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New to disc brakes

Old 02-21-21, 07:52 PM
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Princess_Allez
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New to disc brakes

I recently acquired a brand new 2021 Trek Emonda. I noticed that the lever pulls nearly all the way to the handlebar before the brake is fully engaged. It also has brake rub on the front wheel. I have not rode the bike yet. I feared that brakes needed bleeding. The service advisor told me this is how the brakes come from the factory and that it's normal, especially considering that it's using short-reach levers (size 52 frame). I just did a brake bleed, although I am unsure if I did it correctly. After bleeding the brakes and buttoning everything back together, the lever still has the same pull-stroke and brake rub. I will test the bike on the road tomorrow to bed the brakes in. I just wanted to know if this is par for course with disc brake bikes.
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Old 02-21-21, 07:59 PM
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What shifters do you have? Shimano or Sram and what model? Some have a reach adjustment so you might be able to adjust them.

My bike with hydro disc, the levers have plenty of room and never get that close to the bars when engaged.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:01 PM
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Sounds like this is a new bike, and you got it from a dealer. Take it in and have them fix it. Your brakes should not rub, and your levers should not go almost to the handlebar when engaging the brakes.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
What shifters do you have? Shimano or Sram and what model? Some have a reach adjustment so you might be able to adjust them.

My bike with hydro disc, the levers have plenty of room and never get that close to the bars when engaged.
Shimano 105 hydraulic
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Sounds like this is a new bike, and you got it from a dealer. Take it in and have them fix it. Your brakes should not rub, and your levers should not go almost to the handlebar when engaging the brakes.
I did take it back. They told me they would have to charge me ($60). I accepted. They are flooded with business so they didn't get to my bike in time. I took the bike home to do the brakes myself because they didn't seem to care for my small-fry business.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
Shimano 105 hydraulic

I did take it back. They told me they would have to charge me ($60). I accepted. They are flooded with business so they didn't get to my bike in time. I took the bike home to do the brakes myself because they didn't seem to care for my small-fry business.
They wanted to charge you to service a new bike they sold you.... not cool.

My LBS includes free service for the 1st year and a tuneup at the end of it.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:20 PM
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What @GlennR wrote above is spot-on. I have bought less expensive bikes and received much better service, even more than a year later.

If you've described it accurately, the brakes are not set up properly, and they should not have let the bike go out-the-door for a test ride in that condition. No way that they should be charging you to straighten it out.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:24 PM
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Contact Trek Customer Service and have them put pressure on the dealer.

I have a Emonda SLR and a number of Bontrager products and found Trek's customer service very helpful. If they can't get your dealer to fix it they can have you go to another dealer and they should cover it.

You don't want to have "iffy" brakes.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:42 PM
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The situation is complicated in that I didn't buy the bike from them. I bought it out of state and had it shipped. They did, however, charge me $70 for setup fee. They claim that's how the brakes come from the factory and that's not part of the bike setup. This bike shop is known for this type of behavior, but I had no other choice since they are my local Trek dealer and they were nice enough to allow me to buy out of state- due to the bike shortage (thanks covid). So it's kinda a catch-22 where the bike shop is flooded with business they can't keep up with and I didn't buy the bike from them so they owe me no loyalty. I mean, I did spend some money of bike setup, bottle cages and some tools. It is what is is. I just wanted to confirm whether or not my brakes are functioning as designed, which it's not looking like. I will report back after I bed the brakes. If the lever pulls back way too much, I will stop riding it and attempt another bleed.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:45 PM
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I have never had my LBS not ensure the bike is rider acceptable before I took it home and then, if I had an issue after I took it home, they always fixed it no charge. When I got my domane, I was having some brake rub, after 200 miles, I could not figure it out after trying to tweak it and so I took it back and they took a look and replaced the pads, set them, and boom, perfect ever since. I was not charged a dime. GlennR is spot on, getting charge $60 is unacceptable on a new bike, my next call is to Trek. If you have another Trek shop in town, I would look at making them my new LBS.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:46 PM
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Understood.... then bring it to another shop with a good reputation, it doesn't have to be a Trek dealer.

