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    Old brake leavers with new calipers?

    Hi, just wondering if I can replace my old 80's side pull brake calipers with new dual pivot one? At the moment I'm running shimano exage motion and would like to keep the leavers but upgrade to new ultegra calipers, will this work?

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    Senior Member capwater's Avatar
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    Sure on the levers BUT ..... most likely new calibers designed for 700c wheels will not reach down far enough for your old school 27" wheels, plus there is the issue of most older steel frames not having a recess for the nut. You can get special long reach calipers, but I'm not sure what you are going to gain other than aesthetics. So long as your current brakes work, I'd stick with them. In a nutshell, a qualified "no".

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    I have upgraded older bikes to a dual pivot brake many times. I believe their is a long pull Tektro dual pivot that is affordable and has a lot of stopping power. You should ask you LBS if they have one in stock you can look at or, before ordering, you should check to see exactly how much arm length you will need by measuring your current caliper arm.
    Next you will have to drill or bevel out the fork crown and seat stay bridge to accept the recessed brake nut mentioned above.
    I agree with Capwater in that you may only want to replace your calipers if you feel the current stopping power from your side pulls is inadequate, as this conversion is sometimes labour intensive.

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    Replacement Brakes

    I had really good luck with the Yellow Jersey (yellowjersey.org) bike shop in Madison WI when I replace the brakes on my reeaaallllly old Nishiki with double action brakes. Good people to work with but their web site is a little tricky to navigate.

    Good Luck!

    Ren

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    Thanks a lot guys, that's great advice. Yes, I don't find the stopping power is enough on this project bike. My usual ride has dual pivot campy chorus, so I'm hoping to improve things on my comuter project.

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    So far you haven't mentioned whether your bike has 700C wheels and short reach brakes. From what I can remember, Exage didn't come in a long reach, I may be wrong on that. I've never seen short reach brakes that were nutted either. All of my late Eighties early ninetes Schwinns had 700C wheels with short reach brakes and recessed mounting bolts. Schwinn wasn't what I would call an innovative compay in that period either. I'm betting it's going to be a simple swap. Good luck

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    You're right, tektro makes a very nice dual pivot "long reach" and by long I mean longer than the ones that come standard today on road bikes.

    I'll mention some numbers if someone wants to start flaming
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VelocityDS
    Hi, just wondering if I can replace my old 80's side pull brake calipers with new dual pivot one? At the moment I'm running shimano exage motion and would like to keep the leavers but upgrade to new ultegra calipers, will this work?
    I'd swap out the Exage Motion calipers for Exage 500EX double piviot calipers. I just did this myself on a Miyata. They'll work just as well as the Ultegra calipers and can be had cheap on the 'Bay.
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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I believe Exage Motion brakes would have recessed brake nuts, so that shouldn't be a problem. The recessed nuts became the norm in the mid-'80's, I believe; I've got an '84 Schwinn le tour and an '85 Centurion Accordo, and both use the recessed brake nuts. Both of those bikes pre-date the Shimano Exage group if I'm not mistaken............Measure the reach from the center of the brake mount to the center of the brake surface on the rims to determine how much reach you need, make sure when you buy new brakes you get some that have adjustment capability for that amount of reach.............The Exage Motion brake levers are aero style, correct? (aero levers: brake cables are routed beneath the handlebar tape instead of out the top of the brake hoods).

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    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    You want to improve breaking performance. There are multiple factors that can do this; you're not limited to just the calipers themselves.
    1) modern "aero" levers have slightly greater mechanical advantage than old non-aero levers. This means that the brakes won't open up as far apart when you're not pulling on them - so less good for riding with an out-of-true wheel or if you break a spoke
    2) old brake cables can be gummed up and slide with lots of friction. This won't diminish total brake clamping power, though, so not your first worry
    3) old brake pads don't work as well - the rubber hardens and can develop an especially hardened layer on the contact surface. It can help to buff the braking surface with a metal file (and pick out any sand or grit or metal shards stuck in the braking surface). This makes a surprising difference. Or, new pads are a much cheaper upgrade than all-new calipers.
    4) new calipers - the obvious (but more expensive and more of a pain) upgrade compared to new pads. Dual-pivot calipers have increased mechanical advantage, again meaning that they don't open as wide apart when you're not clamping on the brakes.

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    More great info guys, yes the levers are aero style, wheels are 700c & the reach is about 55mm (2 1/8") at the front and 60mm (2 3/8") at the back. Is that normal reach or long reach?

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    In fact too long for my 27" to 700 conversion on my 80's Cannondale BikeToolsEtc EXTRA long reach. 61-78 mm - teach me not to measure. Cheap at $10, no quick release. Long reach Tectros are listed at 47-57 mm.

    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    You're right, tektro makes a very nice dual pivot "long reach" and by long I mean longer than the ones that come standard today on road bikes.

    I'll mention some numbers if someone wants to start flaming

  13. #13
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    "short" reach calipers (normal on modern road bikes: 39-49mm
    "standard" reach calipers (long for modern road bikes, so operator rightly calls them "long reach"): 47-57mm

    There are road caliper brakes with longer reach, although the only new dual-pivot models available are made by Tektro (at the request of Rivendell).

    My guess is that you have "standard" reach 47-57mm caliper brakes and just measured it a bit off (I don't know exactly how to measure them myself, honestly).

    But I'd recommend keeping the brakes that you have (though cleaning the pivots, and cleaning the cables, perhaps new cables/housing) but try buffing the surface of your brake pads, or buy new brake pads. It won't get you up to the standard of your Chorus brakes, but it should improve what you're getting.

    I'm running old Dia-Compe centerpull caliper brakes on my commuting bike (and on the Schwinn Traveler road bike that I keep at my parents' house in Michigan) and the stopping power is excellent. Using old pads on both, but cleaned up and buffed the surface with a file.

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    Thanks Tim, I'll try that as a first option. Cheap and easy, what more could I ask for.

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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    My guess is that you have "standard" reach 47-57mm caliper brakes and just measured it a bit off (I don't know exactly how to measure them myself, honestly).
    They should be measured from the center of the brake mount to the center of the brake surface on the rim (or the center of the brake pad) to determine the reach. Here's a link to Sheldon's site showing this: http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ra-e.html#reach
    Last edited by well biked; 04-03-07 at 01:07 AM.

  16. #16
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    They should be measured from the center of the brake mount to the center of the brake surface on the rim (or the center of the brake pad) to determine the reach. Here's a link to Sheldon's site showing this: http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ra-e.html#reach
    Great, thanks. Useful to me and the OP.

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