Bicycle Mechanics - Raleigh Tourist steel rod brakes--how to improve
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I have a mid-70's Raleigh Tourist, the big, black, heavy, clunky classic with the steel rod brakes. The steel rods look way cool, but the brakes don't work worth a hoot. I have to start braking half a block before my intended stop. Emergency stops? Forget it! Braking in the rain? Non-existent.
Is there any way to improve the system and still retain "the look"?
This guy has lots of stuff for such antique bikes:
Was Raleigh selling rod brakes in the 1970's? I thought that was out of code. Wonder how they would have been sold in the USA in the '70's.
Anyway, rod brakes never were as good as caliper brakes. If you are used to calipers, don't expect too much from rod brakes.
1) Did you polish the rims with any type of wax or chrome polish? The wax acts as a lubricant and makes the brakes less effective.
2) Consider replacing the brake pads. I have some new pads for rod brakes I will sell you cheap. Contact me through BikeForums.com private message or e-mail me.
3) There is an adjustment you can make to shorten the rod path and tighten the braking. Follow the rods and you should find the bolt that allows this.
11-10-02, 08:33 AM
Thats a nice classic bike, I had one for a short time. It was the top of the line model. three speed, rear wheel "hand cuff" lock, generator front hub, head light, tail light, racks, and a realy nice set of canvas bags. Dark green, flawless paint and pin striping. No dents or dings. I think mine was built in the late 50's or so.
I actually did a week long tour on it. It was a great bike in its time, but its time had passed. There are much better bikes out there now
I would not change anything on your bike, unless it can be undone. Your bike may, if its in good shape have colectors value. I paid $35 bucks for mine at a tag sale, sold it to a colector for much, much more. I was not trying to sell my bike, I was riding it around town, I had stopped at the post office when this guy walks up and asks if I wanted to sell it for his collection. His offer was just to much to pass up. He paid me $900 for a bike I bought for $35.
11-12-02, 08:33 AM
I had one of those as well, the DL-1. I gave it to my brother...what a mistake.
The brakes are they are will never be great. You can get some improvement by getting new pad material. Use replacement pad (without holder) which will need to be cut and filed to fit in your current holder. The original material is not that great. I have used Mathauser pads to get improvement in braking.
If you want to replace the rims, you can get caliper brakes. Spending enough money solves most any problem. The tires you need are most likely the 28", which are not so easy to get.
04-26-10, 05:55 PM
I just got one yesterday, as part payment for a wheelset I built. Probably about $40. I love this bike, and intend to ride the crap out of it. The brakes aren't very good, and here is my solution:
I have a Sturmey Archer S3C tricoaster hub-- three speeds, like the AW thats on the bike, but with a coaster brake. I am going to lace the tricoaster onto my existing wheel-- I will have both rod brakes, and a coaster brake. It will not change anything about the appearance of the bike, ecxept for the torque arm on the hub.
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