My shop does a number of bike builds from Amazon. With very little inventory building bike that customers supply brings in money.

Since you have Shimano 105, any shop can work on it.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
The situation is complicated in that I didn't buy the bike from them. I bought it out of state and had it shipped. They did, however, charge me $70 for setup fee. They claim that's how the brakes come from the factory and that's not part of the bike setup. This bike shop is known for this type of behavior, but I had no other choice since they are my local Trek dealer and they were nice enough to allow me to buy out of state- due to the bike shortage (thanks covid). So it's kinda a catch-22 where the bike shop is flooded with business they can't keep up with and I didn't buy the bike from them so they owe me no loyalty. I mean, I did spend some money of bike setup, bottle cages and some tools. It is what is is. I just wanted to confirm whether or not my brakes are functioning as designed, which it's not looking like. I will report back after I bed the brakes. If the lever pulls back way too much, I will stop riding it and attempt another bleed.
Bedding in the brakes is a good idea, but will have no effect on lever travel.

If I paid a shop (a dealer for the bike I just bought) to set up a new bike, and the brakes weren't bled properly, I would politely ask them to rectify it. If they balked and tried to charge me more money, I would raise holy hell.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
The situation is complicated in that I didn't buy the bike from them.
Is the shop you took it to for this service an authorized Trek dealer? If it is, do as suggested and contact Trek customer service.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:49 PM
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I have recent 105 hydros on my Topstone gravel bike and have the same experience in that it feels like the levers will hit the bars. I did a bleed, didn't improve. A year and change later with may rides in steep downhills I realized they just have a lot of (unexpected) travel and that otherwise the bike stops just fine. I stopped woryying about it.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
Is the shop you took it to for this service an authorized Trek dealer? If it is, do as suggested and contact Trek customer service.
I don't want to get anyone in trouble, especially since they broke the rules for me to acquire this bike.
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I have recent 105 hydros on my Topstone gravel bike and have the same experience in that it feels like the levers will hit the bars. I did a bleed, didn't improve. A year and change later with may rides in steep downhills I realized they just have a lot of (unexpected) travel and that otherwise the bike stops just fine. I stopped woryying about it.
This is exactly what I was thinking: maybe hydraulic brakes are just like this because there's significantly more clamping force, and therefore it requires more lever travel for better modulation. It's also likely that the air bubbles eventually made their way to the top.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I don't want to get anyone in trouble, especially since they broke the rules for me to acquire this bike.
There is no such rule, bike shops are free to build and service any bike they want. A new Trek company store opened 15 miles from me and on a ride I stopped in. In the service department they had 2 Specialized bikes that were getting serviced. At the time I was on my Cannondale and they side they can work in it also. I told them i do my own work and only trust Russel at a different shop to do what I can't. And even then I go over the entire bike whenever anyone else touches it. Last thing I need is for the bars to slip some something else come loose when going down a steep hill at 40+mph.

I have Sram hydro disc and the brake levers engage just like my Sram mechanical on my other bike.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:15 PM
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If there is air in the hood reservoirs, which isn't necessarily abnormal, it can get in to the line, particularly during transport, and cause these kinds of issues. The good news is that this usually an easy fix.

The first thing that I'd do is flick the brake levers vigorously for 20-30 seconds. If that doesn't firm them up, try standing the bike upright on the rear wheel and doing it again - what you're looking to do is to get the bubbles in the lines back up and in to the reservoirs, on the other side of the master cylinder. Flicking the levers agitates the fluid, standing the bike up gives the bubble an upwards path and eliminate "traps" where they might get stuck.

