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  1. #1
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    Best front brake?

    I haven't been keeping up with my brake technology so i'm a little lost. Looking to get one on the front for my new fixed gear, what is a good brake?

    My last one had a generic single pivot that got the job done although it did take a bit of time to get it centered, but I don't really know a thing about brakes. Should I go dual? What would you recommend for under $30, preferably even around $20?

    Thanks,
    JGAN

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    Tektro

  3. #3
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    THIS is a start. Dual pivots are worth it, you get lighter lever action and better stopping.

    You might have an exterior nut to mount that single pivot vs a recessed nut, so check that out before ordering a brake. Also, be sure to match the brake reach because there are several kinds http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brake-calipers.html
    Last edited by hairnet; 11-29-14 at 12:12 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
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    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Scrounge up an old Mafac Centerpull and a cable hanger. $5 maybe? Some new pads and a Tektro lever.

    Now, I know no one will ever do this. But those brakes are the stopper that will never put you over the bars and have wonderful modulation and if all is in good working order will pull some real stopping power. And modern pads don't squeal, so the old bug-a-boo is gone.

    Edit: the competition level Mafacs have nominal medium reach, the much more common Racer has medium to long reach (and work quite well at that long reach). Since they are cantilever style brake shoes with posts, not threaded, you van get considerably more vertical adjustment by angling the blocks, in addition to the usual slots.

    2nd edit: a large washer over the recess will allow you to use the old standard long bolt. Just make sure the nut is tight.

    Ben
    Last edited by 79pmooney; 11-29-14 at 12:40 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    good pads make a huge difference even with crappy calipers.
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
    1997 Trek ZX6000, 6061w/manitou spyder, xt/xtr, time atac

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
    Scrounge up an old Mafac Centerpull and a cable hanger. $5 maybe? Some new pads and a Tektro lever.

    Now, I know no one will ever do this. But those brakes are the stopper that will never put you over the bars and have wonderful modulation and if all is in good working order will pull some real stopping power. And modern pads don't squeal, so the old bug-a-boo is gone.

    Edit: the competition level Mafacs have nominal medium reach, the much more common Racer has medium to long reach (and work quite well at that long reach). Since they are cantilever style brake shoes with posts, not threaded, you van get considerably more vertical adjustment by angling the blocks, in addition to the usual slots.

    2nd edit: a large washer over the recess will allow you to use the old standard long bolt. Just make sure the nut is tight.

    Ben
    Was running a Mafac centre pull on my fg with some vintage Matthauser pads that provided some over the bars stopping power with Dia Compe lever... there is not l;ack of stopping power with these when thy are set up right.

    Most dual pivot brakes offer excellent stopping power.

  7. #7
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Just summing what's already been said.
    Any modern dual pivot will be all you need. Tektro make excellent brakes at good prices in a variety of reaches to suit any frame - the same can not be said of Shimano, Campy and SRAM.
    Take a bit of care to get the right levers - not hard if you deal with a good shop like Retrogression.
    Brake pads make all the difference and new ones every year whether you need them or not maintain a good brake feel and excellent power.

    There's nothing wrong with messing about with the earlier styles of brakes, especially if you keep good pads up to them and the suit the style of your bike, but the dual pivot brakes **** all over the earlier offerings. On the other hand, it's not hard to overbrake a push bike.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  8. #8
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    Cane Creek or Tektro both work great for me with their dual pivot brakes. I've also set up some old Weinmann and Dia Compe centerpulls that did the job, too.

    Kool Stop makes some great replacement pads; the salmon ones are very nice. Kool Stop International - High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads Since 1977

    I don't go cheap on the cables and housings. The money saved is not worth it, to me. But the Jagwire cables and housings work very well and aren't that expensive. Certainly not Nokozuna expensive.

    I finally bought the nice Park cable cutting tool but before I used a Dremel or a hacksaw. An icepick is good for opening the housing back up.

    tips on brake cable installation: Cables

    Poor installation of the cables will make braking harder and inconsistent.

    Lots of used brakes on eBay. $25 BIN $20 BIN used these are front brakes only

    Tektro long reach brake set for $23 here: Tektro 800A Sidepull Brake Set - Modern Bike
    good for those older bike conversions

    A Shimano black or silver mid-reach front brake for $30 Shimano R451 Front Mid- Reach Road Caliper Silver - Modern Bike

  9. #9
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    To all the oldsters proposing the old Mafac centerpulls, you forgot to mention that they require a cable housing stop on the fork as well. Unless you have a threaded headset setup, this can be a problem.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  10. #10
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    To all the oldsters proposing the old Mafac centerpulls, you forgot to mention that they require a cable housing stop on the fork as well. Unless you have a threaded headset setup, this can be a problem.
    79pmooney did mention needing a hanger. These should be readily available for 1" steer tubes at least.

