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  1. #1
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    effing V-brakes, time to get calipers, need help on reach

    i have a 2008 trek 520 with V-brakes - i'm over them. it looks like the frame is drilled for caliper brakes but i don't know which reach i should be getting? maybe someone out there knows? if not, how would i go about measuring the reach i need?

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    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jignall View Post
    i have a 2008 trek 520 with V-brakes - i'm over them. it looks like the frame is drilled for caliper brakes but i don't know which reach i should be getting? maybe someone out there knows? if not, how would i go about measuring the reach i need?
    Take a caliper or divider and measure from the mounting hole in the fork and the rear brake bridge to the centre of the brake track on the rim.
    Since it comes stock with stock 32mm tires, I'm guessing it will take at least a medium reach brake, probably around 57mm.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Measure the distance from hole in the fork to the center of the rim surface.

    I have know idea but would guess that on a Trek 520 you would need long reach road calipers.
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  4. #4
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    What's the actual problem with the V-brakes?

    I see that on Trek's site, the current 520 comes with Avid SD-5 V-brakes and Tektro RL340 levers. Aren't those levers meant for caliper/cantilever (short-pull) brakes, not long-pull V-brakes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
    What's the actual problem with the V-brakes?

    I see that on Trek's site, the current 520 comes with Avid SD-5 V-brakes and Tektro RL340 levers. Aren't those levers meant for caliper/cantilever (short-pull) brakes, not long-pull V-brakes?
    The actual problem with the V-brakes is they suck a&s!! Adjusting them is a nightmare. I'd rather just switch over to calipers and call it a day!

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Yup, Measure.. Maybe a dual pivot side pull will satisfy..

    I've run cantilevers for decades they're OK, for Me.

    but some people are not willing to see a job thru, and work out problems..

    not all have mechanical aptitude.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-10-10 at 02:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jignall View Post
    The actual problem with the V-brakes is they suck a&s!! Adjusting them is a nightmare. I'd rather just switch over to calipers and call it a day!
    What is a nightmare about adjusting them? I can't see removing the current brakes and reinstalling the new brakes being easier than setting up some Avid V-brakes properly. Can you check the model or post pictures of your brake levers (see JiveTurkey's point about compatibility).

  8. #8
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    I got the same exact model year Trek 520. The Avid Single Digit 5 V-brakes work fine and V-brakes are dead easy to adjust. I don't understand your problem.

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    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    The brake lever on the 2008 trek 520 is Dia Compe 287. Those are meant for V-brakes with long pull. You will need to replace the brake levers too.

    Too much time and money for doing this downgrade. Just have a bike shop adjust the brakes if you don't know how to do them and call it a day.

    Is your wheel out of true? V-brakes have a very low tolerance for wheels that are out of true. Is this your problem?

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    V-brakes are notorious for needing as straight a cabling path as possible. My LBS set up my 520 with a housing too long into the rear brake & this caused me all sorts of fits with brake rub until I figured it out. My suggestion is to inspect your housing path & try to make sure they are not causing your problems. FYI, the cable needs to enter so that the cable goes as horizontal as possible across the brake arms otherwise they will favor one side.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratdog View Post
    V-brakes are notorious for needing as straight a cabling path as possible. My LBS set up my 520 with a housing too long into the rear brake & this caused me all sorts of fits with brake rub until I figured it out. My suggestion is to inspect your housing path & try to make sure they are not causing your problems. FYI, the cable needs to enter so that the cable goes as horizontal as possible across the brake arms otherwise they will favor one side.
    I went from Cantis to the mini Vee used on BMX bikes. All your comments are right on. In addition you usually need to adjust the spring tension so each arm will pull evenly. THe brakes are easy to adjust and I went with the Cane Creek V brake levers. Used this setup on my Ritchey Cross Breakaway in the Alps this summer...good stopping power. However, the use of the Tektro long reach calipers are an excellent choice as well. I preferred the Vee brakes because I use larger tires. Good luck.

  12. #12
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    I also have a Ritchey BreakAway cyclocross frame and am using the Tektro Mini-V brakes with normal brake levers (campagnolo) and I find them to be pretty easy to deal with. OP, can you describe why your v-brakes are giving you trouble? I'm sure people here can post some good tips.

    One thing I did right off the bat was use Jagwire brand noodles that have a brake adjuster built right in so that I could easily adjust the pad-to-rim distance on the fly. Then I set up the brakes so that the arms were parallel when engaged: this may require you to swap around the concave washers on the brake pad holders to move the pads either further or closer to the rim while at rest.
    Last edited by pacificaslim; 09-10-10 at 11:31 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    I also have a Ritchey BreakAway cyclocross frame and am using the Tektro Mini-V brakes with normal brake levers (campagnolo) and I find them to be pretty easy to deal with. OP, can you describe why your v-brakes are giving you trouble? I'm sure people here can post some good tips.
    Went to Europe this summer and had no problem with the Ritchey bag...no extra charges. If you do travel with the bike I recommend removing the RD and wrapping it in a towel and make a set of custom dropout spacers using large dowels cut to lengthand round head screws. The plastic ones don't really work reliably. I made mine with schedule 40 PVC pipe, wine bottle corks, and a set of old skewers. Send me a PM and I will send you a photo from atop Passo del Stelvio. You will get a kick out of the extreme gearing is used on the alpine passes. When you watch the Giro on the same passes they don't look steep (trick of the camera like making thin people look fat) but, I am here to say the Alpine passes are steep as hell.

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jignall View Post
    The actual problem with the V-brakes is they suck a&s!! Adjusting them is a nightmare. I'd rather just switch over to calipers and call it a day!
    V brakes are about as easy a brake to set up as was ever made... if your bike has inline adjusters I will give you a walk through that will make you feel like you are a freaking pro when it comes to dialing in those brakes.

    I'd also lose the Tektro pads and get Salmon Kool Stops... your braking will improve and your rim life will be extended.

    Just overhauled my friend's 520 and he was stunned at how much better his brakes were after I was done dialing things in.

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