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  1. #1
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    Help with brakes on a wide rim

    I recently bought a used bike. I installed a rim that was wider than normal on it and now I can't get the front brakes to fit on it because the rim is so wide. I can't get enough clearance between the rim and brake pad. Do you know of any good brake systems, excluding disc brakes, that I can get that would work on a wide rim? (it's an electric bike...with a front hub...that's why I can't go with disc brakes)

    I might need a whole new lever and brake pad because the springs don't feel very springy. It's a 1999 bike and it probably has the original brake on it. It could be that I just don't know what I'm doing.....which I don't but I'd like something real easy to install, too. Right now I have Shimano Altus Cantilever brakes and I hate them....this one:


    Something easy to install and use and also good for wide rims. I'm looking at this brake lever.....

    http://www.amazon.com/Avid-Single-Di...ef=pd_sbs_sg_6

    and this Kool stop thinline brake pad for more clearance between the rim and pad

    http://www.amazon.com/Kool-Stop-Thin...f=pd_rhf_p_t_2

  2. #2
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Pictures might help...

  3. #3
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    picture of the rim and the brake pad? I had to take the brake pad off because it would barely squeeze in there. It was pointless to have them on since it provided no clearance. It had a small amount of clearance on one side but not the other. You dont' agree that those cantilever brakes suck? I'd like something really easy to work with. If it's only $15, and it will work, it would be worth it. I just need about 1/4th inch thinner pads combined and I'm convinced that it will work. I heard that the thinline pads are much thinner so I think I'll go with those. I just wanted to know if anyone had good recommendations or know of any other thin-type of pads that are thinner than normal ones.

    I took the lever off today and in putting it on, I don't think I installed it right. It still pulls back and then forward but it doesn't feel very springy. Maybe I just need to adjust it. Maybe all I need are some thin brake pads and maybe I can live with the levers that I got.

  4. #4
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    I need a type of brake that will snap back out powerfully and not weak like the ones I got. Will those Avid Single Digit 5 linear pull ones do it?

  5. #5
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    your level of knowledge regarding bicycle mechanics appears to be very limited. That link you posted is to a set of brakes, not brake levers. yeah sure, you could try and get all pedantic and try and say that brakes are levers, which is true, but the bottom line is that "brake levers" referrs to the levers you use with your hands, to lever the brakes.

    If you buy those brakes you need new levers too. "direct pull cantilever" or "v-brake"(same thing) specific one.

    I'm not trying to be mean, but by the looks of things I highly doubt you have the tools and know how to do this yourself, as it stands now, and getting a shop to do this for you might be the best option. If you are determined to DIY, you need to do some research. I can tell you right now it would be very hard for any of the pro mechanics on this forum to give you advice on your problem without starting at square one, which they are simply not going to do.

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    Ok, maybe I will take it to a shop. I was trying to get around that but yeah maybe I will. It won't cost me more than $50. Do you think?

  7. #7
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    I bet you can buy a set of those brakes you were looking at or somthing comparable (low end but perfectly fine) and have them installed for that kind of money...actually it might be more than that for new brakes, levers, cables and casings....probably not that much more though provided you are buying basic stuff. I guarantee fixing your stated problem-without a whole new brake system- can be done cheaper than 50. probably even cheaper than 20.

  8. #8
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    I've been to a bike shop but they usually take your bike and tell you to come back in a few days. Is there any way that I can take a bike in and have them work on it right there? My bike is worth over $900 with all the electronics on it and stuff. That's all I'm worried about. I guess maybe I'll have to handle that over the phone.

  9. #9
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    I just measured the rims. The front one is 1 1/4" wide. The back one is 1" wide. No wonder I'm having a problem with it. Do you believe me now?

