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Old 03-08-08, 03:09 AM   #1
richard612
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My road bike brakes are craptastic! Help!

Low-end 2007 Schwinn Le Tour with Tektro brakes. The lever effort required to haul this bike down from speed is incredible! I replaced the front pads with Kool-Stop Eagle 2's and noticed an improvement, but it's still not enough. The bike probably has 500 miles on it at this point. I've hit the rims with solvents and got 'em squeaky-clean -- No help there.

Can I ever get road bike brakes to match the XT V-brakes on my hardtail? If so, which brakes? I'm seriously considering installing a cyclocross frork with canti bosses, or even (god forbid) a disc mount!
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Old 03-08-08, 04:22 AM   #2
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Low-end 2007 Schwinn Le Tour with Tektro brakes. The lever effort required to haul this bike down from speed is incredible! I replaced the front pads with Kool-Stop Eagle 2's and noticed an improvement, but it's still not enough. The bike probably has 500 miles on it at this point. I've hit the rims with solvents and got 'em squeaky-clean -- No help there.

Can I ever get road bike brakes to match the XT V-brakes on my hardtail? If so, which brakes? I'm seriously considering installing a cyclocross frork with canti bosses, or even (god forbid) a disc mount!
could be older design brakes (or just crappy brakes), because I have a tektro finger lever and a shimano tiagra dual pivot sidepull brake on JUST THE FRONT of my fixed gear GT road bike and it stops incredibly well, and with VERY light pressure, JUST as good as my mountain bike with the V brakes, probably better and with more control.

I remember I bought a SS conversion that had a tektro bulldog side pull brake, and that was THE worst stopping brake I had EVER used, and NOTHING helped: slik cables, kool-stops, magura lever, machined rim,..NOTHING till I changed it out for something else.
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Old 03-08-08, 08:59 AM   #3
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Not sure if you can do any better. I'm assuming the Tektros are dual pivot; if not, that might help. Also assuming aluminum rims. Road calipers will never match the stopping power of cantis or v-brakes, sadly.
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Old 03-08-08, 09:13 AM   #4
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I also used to have stock Tektro pads, and those things are miserable!

Eagle 2's are OK, but they're not the best Kool-stops. If your fork has the clearance, go for the BMX or Mountain pads. Sheldon swore by them, and based on his recommendation, I put them on my road bike. They have a lot more contact area and are more adjustable than the Eagles.

I switched to the Kool-stop BMX's from the Tektro and it was a huge difference. I don't know if it will be as strong as the brakes you're used to, but when I have the reach dialed in right, I could easily lock the front wheel if I wasn't careful, and it wouldn't take a Herculean effort.
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Old 03-08-08, 10:05 AM   #5
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Tektro brakes are total crap, in fact they make many re-branded units. Make sure everything is adjusted properly and there isn't a huge gap between rim and pad.
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Old 03-08-08, 10:10 AM   #6
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I don't think Tektro brakes are crap. Some of the really cheap ones are not so nice, but the nicer ones work as well as any. It will probably be hard to beat the stopping power of a linear pull v-brake, though.
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Old 03-08-08, 10:52 AM   #7
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I don't think Tektro brakes are crap.
+1, from my experience it's the Tektro brake pads that are crap, not the brakes. I saw a new Schwinn le tour in a big box store a few months ago, it seemed to be a value packed beginner's road bike. Since I've owned a Schwinn le tour for 25 years, I was interested in seeing what is now being called a "Schwinn le tour." Anyway, my guess is your bike has brakes that SHOULD be quite functional since you've put better pads on them......basically, it's a mystery to me why the brakes won't stop satisfactorily. I would take it to a bike mechanic and see if there's something seriously out of whack-

Last edited by well biked; 03-08-08 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 03-08-08, 11:04 AM   #8
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Not sure if you can do any better. I'm assuming the Tektros are dual pivot; if not, that might help. Also assuming aluminum rims. Road calipers will never match the stopping power of cantis or v-brakes, sadly.
B.S. A quality set of calipers can provide more than enough stopping power to overwelm available traction just as cantis, v brakes, or discs.
How much more power do you need? If the brakes can overpower the available traction then what else can you expect?
Sounds like the original posters brakes are of low quality, or malfunctioning. To dismiss an entire style of brakes is infantile and useless. The only true advantage that canti and vbrakes have is that they are more snow, and mud compliant. Discs' main advantage is that they do not wear the rim.
BTW- standing challenge to any vbrake, disc brake, or canti user if you are in northern Ky. come by and we'll see who can stop faster from 35 mph, you or me with my centaur calipers. That is assuming a vbrake, disc brake, or canti bike can actually get up to 35 on flat ground.
The
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Old 10-01-08, 12:26 AM   #9
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Following up on my old post... I got a set of Kool-Stop salmon pads. They're an improvement, but the lever force required is still excessive. I do very much miss my XT V-brakes on my MTB. In fact, I'm eyeballing a CX fork with canti bosses. Would V-brakes fit this fork, along with a travel agent to fix the lever pull?
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Old 10-01-08, 12:33 AM   #10
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In many cases Tektro brakes do suck when you compare them with brakes like Avid's and better quality Shimanos and the brake pads you use has a lot to do with how well they work.

