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Thread: Brake calipers

  1. #1
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    Brake calipers

    Hi everyone,

    My 2005(?) Trek 1000 road bike spent last winter on the balcony ( I live in Southern California, so winters are very mild here. ) Inspecting the bike for the first ride after the winter, I've discovered that some parts of brake calipers got completely covered with rust.

    http://home.san.rr.com/ekuznetsov/caliper.jpg

    I'm thinking to replace the calipers with brand-name components like Shimano.

    A few questions.

    1) Why can't they make the whole caliper out of aluminum & stainless steel? I'd expect such low-quality materials in a $100 Wal-Mart bike, but not in $500 Trek?
    2) Is this going to happen again with Shimano? Should I get more expensive brake calipers such as 105, or is Tiagra/Sora going to be enough? I'm not a competitive rider and 100-200 g weight difference is not significant for me.
    3) Is it unsafe to ride like this?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member erader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster
    Hi everyone,

    My 2005(?) Trek 1000 road bike spent last winter on the balcony ( I live in Southern California, so winters are very mild here. ) Inspecting the bike for the first ride after the winter, I've discovered that some parts of brake calipers got completely covered with rust.

    http://home.san.rr.com/ekuznetsov/caliper.jpg

    I'm thinking to replace the calipers with brand-name components like Shimano.

    A few questions.

    1) Why can't they make the whole caliper out of aluminum & stainless steel? I'd expect such low-quality materials in a $100 Wal-Mart bike, but not in $500 Trek?
    2) Is this going to happen again with Shimano? Should I get more expensive brake calipers such as 105, or is Tiagra/Sora going to be enough? I'm not a competitive rider and 100-200 g weight difference is not significant for me.
    3) Is it unsafe to ride like this?

    Thanks
    i think any brake caliper will rust some if left out in the elements. prolly not unsafe to ride a bike with rusted brake parts like you show.

    look around for closeouts on discontinued shimano brakes. i recently scored a new set of ultegra calipers for my wife's bike for about $70 delivered.

    erader

  3. #3
    Senior_Member2 diff_lock2's Avatar
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    try cleaning off the rust with some of that de-rust oil and fin steel wool. then you can see how deep the metal rusted.. if its just surface i guess its ok...

    iv riden worse...

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    The calipers didn't rust, only the steel fasteners and return spring did. Any caliper by any maker at any level will have steel parts. You can't make decent springs out of aluminum and Al bolts wouldn't be strong enough for this service. Stainless steel is a possibility but I don't think anyone uses it.

    Solution: oil or grease steel parts for storage.

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    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    You can't make decent springs out of aluminum
    Heheh. Aluminum springs-- almost as useful as powerwheels!
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    Even if it doesnt rain, dew and condensation are enough to start rust forming. If you care about the bike at all, keep it inside when you can.

  7. #7
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    A light coat of grease or oil protect the parts from surface rust. Very useful on the bike. I don't hide my bike away from the elements when I tour and I ride outside in Winter too (and our winters are NOT very mild).
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    You could go to the bike shop and buy a new nut, pivot bolt and probably a spring too for a few $s.

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    Just wipe off the rust with a rag soaked in WD40.
    I use WD40 or car wax to prevent the steel bits of my Shimano 105 calipers from rusting. Grease and oil can get a bit messy.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    You could replace all of the fasteners on the bike with stainless steel and titanium. It will be an expensive project. I know because I've done it.

  11. #11
    Cheers! 2wheeled's Avatar
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    I would take the parts to your LBS and just replace them. You could take wire wool to the spring and then keep a thin film of grease on it.

  12. #12
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Need to get yourself a wirewheel or wirebrush to clean the parts up, doesn't look bad at all.
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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    That looks like mild surface rust. It's hard to imagine that it could be much else. Follow the suggestions here on how to clean it up, and you'll be just fine. In fact, it'll work just fine without cleaning it, but there are good reasons, both practical and aesthetic, to clean it off.

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