The front brake on my bike started sounding more gritty than usual on a recent ride, which led to pulling the pads off, which led to discovering that one pad had worn completely through:
The rim had a slight scuff where that aluminum tab stuck through, but nothing worth worrying about. The wear indicators aren’t reliable, because the pad curve matches 27-ish inch wheels and the Tour Easy has a 20 inch front wheel. If you align the pads to the outside of the rim, as I do, the inside edge gets light wear. So I let ’em wear, check them when the tire gets a flat, and this is the first time a pad has worn through. I think that means the front tire hasn’t had a flat in quite a while…
While I was at it, I replaced all the pads on both our bikes. The rear pads didn’t have nearly as much wear, which is about what you’d expect, although the wear indicator grooves have just about bottomed out:
Those are replaceable pads, which work quite well on the new brake arms. I suspect by the time I get around to needing new inserts (I bought a bunch, of course) they’ll be obsolete and unobtainable.
I file the pads flat to save a bit of time wearing them in:
I don’t hold with the notion of toeing in the pads to avoid squealing, vastly preferring crisp brakes with very little travel. Whatever the material is in Aztek pads, they don’t squeal after they’ve fitted themselves to the rim… but, of course, this new pair howled worse than the Freezer Dog when I got them out on the road.
Squealing brakes aren’t entirely a bad thing, as they scare the daylights out of oblivious pedestrians, but I’d rather use the bell. So I gripped a strip of fine sandpaper between pad and rim, gently squeezed the brake lever, and rolled the bike about two wheel revolutions. Repeat on the other side and the rim’s now nice and clean and grippy. Flip the sandpaper over, scrub the pad surface, and they don’t make a sound.