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  1. #1
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    Rear Side-Pull Cantilever Brake is Stiff/Providing No Force

    Hey guys,

    Just picked up a Schwinn World Sport for my first road bike. First thing I did was look over it for damage and check for loose parts. The part that held the brakes to the frame was loose so I took the brakes apart to see how they worked and put them back together. Front worked well before and works well now but is no longer loose. I can't figure out how to center these side-pulls but if you could inform me that would be great.

    The rear brake was stiff and did not provide a smooth/consistent pull and still doesn't. I lined up the pads and cleaned/lubed some of the stuff but no dice. When I disconnect everything the pull is still "notchy". Is this a bad cable and/or routing? The guy said the cables were new (unless he meant shift cables) and the routing looks decent...

    After I get the rear brakes figuring out I'm going to try straightening out the front wheel a touch and I should be good for a while! It's fun to ride and I already put 7 miles on it (first day with it today). I'm sure will be much better when I have full confidence in my rear brake!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    When you say they are "notchy", are you pulling at the caliper, or at the lever. Try both.

    Did you pull the arms off the pivots? They may be rusty/dry in there.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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    First check the brake by lifting the crossover cable and activating the arms directly. That will tell you if it's the brake itself or higher up.

    While you're at it have a friend hold the brake closed so the cable is slack, and work the lever while pulling the other end down. If the cable is binding you'll feel it very clearly this way.

    Cables can bind from lack of lube, rust, poor routing, or all to often because they were trapped under an accessory clamp.
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    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    side pull cantilever?

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    Quote Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
    side pull cantilever?
    V-brake, maybe. It really doesn't matter if it's a cable problem.
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    Almost sounds like the whole wrong brake lever issue, using v-brake lever on bike equipped with cantilever/sidepull.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF View Post
    When you say they are "notchy", are you pulling at the caliper, or at the lever. Try both.

    Did you pull the arms off the pivots? They may be rusty/dry in there.
    They feel notchy at the lever.

    I took apart everything related to the brakes just short of taking the cable off the frame. The actual brakes seem fine other than not being 100% centered (going to try to bend the spring to fix this more). Cleaned/lubed them and they move nicely when not attached to the cable. Now, I don't have a lot of experience so they may not be great but they aren't real notchy.

    I'm pretty sure it's the cable but don't understand why if he just replaced it. Routing seems ok... maybe I should take a picture?

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    First check the brake by lifting the crossover cable and activating the arms directly. That will tell you if it's the brake itself or higher up.

    While you're at it have a friend hold the brake closed so the cable is slack, and work the lever while pulling the other end down. If the cable is binding you'll feel it very clearly this way.

    Cables can bind from lack of lube, rust, poor routing, or all to often because they were trapped under an accessory clamp.
    It seems like it is the cable (see above), but again, cable is supposed to be new and looks new. Routing seems ok to me but I have no experience with bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
    side pull cantilever?
    Almost identical to this setup:

    http://centurycycles.com/images/libr...50m/BR7266.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    Almost sounds like the whole wrong brake lever issue, using v-brake lever on bike equipped with cantilever/sidepull.
    The guy I bought it off of said he got rid of the stock "suicide brakes"... The levers now look like this:

    http://usedroadbikes.files.wordpress...pic5.jpg?w=450

    Keep in mind that the front has the same setup and is a lot better. It is slightly notchy now that I think about it, but much better.



    Also, while I was feeling the brakes again I spun the front wheel and noticed just how crooked it is When I was riding it felt ok and didn't look too bad but it wobbles a lot. Hopefully it is fixable.
    Last edited by Hlxdrummer; 04-02-12 at 06:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    It seems like it is the cable (see above), but again, cable is supposed to be new and looks new. Routing seems ok to me but I have no experience with bikes.
    If you did the diagnostic I described working the cable between the lever and hand tension at the other end and it feel like the cable, then it almost certainly is.

    A number of possibilities come to mind, but you'll never know without pulling the wire and rethreading the cable. But one clue is the fact that it's a new cable.

    1- everything is as it should be but when the seller cut the housing he turned the end of the coil inward and left it where it rubs the moving wire. This is very common and acts exactly as you describe. When you look for it, don't forget to check both ends.

    2- the seller used unlined housing and didn't grease the wire. Unlined housing always feels rougher than modern stuff because of metal to metal friction.

    3- the end of the cable isn't lined up with the path of the wire where it emerges (you can see this) so the wire is sawing at the end of the housing or ferrule where it emerges. The lever end looks OK, but you can check the other end.

    If it isn't #3, take it apart and examine the housing.
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    Thanks a ton man! I am assuming I'll be able to tell if it is lined or not? I'll try to check this soon in addition to getting a spoke wrench

    Edit: Seller just told me it is lined.
    Last edited by Hlxdrummer; 04-02-12 at 07:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    They feel notchy at the lever.

