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Old 04-23-11, 03:28 PM   #1
SunnyFlorida
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New Brakes & Levers for R20?

I love my R20 but I can't stand the braking. I opted to keep the original chrome wheels, caliper brakes and long-pull levers it came with.

I do stop but it takes a lot of hand strength for me to stop fully and smoothly. I also have to use both brakes to stop even though I'm not going very fast.

Any way of improving the stopping power of the R20 without changing the wheels?

I do have the Kool Stop Continental brake pads on which definitely improved on the braking from before. I've also adjusted the cable tension as much as possible. The tires aren't bald.

Would upgrading the brakes and/or brake levers help? What type of brake/brake lever would work on an R20 with chrome wheels? Sorry for the newbie questions but all the choices I'm reading about are just confusing the hell out of me.
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Old 04-23-11, 03:40 PM   #2
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I would recommend alloy levers like this http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...es-levers.html
Kool Stop Eagle 2 brake pads and new teflon brake cables. Which brake calipers do you have now? The Weinmann alloy or the steel ones? I just purchased an older 20 with 3 speed coaster brake and a front brake alloy Weinmann. Havent ridden it yet.
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Old 04-23-11, 03:47 PM   #3
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Replace the calipers with some better BMX long reach calipers... the Rush Pro has worked well on a few 20's I have refitted and if you want serious braking power I'd swap the front rim / wheel over to alloy.

Do both wheels and you will not only get better braking but you lighten up the wheels considerably which will make for a better ride.

If you want to do mad skids and be able to brake confidently while towing 75-120 pounds have a frame builder add canti / v brake bosses and change your wheels to alloy.

The chromed rims and long reach alloy brakes are about as bad a combo there is for braking and swapping the rims makes the biggest difference.
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Old 04-24-11, 05:36 PM   #4
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Replace the calipers with some better BMX long reach calipers... the Rush Pro has worked well on a few 20's I have refitted and if you want serious braking power I'd swap the front rim / wheel over to alloy.

Do both wheels and you will not only get better braking but you lighten up the wheels considerably which will make for a better ride.

If you want to do mad skids and be able to brake confidently while towing 75-120 pounds have a frame builder add canti / v brake bosses and change your wheels to alloy.

The chromed rims and long reach alloy brakes are about as bad a combo there is for braking and swapping the rims makes the biggest difference.
I agree with Sixty Fiver on many of the points above as I have done the same on my own Twenty. The Alloy front rim & hub was bought as a completed unit from my LBS for just 30 dollars. I thought it added a nice snazzy touch as well as help to lighten it's weight some and improve the braking. The rear one (rim and last UK made year 2000 Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub) was stripped off my old Dahon and transfered over to the Twenty. If I did not have that already, I would have rebuilt the Sturmey-Archer hub (clean it up, add oil, and perhaps added another indicator chain if needed) the bike originally came with with another Alloy rim. The tires are new and puncture resistant. I did keep the brakes and levers as I had worse before. Besides, I rode bikes during the time that this bike was new. I am used to these types of brakes anyway. The newer ones are nice, but I know how to handle ones that are not like the new ones.

Yes, it would added to the total restoration price, but I plan to keep this bike for a very, very long time.

By the way,I am in the market for another folding bike. The knowledge that I gained from restoring my Raleigh Twenty helped me in choosing the right bike (steel frame and made in USA) as well as the right upgrades for it. It is no Bike Friday or Brompton, but it is still a nice bike for what I will do with it (haul groceries, food bank food, hardware store purchases for the home) that neither my Brompton or Raleigh Twenty can do as well. This time, I am going to spend an additional 50 dollars to have Alloy wheels placed on the new tricycle right from the factory: http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/adulttrikes.html

Worksman Port-O-Trike PT3CB
$499.00 $469.00 On Sale!

Worksman Port-o-Trikes are the best selling Adult Tricycles in the USA

Deluxe 3 Speed (3 gears to choose from for easier pedaling)Port-o-trike Folding Adult Trike with 20"wheels with (Front Drum Brake & Rear Coaster (foot)Brake)and rear basket. Compact Adult Trike. Overall Width 29.5". Folds to a 32x30x29.5" cube. Ships mostly assembled via UPS.Maximum Recommended Weight Capacity 225 pounds.
3 Alloy Rim Upgrade 45 dollars


So, my Twenty is still saving me money even after a finished with it for now!
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Old 04-24-11, 09:55 PM   #5
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I opted to keep the original chrome wheels, caliper brakes and long-pull levers it came with.
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Any way of improving the stopping power of the R20 without changing the wheels?
A) No, chrome plated steel rims are notorious for having lengthy stopping distances.

nothing wrong with the alloy rim idea, for an additional option,
My Recommendation, Have the wheels rebuilt around hubs with Drum brakes,
then the braking takes place inside the hub.
sturmey archer has moved to The ROC, new ownership.
but they make good drum brake hubs [with a variety of speeds in back]

alloy rims still a good idea, in short build new wheels.
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Old 04-26-11, 06:04 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the feedback:

Dyno - I have the alloy calipers. Are the Kool Stop Eagle 2 brake pads better than the Continental ones?

