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  1. #1
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    Adapting brakes on small road bike to work w/ larger wheels

    I found a 70's Bridgestone road bike in a dumpster last week, and I'm in the process of fixing it up on the cheap. It's on the small side, but I'm a short guy so that's perfect. The wheels are in rough shape--maybe useable, but only after a lot of rust removal and refurbishment. I happen to have a set of 700c wheels that came stock on my CX bike. At first look those 700's looked larger than the original wheels, but I tried them on anyway. The good news is that the wheels fit in the frame--no tire clearance issues at all. The bad news is that the brake pads don't reach the braking surface.

    I'm guessing the original wheels are 26in/650c--not common on road bikes, but perhaps used on this one because it is small. I could pick up a cheap wheelset on ebay, but it would be just that (cheap) and I'm trying to put as little money into this as possible. What would you do? Is there any way to make 700's work?

    I included some pics below. Thanks for your help!

    The bike: A Kabuki (Bridgestone) Submariner. Stainless steel frame w/ aluminum lugs
    2011-09-06_12-18-10_110.jpg

    View of the brakes - Dia-Compe 812's
    2011-09-06_13-08-19_174.jpg

    Rusty old hubs
    2011-09-09_11-23-56_805.jpg

    700c wheels on the fork, with pads adjusted all the way up. These aren't the wheels I want to put on, I just used them because they already had tires mounted.
    2011-09-09_11-25-39_851.jpg

  2. #2
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    Those appear to be "long reach" (47-57 mm) brakes so I expect a pair of "short reach" (37 - 47 mm) brakes would work properly. Nashbar sells their "Jail Brake" (actually Tektros) for $30 and they are available from several other sellers under the Tektro name.

    The only problem you may have is that most newer bikes use a recessed mounting nut and you will have to drill out the rear face (only the rear face) of your fork crown with a 5/16" drill to take the nut. Otherwise you could mount the rear brake in the front with a nut inside the fork crown and use the longer front brake in back so the mounting bolt goes all the way through the rear brake bridge.

  3. #3
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    $30 for the pair? Wow, that's a lot less than I expected.

    I did a quick eBay check and found these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Tektro-A...#ht_3214wt_808
    There is no brand name on them, though the seller claims they are "identical to Tektros." Does this pass the sniff test?

  4. #4
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Before buying brakes, take a ruler and roughly measure from the center of the center bolt, to the approx. center of either side of the rim. That distance is the reach. The front and rear may be different, with a slight majority of the time, the rear needing a slightly longer reach. If the distance is less than 49 mm, get the short reach. If it's 49 - 57, get the med/long reach, and if over 57, they still sell brakes that are super long reach (58 - 74mm).

    That said, HillRider's comment about brake bolt is important. You need to find some with "Standard" nuts. Most newer brakes, like the one you found on eBay or the Nashbar ones are for modern recessed brake bolts. They have shorter posts than the "Standard" bolts for "standard" nuts. You might find Tektro R536 brakes w/ standard bolts and they do fit a lot of bikes. But they are medium/long reach and not the short reach you may need. You might be able to find some older single pivot caliper brakes with standard bolt, and there may be ways to take the brake bolts from this pair and transplant to other Tektro short reach brakes that do fit. Hopefully the reach of the med/long R536 are okay and work for you.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  5. #5
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    I just measured with a ruler, and it looks like 55mm for the front and 57mm for the rear. That's good news--It means the Tektro R536 should do the trick. I found multiple sources for them w/ standard nuts.

    I guess the original brakes are the super-long-reach variety. That actually makes sense, as they were intended to reach 650c wheels on a frame that can clearly handle 700c or 27in.

    Thanks guys!

  6. #6
    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecnewell View Post
    $30 for the pair? Wow, that's a lot less than I expected.

    I did a quick eBay check and found these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Tektro-A...#ht_3214wt_808
    There is no brand name on them, though the seller claims they are "identical to Tektros." Does this pass the sniff test?
    Tektros makes brakes for a ton of different companies. The only difference is usually the logo.

  7. #7
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    Just went to an LBS to get parts for this project, and here's the exchange I had with the mechanic:

    Me: (after explaining my project)... "I need brakes with shorter reach to work with 700c wheels."
    Him: "It's impossible to put 700c wheels on a frame built for 26in."
    Me: "I already tried the wheels on, there's plenty of clearance--just the brake reach is too long."
    Him: "Even with shorter brakes it won't work."

    At that point he more or less walked away, convinced I was an idiot. So, am I? Is there something I'm missing here, or was he just being an a** because I interrupted his football game?