I was running a Tektro Mini V on my new fixed mtb which has massive stopping power due to the shorter and stiffer arms and better pads but swapped it for an XTR V brake as the Mini V obstructed my fender.

The XTR V brake also has massive stopping power and has a much nicer feel as to modulation.

A good set of cantis will offer adequate stopping power and save you the cost if having to add a travel agent....my touring bike runs Avid Shorty's (with Koolstops) and I am most pleased with these.
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Old 10-01-08, 01:21 AM   #11
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I am seriously wondering about the conditions of your cables and housing, as well as your adjustment.
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Old 10-01-08, 01:56 AM   #12
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The bike is nearly new. The levers cannot be squeezed down to the grip... They're adjusted fairly tight (the wheels are very true at the moment).
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Old 10-01-08, 02:19 AM   #13
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First thing is the oil your cable housings, and inspect them to make sure theyr'e not rusted, corroded or damaged in any way. Then drip just a couple of drops on the spring at the back of the caliper, and where ever you see two bits of metal that contact each other. Try not to get oil of the pads, and if you do get rid of it with degreaser. Press the brake lever in 10 times to work the oil in, then press again to test it.

If that doesn't work, set it up so that there is 2mm of clearance between each pad and the rim by centering the brake and adjusting the cable tension. Press the brake lever in 10 times and make sure there is still 2mm of clearance. If not, your wheel probably needs truing, or there is play or binding in the caliper arms.
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Old 10-01-08, 09:12 AM   #14
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Not sure which model yours is but I've got an '07 Le Tour GS with everything stock and over 1,300 miles on it so far and the brakes work great. Takes a bit more effort when braking from the hoods than from the drops (which I would assume is fairly normal) but I've got plenty of stopping power either way.
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Old 10-01-08, 10:48 AM   #15
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again, leverage--- your calipers have no stopping angle--- your pads might be sht--- but, if the casing is long and not tightly wound, with cheap steel and no slide-- no brake
also the length of the brake lever and where you squeeze it also has an effect.
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Old 10-01-08, 03:48 PM   #16
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I put Tektro quartz road brakes onto my old road bike a few months ago and they're fine. I have salmon pads in front and Ultegra in the rear. I would suspect the cables or housing as well. If there is friction in the housing it won't stop well.
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Old 10-01-08, 06:34 PM   #17
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I don't see any mention of what levers you're using. So... What levers are you useing? Also what calipers are these on the bike? Either pick the model from the Tektro website or one that is close or take pictures of your calipers and levers.
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Old 10-01-08, 06:50 PM   #18
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Before we continue irrelevant speculation how about telling us

1) The reach of the brake
2) The type of brake
3) Type of lever
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Old 10-01-08, 06:51 PM   #19
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The bike is nearly new. The levers cannot be squeezed down to the grip... They're adjusted fairly tight (the wheels are very true at the moment).
Brakes don't need to be tight, if they're tight you have no modulation, if they're too loose that you bottom out then they're obviously too loose.

There's a fine balance between modulation and not being able to use full power.
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Old 10-01-08, 06:55 PM   #20
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Following up on my old post... I got a set of Kool-Stop salmon pads. They're an improvement, but the lever force required is still excessive. I do very much miss my XT V-brakes on my MTB. In fact, I'm eyeballing a CX fork with canti bosses. Would V-brakes fit this fork, along with a travel agent to fix the lever pull?
Sidepulls will not stop as well as v-brakes end of story. If your current fork doesn't have canti bosses you can't put v-brakes on them. If you change your fork and add canti bosses you may need new levers.

Again, depending on what levers you currently have.
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Old 10-01-08, 07:03 PM   #21
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I managed to throw myself straight over the bars a few weeks back with Tektros and salmon Kool-Stops. It's not the best endorsement, but the brakes weren't at fault.
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Old 10-01-08, 08:10 PM   #22
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The bike is nearly new. The levers cannot be squeezed down to the grip... They're adjusted fairly tight (the wheels are very true at the moment).
You should not be able to squeeze to the grip if they are properly adjusted.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:54 PM   #23
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It's a leverage thing, if your levers don't have enough leverage then they will feel hard and be difficult to modulate.
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Old 10-02-08, 03:32 AM   #24
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Sora levers have plenty of leverage if you are braking from the drops. and there ought not to be much wrong with the brake even if it is cheap.

Changing to any old V-brakes will NOT provide more stopping power than decent calipers. A setup with a travel agent erases the primary advantage of v-brakes, which is more pull / lower cable tension. Good performance with v-brakes requires not just good brakes, but a stiff, heavy-ass fork to resist twisting forces.

i think something is wrong other than the equipment spec. When you squeeze HARD, do you see anything flexing? A little movement of the cable housing is normal but pay attention to the housing ends and how the pads contact the rim.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:21 AM   #25
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I could believe that Derby (or whatever Chinese company builds Schwinns these days) managed to buy a load of levers and calipers that didn't have compatible cable pull with each other. Does the front lever feel really solid when the pads contact the rim? And do the pads seem to move a lot with not much lever pull before the pads contact? If these things are true, you should go to Ebay and get a pair of Shimano dual-pivots- you may spend 40 bucks, but my Shimano dual-pivots stop me fine, and I weigh 250 pounds. Make sure to measure the vertical distance from the mounting bolt to the center of the rim and get the right "reach".
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