Replacing ancient center-pull brake

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Erik Freitag, Apr 27, 2003.

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  1. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    I have an old (ca 1978) Nishiki in the garage which runs OK, but I'm not happy with the dia-compe
    center-pull brakes - not enough stop when I pull the levers and too much time adjusting to keep them
    centered. These brakes also have the highly advanced extension levers, which should be removed from
    the bike and enshrined in the annals of good ideas gone wrong.

    I'd like to keep the old bike as a backup and errand-runner, but I don't want to spend a lot of
    money to fix it up.

    Is there a low-cost way to improve the brake situation? I'm very happy with the Avid Single Digit 5s
    on my commute bike.
     
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  2. Erik Freitag wrote:
    > I have an old (ca 1978) Nishiki in the garage which runs OK, but I'm not happy with the dia-compe
    > center-pull brakes - not enough stop when I pull the levers and too much time adjusting to keep
    > them centered. These brakes also have the highly advanced extension levers, which should be
    > removed from the bike and enshrined in the annals of good ideas gone wrong.
    >
    > I'd like to keep the old bike as a backup and errand-runner, but I don't want to spend a lot of
    > money to fix it up.
    >
    > Is there a low-cost way to improve the brake situation? I'm very happy with the Avid Single Digit
    > 5s on my commute bike.

    A caliper brake system consists of 4 parts:

    .The levers .The cables .The calipers .The brake shoes

    All of these parts are upgradable. Many people think first of replacing the calipers, but, in fact,
    this is the least likely part to make any real difference. A caliper is a simple leverage unit, and
    there's not all that much to one.

    In the case of older bikes, it can be difficult to find a new caliper that will even fit.

    The other 3 parts are much more likely to yield real improvement.

    .The levers

    Older designs had the cables exit up from the front of the brake levers, arching over the
    handlebars. The newer style, where the cable exits out the back of the lever and runs under the
    handlebar tape is referred to as "aero" because it eliminates the wind drag of the exposed cables.

    Aero levers are generally a major improvement over the older type. The pivots are located
    differently, making it possible to get fairly serious braking from the position where the rider's
    hand is on top of the lever hood. Traditional levers would permit the use of this position for
    gentle deceleration only.

    Additionally, the better aero levers have better internal cable routing, so there's less cable
    friction. I particularly recommend the Shimano Tiagra units we sell for $39.95, including cables.
    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brakes.html#leversdrop

    .The cables

    Older cables used metal-to-metal contact as the inner cable slid through the spiral-wound steel
    housing. Lubricant was by grease, if the mechanic was conscientious.

    Modern cable housings have a Teflon or similar lining. The better inner cables are stainless steel,
    and are "die drawn" to make them smoother. The result is greatly reduced cable friction, so more of
    your finger strength is transmitted to the caliper, rather than wasted overcoming cable friction.

    .The brake shoes

    Modern high-performance brake shoes also make a considerable difference. The very best is the ugly
    salmon-colored material originated by Scott-Mathauser, and now sold under the Kool Stop name. See:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brakeshoes.html

    Sheldon "Boilerplate FAQ" Brown +--------------------------------------------------------+
    | Westheimer's Discovery: |
    | A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently |
    | save a couple of hours in the library. |
    +--------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  3. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> Sheldon Brown wrote:
    >
    > ... A mittfull of genuinely helpful information, and ...
    >
    > Sheldon "Boilerplate FAQ" Brown +--------------------------------------------------------+
    >| Westheimer's Discovery: |
    >| A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently |
    >| save a couple of hours in the library. |
    > +--------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    > Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    > shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
    >
    >

    Thank you very much. In my defense, I spent one hour looking through www. sheldonbrown.com before
    submitting this question. I never throught of the FAQ ...
     
  4. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "Erik Freitag" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I have an old (ca 1978) Nishiki in the garage which runs OK, but I'm not happy with the dia-compe
    > center-pull brakes - not enough stop when I pull the levers and too much time adjusting to keep
    > them centered. These brakes also have the highly advanced extension levers, which should be
    > removed from the bike and enshrined in the annals of good ideas gone wrong.
    >
    > I'd like to keep the old bike as a backup and errand-runner, but I don't want to spend a lot of
    > money to fix it up.
    >
    > Is there a low-cost way to improve the brake situation? I'm very happy with the Avid Single Digit
    > 5s on my commute bike.

    You might just change the cables and brake pads and set them up better. If they are Dia Compe
    definitely remove the extension levers ( some Shimano extensions of the era did not adversely affect
    brake adjustment, although some did).

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  5. Thomast41

    Thomast41 Guest

    Not a real cheap way to improve the brakes, but Tektro and Shimano both make dual pivot modern
    calipers in reaches that would replace your centerpulls.

    Tom
     
  6. Ant

    Ant Guest

    [email protected] (ThomasT41) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Not a real cheap way to improve the brakes, but Tektro and Shimano both make dual pivot modern
    > calipers in reaches that would replace your centerpulls.
    >
    > Tom

    to the OP: i asked a related question in a thread a few days? weeks? back. i dont know abotu your
    bike, but i was looking to upgrade my own centerpulls. i already have nice pads, and decent aero
    levers, and nice cables, but still wanted more power.

    anyways, it may not be the case for you, but somne of these centerpulls, as noted before in this
    thread, have huge reaches (center of mounting bolt to center of rim braking surface, i guess). my
    own were particularly long, and the only ones i saw that had those specs were the tektro variety,
    which just dont look quite as sturdy as the brake calipers one sees on modern bikes. maybe all super
    long reach brakes dont look sturdy.

    anyways, i asked, and a knowledgeable person let me know they didnt think they were so hot either.

    the thread, and the response: http://tinyurl.com/aia8

    but i digress. the super long reach brakes are not the dual pivot ones that just been reccomended.
    im only writing to mention that you shoudl make sure those dual pivots have the necessary reach,
    becuase they wouldnt have worked on my bike

    cheers

    anthony
     
  7. G.Daniels

    G.Daniels Guest

    1)nashbar has shimano long reach side pull brake units available. Are these units a definite
    improvement from the dia-compe center pulls?
    2)are side pull units available used(that is were any produced and by whom) for 27 1 1/4" rims? i
    looked thru the trash barrel but found only 26" or 700cc units or so it seemed.

    improving on the center pulls is ahead and necessary. throwing oneself into the canal or hedge
    before impact during rainey weather... be alot easier to just stop. what do the riders in the NW
    territories do?
     
  8. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> ant wrote:
    > [email protected] (ThomasT41) wrote in message news:<20030428093037.
    > [email protected]>...
    >> Not a real cheap way to improve the brakes, but Tektro and Shimano both make dual pivot modern
    >> calipers in reaches that would replace your centerpulls. Tom
    >
    > to the OP: i asked a related question in a thread a few days? weeks? back. i dont ...

    Thanks to all - I'm taking Mr. Brown's advice to heart and I'm going to try some new levers and pads
    before any other modifications.
     
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