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Taking care of pesky cyclocross rim brakes.

Maintaining your 'cross stead can be a chore at times. Especially after any wet, muddy, sandy, or even a dry and dusty NCCX event.

I've always enjoyed taking the time to clean the bike after an event. This gives you an intimate and up close look at what the bike is experiencing in terms of wear and tear. Failure to do this, could hand you a DNF, the next time you pin on a number.

The month of August is typically when I build back up the cyclocross bike. Yes, I strip the parts off it and put them on a road bike during the non-CX race season. It may seem mindless to take on this sort of task but I use this time to replace the cables and house, service the shifters, install new bar tape, service the bottom bracket and headset bearings, pedal bearings, and wax the frame before use.

I'm going to briefly cover a small piece of this season's 'cross bike build up; mainly the brakes.

Shimano offers replacement cartridge style pads for their D-A/Ult/105 brakes with extra meat on them. By that I mean that you can get OEM pads that have an extra 1mm of pad material. R55C+1 is the part number.

I went with these pads knowing that I'd typically burn through a set of them on the 'cross bike after a combination of races, training rides, and winter riding during the wet days. 1mm extra pad material buys me a little time.

The installation was pretty straight forward for the R55C+1 pads. The FSA SL-K pad holders will accept Shimano pads but the fit was tight during installation. I ended up spraying denatured alcohol on the new pads and using channel locks to influence them into the FSA pad holders.

On a whim, I broke out the Park Tool BT-2 brake tool to set the straddle cable height. Speaking of cables... if you want the best shifting set up for your equipped bike- use the Campagnolo Ergo kit. What I did this year- Campy cables and Shimano SP41 housing. The front shifting on my 'cross bike is so good thanks to their high quality and polished cables, any SRAM-hater will give a nod to it's snickety quick upshifts.

Remember to always toe in your brake pads. Visit my past post on the easy how-to.

Now three quarters of the way through cyclocross race season and I've noticed that my bike is not exhibiting any fork chatter. Is this because of the new pads? Thicker is better? It's hard to say but the braking still feels smooth and linear as always.

Best of legs and lungs between the tape!

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