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  1. #1
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    Amount of lever pull for road disk brakes.

    So, Iíve ridden my Litespeed bike with disc brakes (Shimano 9120) several times now, and I canít get used to how far I have to pull the levers in order to get the brakes to work. I would have expected them to function similarly to rim brakes, where short lever pulls create enough stopping power. The disc brakes arenít mushy. I re-bled them and once the pads hit the rotors, they feel firm and stop very well. I just have to pull the lever quite a bit for the pads to hit the rotors. It just seems like the gap between pads and rotor is too much. For both front and rear.

    I never had this experience with MTB disc brakes. Are road discs supposed to be this way?

  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Yes...

    Your fingers are stronger when they're closer to the bars. You have better control over modulating the brakes when you have more lever travel. It is possible to change it so there's not as much travel but you run into problems w/ pad rub on the rotor. You can also adjust the position of the lever so the it starts further away from the bar if your hands/fingers are big enough.
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  3. #3
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    I have a feeling about where this thread is about to go.

    Before the thread degrades into another disc brakes vs rim brake thread, go read OP's old posts. OP may not be the best mechanic. Don't let his opinions and experiences inform one's opinion of discs.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    I have a feeling about where this thread is about to go.

    Before the thread degrades into another disc brakes vs rim brake thread, go read OP's old posts. OP may not be the best mechanic. Don't let his opinions and experiences inform one's opinion of discs.
    Do you have any idea what an a**hole you have to be to go out of your way to respond to a simple question by insulting the person asking it?

    Seriously dude, Iím curious: when was the last time youíve been laid?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Yes...

    Your fingers are stronger when they're closer to the bars. You have better control over modulating the brakes when you have more lever travel. It is possible to change it so there's not as much travel but you run into problems w/ pad rub on the rotor. You can also adjust the position of the lever so the it starts further away from the bar if your hands/fingers are big enough.
    What youíre saying about hand strength makes perfect sense, but I think there are two problems with your explanation:

    1. We spend most of our time riding with our hands on the hoods. A long lever throw like this makes braking with your hands on the hoods markedly harder.

    2. Why doesnít your argument apply to rim brakes? Iíve ridden many road bikes with rim brakes and they all require less lever pull.

    I do know I can adjust the lever reach and the free stroke and this will help, but Iíve never been a big fan of making adjustments like these if thereís another problem. Or, again, maybe it was intended by Shimano to be that way.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post

    2. Why doesnít your argument apply to rim brakes? Iíve ridden many road bikes with rim brakes and they all require less lever pull.

    .
    Fwiw, it applies to any squeezed lever. It's how hands work, not the brake.

    I set up caliper brakes with some dead space too. Personal preference.



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  7. #7
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    They do tend to have more travel on my bike too - but I can lock up the wheels easily on dry pavement before the lever hits the bars so I've just learned to be comfortable with it. You probably will be too the more you ride the bike.
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  8. #8
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    Freestroke adjustment

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    1. We spend most of our time riding with our hands on the hoods. A long lever throw like this makes braking with your hands on the hoods markedly harder.
    Seriously? I would say I have better control with a longer throw.

    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    2. Why doesnít your argument apply to rim brakes? Iíve ridden many road bikes with rim brakes and they all require less lever pull.
    Rim brakes are set up with a shorter pull because they NEED to be in order to stop the bike sufficiently. Disc brakes have stronger stopping power and better modulation, so a longer throw as possible while still being able to stop on a dime. You really would not want to set up brakes with that kind of stopping power with a shorter throw.
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  10. #10
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    I agree with Wasp, long throw play is annoying.
    I want short throw, minimal play, hit the brakes and your stopping.
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  11. #11
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    I agree with Wasp, long throw play is annoying.
    I want short throw, minimal play, hit the brakes and your stopping.
    The legions of engineers and testers at Shimano as well as SRAM and all other companies making disc brakes disagree with you two. Brakes that work like an on/off switch are harder to control.
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  12. #12
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    I have my Di2 levers set as close to the bars as possible and run rim brakes as tight on the wheel as possible, if disks can't do that, put that on the s**t list!

    I have short fingers... but my hands are a .... average... or bigger!
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    I want short throw, minimal play, hit the brakes and your stopping.
    me too! my rim brake bikes all have a short throw. that would really bug me if i couldn't adjust a disc brake in the same way.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    me too! my rim brake bikes all have a short throw. that would really bug me if i couldn't adjust a disc brake in the same way.

