'Spongy' Campy Direct Mount brakes

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by bruno2000

I have a Tarmac S-Works SL6 frame and I recently changed from Dura-Ace di2 to Campy super Record eps 12v.
I correctly installed the Campagnolo Direct MLount brakes with Campy casing and cables as provided with the groupset.
If I compare them to the dura-Ace direct mount brakes, the Campy brakes feel very soft and 'spongy', however I place the brakepads.
Wheels are the same as before, Bora Ultra 50 clinchers.

I was just wondering if the 'spongy' feeling could be caused by the Campy casing/cable to be softer and more stretchy compared to the Shimano casing/cable?

If so, would you recommend I use something like I-link or Nokon?

by Weenie

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by alcatraz

This may sound crazy but could it be by design? Campy is supposed to have modulation in mind. It might be confused with spongyness.

Can you lock your wheel if you pull hard enough?

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by robertbb

I've discussed this previously in other threads - it's not unique to the DM brakes, affects also standard Record and Super Record brakes.

It's because the cable ferrule twisty knob thing (seriously what is the technical term for it?) that goes into the brake body isn't actually threaded - it just kinda sits there.

Adds mushiness to the whole set-up.

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by Alexandrumarian

I would be tempted to blame it on state of brakes and or cables, also routing. I have 3 campy brakes: 2015 Athena, 2015 Record, 2018 SR. The R and SR feel nice to me at the lever, clean and clear enough. Never touched the DM version though to compare. The Athena is the one feeling mushy despite the sturdier tension adjuster. It is on a more neglected bike so maybe that is it. I recall i loved the lever feel when it was newer.

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by bruno2000

So probably not much will change by changing cables?

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by Calnago

No, changing cable brand will not make it better, but double checking everything in your existing setup is probably not a bad idea. For best performance on a Campagnolo drivetrain I would never use anything but Campy cables/housings. So here’s a few things to consider:
- are the cable housings cut perfectly square and are the openings completely unobstructed and not “crushed” or deformed in any way?
- are the cable housings inserted ALL the way into the levers, to the stop, with absolutely no gap. With internally routed bars or even just normal bars, in the process of getting the levers positioned just right, it can be easy for the brake housings to get pulled away ever so slightly from the “ALL the way in” and seated position in the levers.
- what are the cable stops (if any) in the frame like? Is there any chance for excess compression happening as the housing butts up against these stops?
- are you sure you’re not just feeling the difference between brand new pads and the replaced pads that are maybe worn and even harder feeling with less material remaining?

I can tell you for sure what it is not related to... and that’s the “cable ferrule twisty knob thing” (cable adjuster) that was previously mentioned. With a cable properly attached there is no compression loss at that junction regardless of whether you’re using the threaded adjuster with the lock nut as found on the Chorus and non series brakes, or the quick adjusters found on the Record and Super Record calipers.

I’ve worked with all the brakes you mention... Campy Direct Mount, Shimano Direct Mount, and the standard mount versions from both brands. I haven’t noticed any significant “sponginess” from the Campy Direct Mount, although I do prefer the standard mount offerings from both Campy or Shimano.
The other thing that “may” have some effect is the sturdiness of the seatstays, and whether there is the added support of a “brake bridge” across that area, but I assume it’s the same bike we’re taking about here. Campy DM brakes have a very beefy backing piece to prevent the “splay” that could occur while braking if the stays were flexy. And Shimano also has a built in “brake booster” to mitigate that effect too.

Anyway, I’d suggest going over everything from top to bottom, especially with the cable housing in the lever interface. I know it would be a pain to remove everything (tape, etc), and a real pain perhaps if everything is internally routed, but I don’t know how else you’d be sure. Sounds like you were ready to replace the cables anyway in an effort to fix it. What frame (nevermind, I see it’s the Tarmac SL6) and bars are you working with? Pics might help of the various points of entry and brake caliper setup.

Good luck.
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by Weenie

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