View Full Version : advice for breaking in the rain?

01-02-2007, 09:44 AM
Now that we're biking through the rain a lot, I wonder if anyone has any advice for more effective breaking in the rain.

I have cantilever breaks and a road bike. Besides the obvious stuff, like biking more slowly and breaking earlier, are there any good ideas?

I guess that the rims need to dry off before breaking is effective, so sometimes I apply the breaks even when I'm not planning to slow much, just to dry them a bit. Also, I try to put my weight over the back wheel a bit more.

Is it better to hold down the breaks constantly, or is it better to "pump" them like in a car in order to maintain friction with the road? Any other tips?

01-02-2007, 11:30 AM
When braking in the wet, the obvious stuff is the most important. No matter how good your brakes may be, the deciding factor is the diminished traction with the road. It can even be worthwhile to do a little bit of controlled skidding when you first start out, just to remind your reflexes how easy it is to break the tires loose. Generally one or two revolutions of the wheel will dry the rim and initiate the more effective braking mode. With all this in mind, the key is anticipation - be aware, be slower, and brake sooner. I have also found that rim brakes tend to be much more effective in the rain when set up with the Kool Stop "salmon" compound pads. Unlike the red, blue, or yellow pads, this is actually a different compound, and not only provides more friction when wet, it lasts longer, too.

norse rider
01-02-2007, 07:11 PM
For starters go slow. Rain drains, railway crossings, and pothole covers are unforgiving this time of year. I clean my rims off after every ride. I use a shop rag and take off all the grease and road gunk that sticks to the rims like glue. This may seem excessive to some but in this rain soaked time of year we can't be to prepared or cautious. I also inspect my brake pads before every ride. Brake pads are cheap, and I would rather change them two or three times during the rain season then be without stopping power. Be safe out there.

01-02-2007, 10:34 PM
Don't forget your chain, and related components, it's off topic a little, but still a very important part. The dirt and grime will build up.

01-03-2007, 09:29 AM
Hopefully it's not too late for this but I can advise from my personal experience not to develop bad braking habits. I tend to wait until the last moment and brake hard. Which doesn't work when everything's wet.

Haven't run into anything yet.

01-09-2007, 01:23 PM
also, I recently upgraded to a disc brake in the front, which works the same -- wet or dry! I love it, you can stop on a dime with one finger and it was the easiest install/no maintainance brake ever!

But it does take a little $ to switch...