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  1. #1
    Just a commuter stockholm's Avatar
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    Replace v-brake with something else

    Hi all,
    First time here, I usually hang out with the commuters so be kind.

    After a short night-course in basic bike mechanics, I'm now one of those attempting to do everyting yourself and consequentely messing it up and ending up at my LBS' anyway.

    That said: My partner has an old-ish (2005?) Specialized Sirrus Sport with V-brakes. I would like to upgrade these brakes with something that is a bit more easy to adjust (and that works better overall). Can I simply buy new brakes (whatever I can afford) and slap them on, or is it more to consider than that?

    All input greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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    SO are you trying to change to a different braking system or are you just wanting to change the brake pads? If you are trying to change to a different braking system like say disc brakes your frame/fork and wheelset would have to be compatible. If your looking to change the pads (which can give you much better stopping power if you get good pads) that is fairly simple and easy enough. People on this forum swear by koolstop salmon pads claiming that they brake much better than other stock or cheapy pads. Give a little more detail about what your trying to accomplish.

  3. #3
    AEO
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    you could look into drum brakes.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  4. #4
    Just a commuter stockholm's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks for the swift replies!

    I'm looking into upgrading to another type of rim brake, not disc or drum brake. Probably Tiagra since the gearing is Tiagra.

  5. #5
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    Tiagra is a groupset not a type of break the types of brakes are 1. cantilever 2. drum 3. v-brake 4. disc brake 5. caliper

    tiagra road bikes would likely have a tiagra caliper brake is that what your thinking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stockholm View Post
    ...
    That said: My partner has an old-ish (2005?) Specialized Sirrus Sport with V-brakes. I would like to upgrade these brakes with something that is a bit more easy to adjust (and that works better overall). Can I simply buy new brakes (whatever I can afford) and slap them on, or is it more to consider than that?...
    2 options:
    -upgrade to more expensive v-brakes, probably will get you something that works better but no less easy to adjust
    -switch to traditional cantilevers, more power is possible but much more difficult to adjust; additionally will require different brake levers and adding cable hangers

    going with first and more feasible option, buy some Avid Single Digit 7 v-brakes and some kool stop salmon pads for them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    As often as brakes need adjusting, I think you have a solution looking for a problem.

    The front V brakes on my 2008 Specialized Globe would throw you over the bars if you weren't careful.
    I went to the Kool Stop Wet-Dry (2 compounds) pads to reduce braking.

    I think you need to look into the condition of the rim braking surface and current pads.
    It'd be embarrassing to have your friend spend the money and have worse brakes.

  8. #8
    Just a commuter stockholm's Avatar
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    Oh, terminology! Vernacular! I need a brand new bicycling dictionary.

    @Mondo734, yes I guess that's what I'm thinking. Like this: http://www.cyclecomponents.com/cgi-b...tnr=SHI1488-Fr

    @xenologer i want to avoid the (what I call V-brake) setup. I much prefer the one in the link here. More "road bike-y".

    Thanks all! I'm learning by doing and typing, so all this is very, very helpful.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Is this the type brake you currently have?

    vbrake-overallsm.jpg

  10. #10
    Just a commuter stockholm's Avatar
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    Yes, exactly.

    It all started because you needed to squeeze the brake really, really tight before it "took", almost crushing your fingers in the process. When I'd fixed that, I realized the pads were all out of whack and when I tried to align them, I lost the "grip" again... Hence my wish to get someting more simple. Maybe I'm just fooling myself, and all rim brakes are this hard?

  11. #11
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    I had the same problems with my old bike and took a fellow posters advice and bought a pair of Shimano v-brakes AND Shimano levers plus cables. They cost somewhere around 45 euros from CRC and after reading on how to PROPERLY adjust them with correct toe-in, there was a MASSIVE difference from the stock old brakes. Before looking into other technology, give a good set of V-brakes a chance, except if you need them for anything other than commuting.

    Edit: Just remembered something... during last summer, a riding buddy of mine was totally unsatisfied with his brakes (v-brakes), and after fiddling around with them, I noticed that they were cheap quality, slightly warped and the return adjusters where frozen on the bodies. We ordered the cheapest set of Shimano v-brakes available, left the cheap levers on as they were still working and went out for a quick ride after installation/adjustment.
    I remember the scene vividly went he went flying over the handlebars (without getting hurt thankfully!) because he was used to mashing on his old brakes! Keep in mind that he too was a Clydesdale at over 110-120kg!


    Quote Originally Posted by stockholm View Post
    needed to squeeze the brake really, really tight before it "took", almost crushing your fingers in the process.
    A good set of v-brakes needs two fingers and little to medium pressure for normal stopping, anything above that should lock the back wheel and maybe the front one if you're light! (I'm at 125kg, so I haven't tried it yet! lol)
    Last edited by Telly; 02-17-12 at 04:10 AM.