  11. #11
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    79pmooney did mention needing a hanger. These should be readily available for 1" steer tubes at least.
    Why jump though all these hoops and extra cost, when an inexpensive DP brake caliper like a Tektro is so simple, readily available and inexpensive ? Also, those hangers work best with old school non-aero drop bar levers, where the cables exit from the top of the hoods, and create a gentle arc for the cable housing in its routing to the hanger. This setup works poorly with aero levers or cross levers.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  12. #12
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    Thanks guys,
    I have to say a centerpull does sound pretty complicated... Guess I will be looking at dual pivot brake. I have looked at the Shimano BR-3500 (sora?) and Tektro R540, what are your takes on these? Any other options I should look at?

  13. #13
    Clark W. Griswold
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    If you have bullhorns go with the Magura Hydraulic Rim brakes for Time Trials RT8 TT*| MAGURA

    Obviously though these are killing overkill but are freakin' sweet especially since SRAM hasn't done a hydro rim brake for TT yet and Shimano hasn't even done one for regular roadies. 105 level rim brakes are pretty good for a FG, nice but not too nice.
    Quote Originally Posted by jhess74 View Post
    just flip it over to fixed and forget about brakes. check out the documentary "premium rush" for more info.

  14. #14
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    9-sp era Shimano brakes (Dura Ace 7700 and Ultegra 6500) are very nice brakes and can be had cheap from ebay.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  15. #15
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
    9-sp era Shimano brakes (Dura Ace 7700 and Ultegra 6500) are very nice brakes and can be had cheap from ebay.
    +1
    Shimano's SLR era brakes (which includes 105 brakes) pretty much defined dual pivot brakesets.
    Tektro's, cane creek, and dia compe calipers are essentially good clones of these.

    SLR era levers are nice too with lever-side spring return to avoid the dangling right lever problem if you don't run a rear brake; their hoods might be a bit cramped for people with larger hands though.

    Otherwise SLR era brakes pair up without a hitch with modern sram levers that are more generous hoodwise toward larger hands.
    Last edited by Leukybear; 11-29-14 at 09:36 PM.

  16. #16
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I thought SLR designation pre-dated dual pivot.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  17. #17
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGAN View Post
    Thanks guys,
    I have to say a centerpull does sound pretty complicated... Guess I will be looking at dual pivot brake. I have looked at the Shimano BR-3500 (sora?) and Tektro R540, what are your takes on these? Any other options I should look at?
    It's crucial that you get the right reach. Measure fork hole to middle of brake track in mm.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  18. #18
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    I thought SLR designation pre-dated dual pivot.
    Super* SLR

    But everyone still refers to them as SLR anyhow....

    Even shimano...

    Last edited by Leukybear; 11-29-14 at 09:46 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGAN View Post
    I haven't been keeping up with my brake technology so i'm a little lost. Looking to get one on the front for my new fixed gear, what is a good brake?

    My last one had a generic single pivot that got the job done although it did take a bit of time to get it centered, but I don't really know a thing about brakes. Should I go dual? What would you recommend for under $30, preferably even around $20?

    Thanks,
    JGAN
    In that price range you'll have a lot of crap (literally) to choose from. I would put up a few more bucks and find a Shimano 105 online for a decent price maybe even used on ebay.

  20. #20
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    I have to say I did find a set of Shimano 105 brakes on Craigslist at a really good price. I was hoping to get something in black though just to go for looks... Will still consider the 105 though.

  21. #21
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Check the reach.

    Check the reach.

    Check the reach.

    I've got two bikes here with what I would have thought was very tight tyre clearance and standard, modern brakes don't have the reach. It's all a bit silly really but it's frustrating fit new brakes only to find they don't quite reach far enough (it's only by a few mm but enough to have the pad rubbing on the tyre).
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  22. #22
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicyclez View Post
    In that price range you'll have a lot of crap (literally) to choose from. I would put up a few more bucks and find a Shimano 105 online for a decent price maybe even used on ebay.
    I dont think you understand the use of the word "literally". By saying literally you are in effect saying that the slang term "crap" does not mean an inferior product made of metal or plastic. you are saying that it is actually feces/ excrement/ bodily waste.
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
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  23. #23
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGAN View Post
    I haven't been keeping up with my brake technology so i'm a little lost. Looking to get one on the front for my new fixed gear, what is a good brake?
    Shimano XT 203mm disc.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by catonec View Post
    I dont think you understand the use of the word "literally". By saying literally you are in effect saying that the slang term "crap" does not mean an inferior product made of metal or plastic. you are saying that it is actually feces/ excrement/ bodily waste.
    Thank you my friend, it's all so clear to me now.

  25. #25
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    This thead is chock full of win. Figuratively speaking, of course.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

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