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  1. #1
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    A question of taste for vintage hobbyists

    I have 1983 Trek 600 that I absolutely love. But I am also a avid user of my vintage bike. It is my commuter bike and I use it everyday.

    I've been dissatisfied with the performance of my breaks lately, and I am tempted to upgrade to a newer side pull dual pivot caliper.

    But I'm wondering if this is a great faux pas in vintage bikes. My bike currently has the original breaks from 1983 (Weinnman 605, side pull single pivot).

    I really want to take care of my bike and preserve its vintage quality -- but good breaks in the city of Boston are pretty important.

    So, I'm wondering if people who really care about preserving vintage bikes have an opinion. In other words, if I got new calipers, would real hard core hobbyists look down on me for doing so.

    Thanks,
    JW

  2. #2
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I attended a business seminar many years ago where the speaker stated the number one objective of any manufacturer is safety. If your employees don't feel safe, everything else doesn't matter. I'd agree with that assessment. If I was in your position, I wouldn't change the brakes, I'd change the levers from non-aero to aero. They look better, and, in 1983, Trek installed them on the Trek 560. I wouldn't use those brake levers from the 83 560, but a nice set of late 80's early 90's Shimano aero levers will improve your mechanical advantage way more than changing the brakes themselves. Also, look into a set of Koolstop, salmon colored, brake pads. They're meant to stop a bike under wet conditions. Actually, I think the change you propose will do almost nothing to improve your braking power, I could be wrong, but if I were changing brakes, I'd go all the way to dual pivot.
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  3. #3
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff16W View Post
    So, I'm wondering if people who really care about preserving vintage bikes have an opinion. In other words, if I got new calipers, would real hard core hobbyists look down on me for doing so.
    No, and if anyone does, they're real hardcore a-holes.

    That being said, what brake pads are you running? Have you tried Kool Stop salmons yet? Continentals would fit, as might their MTB pads, which are superior in design and adjustability.

    If you are concerned with period correctness, you can probably find single pivot calipers from the same era that may perform better than the original Weinmann's. But I'd give the Kool Stops a chance first.

  4. #4
    Broom Wagon Fodder reverborama's Avatar
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    Without getting into anything else I'll just say this: Unlike a paint job, calipers are a bolt-on item. Putting on new/different ones changes nothing if you keep the originals. You, or the next owner can return the bike to its original condition.

  5. #5
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reverborama View Post
    Without getting into anything else I'll just say this: Unlike a paint job, calipers are a bolt-on item. Putting on new/different ones changes nothing if you keep the originals. You, or the next owner can return the bike to its original condition.
    +1, well said.
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    Senior Member markk900's Avatar
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    I recently acquired an 83 Trek 600 as well - love to see pictures of yours!

    Oh, and +1 on trying the Koolstops first - least expensive way to dramatically improve braking.

    Mark
    Last edited by markk900; 02-28-09 at 07:16 AM. Reason: hit "post" too soon

  7. #7
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    Thanks everybody, that's exactly the kind of advice I needed

  8. #8
    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    psst. brakes, not breaks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff16W View Post
    I have 1983 Trek 600 that I absolutely love. But I am also a avid user of my vintage bike. It is my commuter bike and I use it everyday.

    I've been dissatisfied with the performance of my breaks lately, and I am tempted to upgrade to a newer side pull dual pivot caliper.

    But I'm wondering if this is a great faux pas in vintage bikes. My bike currently has the original breaks from 1983 (Weinnman 605, side pull single pivot).

    I really want to take care of my bike and preserve its vintage quality -- but good breaks in the city of Boston are pretty important.

    So, I'm wondering if people who really care about preserving vintage bikes have an opinion. In other words, if I got new calipers, would real hard core hobbyists look down on me for doing so.

    Thanks,
    JW

    Don't worry about it. As long as it's reversible, no damage done. You are commuting on it, not trailoring it around the country to shows and stuff.

    And it is BRAKES, not breaks.

  10. #10
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    i think its fine as long as the new brakes are visually in keeping with the rest of the bike. dont put super modern brakes on a vintage bike, it will just look silly.


    if you had the bike in 1986 and upgraded the brakes you wouldnt think twice about them not being exactly period correct today, so i dont see anything wrong with an upgrade.

  11. #11
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Something to keep in mind - if your current brakes are nutted, you might have trouble getting modern recessed-nut brakes to mount properly. That could be a show-stopper, as I doubt you'll want to drill the brake bridges to accommodate the new ones.

    Personally, I'd go dual-pivot for every day commuting. Like others have said - they're bolt-on and the vintage ones can be re-installed again without issue.

    But a simple switch to aero levers and new Koolstops might make a huge difference, and would be more "correct".
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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  12. #12
    Senior Member javal's Avatar
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    Go for dual pivot 1) because it is going to help you reduce speed 2) there´s vintage-true brakes to buy that wont mess up your feeling 3) theres few similarities between a hard core commuter and a hard core hobbyist.

  13. #13
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    Right now, niagaracycle.com has Shimano Sora front calipers on clearance for under $12.
    They are dual pivot, Shimano quality, and use recessed nut mounting.
    As BBM stated, depending on your frames configuration, you may run into some obstacles mounting modern calipers. But if so, a modern front caliper will mount onto an older rear bridge.
    But you may need to drill out the fork crown to accept a recessed nut.

