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  1. #1
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    "old" road bike - new breaks? (advice please)

    hi,
    I am a commuter with a huffy 10 champion bike.
    I want to start riding more seriously and need to fix a few things with my bike in order to make it safer and smoother.
    I plan to start with my breaks (pictures attached).

    break rear.jpg
    break_front.jpg

    My breaks are a bit rusty (from the 80s and have not been used for about 15 years, I got them from a family member).
    I tightened the calbes on my breaks, but they are still a bit loose (and if i tighten then more I don't have any leverage). The break handles (on the handle bar) are a bit loose as well as a result...
    What breaks should I buy that will fit my bike?
    is there an easier way to improve their performance?
    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
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    I would try to replace the cables, and the housing, if it had been hanging for 15 years.

  3. #3
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    The front calipers are mounted backwards and are missing the spring.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 58Kogswell's Avatar
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    No one wants to offend anyone here and I congratulate you for your desire to commute and your desire to clean and repair an older bike, but it is possible that the cost to renovate this bike sufficiently that it could become your daily commuter ride would be so great that you would be better off looking for another bike, possibly a used bike.

    We sometimes think of our commuter bikes as a second level item - not top shelf. But consider this: the commuter bike may very well be the bike you ride the most miles on and the one you depend on to get you to work on time without break downs along the way. So in some ways it should be the bike that is best set up and best taken care of. Good luck to you. Not sure where you are but if you find a local bike shop that has a large stash of older, generic parts that they will sell reasonably, you might be on the road with this bike in short time.

    Putting new parts on this bike probably does not make dollar sense. You may fix one thing - brakes, maybe, only to have another item, wheels, maybe, cause trouble and get you to spend more money.

  5. #5
    Canadian Chick Aquakitty's Avatar
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    How do you even have any front braking power? You can see it is reversed as the stamping and the pins that hold the spring are on the outside. I have to wonder if you are making a joke, lol.. no offense but that is pretty atrocious!

    If you want to get serious about biking I think you should consider a new bike.

    If you really want to fix this thing, first do some de-rusting before it gets worse. I can't stand to see rust like that. A bit of rust remover and steel wool or a scotch brite pad will take care of it.

    Those caliper brakes are easy to find and cheap versions are common. They sell them in some big box stores. If it were my bike and I had to fix it cheap, I would overhaul the rear brake and oil it, replace cables with cheap ones and find a new front caliper.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies everyone, and thanks for the link Aquakitty.
    As a general reply, because I think most of you asked this in one way or another:
    While it might not be cheaper to fix these than buy new ones, I ENJOY fixing such things on my own, and I want to learn how to do this.
    Thanks all for letting me know that my front caliper is, well, backwards and is missing a spring (I have never dealt with this before and thus did not know to recognize this).
    as for the rust - it is on my list. hopefully next weekend
    Lastly - I know of a shop around that has old spare parts for such bikes which is where i plan to buy the equipment (someone asked)

    Thanks - and i'm always thankful for any other tips and advice.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    The front brake needs some work as others have mentioned, but other than that, you can often get much better performance simply by replacing the brake pads for new ones. Old rubber pads tend to harden up and give reduced braking power. You should be able to get pads intended for v-brakes to fit in there. I would think about getting a replacement front brake though, even if the rear brake is fine.
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  8. #8
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    1. Do not stick any real money into this bike. It's not worth it. Get some new cables, housing (there is a $5 kit at Walmart) then some new brake pads and leave it at that.

    2. When properly setup those brakes should slow you down but chances are they cannot be made to adequately stop you. The cheap stamped side-pull calipers found on department store bikes really are the worst brakes ever made and just flex way too much to work properly.

    3. This is a good bike to learn bike maintenance on, but once you start riding you'll soon find you'll want a better bike (see #1.) At that point you'll be in a good position to buy a cheap bike on craigslist or a rummage sale that needs work and fix it up for yourself. Get something of quality originally sold at a bike shop.
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  9. #9
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I agree with the others. A few bucks to get it safely rolling is ok, but don't spend much on it. For $100 or less you can find a much better used bike that you will be much happier with.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  10. #10
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    New cables Housing and Brake pads, are all a reasonable bit of maintenance.

    You might look for a crashed bike to cannibalize the somewhat better brakes off of it.

    But as you have steel rims on the wheels ,
    better to go shopping for a new or newer bike .
    aluminum rims contribute to the friction needed to stop the brake ,
    more, than hard slick chromium plated steel.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    It's great that you want to commute and that you want to fix your old bike. Definitely consider getting a better used bike, though, and learning repairs on your new old bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 58Kogswell View Post
    No one wants to offend anyone here and I congratulate you for your desire to commute and your desire to clean and repair an older bike, but it is possible that the cost to renovate this bike sufficiently that it could become your daily commuter ride would be so great that you would be better off looking for another bike, possibly a used bike.
    I concur. The other components of the braking system are the levers and the wheels. I can't see what kind of shape the levers are in, but if they're of comparable quality to the calipers, they're pretty inadequate. Match that with steel rimmed wheels that are probably out of true, and you're looking at a money pit.

    Most locales have decent used bikes in riding condition for $100-200, or you can find better prospects for fixing up for less than that.

  13. #13
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    hey guys,
    took me a while to reply but i wanted to update you all.
    First of all I took my front break off and put it on the right way. then I bought new pads, new cables and new cable covers (the plastic on the outside) the covers made a big difference! (I changed the cables about a year ago already as well as the pads and it was not as a significant diff...)
    best part is that it cost me about 15$ all together!

    The breaks are great now! thank you all for the help!

  14. #14
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Some folks won't understand why, but others will be with me 100% when I say few relatively inconsequential things bother me more than when folks don't know how to spell

    BRAKE

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    Some folks won't understand why, but others will be with me 100% when I say few relatively inconsequential things bother me more than when folks don't know how to spell

    BRAKE
    It bothered me too but considering the initial condition of the OP's brakes, perhaps "break" is also a good description.

  16. #16
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Sorry about raising my voice back there, something in me snapped for a tic.

    How about the ambiguous thread title, eh?

    Breaks on the old bike, or in it?

  17. #17
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Gotta go with the rest here. You can buy a new Huffy for $150 (not that I'm recommending doing so) or get a LBS level bike used in decent shape for about the same amount. It doesn't make sense to put any significant amount of money into an old Huffy. The good news is that you should be able to clean up and lube your existing brakes (you'll have to remount properly and find or make a spring) or find a donor bike for little or nothing. As mentioned above, the only thing I'd put on new would be brake pads and cables and even those I would get at WalMart. Should cost you $15-20 total. If the old Huffy needs significantly more work, you are probably better off starting with something better. Older steel MTBs can be found in safe and functional condition for under $100. Don't ovelook something like an old Schwinn 10-speed which were very reliable bikes and have retro appeal. Your best bet if you do not know a lot about bikes and what to look for in a used bike, is to start at a bike co-op or local bike shop that has a good reputation. I've told the story here before, but the first two bikes I bought were Trek 800 series chrome-moly bikes from two local LBSs. Each cost me $99. My wife still rides hers and the only money I put into it was for comfort (seat and riser bar) as the original equipment was in excellent shape. The other bike I rode for most of a summer before selling it for what I had into it + a little bit, and going to a 700c bike, also used $35 but needed more work.
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  18. #18
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    If I was going to commute on a bike, I would keep an eye out for a nice, shop branded, rigid frame MTB. Around here, you can find one in great shape for around $100, or in needs a little love shape for about $25. Stopping is important. Those stamped steel calipers, in poor condition, with steel rims, I would not ride it in traffic.

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