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  1. #1
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    1976 Raleigh Tourist...brakes: what to do?

    I hope this is the right forum to post this:

    I just don't know...is there any way to make a 1976 Raleigh Tourist with rod brakes stop in the rain? I've considered disk brakes, drum brakes, etc. How can I make this bike stop with a rod-brake system? Rubber on steel just doesn't work. And I've looked for a rubber/leather brake pad that fits my bike.... If you say, "buy a new bike," just stop...stop right now. I've had this bike since I was 8. She's not going anywhere. I'm going to ride her till she quits.

    That said. I have considered (especially with tax refund) getting a bike (I work at costco, so it's probably a schwinn with fenders and a rack and such) so I can remove the derailleur and add a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed to it.

    The reason I want to keep the Raleigh: a) IT'S HUGE!!!!! My feet don't get tangled in the front wheel when I ride. This thing is at least 6'-4" long with lots of play in the leg-room. I'm a 5'-10" woman with size 11 feet. I ride on the balls of my feet; as learned when riding horses. When I've ridden sister's bike, feet rub the front wheel on turns. DON'T LIKE THIS AT ALL b) My uncle bought it in my birth year. c) I inhereted the bike when I was waaaaaay too small for her. Not sure if I was the one it was intended for, but sister and cousins had no interest when she came out of storage at the grandparents' house. d) I've had a lot of time to learn about what she is, how she was made and how she works. e) The Titanic (my name for her, she will sink; it's a mathematical certaincy) soars when I open her up (I just can't stop her - like an 18-wheeler or a train, it takes time).

    The reason for dissing the Raleigh: a) takes lots of time and excellent driving with lots of awareness to come to a safe stop. Meaning, no emergencies allowed. b) can't get rims/tires/tubes/brakes without lots of research. c) you need those things to ride a bike to work everyday.

    I've thought of stripping everything to make the bike I need, but she won't be the bike I want. My dream is to keep the aesthetics while making her road-safe. Can I do disks or drums while keeping the rod-brake-system? Can I do it on a budget? I'd like to keep my 28-1/2" tires (I pre-purchased replacement parts). Does this exclude me from any modification that can be made? I don't want to weld things or change the frame (shocking as it is - broken wrists, ass and all).

    Can it be done? I wish I knew more about bikes, I just know every centimeter of the Raleigh (yeah, I'm in Chicago, but she was made in England - need the metric system for her. Or just a really reliable adjustable wrench, LOL!).

    Please! Please...please... I implore the gods of the Alt Bike Culture to help me figure this out.

    Susan
    1976 Raleigh Tourist aka: "The Titanic"
    "She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can [sink]... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

  2. #2
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    There are a few old curmudgeons that frequent the mechanic's and classic and vintage forums who might be able to help you out... people with experience on rod brake bikes are few and far between.

    I can understand the love you have for this bike better than most and will say that a rod brake roadster can stop in the rain reasonably well after things have been properly set up.

    Mine was a 1948...


  3. #3
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    OOOOHHHHH!!! she's such a beauty!!!

    I used to have the tire pump...got lost in the move from childhood home 12 years ago. Everything else is mint - well, almost a few dents and rust spots here and there....

    I live in Chicago, IL. We have crazy drivers here. I'm totally confident in riding her, I'm just not confident in the drivers around here. Having been a driver, there are PLENTY of people who have no clue how to drive in the city...or anywhere else. To the drivers out there: don't pay attention to your car, pay attention to the others around you.....(experience has caused me to say this).

    Thanks, I'll post over there, too!
    1976 Raleigh Tourist aka: "The Titanic"
    "She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can [sink]... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

  4. #4
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    oh...and I've tapped out Sheldon Brown GRHS....
    1976 Raleigh Tourist aka: "The Titanic"
    "She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can [sink]... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

  5. #5
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    Definitely ask in the vintage forum. If anyone knows how to make the most of rod brakes, they will.

    If you want to keep the stock rims/tire size you could re-lace the rear wheel to a coaster (backpedal) brake hub. That way you could keep both rod brakes and add a 3rd brake that won't fade in the rain.

