More stopping power from brakes

Dave Kelsey

New Member
Jan 5, 2012
Hi all,

Im sure this has been answered before but after a nasty accident on my bike recently that ended in a broken collar bone i was seeking a little advice.
I currently ride a Trek 4500 Disc bike with Shimano M445 hydralic brakes, does anybody know of any way of increasing the brake force from this set up? When the lever is pulled the braking effect does not feel as though it is appying until the lever is at least half way closed. The bike is now 4 months old and the feel of the braking has not changed.
I'm happy to buy new equipment if required but could use some advice on what needs to be changed; pads, rotors, levers etc.

Hopefully somebody can provide some assistance.
Thanks in advance.


An old Guy

Active Member
Feb 12, 2011
Can you lock the wheel? If so, the brakes have the maximum braking you will get.

You might want to bleed the brake lines, adjust the brakes, clean the disks, replace the pads. At best the feel of the braking will improve, but none of those will decrease your stopping distance if you can already lock the brakes.


Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
A change of pads and a good rotor cleaning would never hurt. Brake cleaner from the local auto parts store would likely work really well - unless there's something in the Shimano instructions that says that such a cleaner would damage seals somewhere nearby in the hub...

Shimano Tech Tip on bleeding hydraulic brakes:

Hydraulic brake "reset" - again from Shimano Tech Tips:

What pads to use - Shimano Tech Tips:

Bed in (aka burn in /break in) the rotor/pad combo (similar to new brakes in a car):

Some of the tech tips above may feature "top of the line" components from Shimano but the basic principles are the same. Some features that allow adjustability may not be available on your model however.

A good basic start would be to replace the hydraulic fluid and bleed, change the pads, clean the rotors and follow the bed in procedure on the road before heading out to the trail again. The change of, and topping off of the fluid will remove doubt that the fluid has become contaminated or is lacking in volume - both those will leave the lever feeling slow to respond.

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