Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

A place to discuss the repair, design, and customization of the bicycle itself, not the powertrain ( battery, controller, motor, etc ).
Post Reply
User avatar
kmxtornado   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 546
Joined: Feb 28 2011 5:43pm
Location: Bay Area
Contact:

Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by kmxtornado » Nov 04 2022 8:28pm

The bike I recently revived from 2011 uses V-brakes. I was thinking about disk brakes but finally decided it's not worth the money for me currently. The only reason I have concern now vs before is b/c I'm taking on my hills since moving and also I've overvolted it to run on 48v so it's got a bit more speed than it used to. I find that stopping from 20mph on flats already takes quite a bit of distance. I've tuned the existing brakes to be as good as they can be but looking to replace them with another set of mechanical v-brakes unless there are other budget options you may recommend.

I did consider switching to disk brakes, but the compatibility even with the various kits that allow me to attach a caliper may not have as much tolerance as I need. Watched several YouTube videos on the disk brake conversion and I'm worried the various measurements may not fit it well. I will not be riding on wet roads.

Any v-brakes you recommend? or perhaps just better performing pads?

Image
Last edited by kmxtornado on Nov 04 2022 9:06pm, edited 1 time in total.
- E-bike conversion: http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 70#p474570
- Build Blog: http://e-bikeconversion.blogspot.com/ (20mph)
- Mini folding scooter: http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... =3&t=33471 (9mph-->13mph)
- Recumbent Trike completed ALC ride from SF to LA: http://kmxtornado.blogspot.com (27mph flats)
- Catrike Speed
- Motorized Ice Chest: http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... 12&t=70650 (13-->22mph)

User avatar
neptronix   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 16221
Joined: Jun 15 2010 5:56pm
Location: Utah, USA
Contact:

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by neptronix » Nov 04 2022 8:38pm

kool-stop salmon pads on vbrakes work fantastically if it isn't easy to fit disc brakes. Expect a +50% to braking if they're properly aligned, your brake handle isn't loose, etc.

If you have mega hills you may be better off with a DD and regen because regen doesn't fade like rubber and metal will on long descents.. won't need disc brakes then, the hub will be doing that extra braking you're looking for. :)
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500 MTB.
Monster MTB: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: Cannondale semi recumbent - under construction.
Blue Dream: Maxaraya FS semi recumbent and high efficiency mid-drive - under construction.

User avatar
kmxtornado   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 546
Joined: Feb 28 2011 5:43pm
Location: Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by kmxtornado » Nov 04 2022 9:07pm

Awesome, thanks for the recommendations! Excuse my ignorance, but what is DD?
- E-bike conversion: http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 70#p474570
- Build Blog: http://e-bikeconversion.blogspot.com/ (20mph)
- Mini folding scooter: http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... =3&t=33471 (9mph-->13mph)
- Recumbent Trike completed ALC ride from SF to LA: http://kmxtornado.blogspot.com (27mph flats)
- Catrike Speed
- Motorized Ice Chest: http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... 12&t=70650 (13-->22mph)

LewTwo   10 MW

10 MW
Posts: 2080
Joined: Apr 08 2014 4:46pm
Location: Houston, Texas
Contact:

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by LewTwo » Nov 04 2022 10:31pm

kmxtornado wrote:
Nov 04 2022 9:07pm
Awesome, thanks for the recommendations! Excuse my ignorance, but what is DD?
DD = "Direct Drive Hub Motor" (as opposed to a geared drive hub motor)
The more I learn the more obvious the immensity of my ignorance becomes.
Weight Wennie E-Bike https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 3#p1173723
Shaft Drive Grocery Getter https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =6&t=90718
...and thanks to Justin!

Hillhater   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 12503
Joined: Aug 03 2010 10:33pm
Location: Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by Hillhater » Nov 05 2022 5:29am

The brakes on that bike in the picture are a very early form of Vbrake, and do not perform well compared to modern V brake designs.
Attachments
85D016DB-5EA3-42A3-829B-8A10D0883528.png
85D016DB-5EA3-42A3-829B-8A10D0883528.png (1.78 MiB) Viewed 583 times
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

Debunker   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 09 2017 4:52pm

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by Debunker » Nov 05 2022 9:15am

Disk brakes are for rich kids, not for road warriors.

A disk brake is more prone to failure, it needs periodical maintenance, change the oil etc... the pads last less and can be contaminated and shit, and the disk can break or deform, also on the Mad Max you will struggle to find replacements.

A e-bike with disc breaks is not the best choice for the apocalipsis.

V-Brakes are simple, easy to repair, need little to no maintenance and you got replacements everywere.

User avatar
e-beach   1 GW

1 GW
Posts: 3386
Joined: Jan 10 2012 9:48pm
Location: Any Los Angeles area beach I am at. Or Santa Monica or possibly the south bay beaches.