Brake rotor rub could be a couple of things - improper TA tightening, a disc that's out of true or a caliper that's misaligned. Check them in that order. Most often, it's just one high spot on the rotor that's kissing the pad. In that case, either pick up a Park truing lever or use an adjustable wrench to give the disc a little tweak at the high spot.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
The situation is complicated in that I didn't buy the bike from them. I bought it out of state and had it shipped. They did, however, charge me $70 for setup fee. They claim that's how the brakes come from the factory and that's not part of the bike setup. This bike shop is known for this type of behavior, but I had no other choice since they are my local Trek dealer and they were nice enough to allow me to buy out of state- due to the bike shortage (thanks covid). So it's kinda a catch-22 where the bike shop is flooded with business they can't keep up with and I didn't buy the bike from them so they owe me no loyalty. I mean, I did spend some money of bike setup, bottle cages and some tools. It is what is is. I just wanted to confirm whether or not my brakes are functioning as designed, which it's not looking like. I will report back after I bed the brakes. If the lever pulls back way too much, I will stop riding it and attempt another bleed.
I'd find another shop to use. That Trek dealer sounds sub standard. Any competent bike mechanic can set up a bike and deal with the brakes properly. If you're going to pay for service, find a shop that's worth what you're paying. Not properly setting up brakes as part of a new bike assembly/set up sounds crazy to me.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
There is no such rule, bike shops are free to build and service any bike they want. A new Trek company store opened 15 miles from me and on a ride I stopped in. In the service department they had 2 Specialized bikes that were getting serviced. At the time I was on my Cannondale and they side they can work in it also. I told them i do my own work and only trust Russel at a different shop to do what I can't. And even then I go over the entire bike whenever anyone else touches it. Last thing I need is for the bars to slip some something else come loose when going down a steep hill at 40+mph.

I have Sram hydro disc and the brake levers engage just like my Sram mechanical on my other bike.
It's a non-compete issue. I bought from a Trek authorized dealer out of state. They wouldn't sell and ship to me unless they received confirmation from my local Trek authorized dealer. I paid for boxing and insured shipment, then I paid of bike setup. That means I purchased the bike from the original point of sale, which means if I inquire directly with Trek they will inquire about the details. It might not be an issue, but then my local Trek dealer knows I called the Trek police on them and they aren't happy either way
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
If there is air in the hood reservoirs, which isn't necessarily abnormal, it can get in to the line, particularly during transport, and cause these kinds of issues. The good news is that this usually an easy fix.

The first thing that I'd do is flick the brake levers vigorously for 20-30 seconds. If that doesn't firm them up, try standing the bike upright on the rear wheel and doing it again - what you're looking to do is to get the bubbles in the lines back up and in to the reservoirs, on the other side of the master cylinder. Flicking the levers agitates the fluid, standing the bike up gives the bubble an upwards path and eliminate "traps" where they might get stuck.

Brake rotor rub could be a couple of things - improper TA tightening, a disc that's out of true or a caliper that's misaligned. Check them in that order. Most often, it's just one high spot on the rotor that's kissing the pad. In that case, either pick up a Park truing lever or use an adjustable wrench to give the disc a little tweak at the high spot.
Thanks. Lots of good info here. The brake system is brand new and when I spin them and eyeball, they are true. The inside pad is making contact. I know I can loosen the brake mount bolts, engage brake, then retighten and that might fix the issue. I'll definitely try the brake pumping method outlined. I have a feeling that might cure it.

