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  1. #1
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    Smile Venge Vias rear brakes spongey.... any thoughts?

    Has the updated calipers. Front is fine pretty much like any other front brake, but rear just doesn't develop power very quickly or easily. Feels like its going through a lot more cable pull with a lot less result. It will eventually lock up the rear if you really bear down, but theres just not much modulation.
    There's no issue with cable friction and when you compress calipers with your hand, they feel much like the front ones, so caliper function alone seems OK.
    The only thing I can think of is that its related to the full cable run being in an outside sheath, but Specialized seems puzzled by that, and doesn't think it is related.
    Swapped out the worn Black Prince Evo pads for a new set of the same, didn't change it. Front has softer gray pads that look and feel similar to Zipp pads, but that seems like its unrelated.
    Any thoughts from long-time Vias owners? Will post on WW, too... as would dearly love to get this one ironed out.

  2. #2
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    1. Disconnect the front brake lever from its proper cable and/or housing.
    2. Disconect the rear brake cable and full cable housing.
    3. Connect the rear brake cable and housing to the front brake.

    Find a piece of deserted road and test the front brake connected to the rear lever/inner cable/rear cable housing.

    If poor modulation occurs with the front brake and rear cable/housing, then the culprit is the rear lever....or...more likely the rear housing and/cable.

    If, it feels good, then your rear brake caliper is poorly adjusted. Common. If you have the replacement VIAS brakes, then the problem is caliper adjustment. Download the PDF for the bike and work thru the procedure to properly adjust the calipers. The brakes are more complex than standard calipers and need more attention to detail to adjust.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11spd View Post
    1. Disconnect the front brake lever from its proper cable and/or housing.
    2. Disconect the rear brake cable and full cable housing.
    3. Connect the rear brake cable and housing to the front brake.

    Find a piece of deserted road and test the front brake connected to the rear lever/inner cable/rear cable housing.

    If poor modulation occurs with the front brake and rear cable/housing, then the culprit is the rear lever....or...more likely the rear housing and/cable.

    If, it feels good, then your rear brake caliper is poorly adjusted. Common. If you have the replacement VIAS brakes, then the problem is caliper adjustment. Download the PDF for the bike and work thru the procedure to properly adjust the calipers. The brakes are more complex than standard calipers and need more attention to detail to adjust.

    Good luck.

    That's a good methodology to isolate the problem... thanks for taking all the time to lay that out. I'm sure that I'll use it at some point...
    This time, the shifters are some I pulled off another bike (actually Ive move them a couple of times) and the braking from them worked perfectly when I removed them from the previous bike so while it;'s possible they are the culprit, that pushes them I think pretty far down the list of possibilities.
    The sheaths are new, and it's always possible that I missed a burr, but I did re-do the small length with barrel adjust, just to cross a t... and replaced the internal tiny Teflon tube that fits into caliper where the cable enters... those changes didn't improve things.
    I think next I'll skip to the last of your suggestions and remove all the parts at the caliper end -- everything except the cable and sheath, which are new, and the shifter -- and start again from scratch....
    thanks for taking so much time to write that up, it's pretty thoughtful and logical.

  4. #4
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    Here is a picture of my rear brake. I have had issues in the past where this bolt and washer hit the rear tire. The only way to prevent this (according to my bike store) is to not let the pads go past 50% wear. Do other Venge Vias owners have the same issue? I am running Specialized's 26cm S-Works tires.
    You think they could have designed that a little better.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Only a suggestion as I don't have a lot of experience wrenching on the VIAS...the fastener head to pinch the cable in place looks to be pretty high profile. Obviously running a 26c tire which is taller moves it closer to the bolt head as the pads wear.
    Two things to try:
    1. take the bolt to the local hardware store and see if you could find a lower profile head fastener.
    2. Just because the pads wear...you may be able to keep the fastener away from the tire by playing with cable tension...not having the cable adjuster rotated out to compensate for pad wear.

    I would try no.2 above before no. 1.

