Price isn’t the only drawback of these high-performance brakes. A common complaint is that there’s less braking feel during the first part of pedal travel – especially when cold. One reason for this is that the optimal operating temperature of the carbon materials is much higher than those found in normal brakes. Once the brakes heat up, under serious track use, then they feel more “normal.”
Brake Pedal Goes Too Far Down to Stop. If you step on the brake pedal and it feels like it's going too far down before you start to slow, you might have the following problems:
Take a look at the brake cables. You have to make sure that they are not depleted at all, broken or worn out. They should be working smooth as soon as you put on the brakes. There should be no distraction for them in between. The calliper should move abruptly. Otherwise you will have to change the entire cable assembly that will cost you a bit but save you a lot of hassle that you might face later on in the trip. It is a safety precaution. Check out if the full brake press causes the tyre to jam or not.
Preferably, every part of a rim-brake system is rigid except the brake shoes. Their compressibility allows them to conform to the shape of the rim and to take up the motion of the brake levers. If, on the other hand, the brake arms are flimsy and flexy, as on cheap long-reach sidepull caliper brakes, there is no way the brakes can develop enough "power". Most of the motion of the brake levers is wasted in flexing the arms. If the mechanical advantage is high, the brake lever will go to the handlebar before the brake shoes grip the rim very hard. If the mechanical advantage is low, the feel at the levers will be harder, but the brake will never develop enough grip.
The cable cars employ a series of mechanisms to assist in braking the car and regulating its speed. The three parts of this system are the wheel brakes, track brakes, and an emergency brake.
Both front and rear wheels have metal brake shoes, which the gripman operated by means of a pedal located by the grip. The conductor also has a rear brake lever at the back of the Powell and Mason cars for use on steep grades, while the California car has two pedals, one at each end of the car.
Next to the grip and quadrant is a lever that operates the track brakes, pine blocks situated between the wheels. These blocks are pressed into the track whenever the gripman pulls back on the brake lever. The soft wood used exerts pressure on the trackssometimes enough to produce smokeand stops the car. These blocks wear quickly and are replaced every three days or so.
The final brake device is an emergency brake, operated also with a lever near the grip and track brake levers. The brake itself is a one-and-a-half inch thick piece of steel, about eighteen inches in length, hanging under the cars and over the track slot. If the gripman cannot stop the car by other means, pulling on the lever will push the brake down into the slot where it wedges so tightly that it must often be removed with a torch. This action leads to it sometimes being referred to as a guillotine brake.
Of course these brakes are in many ways supplemental as the main braking action results from the cable itself, which when tightly held in the grips jaws enable the cable cars to move along at a nice 9.5 miles per hour constant speed, even on steep grades.