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Old 11-29-07, 12:48 AM   #1
folderfan550
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Service/Adjust Raleigh Roadster rod brakes?

I recently acquired a Raleigh DL1 roadster. Does anyone have any tips for maintaining and adjusting rod brakes? The current brakes shoes are fairly worn so I will order replacements. Thanks!
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Old 11-29-07, 08:57 AM   #2
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Really no tricks to it. I had it all figured out when I was 10 years old. Millions of people in China, India and Africa do it every day.
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Old 11-29-07, 09:05 AM   #3
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Replace them with real brakes that actually work.
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Old 11-29-07, 09:29 AM   #4
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I wedge a tool or a chunk of wood between the tire and the U of the brake to hold the brake shoes lightly against the rim, then tighten the nut REALLY HARD with a big pair of channel locks. Screws up the nut, but holds the brakes tight. For the back brake, it's easier to use the nut under the bottom bracket to do the final adjustment.

Don't listen to that John E - these young kids don't have the patience or understanding to work anything that doesn't have directions and an adjuster, and no appreciation of anything not built since the 70s.

THey just know FAST. A roadster is not about fast. If you are going to need to stop in two feet, then why would you ride a roadster?
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Old 11-29-07, 09:41 AM   #5
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Replace them with real brakes that actually work.
That would mean replacing the Westwood rims with Endrick type for caliper brakes. May as well replace the whole bike! Let's presume the OP wants to restore this old roadster for its quaint historic value. Personally, I remember these type of bikes as the lowest form of 2-wheel transportation back in the 'fifties. Riveted rear triangle, flattened tubing fork ends. I guess the Raleighs were a bit better than the real cheap ones.
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Old 11-29-07, 05:30 PM   #6
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Don't listen to that John E - these young kids don't have the patience or understanding to work anything that doesn't have directions and an adjuster, and no appreciation of anything not built since the 70s.
While I eagerly await John E.'s response to that (given that he's not a young kid, was wrenching bikes in the 70s, and tends toward an engineering perspective on things given his line of work), I do agree that adjusting the pads as close to the rims as possible is the way to go (as well as having fresh pads). I commuted on a rod-brake DL1 for awhile in busy Boston traffic, but began to fear for my life and went with my Columbia coaster-brake bike instead.

Neal
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Old 11-30-07, 12:50 AM   #7
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I wedge a tool or a chunk of wood between the tire and the U of the brake to hold the brake shoes lightly against the rim, then tighten the nut REALLY HARD with a big pair of channel locks. Screws up the nut, but holds the brakes tight. For the back brake, it's easier to use the nut under the bottom bracket to do the final adjustment. [...]
Noooooooooooo not channel locks or pliers! Use a 11/32" socket or box wrench. I find it's a good idea to support the rod assembly with your hand as you tighten the nut. You can either wedge the pads with an object or just hold them against the wheel with your hand if necessary- after a few adjustments you'll get the hang of it. Err on the side of too tight unless the pads are actually rubbing the wheel.

As for braking effectiveness, the rod brakes are fine as long as you're not heavily loaded and going really fast. Or if the wheels are wet. Ride conservatively- you are on a roadster, after all (it's about style, not speed). If the wheels do get wet be sure to dry them occasionally by engaging the brakes, before you actually need to stop somewhere.

You've got a great bike, have fun!
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Old 11-30-07, 08:28 PM   #8
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I knew my channel locks would induce cringes! Sorry. By the time I got my roadsters, the nuts were beyond wrenches. And those nuts HAVE to be DAMN tight, or the first time you really need the brakes, they won't be there. A giant pair of channel locks does the job, and the nut is no worse for the wear. Or, at least my nuts are no worse for the wear.

Am I gonna get modded for that?
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Old 11-30-07, 11:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies. Not planning to do fast or wet weather riding on this bike. I do like the looks of the roadsters and find it a sweet bike for a relaxed ride. I have a Raleigh Sports which I'm going to replace the steel rims with aluminum for utility cycling.
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Old 12-01-07, 01:32 AM   #10
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I have a '51 sports I put aluminum rims w/8 speed internal hub with the BIGGEST cog I could find in back - 8th gear is about the same as 3rd used to be - and I find I now can downshift far enough to climb just about any hill my co-riders climb in their 'modern' bikes. I only use it for long hilly rides, but it works great. Light enough to lug onto a train, too. Even with the 8 speed hub, it weights a lot less than the 3 speed wheel.
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