Last weekend was a bit weird. Arthritis pain in my right foot was a big part of it, but either I forgot how to ride, there was something wrong with the bike, or both.
On Sunday it seemed like my brakes had become less powerful. Not the only occasion, but in particular felt like it took a long time to slow down when at one point the A127 suddenly dropped to 15mph, although I had a big gap to stop in as I had just overtaken all the Sunday drivers. A whole queue of cars all being overtaken by me wee 125, crazy.
I cannot even understand what happened on Monday, but I lost confidence in my back brake so did all my braking with the front, and it felt as though it was less powerful before corners than the back one usually is. Maybe it was just my confidence and being more cautious with it, and not being able to rely on my rubbish technique of coming off the brake gradually whilst accelerating in them. But given Sunday I wonder if it may actually be the brake.
The back brake is just a drum and I know how to fiddle with that, which I believe is the correct technical term. I replaced the shoe in March and the wear indicator is fine, and I even tested it just after setting off on Monday morning and it seemed sharp enough, so I think the problem there was just with with my foot.
But I do not know anything about the front brake. My entire understanding of it is just to look at the little bubble, and then do nothing.
The pads were replaced when I had it serviced last year, about 7.5k miles ago. My first thought was to check them, but I have no idea how. The manual says to look for grooves on them, and has an illustration at the same angle as the photo below. Where should I be looking to see the grooves?
Of course maybe it would be obvious if it was not so dirty. Am I supposed to clean down there? My policy has been to leave it well alone out of fear of messing something up. If so, what to use? Is the regular “brake cleaner” I use for the drum okay or does it need to be a specialist “disc brake cleaner”?
I do not think the brake fluid was changed when I had the bike serviced, so that will be over three years old. Could that have affected the operation this weekend? It did seem to be a sudden thing, I had not noticed any problem previously. Even on Saturday when I think I was riding around a constant bit of back brake due to a numb foot the front seemed fine.
Is there anything else I should be checking?