  8. #8
    Senior Member catmandew52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecnewell View Post
    Just went to an LBS to get parts for this project, and here's the exchange I had with the mechanic:

    Me: (after explaining my project)... "I need brakes with shorter reach to work with 700c wheels."
    Him: "It's impossible to put 700c wheels on a frame built for 26in."
    Me: "I already tried the wheels on, there's plenty of clearance--just the brake reach is too long."
    Him: "Even with shorter brakes it won't work."

    At that point he more or less walked away, convinced I was an idiot. So, am I? Is there something I'm missing here, or was he just being an a** because I interrupted his football game?
    If you can, take project bike with you, to physically show mech what you are trying to do. Or just the old and new wheels. Or lots of pictures, with old and then with new wheels.

    Speaking as someone who has worked on the same side of the counter as your mech, there were days we thought we had been invaded by people from the Planet Todd. I was asked to do things that just weren't possible with the information I thought I was hearing. Until they brought all of there project in so we could see it. YES, we were supposed to be the experts, but special builds, one offs, uncataloged and custom alterations can really muck up the on board data base(memory).
    There are lot of different things out there
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  9. #9
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    Thanks Cat, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and bring the bike in next time. We just moved to a new city (Philadelphia), and I haven't found a shop that I like and trust yet--maybe this is the place, I just need to bring the mech everything he'll need to give me good info.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catmandew52's Avatar
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    Bump!
    ecnewell
    Did you get any help from LBS or did they give you BS
    Take care that no one hates you justly. ~Publilius Syrus

  11. #11
    Noob mikezs's Avatar
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    Your LBS are probably correct about the 700c wheels on a frame designed for 26".

    But, the wheels that would have come with it would have been 27"; these were popular on road bikes in the late 70's and early 80's. The "short reach" brakes will probably work with the 700c wheels and your frame.

    Was there anything wrong with the old wheels?

  12. #12
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    I haven't had the chance to bring it back to the LBS yet. I'm gonna take care of as much other stuff on it as I can, then bring the bike over this weekend. I'll post an update about my experience right after.

    There doesn't seem to be anything structurally wrong with the old wheels, which are chromed steel. They're relatively true, no frozen spokes. Definitely not tacoed. The freewheel is a little wobbly for my liking, but it doesn't seem to impact performance. There is quite a bit of surface rust on the hubs, though, and the wheels are heavy as sin.

    I should mention that I want to convert this thing to singlespeed or fixed (why not make the job even more complicated, right?). Right now I'm on the fence between three options. I'm leaving out the cost of tires and tubes below because I'll have to buy them no matter which route I go:

    1) Use the 700c wheels I have; buy a singlespeed conversion kit (~$20) and a set of short reach brakes (~$40)
    2) Use the old wheels and the existing freewheel for now. The bike will be uglier and heavier, but super cheap.
    3) Get a new or used set of 26" alloy wheels with the correct hub and singlespeed freewheel. These seem very hard to find, and are probably the most expensive option, though not entirely unaffordable. (Edit: I found some here that may work: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/650c-Track...c#ht_500wt_922)

    What would you do?

    As an aside, the bike is cleaning up quite nicely. I washed the grime off, got all the stickers off the stainless tubing (adhesive is a b***h, though), and it's really a nice looking frame.
    2011-09-14_14-11-27_476.jpg

    Thanks for the help!
    Last edited by ecnewell; 09-14-11 at 05:03 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member catmandew52's Avatar
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    Can you read the size on the tires?
    The tires that came w/bike.

    The Kabuki Submariner should have come with 27" rims for 27 x 1 1/4 tires.
    Don't measure the rim diameter w/tape measure, measure the tire O. D. to get the rim size.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
    Last edited by catmandew52; 09-18-11 at 06:17 PM.
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  14. #14
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    If you wish to buy brakes without involving the LBS, all you need to do is measure your reach and buy appropriately. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/calipers.html#reach Note that you will need brakes with the old style nuts, because I doubt your frame is meant for recessed Allen bolts. The other option is to drill it out to work with the recessed bolts.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  15. #15
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    The tires on the bike when I found it were 26" x 1 3/8". It's possible that the 26" wheels were aftermarket, but I don't know why anyone would spend extra money on them. Is it possible Bridgestone put 26" wheels on their smaller frames?

    I found a set of Mavic CXP22 rims laced to Cannondale Wind hubs for $40 on CL. Not technically new, but never mounted. The seller listed them as 26", but they were labeled as 622x15. They looked awfully small, though. Turns out they were mislabeled, and are actually 650c. Both the seller AND the label were wrong (good thing I brought the wheel to a helpful shop). Anyway, they fit, so they're on the bike now. Here's a pic of the finished project!
    2011-09-18_19-01-13_559.jpg

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