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    aligning v-brake pads is just as easy/difficult as the ones in your link; simple single bolt per pad; I see no benefit in changing over to a caliper style.

    in fact there a a few reason not to; your current frame has mounting posts for v-brakes, the caliper brake you looked at does not mount using them, having the unused posts hanging around is going to be ugly
    bigger issue, the caliper uses a different cable pull than your current v-brakes, in order to convert it you will need new brake levers as well.

  13. #13
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    with v-brakes you should NEVER have to apply much hand pressure to get good braking. Actually, v-brakes are so high leverage that the opposite is usually the case.

    I would suggest you have your cables and housing checked/replaced and see if your braking doesn't get a lot better....I'd bet it does.

    Bike brakes are nothing magical, and v-brakes are probably the easiest to adjust other than a simple road brake. If your bike is designed for v-brakes, you should honestly be using v-brakes or cantilevers.....otherwise you have empty brake posts that looks really dumb, and you might not be able to find a long enough reach road brake anyway.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    You probably need a new set of pads and a little education-
    http://sheldonbrown.com/canti-direct.html

  15. #15
    AEO
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    there's definitely something wrong with either the cables, levers or brakes if V-brakes require a lot of strength to work.
    If it's in good working condition, they can be worked with one or two fingers.

    In fact, that's what you should get for any proper brake setup.

    If you require a lot of strength to get the brakes to work, then from what I've seen, it's an issue of using linear pull levers with short pull cantilevers or calipers.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    I'd second new pads. I swapped the pads on my (fairly rubbish) caliper brakes and they made a lot of difference. A lot of people use kool-stop pads. I'd swap the pads and set up the brakes from scratch. Changing to a different V-brake shouldn't make much difference.
    I've got a bike, you can ride if you like it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good- Pink Floyd, 1967

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    I built some drum brake wheels a while ago as part of an attempt at a low maintenance winter bike. No surprises here: they are heavy, noticeably heavy, they can be overwhelmed by steep descents too. Really they are for commuter bikes.

    V Brakes are light, cheap and simple. You could however change to metal cartridge carrier pads like these: http://www.ukbikestore.co.uk/product...rake-pads.html

    My LBS tells me that the metal backing results in the whole face of the pad better pressing against the rim. The best part about them is that once you have gone through the frig of adjusting them - all you have to do is keep feeding them new cartridges. You can get the cartridges quite cheap sometimes - or, I think you can get koolstop cartridges for them too.

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    Looking at the spec, that bike seems decent enough. There's no obvious reason why it should brake that poorly. Get new pads, clean the rims, do your homework on either Sheldon's site or Park Tools repair tips on brake set up.
    If you're in Stockholm, and you can't get it right, I may be able to help.

  19. #19
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    Easier than V-Brakes? Considering the realm of choices (I can send you the U-Brakes off of my vintage 80's Diamond Back Arrival) including Canti's, U, V, etc. - I'd think that the V-brake wins for ease of adjustment and braking ability. New pads and you should be cookin'...

  20. #20
    Don from Austin Texas
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    The bike has an optimum type of braking system already. That is what I consider changing the brakes to if it had something else.

    Don in Austin

  21. #21
    Just a commuter stockholm's Avatar
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    OK, so the problem is me not getting the adjustments right. Bummer. I was hoping I could blame the material. I'll do my Sheldon homework and then I'll try again.

    Thanks all for your input.

  22. #22
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    Get new cables and cable housing, and some high-quality multi-condition pads. Adjust them properly, and V brakes are usually about the best brakes available.

    Any other style of brake will require different brake levers than those used with V brakes.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
    Get new cables and cable housing, and some high-quality multi-condition pads. Adjust them properly, and V brakes are usually about the best brakes available.
    Get lined housings and stainless steel cables. It is important that you install the housings and cables correctly. http://sheldonbrown.com/cables.html

  24. #24
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    The brakes on a lot of Sirrus models are not standard V-brakes, but are instead mini V-brakes. I prefer the full-size V-brakes when possible, Avid SD5 or SD7 work well for me. If the current brakes are mini-Vs then the brake levers may have the cable pull for road brakes (about 22-25 mm between center of cable head and pivot point); if so, when changing to full-size V-brakes then you'll also need to change to levers with more cable pull (30+ mm from center of cable head to pivot point), which are the now the standard size for flat-bar levers; again Avid makes some good ones of these, I believe the model number is FR5

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    German Magura Hydraulic Rim Brakes are the best .. rim brake,
    that uses V brake mounts. ... better than cable brakes..

    After you get them installed... I don't know your mechanical aptitude.

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