Monday, March 27, 2006

Tuning Brake Pads

Tuned koolstop brake pads
So for my lightweight carbon brakes, one way I got the weight extra low was to tune the brake pads. This was fairly simple to do, and I was able to shed a good amount of weight doing so, lets check it out...

[Edit: perform this tuning at your own risk. This is a story of what I have done, but I am an idiot for grams. Drilling, dremeling and tuning in general is dangerous, proceed with caution.]

So first off, I used road pads. Yes this isnt a road bike, so why the road pads? Well, for starters they're lighter than any mountain bike style brake pad out there. And secondly, its nearly impossible to find mtb style pads that work with carbon rims (not that I currently own any carbon rims--boo!) Lastly, I didnt invent this, if you went to the MTB section on Weight Weenies, or (save some weight section) all the WW mountain bike guys have done this already, I'm just applying some mtb theory to our great sport.

So, I went to my local bike shop and bought the Kool Stop pads. The Dura Ace pads would have worked too, as well as the Jagwire's. Basically, you want a brake pad that has that conical washer on it. V brakes style pads all have this, but not all road pads do. Having this conical washer will allow you to toe in the brakes to some degree. Not only is it the addition of a conical washer, but the back of the pad is rounded to match the conical washer.

Next, I drilled out three holes in the back of the pad. I dont know how much weight this removed, but at least some grams. I also ground off the little wing thing, on the bottom of each pad. I dont know what this is for, and I dont care. It seems like a stupid part to me, and its dead weight--gone.

Now its time to rethink how this pad mounts to the brake. I flipped it around from stock. On the stock setup, there is a steel T bolt coming out of the pad, then one steel washer, then one steel allen nut. The word "steel" is like music to a tuning- gram- freak's ears. Steel is so easy to replace with lighter options (ti, aluminum, plastic)

What I did next was bought an M5 aluminum button head bolt (although I would probably use ti for the front brake--this is a rear brake) and an M5 aluminum nut. I had to grind down the nut so that it would fit inside of the pad carrier. Also, I bought a nylon washer from my hardware store to replace the steel one. I needed to grind down the nut in the right way so that it wouldnt turn within the carrier but also that Iit would just fit. You'd understand if you saw it.

I was able to take the pair of pads that came in at around 50 grams, and get them down to 24 grams for the pair. The only cost to do this was about 30 mins of time and $5 for the bolts/nuts. So a pretty good deal in my eyes.

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