    Depending on how wide of a rear hub the bike will take you could use an internal-gear hub with a drum brake. You could also replace the front hub with a drum brake as well (depending on spacing), but drum brakes would require different brake levers and disconnecting the rod brakes.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lz4005 View Post
    You could also replace the front hub with a drum brake as well (depending on spacing), but drum brakes would require different brake levers and disconnecting the rod brakes.
    I don't think this is true in general. It mostly depends on how much work you're willing to put in. The most elegant solution is to emulate the brake structure of the Gazelle Toer Populair. You basically need to add a little bridge, and drill a hole in the fork crown for a type of pivot. It wouldn't be too difficult if you have access to a machine shop. Here's what the Gazelle has:

    http://letsgorideabike.files.wordpre...-gaz-front.jpg

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    I'm sure you could fabricate a rod to go down to a drum brake along with some sort of sliding or pivoting support and a turnbuckle for adjustment. The problem would be that the leverage might be too different to be usable. Discs are out because they'd require a new fork. Either style of hub brake might make the bike pull to the side a bit under severe braking.

    Hmmmmmmmm..........Why not keep the old system? Maybe kool stop salmon pads could be modified to fit, or maybe you could spring for an aluminum rim. I think the Sun CR-18 has a flat inner surface. Not sure. Harris cyclery (dot net) would have 26x1-3/8 rims and would probably know whether they'd work with rod brakes.

    I never tried a steel wheel bike with kool stop salmon pads but I have used aluminum rims and they are worlds apart as regards wet weather braking.

  8. #8
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage sale GT View Post
    Either style of hub brake might make the bike pull to the side a bit under severe braking.
    That doesn't happen if they are properly set up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giffen View Post
    I don't think this is true in general.
    Even if you could modify the rod levers to actuate a drum (which is possible), you would still have to disconnect the rod brakes themselves. You couldn't actuate both brakes off the one lever.

    3DGal: Another option would be to make the rim less slick, either machining it or putting something sticky on it so that the pads would grip better. Back before modern brakes, trials and BMX riders would smear tar and other things on their rims so their brakes would work better.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  9. #9
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    someone posted this on the other thread I started.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...0#post10531480

    fantastic solution! I'll try working from the ground up on this one first, but it's good to know this is possible.
    1976 Raleigh Tourist aka: "The Titanic"
    "She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can [sink]... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

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    "Even if you could modify the rod levers to actuate a drum (which is possible), you would still have to disconnect the rod brakes themselves. You couldn't actuate both brakes off the one lever."

    Oh yeah. The rod brakes themselves would have to go. (At least the front one.)

  11. #11
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    It doesn't look like he did that. See pic #3, "So now the bike has a rear coaster, a front drum, and a front rim brake." I would like to link front and rear drum brakes (maybe) through the old rod system. Then I can keep the aesthetics AND stop in less than 100 yards. LOL! On my parallel thread, I was told, "Roadsters with steel rims are not known for brisk braking, in the rain...fahgedaboudit." That is sooooo true. Rubber on steel is like dull skates on ice, it'll get the job done, but watch out!
    1976 Raleigh Tourist aka: "The Titanic"
    "She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can [sink]... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

  12. #12
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3DCityGal View Post
    It doesn't look like he did that.
    He's still only using one brake per hand lever (the coaster operates off the cranks), which is what I was trying to say.

    If you had front and rear drums you'd need to use both hand levers for those, with nothing left to operate the rod brakes unless you added more levers.

    I really like the setup on the bike you linked. Looks like it achieves both safety and aesthetics.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

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    My first post was a little unclear. Here's what I'm trying to say. Chrome steel rims don't work in the rain with any kind of rim brakes

    I used to think I needed a drum brake too, but simply switched to aluminum rims from chrome steel, with ordinary caliper brakes.

    It seems everyone thinks aluminum works many times better in the rain and it isn't only my personal experience.

    I also hear there are pads which work better with chrome steel, but have no experience with them. Maybe one could be modified to fit an old school stirrup brake.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Brings back memories of my old Varsity. Riding home in the rain was literally non-stop fun. One adapted one's riding style. After the Varsity, I rode a Collegiate that had an elegant dotted pattern stamped into the rims. Made no difference in the wet.