    I took apart everything related to the brakes just short of taking the cable off the frame. The actual brakes seem fine other than not being 100% centered (going to try to bend the spring to fix this more). Cleaned/lubed them and they move nicely when not attached to the cable. Now, I don't have a lot of experience so they may not be great but they aren't real notchy.

    I'm pretty sure it's the cable but don't understand why if he just replaced it. Routing seems ok... maybe I should take a picture?



    It seems like it is the cable (see above), but again, cable is supposed to be new and looks new. Routing seems ok to me but I have no experience with bikes.
    I think these are your brakes (or similar) http://hughsbicycle.blogspot.com/201...0-caliper.html. You also need to recognise the difference between the cables from the housings. I don't think you should assume that the brake housings are new. Your's is a 25 YO bike so, if the housings were new, you would notice it (got any pictures?) and sense these bikes did not have stainless steel cables, a quick look at the cables where they are anchored to the brakes will tell you if they are new or not. If not, new cables and housings should be in your bike's future

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    It would help to know what kind of brake you're actually using, old World Sport is either side-pull caliper or centerpull caliper. There is no "side-pull cantilever" unless you count V-brakes which your bike certainly does not have.

    Most brake/shifting problems are cable related. This will help: http://sheldonbrown.com/cables.html

    Also, some of the brakes used on the 80s World Sports are absolute garbage and will never provide adequate stopping power no matter what you do. My parents have a pair of '84 World Sports (which they never ride) with some terribly flexible Dia-Compe brakes. But either way you should still be able to get them to work smoothly.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    Senior Member WickedThump's Avatar
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    If the brakes are diacompe center pulls, the spring needs to be able to move where it contacts the pins. If one side is crudded or galled, the brake won't close uniformly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
    I think these are your brakes (or similar) http://hughsbicycle.blogspot.com/201...0-caliper.html. You also need to recognise the difference between the cables from the housings. I don't think you should assume that the brake housings are new. Your's is a 25 YO bike so, if the housings were new, you would notice it (got any pictures?) and sense these bikes did not have stainless steel cables, a quick look at the cables where they are anchored to the brakes will tell you if they are new or not. If not, new cables and housings should be in your bike's future
    They look really similar. Mine don't have the that tab/lever near where the cable connect, though. The housings/cables definitely look new to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    It would help to know what kind of brake you're actually using, old World Sport is either side-pull caliper or centerpull caliper. There is no "side-pull cantilever" unless you count V-brakes which your bike certainly does not have.

    Most brake/shifting problems are cable related. This will help: http://sheldonbrown.com/cables.html

    Also, some of the brakes used on the 80s World Sports are absolute garbage and will never provide adequate stopping power no matter what you do. My parents have a pair of '84 World Sports (which they never ride) with some terribly flexible Dia-Compe brakes. But either way you should still be able to get them to work smoothly.
    After a google image search, they are side pull calipers. They are also Dia-Compes, too. I thought they seemed to have a good bit of flex lol! I rode around today on just the front and it seemed decent to start with, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by WickedThump View Post
    If the brakes are diacompe center pulls, the spring needs to be able to move where it contacts the pins. If one side is crudded or galled, the brake won't close uniformly.
    They are Dia-compe but not center pulls. I'll take them apart again though to make sure the surface where the pin contacts the spring is nice and smooth.

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    After a google image search, they are side pull calipers. They are also Dia-Compes, too. I thought they seemed to have a good bit of flex lol! I rode around today on just the front and it seemed decent to start with, though.
    Once you get the cables sorted out and get them operating smoothly see how they are. This is one of the unusual cases where it might actually the brakes that are the main problem. Those arms flex so much, combined with the long-ish reach that they may never stop you well enough. The test is whether the rear brake can lock up the rear wheel and whether the front brake can get the rear wheel to lift off the ground when seated.

    Some Tektro dual pivot brakes would certainly be a big upgrade from what you have now. You just need to make sure you get the correct reach http://www.sheldonbrown.com/calipers.html#reach and sort out the recessed/external nut issue (also covered in the article.)
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    Retro Grouch onespeedbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    The actual brakes seem fine other than not being 100% centered (going to try to bend the spring to fix this more).
    BTW don't do this! It would probably do more harm than good and it won't center your brakes.

    Edit: these more like your brakes? http://www.velobase.com/ViewComponen...=117&AbsPos=20
    Last edited by onespeedbiker; 04-02-12 at 09:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    Once you get the cables sorted out and get them operating smoothly see how they are. This is one of the unusual cases where it might actually the brakes that are the main problem. Those arms flex so much, combined with the long-ish reach that they may never stop you well enough. The test is whether the rear brake can lock up the rear wheel and whether the front brake can get the rear wheel to lift off the ground when seated.

