Posted by: audaxing | July 4, 2016

Brake fail, ride fail

Mille Pennines Event

The Mille Pennines is a 1010km AUK ride starting in Blackpool. There are 3 days of hard riding and a final easy section. The event uses the “Low Mill Outdoor Centre” in Askrigg as the base and the major stages all begin and/or end there.

The Lake District

Day one begins by leaving Blackpool and heading north to the Lake District. The first 100km is easy and I think most of the field of 90 did this in under four hours. After this, the mountainous beauty of the Lakes was covered, then we were at the seaside in Seascale. For the bike, so far so good

Fry an egg

Next we went up the Hard Knott pass. I rode up some of it but walked a long way. Then we had to come down the other side. It was at this point that the disks made some different sounds of tortured metal. I stopped and noted that the cooling fins were hot enough to fry an egg. But I didn’t have an egg so I pressed on. The front brake disk started to make a rattling noise all the time. After this, it was up the next bit and then some easier, better roads to Windermere and then back to Askrigg. At some point the brakes stopped rattling. I rolled into Askrigg at 00:40am and got one of the last bunk beds

Time to get a train

Next day I set off at 5am, full of Weetabix. There was a stiff climb to start but on the top the reward was some tremendous views



The brakes however made more and more worrying noises. I found if I pulled the lever a little bit they were silent running, so I did this.
At the Stanthope control stop, I took the front wheel out. There was scarring on the front disk. I tried cleaning the pads without removing them, using a wetwipe, they seemed smooth.

Then, not far from Hexham after braking hard for a corner the front wheel caliper seized up completely.
I wasn’t too sure what to do but fortunately another rider stopped (thank you Simon) and helped me remove the front caliper. The bike now had no front brake and wasn’t safe on steep, wet roads. I half rode, half walked down to Hexham and found the train station

What I guess happened…

The Shimano BR-RS505 calipers had only done a 600km ride prior to the event. They were new, on a new bike before that. After the 600km the bike went in for a service specifically to get the brakes adjusted, because the rear had been vibrating.

What I hadn’t checked is the type of pad that the brakes come with out of the box, they seem to come with resin pads. My other bikes have sintered pads. Resin pads don’t last as long as sintered, it seems that a normal 600km ride is a good distance for them. Also the extreme conditions of descending the narrow, very steep, twisting track on the back of the Hard Knott would have put paid to any brake pad on the verge of wearing out

So the lesson is, fit sintered pads and check them for wear before starting

The caliper is destroyed, it is full of mangled shavings from the rotor. The rotor is also dead. The hydraulic fluid for the front brake will also need redoing

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