    Does your bike have 28" rims? Rare birds. I saw a war surplus Swiss Army bike from the 40's. Had a spoon brake in the front, drum in the rear. Prolly weighed 60 pounds.
    Post pictures!

    Sympathize with having a magnificent set of feet. My size 12s hit the front tire of my road bike during sharp slow speed turns. The effect is just like jamming on the front brake at the wrongest time possible.
    Last edited by Flying Merkel; 03-16-10 at 06:27 PM.

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    if it's a 28/635mm you might be able to swap in a 27/630mm and not have to change anything else except adjust the brake pads.

    Those are definitely available with a flat inner surface though there is no raised ridge to keep the brake pads out of the spokes.

  16. #16
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    New Sturmey archer drums work great

  17. #17
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    Just agreeing with previous posters...

    I agree with the prior posts: My '74 Raleigh 20 has steel rims and the front brake is virtually worthless in the rain - thankfully the rear is a S-A 3 sp with coaster brake. So one option for you is to get a coaster brake on the rear.

    Likewise, my '80 Schwinn World Sport seemed to sped up when I applied the brakes to those steel rims in the rain - switching to an old pair of aluminum ones (off another Raleigh) made a night and day difference. So despite the pain of letting go of those giant steel hoops, getting a cheap set of 27" aluminum rims would probably be simpler than the coaster route.

    Good luck with it - it's a lovely bike!

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    A 27"/630mm front wheel would bolt right in. The Weinmann 219 rim has a bit of a ridge in the middle, maybe enough to keep the pads from creeping inward. That stirrup looks pretty flexible.

    Does anyone know whether stirrup brakes NEED that raised ridge down the middle to keep the brake pads out of the spokes?

    I heard of some sort of pads with leather inserts which are supposed to work better in the rain on steel rims.

  19. #19
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Just received 2 shiny new Westwood rims on a 622 size and have a new S3C hub that is going to get laced up in back with a Dyna hub in the front as this will match the fork spacing on the wheel - less 1978 Raleigh Tourist I have down at the bike co-op.

    Brake pads are on order from Harris Cyclery (go with the fibrax pads) and should be pootling around on the Raleigh later tomorrow afternoon.

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage sale GT View Post
    A 27"/630mm front wheel would bolt right in. The Weinmann 219 rim has a bit of a ridge in the middle, maybe enough to keep the pads from creeping inward. That stirrup looks pretty flexible.

    Does anyone know whether stirrup brakes NEED that raised ridge down the middle to keep the brake pads out of the spokes?

    I heard of some sort of pads with leather inserts which are supposed to work better in the rain on steel rims.
    The Westwood style rims used for stirrup brakes have nearly no offset to the spokes to allow for proper clearance as having your brake go into the spokes would be catastrophic.

    AFAIK you can only get these rims in 622, 635 (English oversize), and 590 (26 by 1 3/8) rim sizes... it is a very common rim type everywhere but here in North America as rod brake bikes are still mass produced in the third world and are widely used.

    The English models have a minimum, height requirement due to the much larger wheel size used... my Rudge actually has a 622 wheel in the rear as the original 635 was totaled.

    Running the 622 wheel gives you some excellent tyre options although you cannot run your tyres at high psi due to the lack of a hooked rim.

    The Raleigh I am working on now has it's new 622 rear wheel built and installed... the new SA 3 speed is very smooth and the coaster brake seems to have some pretty decent stopping power (on the stand). The bike will be quite use-able even if I have to wait for brake pads.

    Now I have to go and build a new front wheel...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    The Westwood style rims used for stirrup brakes have nearly no offset to the spokes to allow for proper clearance as having your brake go into the spokes would be catastrophic.
    I have devised four plans for improving the braking without encountering a problem with spokes.

    The first would be to use a regular, aluminum 630 or 622 rim and add a tab to the brake pad which would use the outside of the rim (what's usually the brake surface on a caliper brake bike) to prevent misalignment. This plan would require fabricating an L-shaped tab, attaching it to the brake pad somehow, and putting some low friction material on it so it didn't abrade the side of the rim, such as a nylon pad.

