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Brake Caliper Reach Issues

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Brake Caliper Reach Issues

Old 01-01-16, 01:16 PM
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Maybelater
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Brake Caliper Reach Issues

Happy new year everyone! This is officially my first bike problem of 2016. My twenty dollar mountain bike winter beater with side pull brakes and chrome rims is severly lacking in the brakes department. I had a scary moment trying to stop last week so I picked up some used 26 inch alloy rims and bought the longest reach brake calipers I could find locally. The new dual pivot calipers have a maximum reach of 75 mm. The origional calipers measure 90 mm from the mounting stud to the brake pad center to center. I could make up some custom extension brackets to extend the reach but would prefer a direct bolt on solution. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated...

Origional caliper on the right
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Old 01-01-16, 01:22 PM
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CrippledKonaBoy
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I would have started with better PADS first. Cheap steel-wheeled bikes make cost compromises EVERYWHERE. But since you have allow wheels now, try new pads with the old calipers.

Are your brakes levers metal or composite? It matters.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:34 PM
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dsbrantjr
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Why don't you try the old calipers? Going from steel to aluminum rims will likely make a world of difference in braking power, as will installing something like Kool Stop Salmon pads.

If your braking is still not to your liking, a set of normal-reach dual pivot calipers plus homemade drop bolts Home Made Drop Bolts should be a further improvement. Very long-reach calipers of any sort (single- or dual-pivot) have poor mechanical advantage; better to use shorter calipers and drop them down farther.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by CrippledKonaBoy View Post
I would have started with better PADS first. Cheap steel-wheeled bikes make cost compromises EVERYWHERE. But since you have allow wheels now, try new pads with the old calipers.

Are your brakes levers metal or composite? It matters.
Thanks for your reply! I'll follow your advice and give the origional calipers another chance with good pads. My brake levers are metal albeit very low end...
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Old 01-01-16, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Why don't you try the old calipers? Going from steel to aluminum rims will likely make a world of difference in braking power, as will installing something like Kool Stop Salmon pads.

If your braking is still not to your liking, a set of normal-reach dual pivot calipers plus homemade drop bolts Home Made Drop Bolts should be a further improvement. Very long-reach calipers of any sort (single- or dual-pivot) have poor mechanical advantage; better to use shorter calipers and drop them down farther.
Thanks for your reply and the link! It's only a twenty dollar bike but I've bonded with it. Will let you guys know how it turns out....
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Old 01-01-16, 02:06 PM
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A couple of thoughts, some admittedly less useful than others...

When this bike was new, did it have 26" wheels? That's an *awfully* long brake reach and way more fork clearance than you'd usually see. Heck, with all that clearance, it looks like you might be able to fit 700c (aka 29") wheels into that fork, making me wonder if this bike (at least the fork) was originally a road bike or hybrid.

The longest dual-pivot calipers I've used are the Tektro 800a, which which have a reach of 61-78 mm. To get reach beyond that, you're looking at something like a Tektro C326 (79-99 mm reach) or BMX brakes.

If you want to use calipers that aren't quite long enough, one way to increase brake reach is via use of a drop bolt, as shown in this thread. Another way is to use offset brake pad holders. The ones made by BDop will give you an additional 7 mm of reach, but at roughly $30 per wheel, they're not cheap.
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Old 01-01-16, 02:59 PM
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Thanks SkyDog! This bike came with 26 inch wheels when new and like most department store bikes was driven about 50 miles then parked. The Tektro C326 calipers look like a great choice. That being said I tried the origional calipers with the time hardened pads and the newish alloy wheels. The braking was so much improved I locked the front wheel and dumped the bike. It's good enough for now and I might try replacing the pads with some soft compound V brake pads I have on hand. If you play with the spacer and washer stacking they work very well. Thanks again to everyone who helped me out. It is appreciated...
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Old 01-10-16, 10:06 PM
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Anybody have pictures of the BDops installed? Just curious to see how they look. Anybody use them successfully?
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Old 01-10-16, 11:05 PM
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It's not too hard to make a drop hole if there's enough clearance beneath the crown and bridge and above the tire. whether this will create the right reach for your brakes only careful measurement will tell. A short length of Al strip( .5" wide x .125" thick, available from better hardware stores) cut to a length which allows two holes in it (actually two strips, one in front of and the other behind the frame). The holes will be .25" in diameter to fit the caliper mounting bolt and the other bolt which connects the strips to the frames holes. The dimension between the holes needs to be far enough apart to have a spacer tube fit between the strips and under the frame bridge/crown, but also the right distance apart to allow the pads to be adjusted within the caliper arm slots. This is the part you have to figure out if all will play nice. The top holes in the strips get bolted to the crown/bridge holes much like a caliper mounting bolt would. .25"x20tpi bolts from a hardware store works well enough. The lower holes in the strips will be where the caliper goes. But there needs to be a supporting tube (spacer) that connects the two strips together. I've used various things for these. Even a stack of washers could work here. When the caliper is mounted through the strips lower holes and the supporting spacer is in place the caliper mounting bolt can be fully tightened without distorting the strips.

You now have made a drop hole. Andy.
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