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by e-beach » Nov 05 2022 9:52am

I have to tinker with my v-brakes all the time. However, when properly adjusted I can lock-up the back wheel with ease. I never adjust the front wheel to the point of being able to lock up the front tire because it can A) wash out the front end or B) stop the front so fast that you will fly over the handlebars. And, yes, I have done both.

Make sure your rims are always trued so you can get the best out of your v-brakes.

+1 on the kool-stops.

:D :bolt:
Favorite Quotes:
"This is L.A., sugar. There is no 'over the top." Chris Erskine
"At a certain point the entropy wins." Maria Helena Braga

Current Build: ProFlex 757 Expert full suspension. Yescomusa 36v 800w Rear DD, upgraded 10AWG solid core through axle phase wires. 15ah Headway, 1000+ cycles, 80% DOD 30A Tronsung controller.

Past: Trek 4500 Yescomusa 36v 800w front DD.
Liahona, Yescomusa 36v 800w generic front DD.
1992 Trek 800, Yescomusa 800w 36v front DD.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 11092
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by Chalo » Nov 05 2022 10:46am

kmxtornado wrote:
Nov 04 2022 8:28pm
The bike I recently revived from 2011 uses V-brakes. [...] The only reason I have concern now vs before is b/c I'm taking on my hills since moving and also I've overvolted it to run on 48v so it's got a bit more speed than it used to. I find that stopping from 20mph on flats already takes quite a bit of distance.
Those aren't V-brakes (Shimano trademark, generically called "linear pull brakes"). Yours are cantilever brakes, which have a different cable pull ratio and entirely different tuning parameters.

It looks to me like you might have V-brake levers, though. If that's true, the brakes will feel firm (even hard) at the lever, but they won't get a good bite on the rim because of inadequate mechanical advantage.

True V-brakes/linear pull brakes with the correct levers will almost always outperform cantilever brakes, which have a falling mechanical advantage through their stroke.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

JackFlorey   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1379
Joined: Feb 19 2020 7:22pm

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by JackFlorey » Nov 05 2022 11:08am

kmxtornado wrote:
Nov 04 2022 8:28pm
The bike I recently revived from 2011 uses V-brakes. I was thinking about disk brakes but finally decided it's not worth the money for me currently.
Rim brakes vs disk brakes are a religious issue to some people. Both work.

As Chalo mentioned you don't have V-brakes, but you should be able to retrofit them. It will take some cable work.

User avatar
kmxtornado   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 546
Joined: Feb 28 2011 5:43pm
Location: Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by kmxtornado » Nov 05 2022 2:50pm

I wanted to follow up so you know you're not responding to a ghost. Thanks guys for correcting my reference of v brakes when I actually in fact have cantilever brakes. My mistake. Thanks for the recommendation and feedback on replacement pads.

I now have Kool-Stop Salmon composites. Gotta love Amazon. Next day shipping. Raining so will wait until it’a dry out to get a test run. Boy are they ugly, but maybe that'll keep the thieves away.

Image
- E-bike conversion: http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 70#p474570
- Build Blog: http://e-bikeconversion.blogspot.com/ (20mph)
- Mini folding scooter: http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... =3&t=33471 (9mph-->13mph)
- Recumbent Trike completed ALC ride from SF to LA: http://kmxtornado.blogspot.com (27mph flats)
- Catrike Speed
- Motorized Ice Chest: http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... 12&t=70650 (13-->22mph)

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 11092
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by Chalo » Nov 05 2022 7:32pm

The red iron oxide filler gives those pads higher coefficient of friction, longer wear, less rim abrasion, and better wet braking than black pads. Kool Stop wasn't the first to make red oxide pads-- Scott Mathauser red pads were crème de la crème in the '80s-- but KS Salmon pads are unexcelled today.

Having an opinion about the color of brake pad material is like having an opinion about the color of tire tread rubber. It's not accidental, and it's not there for cosmetic reasons.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

circuitsmith   1 W

1 W
Posts: 63
Joined: Feb 27 2008 6:36pm

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by circuitsmith » Nov 07 2022 4:08pm

DIsk brakes on mountain bikes are like low profile tires and big rims on cars: fashion over function.
I'm using black Kool Stops on the front of my Schwinn Frontier, the red are too sensitive with the Bafang levers.
Two tone KS on the rear.
P1020072.jpg
P1020072.jpg (4.16 MiB) Viewed 401 times

User avatar
jordison   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 38
Joined: Dec 29 2013 12:47pm
Location: EU

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by jordison » Nov 21 2022 9:38pm

I also have vbrakes, but I changed the front one to Magura hs33, they'r hydraulic, powerful and adjusting them is very easy