Last edited by Princess_Allez; 02-23-21 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:47 PM
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Old 02-21-21, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I have recent 105 hydros on my Topstone gravel bike and have the same experience in that it feels like the levers will hit the bars. I did a bleed, didn't improve. A year and change later with may rides in steep downhills I realized they just have a lot of (unexpected) travel and that otherwise the bike stops just fine. I stopped woryying about it.
For what it's worth, I have Ultegra levers, and the levers don't make it anywhere close to the bars. Granted, they do travel a bit more when the pads need replacing -- but with new pads, they are back to normal.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
It's a non-compete issue. I bought from a Trek authorized dealer out of state. They wouldn't sell and ship to me unless they received confirmation from my local Trek authorized dealer. I paid for boxing and insured shipment, then I paid of bike setup. That means I purchased the bike from the original point of sale, which means if I inquire directly with Trek they will inquire about the details. It might not be an issue, but then my local Trek dealer knows I called the Trek police on them and they aren't happy either way
This isn't an unheard of thing and I've even worked with reps from different brands to find the bike a customer wanted. The issue at hand is that you paid for the assembly of a fully functioning, safe to ride bike and you may not have a safe to ride bike. The brake levers should never get that close to the handlebars and that they can means there's a misadjustment. Some shimano oem setups ship with a "bleed free" quick install system for getting the lines run through a frame and not having to mess with things. The system doesn't work perfect if the person is new or not thinking. I know, I screwed up my first time using it and had to bleed that system, the other times I got it spot on. It is easy for someone to screw up but its also easy to fix. Put a rubber band over the handlebar and over the levers so its squeezing them, if they hit the bar there's an air issue and the assembler should fix it. Call trek if they won't, they should know their dealer is sending out sketchy bikes that could get someone hurt and give them a bad name in the process.
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Old 02-22-21, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
It's a non-compete issue. I bought from a Trek authorized dealer out of state. They wouldn't sell and ship to me unless they received confirmation from my local Trek authorized dealer. I paid for boxing and insured shipment, then I paid of bike setup. That means I purchased the bike from the original point of sale, which means if I inquire directly with Trek they will inquire about the details. It might not be an issue, but then my local Trek dealer knows I called the Trek police on them and they aren't happy either way
It shouldn't be an issue. If you bought from an authorized Trek dealer and it was shipped to another authorized dealer that did the setup, Trek will stand behind this. You should not care if anyone is happy with you are not. While a good relationship with whoever does a service for you is grand, their happiness is not your responsibility. It is the other way around.

I don't know what rubbing issue you have as disk brakes will always be contact. But if the feel isn't right or the handle travel isn't correct, I wouldn't settle that easily. And I wouldn't try bleeding them if you don't know how.
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Old 02-22-21, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I recently acquired a brand new 2021 Trek Emonda. I noticed that the lever pulls nearly all the way to the handlebar before the brake is fully engaged. ... I have not rode the bike yet. I feared that brakes needed bleeding. The service advisor told me this is how the brakes come from the factory and that it's normal, especially considering that it's using short-reach levers (size 52 frame). I just did a brake bleed, although I am unsure if I did it correctly. After bleeding the brakes and buttoning everything back together, the lever still has the same pull-stroke and brake rub. I will test the bike on the road tomorrow to bed the brakes in. I just wanted to know if this is par for course with disc brake bikes.
Sounds a bit familiar: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...rgonomics.html
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Old 02-22-21, 07:27 AM
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One thing that has yet to be pointed out is there are a number of adjustments that can be made to Shimano hydraulic levers. Free stroke and reach adjustments can affect the feel of the lever while braking as well as air in the brake system.

Here is a copy of the Shimano Delaer manual for your hydraulic 105 shift levers. In this PDF is an explanation of every step required to install, bleed, and adjust the brake levers. Free stroke and reach adjustments can be found on page 53 of the attached PDF.

https://si.shimano.com/#/en/DM/RADBR01

As Whi-Fi pointed out. The brake rub is related to brake caliper alignment or an out of true brake rotor. Both of which can easily be fixed with a little patience.
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Old 02-22-21, 07:35 AM
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The whole never-ridden-the-bike thing didn't really register as I quickly read the OP the first time around. Throwing a leg over the bike should have been the Step 1 and squeezing the brakes as you roll the driveway Step 2. Attempting to bleed the brakes before riding the bike was a big waste of time, IMO. If this is your first hydro rodeo, I wouldn't let lever feel or travel, while in the work stand, confuse you. I routinely 1-finger brake downhill; it doesn't take a lot of force to meaningfully engage the brakes.
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