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Handbrake cables get brittle inside, start to stretch or stick, which people confuse with sticky caliper. I got to change mine, £10 each from Eurocarparts. very easy to do.

Test is, jack car, wheel off, handbrake on, try to turn disk,(should not turn) handbrake off, turn disk. if its a bit stuck rmanually release brake cable and turn disk. If disk turns then its NOT a sticky caliper. :)
 

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Maybe stretched cables?

handbrakes were never anything special on a golf
If your comparing your front brakes too....then my 312mm's are good at stopping at higher than average speeds. Ive been in Dans car with 300bhp and his R32 caliper setup stopped perfectly well
 

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I have heard that when changing pads if you do not use a proper wind back tool to wind the piston back in then this can affect them working as well as they should after.

My hand brake worked very well before i did the rear pads but since changing it has never worked the same as before, I will be getting a wind back tool soon and testing this theory by winding the caliper piston back in and seeing if it makes any difference.

Another thing is are you applying the hand brake correctly, you should apply the foot brake then pull the hand brake up, you will notice the handle will go alot higher doing it this way.

HTH
 
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