    The second would be to start with an aluminum 622 or 630 and glue and screw an aluminum "westwood strip" in its center. A few extra holes, some epoxy, some really small fillet head screws threading right into the strip would give you an aluminum westwood rim. WestAl rim?

    The third would be to affix aluminum brake strips to a steel westwood rim.

    The fourth would be to sand the chrome off the braking surfaces on a steel westwood, roughen the surfaces up with some 60 grit, and have it hard-chromed, skipping the copper and nickel plating which normally go under decorative chrome plate and have the effect of smoothing the surface. Hard chroming gives a matte look and is not a decorative finish like triple chrome but is very hard and is used to impart wear resistance to high wear parts-which shows it's plenty strong enough. What you want is a rougher finish than decorative chrome, but it's definitely strong enough. Not sure if it would give adequate wet braking.

    I can't stop thinking about those bikes. My doctor says I need Thorazine, but I find it too crumbly for use in a braking system. I have not tried the other four methods.

    BTW Consumer Reports said that in certain conditions it was possible for the S3C to lose braking.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 03-26-10 at 07:32 PM.

  22. #22
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    Susan

    Steel rims do tend to be slippery in wet weather -

    A few suggestions:

    Try posting in the Classic & Vintage forum - lots of experience over there.

    If you are not concerned with maintaining the classic nature of the bike, but just like the geometry, then rebuilding the wheels with alloy rims, or get a new set of wheels with Alloy rims and keep the original wheels in case you want to bring the bike back to original spec.

    What brake pads are you using? - I have always liked the kool-stop Salmon pads - they are a soft compound which work well at stopping the bike, but they do tend to wear more quickly than some.

  23. #23
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage sale GT View Post
    I can't stop thinking about those bikes. My doctor says I need Thorazine, but I find it too crumbly for use in a braking system. I have not tried the other four methods.

    Oh! My ribs hurt now! thanks for that!

    And Susan, Hope you have success in getting your brakes to work. Tall gal that loves her Raleigh? Too rare to lose!
    Last edited by coldfeet; 03-22-10 at 11:25 PM. Reason: spelling

  24. #24
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    You guys are hilarious!!! Well, I have been too busy at work to really get back to this, but it's constantly in the back of my mind. If only the wheels weren't such an odd spec.

    sauerwald: I have traditional rubber brakes. Traditional rubber + steel - traction = The stirrups hold the pads at a different angle from, well....every other braking system ever invented. This is a pretty unique bike.

    That said, I like the fact that it's different. Since people frequently say I'm weird (while shaking their heads and chuckling), I like to live up to their expectations.

    You can't switch out parts on this bike without setting off a chain reaction that will eventually change everything but the frame. For example, Change rims -> need new tires, likely brakes. Change brakes -> remove rods, handlebars, etc. It would actually be cheaper/easier to buy a new bike. OR I could find another Tourist frame and fork to build something completely different, not to mention road safe. The look of the chrome rods is pretty badass tho. Removing them would be like removing the bolts from Frankenstein's neck. Without the bolts, he's just another zombie.

    coldfeet:
    Thanks!

    Garage Sale GT:
    I agree, Thorazine would be too crumbly for use in a braking system.
    1976 Raleigh Tourist aka: "The Titanic"
    "She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can [sink]... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

  25. #25
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    3D - The rod brake roadster is among the most common bikes made on this planet as they have been in constant production for almost a century... they are just uncommon in North America.

    The tourist I am working on now has it's new wheels... the cost for these was $220.00 for the rear and $90.00 for the front... the SA3C is a 140.00 hub sp bumps up the price of the back wheel considerably.

    I would actually consider using a 5 speed hub if you lived anywhere hilly as although I can ride a 3 speed up most grades most people would find the gearing far too high, even when you use a larger driver cog to reduce the gearing.

    A 5 speed hub would add another $100.00 to the build cost.

    This seems to be the best way to retain the integrity of the bike.

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