Hi all. I have a 09 Langster that I use to commute about 20km per day. I know you only technically need a front brake on a fixie but I'd like to have the option of flipping the hub occasionally and coasting a bit, especially as I tend to scrape pedals on kerbs navigating through stationary traffic. The front brake on the bike at the moment is a Shimano BR1050 old school centre pivot job which was a decent brake until an ill informed bike mechanic replaced the bolt and lost the bearing. I was thinking of picking up some new Shimano 105 brakes but the 105 levers are 10 speed as far as I can tell (and rather expensive). I've got two queries - 1. should I get the 105 brakes or is there a better alternative at around the same price? 2. Can I just buy a couple of cheapo Tektro levers and are these going to be compatible with the brakes?
10 speed 105 brakes will be a huge improvement over your old single-pivot brakes. Shimano reengineered pivot locations in both the levers and calipers in the 5700, 6700, and 7800 generation 10 speed groups. Those generation of calilper do not work *as* well with older 9 speed levers, although they still stop more than adequately. But I believe the problem is worse when you try to use a newer generation 10 speed lever with an older brake caliper. If you are overly concerned about compatibility you could get Tektro R540 calipers which seem to be around the same price as 5700 brakes. I've used R540s and they are pretty good. Which Tektro levers are you considering?
No reason to buy 105s for FGSS in my opinion. Tektro makes functional and cheap brakes and levers, if I was buying new brakes today I would go with their levers and either their brakes or sora/tiagra. Buying decent pads makes more difference than specific models of brakes in my experience, pretty much all modern dual-pivot brakes will be more effective than your current centerpull.
EDIT: I reread and I guess you mean you have a single-pivot, which are typically even worse to use than centerpull. Any upgrade to dual-pivot will be very noticable, even on the lower end of prices.