    See post #8

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Freestroke adjustment
    Maybe you tell Wasp what is up.... I know you don't want too though.
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  16. #16
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    I have my Di2 levers set as close to the bars as possible and run rim brakes as tight on the wheel as possible, if disks can't do that, put that on the s**t list!

    I have short fingers... but my hands are a .... average... or bigger!
    Lever set up is obviously a personal choice but having minimal lever movement to control the brake is going to tire your hands sooner and you won't have as much control compared to having more lever travel, it's just not possible. It's like having a volume knob that goes 1-5-10 instead of having one that goes 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    I have my Di2 levers set as close to the bars as possible and run rim brakes as tight on the wheel as possible, if disks can't do that, put that on the s**t list!
    I used to do that too. One time, 20+ years ago I was descending a mountain (think 40 mph for 20 minutes), had my hands over the top of the hoods at one point and hit an unexpected bump. That made my left hand hit the brake lever and just about lifted my rear wheel off the ground.

  18. #18
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    When I first got a CX bike with canti's I though the increased distance of pull between feather and locking 'em up as compared to my DA road set up sucked. Then when I started riding my CX bike for what a CX bike is designed for I thought it was great.

    In other words it's pretty easy to finesse a real short pull amount on asphalt to get whatever power you want. Not so much bombing down a rutted gravel road. You need room for error there.

    But that doesn't answer the question. As CX already said, yes, you can set up your brakes to start working sooner in the pull. You still have pads being squeezed on to a wheel. Same concept at regular rim brakes.

  19. #19
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    I put my first set of hydraulic road discs on a bike over the weekend. Mine are the same. They firm up about halfway through the lever travel and can be squeezed almost to the bar. It's different than my MTB hydraulic brakes or any mechanical road brake that I've used, but I got used to it after a few miles.

    If you want the pads closer and have less lever travel, another trick is to take out the wheel and pull the brake a couple of times. This will get the pads closer to the rotor. Just don't do it so much that the pistons fall out. I haven't done it myself, but this is a common suggestion that I see to the mushy lever complaint.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    It's like having a volume knob that goes 1-5-10 instead of having one that goes 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.
    Very good analogy, CX! And if you're old enough, it's also like comparing a car with manual drum brakes to a modern car with 4-wheel power disc brakes. Why would you choose less modulation?

    That being said, my 6800 rim brakes have better modulation than my older rim brakes, but still not as good as my 105 hydraulic disc brakes.
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  21. #21
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    What you're talking about is "dead stroke". I have very little experience with road discs but a lot with MTB discs. Dead stroke is a combination of 2 things: How far the pads sit from the rotors and how far the master piston sits from the bypass port. Some brakes have an adjustment for the latter and some are designed for more pad clearance. With Shimano MTB brakes excessive dead stroke is sometimes a problem and there's a temporary solution: Overfilling the brake. Basically you bleed them with the pistons pushed out a little extra. This reduces pad/rotor clearance but they'll feel fantastic. As the pads wear they'll usually go back to having more clearance/dead stroke since that's governed by the slave piston o-rings. Many MTBers like their levers close to the bar with minimal dead stroke so all the lever stroke is between pad contact and lockup.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    What you're talking about is "dead stroke".
    Yup. That's what he's talking about. And it's quite large on road disc. At least the first models. I haven't tried the newer ones.
    On my bars, if I don't reduce the dead stroke, the levers hit the bars before full braking.

    With Shimano MTB brakes excessive dead stroke is sometimes a problem and there's a temporary solution: Overfilling the brake. Basically you bleed them with the pistons pushed out a little extra. This reduces pad/rotor clearance but they'll feel fantastic.
    This works good. I've developed undersized bleed blocks so you don't have to use shims.

    https://www.shapeways.com/product/A9...leed-block-5mm
    https://www.shapeways.com/product/NN...leed-block-1mm
    https://www.shapeways.com/product/QK...ed-block-1-5mm
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    instead of having one that goes 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.
    Oh yeah? Mine goes to 11!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Oh yeah? Mine goes to 11!
    Careful with those. Most any brakes can lock 'em up so I'm assuming that's 10 and 11 is getting shot over the handle bars.

  25. #25
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    When you have a very short lever pull you have less braking power and less control over your ability to stop. Your brakes function better the way they were designed to function.

    Go ride. You'll get used to it quickly.

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