    IMHO, no problems upgrading components for performance and safety.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member jet sanchEz's Avatar
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    Dual pivot caliper breaks ( ) are cheap and effective and they are the first thing I upgrade to when I buy a vintage bike. Tektro makes a very nice model that is about $25 a pair, I just don't recall the model number right now.

  15. #15
    Randomhead
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    I barely remember those brakes, but I would switch. When I was a 140 pound teenager I used to run Weinemann sidepulls (or the DiaCompe clones) because I was a weight weenie. I knew they weren't stopping me as well as something like a Campy would. Those 605s look like they are not much of an upgrade from the ones I was using.

  16. #16
    Makeshift kbjack's Avatar
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    When I first got into C&V I'd found a '79 Raleigh Competition frame in gorgeous shape. But I wanted to build it up as a modern commuter. I remember asking here about options for dual-pivot brakes and, like BBM mentioned, ran into the problem of newer recessed mounting bolts.

    Ultimately I ended up drilling the fork (I know, I know: if I knew then what I pretend to know now. But my philosophy at the time was, hey, 'if it's okay with Sheldon...').

    I have to say, paired with Cane Creek SCR 5 levers, it works perfectly and stops on dime.

    Would I do it again? Well, maybe, but I definitely wouldn't be getting out the drill. It was a learning experience, what can I say? And here's one thing I learned: When mounting modern brakes on older frames/forks, you can use the shorter back brake bolt mount on the front fork by installing the recessed nut inside the fork, and then use the front bolt mount on the back. This gives the option of modern dual pivot brakes without doing irreversible damage.

    Hopefully the C&V pantheon will absolve me of my sins....

  17. #17
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    I'm not sure I'm clear on the difference between nutted and recessed nut brakes (note correct spelling ) -- can you give me some clarification on the difference?

  18. #18
    Makeshift kbjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff16W View Post
    I'm not sure I'm clear on the difference between nutted and recessed nut brakes (note correct spelling ) -- can you give me some clarification on the difference?
    Newer brakes have an allen nut (as in the left picture below) that inserts into the rear of the fork and secures the mounting bolt. The fastening point is inside the fork--it's 'recessed'.

    Older brake calipers were secured to the fork using a longer bolt and traditional nut (see below right). The fastening point is outside of the fork.


    (image from sheldonbrown.com)

  19. #19
    The Brave Descender High Fist Shin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff16W View Post
    I'm not sure I'm clear on the difference between nutted and recessed nut brakes (note correct spelling ) -- can you give me some clarification on the difference?
    Sheldon to the rescue! See here:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ra-e.html#recessed



    EDIT:

    kbjack just beat me to it.
    In life there are no mistakes, only lessons. -Shin

  20. #20
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Low-compression cable housings and KoolStop salmon pads may be all you need. Aero handles will increase your brake force leverage (and of course your lever travel -- nothing is free) by about 10%. Dual pivots may increase your brake force leverage, as well, but not by a lot.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    Low-compression cable housings and KoolStop salmon pads may be all you need. Aero handles will increase your brake force leverage (and of course your lever travel -- nothing is free) by about 10%. Dual pivots may increase your brake force leverage, as well, but not by a lot.
    What's a low-compression brake cable housing?

  22. #22
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff16W View Post
    I have 1983 Trek 600 that I absolutely love. But I am also a avid user of my vintage bike. It is my commuter bike and I use it everyday.

    I've been dissatisfied with the performance of my breaks lately, and I am tempted to upgrade to a newer side pull dual pivot caliper.

    But I'm wondering if this is a great faux pas in vintage bikes. My bike currently has the original breaks from 1983 (Weinnman 605, side pull single pivot).

    I really want to take care of my bike and preserve its vintage quality -- but good breaks in the city of Boston are pretty important.

    So, I'm wondering if people who really care about preserving vintage bikes have an opinion. In other words, if I got new calipers, would real hard core hobbyists look down on me for doing so.

    Thanks,
    JW
    Trek used a lot of different brakesets in those days. My 1984 610 has Shimano 600, which I (uniquely it seems) think are terrible. But, they are the right length and are nutted.

    Try the aero levers first.

    I would look for a set of proper-reach dual-pivot calipers with suitable tektro aero levers, and figure out carefully how to manage the non-nutted attachment. Or look for a set of Campy Gran Sport or Super Record caliper brakes. I like those.

  23. #23
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    In addition to pads and levers, new cables and housing can often make a big difference as well, esp. if they have not been changed for a long time.

    Nutted brakes do have their advantages, esp. for a commuter bike, if you are attaching fenders. Nutted brakes make it much easier to put the fender attachment behind the fork, which gets the fender lower.

    I'm sure your bike does have nutted brakes, if they are original. My 1983 620 has nutted brakes.

  24. #24
    blah onetwentyeight's Avatar
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    My current favorite C/V brake set up is Mafac Racers. Then I replace the brake shoes with the ball/socket ones from velo orange and install some mathauser pads. Works great, and squeal free.


  25. #25
    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    Like others have said "Cables housing and pads" will more then likely make a BIG difference. Old calble housing degrade internaly and may compress. Brake pads get hard.
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