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  1. #1
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    1987 Bianchi Volpe brake and wheel questions

    My old Bianchi Volpe has the original cantilever brakes. What would be a reasonably priced upgrade? It also still has 27" rims on Phil Wood hubs. I've been advised by my LBS that the spoke nipples are questionable and that I need to plan on wheel rebuilds or replacement. Am I correct that I have to stick with 27" wheels because of the brake design or is there a brake option that would allow me to switch to 700 wheels?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tenkerman View Post
    My old Bianchi Volpe has the original cantilever brakes. What would be a reasonably priced upgrade?
    IMO, the main development in cantis has been in how the brake pads attaches to the brake arms. The old smooth post design, with one nut controlling the position in all directions could be a pain to set up. I'd pretty much consider any brake using threaded posts as superior to that.
    Otherwise, get some new pads, check out Sheldon Brown's page on brake set up, clean your rims and see if you're happy with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by tenkerman View Post
    My old Bianchi Volpe .. has 27" rims on Phil Wood hubs.
    Nothing inherently wrong with 27". There's still a decent selection of tires out there.
    Quote Originally Posted by tenkerman View Post
    I've been advised by my LBS that the spoke nipples are questionable
    Don't really understand that. Old nipples, particularly aluminium, may seize, which is n't a concern until the wheel needs to be trued. Whatever the nipples, if they've held together until now odds are they'll keep on holding up. For brass in particular, nipple reliability is pretty much a non-issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by tenkerman View Post
    Am I correct that I have to stick with 27" wheels ..
    probably not. Brakes do come with different reach, even canti brakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by tenkerman View Post
    ..because of the brake design ?
    If you're set on keeping the brakes - maybe. It's real easy to check. The brake track with 28"/700C/622 mm rims will sit 4 mm lower. Eyball the current set-up, and you should be able to make a fairly reliable judgement call as to whether you have sufficient adjustability in your current parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by tenkerman View Post
    ... is there a brake option that would allow me to switch to 700 wheels?
    Probably, but basically the only ones that can answer that straight off is someone who'd done the exact same conversion that you're thinking about.

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    Concerning your LBS comment on your spoke nipples...

    If you have aluminum nipples they often become brittle and friable with age. It is not uncommon for aluminum nipples to crack due to their age, corrosion, and the tension on them. Once they reach this state they have a tendency to rapidly deteriorate and fail at unexpected times due to the stresses on the wheel when riding.

    -j

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    tenkerman: The most reasonably priced brake upgrade would be to clean, lube and adjust your current brakes and cables, clean the brake tracks on the rims and replace the pads with Kool Stop Salmon or similar and see how they perform. If you are feeling generous you might treat yourself to a fresh set of cables. Brakes aren't terribly sophisticated and haven't changed substantially over time.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    My old Bianchi Volpe has the original cantilever brakes. What would be a reasonably priced upgrade?
    +1, New brake pads.. Kool Stop, the Salmon compound.

    If you have the wheel in the Truing Stand, and there is a bit of penetrating oil
    dropped onto each spoke nipple and left to do its job.
    and a properly fitting spoke wrench
    all usually goes well enough.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-18-11 at 03:10 PM.

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