Brakes and setup
Vbrakes: http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=40910 I've used a lot of "cheap" and "stock" pads, and most of them are about the same, but they tend to be very hard compounds. I had one set of Koolstop salmon off a BMX once, and they worked a bit better than most of the others like Shimano and Avid, and me other brand names I cant' recall just now, but not that much better.
Mostly just making sure the rims are true and adjusting the pads perfectly parallel and close to the surface, and using the *correct* type of brake lever for the type of brake arms used will do quite a lot. Also, using aluminum rims vs steel ones seems to make a huge difference.
The Avid pads and arms Iv'e got on two bikes ATM work quite differnetly simply because of wrong lever on one of them--on CrazyBike2 they're being pulled by a cheap plastic ebrake lever from some ebike kit, and barely work at all, but on the Fusin Test bike they're bien gpulled by a Shimano V-brake/shifter combo lever, and I could probably flip the bike if I squeezed hard and fast enough--I can easily skid it if I squeeze too hard slowly. Same with the cheap Tektro arms/pads on the rear brakes on the same bike. On both, the rims are true enough to put the pads maybe half a millimeter away from teh surface with no brake rub; on CB2 I can't put them evne 1mm away because the rim is that un-true.
I'm sure there are lots of better pads than what I've had, but I'm not sure which would be best. I usually just use whatever came with whatever junk bikes I get from people that don't want anymore.
disk brakes have many advantages over the classic vbrakes are divided into two main category’s cable drawn and hydraulic
Cable Drawn Disk Brakes:
cable drawn disk dose need some adjustment ofer the life of its pads but has many advantages over the clasic vbrakes and other hardend ruber combound rim brakes and include but are not limited to -the ability to stop as well in less then ideal riding conditions eg. wet and or cold conditions do not efect your stopping power note - some caution must be made in these conditions as the ruber in your tires will not proform the same -brakes dont drage or rub if the rim is out of true -disk brake pads last many times longer in most enviroments so that the higher upfront cost of the pad more thant pays for itself
once your rotor is warped and or worn below intended thickness it must be replaced
Hydraulic Disk Brakes:
hydraulic disk brakes have all the advantages of the cable drawn disk over the vbrake style padsand as such i belive only the diferances should be stated so as not to bore readers and or force scimming mechanical stopping power is amplified by a huge amount and the pads do not need to be adjusted over the thier lifespan the amount of mechanical advantage a hydraulic brake system gives you makes stop and go riding in the city less tiring on the riders hands for they do not have to squeeze nearly as hard
one posible downfall of a hydraulic system is that they can develip leaks making the system unuseable so riders must take effert to make sure the lines leading to calipers will not become pinched, snaged, or fretted; They also are considerably harder to maintain or adjust but, once correctly adjusted, rarely need re-adjusting and need almost no maintenance.
(Fretting refers to wear and sometimes corrosion damage at the asperities of contact surfaces. This damage is induced under load and in the presence of repeated relative surface motion, as induced for example by vibration. The ASM Handbook on Fatigue and Fracture defines fretting as: "A special wear process that occurs at the contact area between two materials under load and subject to minute relative motion by vibration or some other force." The amplitude of the relative sliding motion is often in the order from micrometers to millimeters, but can be as low as 3 to 4 nanometers. The contact movement causes mechanical wear and material transfer at the surface, often followed by oxidation of both the metallic debris and the freshly exposed metallic surfaces. Because the oxidized debris is usually much harder than the surfaces from which it came, it often acts as an abrasive agent that increases the rate of both fretting and a mechanical wear called false brinelling.) sorce http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fretting