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  1. #1
    Senior Member askrom's Avatar
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    Buying new brakes for 1988 bike - do I need new levers, too?

    I have an 1988 Olmo road bike with Modolo (Campy knock-off) brakes & levers that really suck and non-indexed shifters that I'm okay with keeping. Modern brakes seem so much better these days, so I want to replace the Modolos. I'm looking at Shimano Ultegra or 105.





    My problem is that new brakes are so much different from my old ones, and I'm not sure how to make sure they'll work with the rest of my configuration. Let me count the ways:

    1) Will "dual pivot" caliper brakes work on an older frame? It's a short-reach racing frame with Columbus tubes and fork, and the brakes use recessed hex bolts. Pretty standard, I think.

    2) Will I need to buy new levers? I've heard that the distance the cable travels in old levers won't work with newer dual pivot brakes. (Would buying normal single-pivot caliper brakes mean that I don't need new levers? Are there any good single-pivot brakes these days?)

    3) If I need new levers, can I get new levers for new brakes that don't have indexed shifting built in? I don't want to replace my whole derailleur/shifters just yet. Alternately, can I install brakes with shifters but leave the shifting feature uninstalled?

    4) I currently have old-style cables, not under-the-tape aero cables. If I have to buy new levers, is there anything that I need to do with my old handlebars (besides replacing the tape, of course)?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. What a great message board, I think I'll be spending a lot of time here!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by askrom
    I have an 1988 Olmo road bike with Modolo (Campy knock-off) brakes & levers that really suck and non-indexed shifters that I'm okay with keeping. Modern brakes seem so much better these days, so I want to replace the Modolos. I'm looking at Shimano Ultegra or 105.





    My problem is that new brakes are so much different from my old ones, and I'm not sure how to make sure they'll work with the rest of my configuration. Let me count the ways:

    1) Will "dual pivot" caliper brakes work on an older frame? It's a short-reach racing frame with Columbus tubes and fork, and the brakes use recessed hex bolts. Pretty standard, I think.

    2) Will I need to buy new levers? I've heard that the distance the cable travels in old levers won't work with newer dual pivot brakes. (Would buying normal single-pivot caliper brakes mean that I don't need new levers? Are there any good single-pivot brakes these days?)

    3) If I need new levers, can I get new levers for new brakes that don't have indexed shifting built in? I don't want to replace my whole derailleur/shifters just yet. Alternately, can I install brakes with shifters but leave the shifting feature uninstalled?

    4) I currently have old-style cables, not under-the-tape aero cables. If I have to buy new levers, is there anything that I need to do with my old handlebars (besides replacing the tape, of course)?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. What a great message board, I think I'll be spending a lot of time here!!
    DPs will work, but my all time favorite are shimano single pivot 105 or 600 you might score on ebay for next to nothing. The levers you have work with either. Certainly you don't have to spring for sti levers. Ebay is full of aero 105 and 600 levers and you can get newer stuff thru LBS. Your bars dont have the recessed groves that newer ones do for aero cable routing, but it's no issue,Just tape over the cables.

  3. #3
    Senior Member askrom's Avatar
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    Thanks!! Great answer.

    I find the dual-pivot brakes appealing, though, and wonder if there are levers that work with dual-pivot brakes but that either (a) don't have shifters in them, or (b) have shifters that won't get in the way if I simply don't use them.

  4. #4
    BIKE MECHANIC king koeller's Avatar
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    1975 Full Campy N.R. Centurian Super Lemans,1984 Focus Vintage pre susp. mountain, hardtail,suntour xc sport, many treks, diamondbacks, and, 1950' crusier J.C.Higgins,triex (road) and kakakura silk (road)
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    If i was you, keep it the way it is and forget about it.
    You have a classic road bike with some really nice campy copies, enjoy the moment.
    I love Universal super 68's , and have them on my road bike.
    you could even do the right thing and get the real thing.
    A vintage set of Campy super record brakes and levers and be done with it. Go for the real thing. Your bike is a lasting testament to the rich tradition of cycling greatness. don't contaminate it with modern useless gimicks.(indexing,Brake lever mounted shifters, threadless headsets,tig welded frames,) ... ect...
    i don't mean to come on so strong, but for the sake of preservation, get a new bike with all the dual pivit brakes and under tape cables, and tig welded frame and free hubs, and all the rest) preserve this elegant old beauty.
    vintage road bike freak...
    1976 Centurion Super Lemans 23"C-T Double butted chrome-moly Nervex style lugs Campy NR Wright Leather fiamme red label tubular rims Metallic silver, 1984-BCA 21.5"c-t Tange double butted lugged Shimano bio-pace Leather Brooks B-17 Champion Standard honey Black w Red head tube Lugged frame, 1986 FOCUS 22"c-t Tange double butted lugged Suntour XC Sport Sugino VP triple Dia-Compe Canti's Brooks B-17 Champion Standard, Trek Elance 400D 1986 Reynolds 531 Full Shimano SIS Black metallic silver

  5. #5
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by askrom
    Thanks!! Great answer.

    I find the dual-pivot brakes appealing, though, and wonder if there are levers that work with dual-pivot brakes but that either (a) don't have shifters in them, or (b) have shifters that won't get in the way if I simply don't use them.
    I answered that. Any road lever will work with DPs.

  6. #6
    Senior Member askrom's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I am torn - my frame is pretty nice, and the bike has a classic look that I share your appreciation of. But it's cobbled together from some older bike parts, some of which are genuinely crappy. These Modolo brakes really do suck: they stick, they vibrate, they don't stay straight, and most critically they have about 1/4 or less of the stopping power of any new bike I've tried. I ride in the city (NYC), so I probably have to brake far more often then most country road riders. I've gotten into some pretty hairy scrapes because of these crappy brakes.

    Basically this is my only road bike, and I can't afford to buy a new one anytime soon. If I were to buy one, I'd drop a load on a similar classic-look model even today, so it'll be a while before I can afford it.

    The idea of going with old Shimano 600 parts is attractive - they are about the same vintage as the rest of the bike, and there are plenty of other Japanese parts on it (Sugino, Suntour Sprint) so they wouldn't stand out.

  7. #7
    Senior Member askrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    I answered that. Any road lever will work with DPs.
    Sorry, I thought you meant it would work with both 105 and 600.

    Are you sure of this, though? My bike store mechanic said differently, but perhaps he was simply trying to sell me new levers.

  8. #8
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    If you DO want aero levers, but don't want shifters, Tektro makes a nice set of campy knockoff aero levers without shifters. I think they are a very reasonable 30$ a pair, and have a quick release and return spring.

    I do appreciate a classic bike, but I also appreciate the little things that have improved over the years, that can make your biking experience better. No need to go STI crazy or anything, but little upgrades can make a big difference, and if you end up riding the bike more, it will love you for it, even though it has been changed.

    Remember that if you want to go super-cheap, you could always just get your brakes well adjusted, clean the rims, and buy a set of salmon kool-stop pads, I bet you'd find the change pleasing, and for only a few bucks.

    peace,
    sam

  9. #9
    Fully lugged in RetroSteel's Avatar
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    I've just jumped from basic single pivot tekro calipers to dual Tiagra. Massive difference in performance and modulation.
    My bikes on flickr

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