I scored an old univega road bike and have overhauled the whole thing. I have, however, hit a roadblock with the brakes. This is as informative as I can be.
1. The brakes are Shimano BR-Z57 Like these. (http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Used-Shimano-Non-Series-Front-Brake-Caliper-Single-Pivot-Model-BR-Z57-/00/s/NDgwWDY0MA==/$(KGrHqJ,!noE8YJtNFO0BPPbpjM+yg~~60_3.JPG)
2. the handles are similar to these. http://robertobicicletas.com/ebay/sh...8918-30390.jpg
*sorry I don't have pics.
This is the story. The brakes were very weak. They engaged the rim but barely slowed the bike. After they engaged the rim (about 1/4 way), I could continue to pull the lever all the way until they are touching the handlebars and this had little effect on the stopping power. There was about 3 mm of clearance on both sides of the rim.
This is what I have done.
1. changed cable
2. changed housing.
3. changed pads.
4. cleaned the rim with steel wool.
5. I lit a candle and prayed to Jobu.
It changed absolutely nothing. What else can I possibly look for, adjust, etc? It seems that maybe....just maybe....I can see the brake assembly moving a bit after the pad hits the rim. But very little.