Bicycle Mechanics - extension levers + caliper brakes
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06-09-10, 01:30 PM
today i was trying a bike (http://www.blocket.se/goteborg/Svalan_damcykel_28_tum_27896987.htm?ca=15&w=1) with extension brake levers. yes, it has a serious problem with braking but i really like it because it is so beautiful. so i wonder is there any way to get it fix while keeping the original parts as much as possible. so here are some questions i have...
* will the bike shop be able to adjust it?
* or shall i also get the new caliper brakes? and which modern caliper brakes with large profile that will fit the bike with a fender? (will this Tekro R556 (http://www.tektro.com/02products/10rb-1.php) be large enough?)
thank you for any advice!
here's is the picture of the bike: http://tinyurl.com/39wf63w
06-09-10, 01:36 PM
You can keep the same levers and calipers and remove the extension levers. Too little info to advise about what else might work. It's a great idea any time you have a question to try Sheldon Brown's site. A Google for Sheldon Brown brake caliper yielded this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/brake-calipers.html
06-09-10, 02:08 PM
@ cny-bikeman : i forgot to mention that i havn't yet tried to use the extension levers but the drop bar levers... and they're not really working. yes, i've read Sheldon Brown's site but never got to the 'shop' links. thank you!
06-09-10, 02:55 PM
Most, but not all, extension levers work by pressing on the regular levers. So they take some of the travel away. That makes the regular brakes less effective. So taking the extensions off will improve braking. It's also entirely possible that the brakes are not properly adjusted, that the brake blocks that are on there are junk, etc. It's quite probable that ditiching the extensions, adjusting the brakes, fitting new blocks, and cables (and modern housing!) will greatly improve the brakes.
06-09-10, 03:18 PM
So the issue isn't really the extensions but the fact that when using the main levers that there is poor braking performance.
Lots of things could be the issue.
The pads may be very old and hard from exposure to sun and age. Replacing the pads with good new pads is a first and inexpensive step. Assuming the bike has aluminium rims and not chromed steel rims (check with a magnet if not sure how to tell) then switching to the Koolstop salmon (rusty) colour pads will be a huge help as well. Even over the regular new pads.
The cables and housings may be in bad shape. If older installing new cables and housings can really freshen up the brake feel.
If the rims are chrome plated steel then nothing you do will produce good all around braking performance. A switch to aluminium rims will be a huge upgrade and is almost a "must do" on any bike that will be ridden frequently.
If none of that helps then measure up the reach needed and go for either that 556 or the 538 Tektro's. I've had one of each set and can vouch that they are an excellent product and well made.
06-09-10, 04:17 PM
If your rims are true, and you have Kool Stop Salmon Pads, and the brakes are adjusted properly - they will stop you. Even on the extensions, you should be able to lock up the wheels, even with steel wheels.
Don't try to tell me they won't, because they did it for me for 30+ years.
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