  10. #10
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    I'm right again. What part of the RIM IS WIDE don't people understand. I don't know why no one listens to me. You assume that I just can't put brakes on but the thing is that they were fine before because the rim was only 1 " wide and now the new rim is 1 1/4" wide. That extra 1/4" is a huge change. I think I'm just going to saw my brake pads down the middle and make them skinnier. I know what a bike shop would say. He'd look at the rim and say, "well, your rim is awfully wide"....well no ****.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by morph999 View Post
    Is there any way that I can take a bike in and have them work on it right there? My bike is worth over $900 with all the electronics on it and stuff. That's all I'm worried about.
    you don't have to worry about the bike, if its a decent sized shop, I'm sure they work on $3000 bikes every day, they're employees, they're not going to steal your stuff.

    And yeah, if it is simple enough, and the shop isn't busy, they may work on it right there, it might only be a few minute job.

    If you buy those Avid brakes you linked to on the first post, you will have to buy new brake levers also. And if you do that, you're going to have to take it to a shop anyways.


    But what you can do, is first the brakes have to be installed correctly, then unscrew the barrel adjuster on your brake lever, which will move the pads farther away from the rim.

  12. #12
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    Morph,

    Do the brake pads hit the fork and contact the rim at the same time ?
    If they do, it probably means your fork is too narrow. Otherwise, its just a matter or adjustment.

    Your pictured cantilever brakes are very adjustable and reliable things. The springs no longer feel 'springy' probably because the original lubrication has dried out. Its simply a matter of removing 2 bolts and reapply some oil or light grease.

  13. #13
    BFW
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    Worrying about taking your $900 bike into the shop almost sounds silly. Sorry I don't mean to offend you. Just a set of Dura-Ace brifters retails for more than that. We have wheel sets that cost 4 times that much. As someone else pointed out, shops work on bikes in the $3-9,000 range every day, and keeping the doors open depends on people trusting us to take good care of their rides.

    On the other hand, I can't tell you how many Huffy's and Next bikes I've had to suffer through, and I promise, even they all left with all the parts they came with, unless we replaced them with something new. On top of that, those customers even got to take home the old parts, unless they were wise enough to let us throw them away.

    Sometimes you get in just a little over your head, and you're better off letting someone else fix it for you.

    If you're still worried about leaving the bike for a couple of days, call ahead and see if you can schedule a day to bring it in. Just don't expect to stand next to the bike stand while the mechanic works on it. You have to be pretty cool, or at least bring me a 6 of GOOD beer for that to happen. I think that may be a little redundant though, because a 6 pack of good beer makes you pretty cool.
    Last edited by BFW; 01-16-10 at 04:27 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Steev's Avatar
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    The suggestion to post a picture of the rim and the brakes as they are now is a good one. You say there's 1/4" difference between rim widths, that's only 3mm per side, brakes need that much adjustment over the course of wearing a set of pads so it's highly possible that they can be adjusted to work with your rim, and the return spring tension as already suggested could well be restored with some simple service.
    Have you checked the condition of the cables and housings? Replacing those, getting new pads and adjusting the system can yield very good gains in braking performance.

  15. #15
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    You can probably use the setup you have with a thinner brake pad. Most Canti brakes have several settings to adjust spring tension. Here is a short tutorial to get you going http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-cantilever-brakes/ pay attention to the adjustments to center your brakes. Goodluck

  16. #16
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    V-brakes usually are capable of a much wider spread, and relatively cheap.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  17. #17
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    Well....I discovered how to install Cantilever brakes. I took off the lever and then was like..."oh shlt". I didn't know how to get back on but after about 3 hours, I figured it out. So I put the spring on a higher hole and now I got plenty of spring action now...like a ton of spring action...it springs out really fast now. Also, I took a hack saw and shaved about 1/8th inch off each brake pad and now everything is just fine but my pads aren't very thick anymore. The metal is showing on one of the pad but the pad itself hits first. If the metal contacts the rim, could that be a huge problem? I think I might buy those thinline brake pads but in the cantilever style...not the linear brake style. The cantilever kind are only $6. Well worth the risk.

  18. #18
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    Sorry....I just get tired of people not undestanding me. I've been on two or three different forums and when I tell people that the rim is very wide, they don't believe me. They just think that I can't install brakes.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morph999 View Post
    You dont' agree that those cantilever brakes suck?
    Nope, I don't Once they're dialed in, they work extremely well.,,,,BD

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