JackFlorey   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1379
Joined: Feb 19 2020 7:22pm

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by JackFlorey » Nov 22 2022 12:28am

circuitsmith wrote:
Nov 07 2022 4:08pm
DIsk brakes on mountain bikes are like low profile tires and big rims on cars: fashion over function.
I have caliper brakes on my folding bike which I keep at work for trips at lunch. They work . . . OK.
I have V-brakes on my road bike. They work great. Only downside is that there's an extra step when I remove the front wheel, which I do often for transport.
My first serious ebike used a front 160mm disk and rear cantilever brakes. (Hub motors didn't have disk mounts back then.) Also worked great. The rear brakes didn't have a lot of power, but for rear brakes you don't need as much power.
My current ebike - a heavily modified RadBike - has two 180mm disks. They also work great.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 11092
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by Chalo » Nov 23 2022 12:05pm

jordison wrote:
Nov 21 2022 9:38pm
I also have vbrakes, but I changed the front one to Magura hs33, they'r hydraulic, powerful and adjusting them is very easy
I used Magura hydraulic rim brakes in the early '90s. They were strong, but not stronger than my Scott Pedersen or Suntour Self Energizing cantilevers at the time. I gave them up for a few reasons: They were fussier to disconnect for wheel removal than cable brakes, bleeding them was an annoying chore, and I wasn't fond of the lever (but couldn't change it to something better).

It seems to me that lots of people prefer hydraulic brakes just because they're hydraulic. But I think hydraulics are a nuisance, and I only tolerate them if they have some major functional advantage-- which bicycle hydraulic brakes do not.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

CONSIDERABLE SHOUTING   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 677
Joined: Jun 15 2019 8:40pm

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by CONSIDERABLE SHOUTING » Nov 24 2022 2:45pm

Chalo wrote:
Nov 23 2022 12:05pm
It seems to me that lots of people prefer hydraulic brakes just because they're hydraulic. But I think hydraulics are a nuisance, and I only tolerate them if they have some major functional advantage-- which bicycle hydraulic brakes do not.
Probably also because, they see/hear hydraulic brakes are the types on cars, and think "Oh! It must brake better because cars are heavier!"

I'm a newbie, but frankly I can't see a scenario where you'd want hydraulics on a bike. Cars have tons of trick ways to exert more braking force, but we don't.

User avatar
tomjasz   10 GW

10 GW
Posts: 4917
Joined: Mar 29 2014 1:45pm
Location: Out riding, MN USA
Contact:

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by tomjasz » Nov 24 2022 4:21pm

Chalo wrote:
Nov 23 2022 12:05pm


I used Magura hydraulic rim brakes in the early '90s. They were strong, but not stronger than my Scott Pedersen or Suntour Self Energizing cantilevers at the time. I gave them up for a few reasons: They were fussier to disconnect for wheel removal than cable brakes, bleeding them was an annoying chore, and I wasn't fond of the lever (but couldn't change it to something better).

It seems to me that lots of people prefer hydraulic brakes just because they're hydraulic. But I think hydraulics are a nuisance, and I only tolerate them if they have some major functional advantage-- which bicycle hydraulic brakes do not.
Are these Suntour SE XC Pedersen still a good option? I bought a set of Magura rim brakes but find the messing with fluid a PIA. The instructions are so much more complex than I really want to get. Someone will get a good deal...

EDIT seems Suntour SE XC are only available used. SO, next best?
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 11092
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Am I an idiot for using V-brakes?

Post by Chalo » Nov 25 2022 11:14am

tomjasz wrote:
Nov 24 2022 4:21pm
Chalo wrote:
Nov 23 2022 12:05pm
I used Magura hydraulic rim brakes in the early '90s. They were strong, but not stronger than my Scott Pedersen or Suntour Self Energizing cantilevers at the time.
Are these Suntour SE XC Pedersen still a good option? I bought a set of Magura rim brakes but find the messing with fluid a PIA. The instructions are so much more complex than I really want to get. Someone will get a good deal...

EDIT seems Suntour SE XC are only available used. SO, next best?
The various Pedersen SE brakes (Scott, Suntour, and later Tektro) were as potent as cantilever brakes ever got, and the best available before Shimano introduced V-brakes. But good linear pull brakes with the right levers and pads are just as strong as SE brakes were, and less temperamental. For better lever feel and maybe even more bite, you can add a booster arch to stiffen the pivots.

If you can't get more braking power than you can stick to the ground with something like Avid Single Digit 7, Speed Dial levers, Kool Stop pads, and a booster, then there's a problem with the cable or adjustment. (Or you're running a heavy multi-passenger pedicab.) You can turn up the gain with long blade levers if grip strength is a limiting factor.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

Post Reply