worn and nearly went over the bars when I realised how bad/hard the material compound was. Let me know if I can help?
That makes sense, Michael loosened the brake lock (I have no idea on bike terms, but the semi-circle over the wheel that I open to take off the wheel) and the brake levers were more easily squeezed! Would most people just wait for the bike to loosen? Is it worth while bringing it back to the shop and asking to replace brakes or brake material or something like that?
Thanks a million for your help! I know nothing about bikes, turns out they are as complicated as cars. I might have to sign up for some bike maintenance courses.
Well if Michael opened the quick-release on your calipers and you still don't feel confident braking I would tend to think the pads are a bit hard. I have a set of soft inserts which you are welcome to try out, changing them only takes a couple of mins, we can do a tutorial session with Michael!
Many brake pads slide into a cartridge on the brake caliper. If you can check the brake cartridge and confirm that there is a little screw on the cartridge behind the caliper arm then the pads I have will work and are free.
Thanks very much! I'll bring it back to the shopped armed with all this information and I won't feel so dim. Thanks everyone so much. I didn't want to sound like a crazy person making up imaginary problems/excuses with my bike.
If you are running a bike maintenance course, whoever runs it will have their work cut out with me!
Thanks Gary, i'll see how I get on with the shop first and then I will let you know.