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I changed the pads on my front brakes once but what about the rear? How do know if the pads or shoes or whatever needs to be changing?

Also, I am not sure if this is normal, but I have to press down pretty far on the rear brake to get it to slow, and even then it seems very very light in stopping power. If I test and just use the rear brake to slow down or stop I press it all the way down, and it doesnt feel like its really doing much to slow.

I went down the other day and it bent the arm a little on the rear brake pedal. I managed to bend it back out a little but it still is a pain to brake, since my foot seems close to the bike and I have short legs (Im 5'5) so pressing the brake in tires my leg out a little Is there a way to adjust it so you dont need to press all the way down to get it to start working? Or are all our bikes like that?


thanks
 

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You might be able to improve rear braking by "centralizing" the rear brake backing plate.

Start with the rear wheel jacked up, then loosen the rear axle nut so it's just finger tight. Now, while rotating the back wheel in a forward direction clamp down hard on the brake pedal. Then, while holding it down hard, tighten the rear axle nut. It's easier to do with a second person to assist.

This action forces the rear wheel backing plate and shoe assembly into the center of the brake drum opening. You should experience slightly better braking.

A more effective cure is to replace the shoes with Dunlop shoes. They're available from Dennis Kirk <www.denniskirk.com> for about $42 or so and are made with a higher friction material. I've had them on my M50 for over 1 K miles now and I can notice the improvement. The original rear brakes were pitiful to say the least, now they're about 30% better and I can probably lock the rear wheel if I want -- something I could NOT do before.

Ray Nielsen, in Minneapolis and went for a long ride today!
 

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If you hit the rear brake hard enough you should be able to lock it up. Like it was said previously, the rear only supplies 30% of the braking. I use it only on hills, quick stops and when I want to make a puff of smoke at a stop. :D
 

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You should "for sure" be able to lock up the rear brake. My '06 has 24K on it, and the original brakes. I can still lock it up. Sure, the rear may only do only 30%, but I still use the rear brake. It's the same with your car. Ylou want to use both brakes for good control. If you get in the habit of using only the front brake, that habit could get you in trouble during a panic stop. And, if the rear brake is out of adjustment, you could have the same "habit related" problem during a panic stop. If it were me, I would adjust/replace the rear brake.
 

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Really the rear only supplies 30%? What provides the bike to stop, not the front brake???
This post is 14 years old and most everyone involved in it is gone now.

It's the same in your car, just not quite as dramatic. When you hit the brakes, the weight shifts forward. That pushes the front tire harder into the pavement and causes it to flex out, increasing the contact patch. Conversely, the rear tire lifts a bit, cause it to press more lightly and to contact in, reducing the contact patch. More pressure and surface area on the front translates to more stopping power.

Even on bikes with all disc brakes, you'll notice that they will put dial rotors on the front but never bother on the rear.

The rear brake isn't for stopping, it's for control and adds a bit of extra stopping power in an emergency situation.
 

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Old post, but there is one point that is worth making, over and over again -- if your bike came with an owner's manual, READ IT. You will save yourself hours of frustration, and save the rest of us from the irritation of answering the same questions over and over and over and ...
 
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