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Old 05-14-14, 06:49 PM   #1
coelacanthing
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Hello to all knowledgeable cycling enthusiasts I have a question!

I have perused bikeforums over the years for answers to inquiries I have had in the past and have usually come out with a solution thanks to all the knowledgeable people on here, I thank you all for that. I finally have a question I could not solve via viewing posts so I set up an account to get that answer.

I recently purchased a Univega Gran Tourismo which is outfitted with these Dia-Compe center pull brakes which is a style of brake I am unfamiliar with and not totally thrilled about. My question is, are center pulls worth keeping or should I switch them out with something I'm familiar with such as side pull calipers? What are the advantage of having center pull brakes versus side pull calipers? Also if I were to switch the brakes out would I have to change out the brake levers as well?

I thank you all for your knowledge on the subject.
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Old 05-14-14, 06:58 PM   #2
JerrySTL
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Welcome!

Back in the day there were very cheap side-pull brakes. The middle ground was center pull brakes. Then there were the expensive, quality side-pull brakes. Over the years the center pull brakes lost their market share to both the cheap and quality side-pull brakes.

I'd recommend just keeping the center pull brakes and putting some good brake pads on them like Kool Stops. I rode many years with center pull brakes and they worked just find.
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Old 05-14-14, 07:14 PM   #3
coelacanthing
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Thanks for the info. Would something like 70s Schwinn factory stock side-pulls found on a Varsity be considered cheap or inferior to the Dia-Comme center-pulls?
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Old 05-14-14, 07:23 PM   #4
TugaDude
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I will chime in with the above. Nothing wrong with them, period. There are new center pulls made. They are not passe. Paul Components makes really nice center pulls.

Like anything else they need to be set up properly. New pads, adjusting toe-in, good condition cables and housing, etc. I have a Motobecane Gran Jubile that has centerpulls and it will stop on a dime. I added the Dia Compe straddle cable wheels. Hard to find these days but I found some! I believe Velo Orange offers a version.
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Old 05-14-14, 07:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by coelacanthing View Post
Thanks for the info. Would something like 70s Schwinn factory stock side-pulls found on a Varsity be considered cheap or inferior to the Dia-Comme center-pulls?
AIRC, at that time if you went up a notch or two in the Schwinn model lineup you got a center-pull (may have been DiaComp or eq.) instead of the sidepulls on Varsity. They both worked ok, but the sidepulls on the Varsity tended to need a bit more frequent adjustment to keep them centered (at least mine did).
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Old 05-14-14, 07:33 PM   #6
coelacanthing
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You guys are definitely making me change my mind on ditching the Dia Compe brakes. The cable wheels would probably be a good investment for me and also look very sharp. I will consult Sheldon Brown's guides on how to maintain this style of brake.

But if I ever did switch them out for whatever reason would my levers be fine with something a little more modern?
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Old 05-15-14, 04:22 AM   #7
Lacumo
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Welcome to BF!
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