    Some Tektro dual pivot brakes would certainly be a big upgrade from what you have now. You just need to make sure you get the correct reach http://www.sheldonbrown.com/calipers.html#reach and sort out the recessed/external nut issue (also covered in the article.)
    Thanks for the input! I'll keep you updated. It seems the front will be able to lift the back wheel, but not sure about the rear as I can make it hit the bars right now

    Quote Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
    BTW don't do this! It would probably do more hame than good and it won't center your brakes.
    Hm.. I already did it a little bit when I had them apart as pre Sheldon Brown's recommendation on his site for non-adjustable springs. You think this is bad for the little bent steel springs?

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    Hm.. I already did it a little bit when I had them apart as pre Sheldon Brown's recommendation on his site for non-adjustable springs. You think this is bad for the little bent steel springs?
    Nothing wrong with bending the steel return springs. Pretty common actually. Single pivot caliper brakes are notoriously hard to center. It takes some patience and technique.

    Just don't bend the aluminum arms. That's bad, as they can break.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    Hm.. I already did it a little bit when I had them apart as pre Sheldon Brown's recommendation on his site for non-adjustable springs. You think this is bad for the little bent steel springs?
    The problem with the Sheldon Brown page http://www.sheldonbrown.com/caliper-sidepull.html is it jumps from side pull brakes to Cantis. It is the Canti springs that can be deformed, not side pull. The problem with bending the spring of a side pull (yes it is sometimes done) is you are bending a one piece spring, not two separate springs. It can be done, but a single pivot spring is supposed to be symmetrical and if it's bent out of shape you will usually be forever tinkering with it trying to keep the brake centered. Here is the correct method for centering a side pull brake..http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...-brake-service

  20. #20
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    URL is no good.

    These maybe?

    Last edited by DMF; 04-03-12 at 12:28 PM. Reason: hi there
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF View Post
    URL is no good.

    These maybe?

    Really? It works for me. Those aren't what I have. Try typing side pull caliper into google images and you'll see what I have.



    I got the back better today but it doesn't even come close to breaking the back wheel loose.

    When I detached the cable from the lever and held it parallel to the frame (so no bend at the fork), and not attached to the caliper, it worked great. When I had it attached to the caliper it got worse because all of the force it needed. When I bent it at the fork it got a million times worse. I rotated the housing/cable about 180* and that helped (where I'm at now), but still doesn't work great. Maybe I need a higher quality housing/cable? Or maybe route it better?

    The front doesn't make the bike do an endo, but still better than the rear. The front just hit the handle bars before I get the back wheel up. Not sure what to do about that as the cable is as tight as I can get it without the brakes rubbing.

    Additionally, I adjusted the "H" stop on the rear derailleur because the bike wasn't getting into the highest gear. Now it goes into the highest gear but under load the chain skips. Guessing this means I need to put the H limit back and adjust something else? All friction shifting here.

    I saw a Ross road bike that looked nice at a place that sells used stuff. Wonder if it may be better to go with something else instead of having to upgrade the brakes on here if that is the problem..

  22. #22
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlxdrummer View Post
    The front just hit the handle bars before I get the back wheel up. Not sure what to do about that as the cable is as tight as I can get it without the brakes rubbing..
    I actually bought a truing stand to deal with out of true wheels for the cheap bikes I fixed.
    Reason-
    Brakes tended to be SO BAD, I had to true the wheel in order to get the pads as close as I could in order to get that last little bit of cable pull before the lever bottomed out.
    You might check your wheel true for "that last little bit".

  23. #23
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    Bending the spring on single-pivot caliper brakes is acceptable. The spring is normally anchored in the middle so both sides act independently. Is would be better to try and bend both sides in approximately the same amount, and just a little bit should do it. At a shop where I used to work we used to do this to the brakes on every kids bike because the stock springs were much too stiff for little hands to actuate.

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    You know, both wheels are definitely not true. The front is pretty bad and the rear is better but still barely rubs the pads at one spot. I am debating picking up spoke wrenches tomorrow and/or having my LBS true them for me. For the quoted $8-12 a wheel might be better to let them do it but I would like to learn how... I guess being able to put the brakes closer will help it out a good deal, huh?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    You might want to buy the spoke wrench and do the front yourself and have the LBS do the rear.

    On the front, if you tighten one spoke, you loosen the adjacent one the same amount, since the wheel is symmetrical.
    You have to "give & take" so the overall spoke tension remains even and the hub remains in the center so you don't get a "hop".

    The rear is a little more difficult because of the "offset" dish + spoke tension is more critical.
    Spoke tension is different between the 2 sides.
    (You are trying to "unwind" 1/2 your spokes when you pedal)

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