Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:....The article states he was an Engineer so surely changing disc brake pads shouldn't have been a problem for him....
clearly it was
(for some reason), else he would have got on and done it?
One can only assume that at least part of the reason why he didn't get on and fix his brakes was that he didn't feel able to do so; it is not for everyone. Cable operated rim brakes have a much more obvious function and folk find it easier to repair/adjust them vs hydraulic brakes. You can buy new brake blocks that will fit most rim brakes in any bike shop and lots of other non specialist shops (eg supermarkets, wilko etc) too. Disc pads exist in mind-bending variety (for no good reason that I can see) and most bike shops only stock a few of the many possible types.
I doubt there can be a finger pointed at any one 'cause' but there would have been several factors of which brake type would be one.
In this instance the front brake was already worn beyond use,would that not set an alarm bell ringing about the rear brake also being worn down?
I don't buy the brake type having anything anything to do with this unfortunate incident.
Discs work very well indeed,but like any other brake including rim brakes,if not maintained and checked regularly when pads become worn down to the backing material,they don't work at all.
As for "mind bending array of pads available" whilst there are a few different pad types for different calipers,all one needs is the pads for your particular model of brake eg;Shimano XT hydraulic model No M7XX,need X type pad,BB7's need Y type,etc,if one is unsure which,check the manufacturs site on the web or phone a retailer,etc.
There are also enough howto's on YouTube with step by step instructions or forums like this one on how to change disc brake pads of any type.With a leettle research one is armed with knowledge about one's own braking system disc or other.
I feel very sorry for his wife having not only to have lost her husband but in front of her eyes and so tragically,and which could've so easily been avoided