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  1. #1
    Newbie jm77's Avatar
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    Brakes on older Huffy 12-Speed

    Hello all,

    I recently purchased a used Huffy "Premier 12-Speed". However, it appears the brakes are relatively ancient, and I've had some difficulty finding instructions on how to adjust them. They seem to shift on the pivot (left to right, whenever the brakes are applied).

    The Mounting Bolt seems to be a thinner bolt and has a rounded nut at the end, and doesn't have a newer-style recessed Mounting Bolt.




    • Does anyone happen to know what the brake type is called (specifically)?
    • Would you recommend replacing them, or simply adjusting them?
    • How does one adjust these?
    • Is replacing them with newer brakes a drop-in replacement, or will I need to modify the frame in some way (e.g., enlarge the mounting hole)?
    • Is there a way to date this bicycle (I was unable to find a serial number)?


    Any other recommendations are appreciated. I am not a serious biker, but will be using the bicycle for occasional trips to work once the weather improves.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by jm77; 02-21-09 at 03:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm77 View Post
    I recently purchased a used Huffy "Premier 12-Speed". ..the brakes are relatively ancient, and I've had some difficulty finding instructions on how to adjust them. They seem to shift on the pivot (left to right, whenever the brakes are applied).

    The Mounting Bolt seems to be a thinner bolt and has a rounded nut at the end, and doesn't have a newer-style recessed Mounting Bolt.
    Don't bother about the style of mounting bolt, its influence on actual brake performance is entirely marginal.

    Quote Originally Posted by jm77 View Post
    [*]Does anyone happen to know what the brake type is called (specifically)?
    That'd be a single-pivot, side pull caliper brake.

    Quote Originally Posted by jm77 View Post
    [*]Would you recommend replacing them, or simply adjusting them?
    Depends on how much you're willing to spend on the bike, and on how high your expectations are. It looks like the brake arms are out of stamped metal, which (if I'm correct) would really put them at the bottom of the barrel performance-wise.
    New pads might give them a marginal new lease on life, but even perfectly dialed in these brakes will never impress anybody. Pretty much any brakeset out there with cast aluminum arms (and sufficient reach) would be a better choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by jm77 View Post
    [*]How does one adjust these?
    First step is to make sure that the part closest to the brake bridge is decently aligned and isn't moving in relation to the bike when the brakes are actuated. Then check that both arms move freely but w/o play. After that the fast and ugly way is to bend the return spring until both arms retract reasonably equally.

    Quote Originally Posted by jm77 View Post
    [*]Is replacing them with newer brakes a drop-in replacement, or will I need to modify the frame in some way (e.g., enlarge the mounting hole)?
    If you go for brand new replacements you might run into issues with the mounting bolt, so I'd look for used stuff to be sure to get the long mounting bolt.
    Apart from that you might want to check brake reach. Oh, and try to find a side-pull set so you won't have to fiddle with brackets/hangers currently missing on your bike.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    One more question, what are the rims made of, Aluminum or steel? If they are steel, there is nothing you can do to get good braking no matter what pads or brakes you use. Steel rims always provide poor dry weather braking and dangerously substandard braking in the wet.

  4. #4
    GO BIG RED norwood's Avatar
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    Good braking performance is something your Huffy likely never had even brand new. I suspect that it has steel wheel rims and as such it will be nearly impossible to achieve good braking. Steel rims are just too "slick". It would certainly not be cost effective IMO to replace the brakes as the brakeset would be worth far more than the bike itself. Adjust them as best you can. New pads and cables would be about as much as I would go for.

    I think your money would be far wiser spent on a used bike shop quality bike that: #1 fits you; #2 is worth repairing/ upgrading; #3 is far safer to ride; #4 is much more enjoyable to ride.

    No point in dating your Huffy as they were likely the same at the end of the production run as they were at the beginning.

    Give the Huffy to a neighborhood kid and look for a better bike.
    1996 Bianchi Veloce
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3
    1992 Trek 700
    1992 Trek 820

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by norwood View Post
    Give the Huffy to a neighborhood kid and look for a better bike.
    In particular, give it to a neighborhood kid you don't like.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    If you decide to keep the bike I would see if you can find a pair of old Diacomp or similar alloy brake calipers from perhaps a bike shops junk pile. If it has 27" wheels, fitting an alloy rim front one would also improve your stopping.

    The brake calipers and wheel would be reasonable options if you have a spare parts box that has them in it. If you have to buy them, and pay more than a couple dollars for them, if is not so reasonable.

    I would also recommend Kool Stop brake pads.

    In truth, as has already been stated, you would be better off finding a better bike to start with.

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