Sixty-fiver - I'll look into the Rush Pro calipers. I think I can manage a swap for the front wheel though (see below).

Folder-Fanatic - I also learned a lot from renovating my R20. If I ever redo another classic or not so classic bike, I'm hoping it won't be so costly. I made a lot of mistakes. Oh well, as Einstein once said "Someone who has never made a mistake, never tried anything new".

I see you'll soon be entering the trike ranks. YAYYYYY!!!!. You'll like the convenience of the generous rear basket besides the welcomed stability/ease of the ride. Geez I sound like a commercial!!

But there are drawbacks to everything and one of them is speed and the size it takes up on the street/lane/path/home.

fietsbob - Oh I didn't want to hear that but there's no getting around it it seems. Unfortunately, a family crisis has put upgrading the R20 on hold for now.

All - I think what I can do for now is strip the front wheel off an old 6 speed Broadwalk I still have and put it on the R20. If that goes well, then I'll attempt to transfer the Broadwalk's rear wheel, 6 speed shifter, cassette & dérailleur.
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Old 04-26-11, 06:14 PM   #7
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I found these recommended on a BMX site.
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Old 04-27-11, 12:28 AM   #8
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... Any way of improving the stopping power of the R20 without changing the wheels?...
I've often wondered if some sort of cable splitter could be used and brakes could be put on both the front and back side of the fork. Two brakes, coupled with a longer lever, should improve braking performance.

That being said, I completely rebuilt my R20, using Sun CR18 rims. For the front brake, I used an Avid Single Digit 7 V-brake. I kept the stock rear brake. The V brake is significantly better than the stock rear brake. You can read more about my build here.

Last edited by hopperja; 04-27-11 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 04-27-11, 04:34 AM   #9
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Sunny did you use new cables when you redid the brakes? I switched to some high tech ones with Teflon linings and it made the brakes better. AFAIK there isn't any real stopping difference between Eagle Claw 2 and the Continentals. I use the Eagle Claw on a different bike, but it has a totally different brake system so no way to compare them at this point.

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Old 04-27-11, 09:59 AM   #10
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British Fibrax used to offer a brake pad for chromed steel rims ,
as used on the Rod brake roadsters, friction material: Leather.

I would at least fit a Coaster-brake rear wheel, wet chromed steel rims
take a long distance to stop.. half way through an intersection perhaps.

hooperja, FYI
there are british tricycles that are light race bikes, .. oh those Brits,
they have several brakes on the front fork , since there are none on the 2 back wheels.
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Old 04-27-11, 10:10 AM   #11
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I've often wondered if some sort of cable splitter could be used and brakes could be put on both the front and back side of the fork. Two brakes, coupled with a longer lever, should improve braking performance.

That being said, I completely rebuilt my R20, using Sun CR18 rims. For the front brake, I used an Avid Single Digit 7 V-brake. I kept the stock rear brake. The V brake is significantly better than the stock rear brake. You can read more about my build here.
This 20 can now do mad skids... CR18 rims and v brakes ftw.





Another option is to replace the stock fork with a modern rigid or suspension fork with an adequate steerer... these come with v brake mounts and in the process you will get a new headset which lightens up the steering and quicker handling.

SR makes a 20 inch suspension fork with a 220mm steerer... have used these although the head tube had to be faced down just a little to allow everything to fit properly as even at 220mm the steerer was a little short for the 20's generous head tube.
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Old 04-27-11, 11:24 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone for the feedback:

Folder-Fanatic - I also learned a lot from renovating my R20. If I ever redo another classic or not so classic bike, I'm hoping it won't be so costly. I made a lot of mistakes. Oh well, as Einstein once said "Someone who has never made a mistake, never tried anything new".

I see you'll soon be entering the trike ranks. YAYYYYY!!!!. You'll like the convenience of the generous rear basket besides the welcomed stability/ease of the ride. Geez I sound like a commercial!!

But there are drawbacks to everything and one of them is speed and the size it takes up on the street/lane/path/home.
That is all right with me as I am already researched adult tricycles even before I discovered and finalized my choice of that particular brand. I can never have enough information from actual users of these bikes as there is not much information on them. My parents once had one-a Kmart special. Sadly the garage roof collapsing some years back on it means that I must buy another one. That is alright now as the limiting problem of size (especially for storage & transport) is solved by it's ability to fold-as other folding bikes do-into a cube makes it more manageable than the first one-meaning no more collapsing roofs to lose this new one as it will stay in my house. I really look forward to it.