    Good luck

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thumper8888 View Post
    Has the updated calipers. Front is fine pretty much like any other front brake, but rear just doesn't develop power very quickly or easily. Feels like its going through a lot more cable pull with a lot less result. It will eventually lock up the rear if you really bear down, but theres just not much modulation.
    There's no issue with cable friction and when you compress calipers with your hand, they feel much like the front ones, so caliper function alone seems OK.
    The only thing I can think of is that its related to the full cable run being in an outside sheath, but Specialized seems puzzled by that, and doesn't think it is related.
    Swapped out the worn Black Prince Evo pads for a new set of the same, didn't change it. Front has softer gray pads that look and feel similar to Zipp pads, but that seems like its unrelated.
    Any thoughts from long-time Vias owners? Will post on WW, too... as would dearly love to get this one ironed out.
    Sadly, I don't think there is any way to fix this. I have had the same problem and one other person I ride with that has the vias has this issue as well. He's been to several bike shops as have I with no improvement. Another side effect of this is that I run through rear brake pads every 3 months. I'm sure they have gotten tons of complaints about this and is why they only seem to be offering the disc brake version now.

    My solution is to ride my Tarmac.

  7. #7
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    Way too many compromises trying to integrate the brake into the frame and retain quality braking using one vendor's caliper and another vendor's lever. And as you're also finding out, tire clearance is compromised as well.

    Get something that uses standard caliper brakes.

  8. #8
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    I recently picked up a low mile Venge Vias with rim brakes all stock with CLX64 wheels. It was partially disassembled when I got it for shipping purposes meaning the brakes were disconnected. I wanted to get the bike together quickly to have a first ride and had a similar experience with the rear brake, long throw and weak power. I set them up like many of my bikes by eyeball and experience. I never cared for the black pads and switched them out with yellow SwissStop. Maybe a little better. I consulted the Specialized manual and followed their brake settings for the Vias. Night and day difference with a much firmer and positive feel, almost the same feel as the fronts which felt good. I am pretty happy with it now.

    It is easy to Google the Vias manual online. This is for front and rear brake setup.
    Fig.5: Adjust the pad positions so that the pads contact the rim surface completely flat.„ With the brake lever squeezed, tighten the brake pad holder bolts to 55 in-lbf (6.2 Nm).„ With the brake levers still squeezed tight, thread the toe-in adjuster screws in until they touchthe pad holders, then turn the screws an additional 1/4 turn. When the brakes are open, theleading edge of the brake pads should be a bit closer to the rim. When closed, the padsshould contact the rim completely flat.

    I believe the reasons for the poor braking performance and feel was due to the rear pads not contacting the rim with full surface area. I had been taught to eye ball it in with a little toe to prevent squeal. Taking a very close look going back and forth between setup methods I wasn't getting full contact of the pad on the rim in the vertical direction nor the horizontal because of the slight toe in. Because of this more lever pressure was needed to get more pad area on the rim and the spongey feel. Made sense to me.

    In my final setup, I made certain to have the pad bolts just loose enough that when the brake lever was squeezed firmly the pads sat flush with the rim. Look carefully as the rear brake arm has a turn which may prevent the pad from hitting absolutely flush, you may need to push the pad just slightly down so it doesn't slightly cock over. So on my CLX64 the pads hit at the very low end of the rim braking surface. While holding the brake lever firmly and making sure the pads are absolutely flush against the rim I tightened down the pad bolts. Then made the other other adjustments to center the pads. When open it may look like the pads are toed in (as described in the manual) but when the brake is actuated the pads should hit flush. Honestly it took a bit of time to get it centered and perfect, little back and forth. There needs to be minimum clearance between the pads and rim, I have about 3 mm and do not have any pad rub while riding. I have the stock Specialized 23C tire so no issue getting the wheel off with that clearance. I have my brake levers adjusted inward some for my smaller hands which reduces the overall cable throw so minimum rim to pad clearance is needed for me. Going back to stock throw would allow more clearance for a larger tire I believe.

    Though the braking is not quite as good as my Tarmac with eebrakes, the Venge feels very acceptable and safe for me. I am happy with it after getting it setup correctly (and with yellow pads).

    As for the earlier post of the clearance of the cable retention bolt to the rear tire, Specialized makes two different pad holders, a wide and a narrow. I believe wide comes with the bike. Going to the narrow will put the bolt further away allowing more clearance for the tire. Again shown in the Vias manual.

    Happy riding (and braking)!

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