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Old 09-28-09, 06:31 PM   #1
mpnolan
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hand lever hard to press

I test rode an older bike today (mid-80s Schwinn Mesa Runner). A problem it had was that the back brake lever was hard to press. So much so that my smaller hand could hardly do so. What usually causes this?

Our idea was that the brake cable just needed to be oiled. Are there any other possibilities?
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Old 09-28-09, 06:41 PM   #2
ericm979
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Replace the cable housing and inner wire. Modern housing is teflon-lined and works so much better than the junk from the 80s, even when it was new.

A cheap bodge is to remove the inner wire and grease it, but it won't be nearly as good as modern cabling.
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Old 09-28-09, 06:46 PM   #3
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New cables and housings are a good bet.

But also,

-are the housing ends cleanly cut and square? A few mm's of movement there makes a difference.
-are any pivot points (on lever and the brake itself) crusty? Clean off crud and rust and lightly oil
-I assume this has cantis on the rear? If so, you might look into whether or not the straddle wire is too long or too short. Either causes the pad to hit the rim at less than the ideal 90 degree angle. If out of whack, this makes the brakes really, really hard to use sometimes.

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