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All - I think what I can do for now is strip the front wheel off an old 6 speed Broadwalk I still have and put it on the R20. If that goes well, then I'll attempt to transfer the Broadwalk's rear wheel, 6 speed shifter, cassette & dérailleur.
I strongly recommend that you "upgrade" your bike to parts that are more mainstream than Dahons mostly are. When I upgraded my wheels, I decided to use a standard BMX front wheel as the width of it is standard and is swappable whenever I must change it for another rim. Dahons front rim hubs are far more narrower and are not standard and even their rear ones might not be. In my case, I already upgraded my own Dahon Boardwalk to a standard rear rim by fitting a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub at purchase so I was saved there. The only thing I needed to do was file down the front forks ends to fit (done at any good bike shop). I also discovered that if you buy parts from a bike shop, sometimes they throw in labor to attach it for free or low cost as my own bike shop did for me (check with yours first). Now my bike has the best of both worlds.

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Old 04-28-11, 05:58 AM   #13
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Best of both worlds!

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Old 04-28-11, 08:00 AM   #14
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Conversion kit http://cgi.ebay.com/20-Adult-Bicycle...item27ba435432
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Old 04-28-11, 11:30 AM   #15
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Best of both worlds!

Now that is an adult tricycle I certainly relate to! Thank you for posting the photo.

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Oh, I am glad it is possible to convert a R20 with an actual kit. Thank you for posting the link, but I want to keep my Twenty just like it is for now. I am storing it within my website for others to find. But if I ever find another Twenty, it may become a 3 wheeler!

For Sunny: Others have treaded the road that you are now:

http://www.drumbent.com/folders.html

"....If there is a serious deficiency with these bikes, it's in the braking department. Steel rims combined with long-reach side-pull brakes make for barely adequate stopping power at the best of times, and pretty well non-existent in the rain! One of the first things I did to this bike was to put on some alloy wheels. The front one came from a BMX bike, and is perhaps overkill with 36 spokes, but hey, the bike now stops! For the rear I was rather lazy, and instead of bulding up a whole new wheel with a 3-speed hub, I took the easy way out by buying a 20" alloy rim, and simply transferring everything over to it, old spokes, nipples and all! If things had not transferred well then I probably would have started from scratch, but the bike hadn't been used in the winter so things were not rusted solid. The new wheels do two things: they provide much better braking (though those brake arms are way too long), and they also lighten the bike a bit. For the best possible stopping power I fitted KoolStop "salmon" brake pads all 'round....."

The most important thing I learned from restoring my R20 was....the sky is the limit as far as what you can do to upgrade the bike-like this very proud owner did here: http://oak.ucc.nau.edu/sam86/Raleigh.htm. The most sane way is to choose only the parts or accessories that need to be addressed first and go from there. This takes some time (I took over three month from the time of purchasing the bike, selling my Dahons for cash to pay for the final phases of the restoration, and stay within my comfort zone (just cleaning the bike up only) in order to keep within my extremely limited budget for all my bikes, not just the Raleigh Twenty.

The next part for my Twenty will be the Phil Wood Bottom Bracket (after I am able to purchase the new Adult Tricycle): http://www.philwood.com/products/bbhome.php This part will not be added right away. I will keep this one in my toolbox until the old one wears out. I decided to keep the bottom bracket in it's original configuration as I try to avoid too much adaption for any major component. I like to keep what the bike has already if it works well.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 04-28-11 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 05-02-11, 02:12 PM   #16
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hopperja - Thanks for the link re your redo of your R20. Printed the thread out so I can refer to it.

Aaron - I'm not sure what type of cables they were when I redid the R20 but all the cables and housing on the R20 were replaced or else I wouldn't be stopping at all.

BTW, Sybil is wearing the "Raleigh broach" you gave her and she looks stunning.

fietsbob - Saw pics of those racer trikes on the internet. I'm telling ya, I'm living in the wrong country.

Something tells me that racer trikes are not in vogue anymore in Britain though. Is that correct? So strange how trikes are viewed over there and here.

Sixty-fiver - I think you brought something up that I have to really think about. What's really bothering me about the R20? Is it the braking or the handling really? Yes, the braking is not perfect but maybe it's the heavy handling that's bothering me more? I do like the idea of the suspension fork.

Folder Fanatic - Ok. Advice duly noted. Does make sense and it looks like it may save me a lot of headaches and money in the long run.

social suicide - Oh I love that Raleigh trike - wipes away tears from her eyes. I gotta confess I do love my Sybil but trikes are still my favorite.

Was it very hard to convert the R20 to a trike? How wide is the R20 in the back?

Dyno - At one point I did look at the conversion kit you've pointed out after having a fall on the R20.

I did asked the seller how wide it would be. The seller wrote back to tell me that it would be 29 inches wide. I was hoping it would be less than that. My trike is about 29 1/2 inches wide and she does take more than her share of space on the path. However, I realize that less than a 28 inches width could make the trike less stable and make it tip over.

All - Well, lots to ponder. In the meantime I tightened the cables a little more. The front brake is a little better. The rear is about the same. Using both brakes, I'm stopping a little more smoothly. This will do for now until I can decide what I can reasonably do with the tight budget I have.

Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 05-02-11 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 05-02-11, 04:48 PM   #17
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Sunny...they STILL race trikes in the UK I have witnessed a couple of them, unbelievable to see them corner

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