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Bad Brakes

Old 07-20-22, 04:15 AM
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Bad Brakes

My bike has a hard time stopping. They replaced the brake cables and brakes pads. So far, no change. Any ideas of what to do next? ( I have side pull brakes, BTW. The ones that came with the bike back in 1981. Schwinn Voyager.)
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Old 07-20-22, 04:59 AM
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assuming they (bike mechanic) properly adjusted the brake cable system and used pads without any contamination on the surface of the pads, i can only conclude that the wheel rims have an unclean surface for the pads to rub against. the brake system you have on your bike is a rather simple system with not too much that can go wrong.
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Old 07-20-22, 06:25 AM
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That bike probably has steel rims. They're notoriously hard to stop, especially in rain. Try a different brake pad, like Kool Stop Salmon.

And was the work done by a reputable shop? Small problems in cable routing can cause loss of braking.
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Old 07-20-22, 06:27 AM
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It's probably a combination of flexy single pivot sidepulls and quite likely steel rims. It will never stop well.
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Old 07-20-22, 06:35 AM
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I had Dura Ace 7400 side-pull brakes, properly adjusted, and they never really stopped they way I had envisioned. It wasn't until I got dual-pivot brakes with compressionless housing that my brakes performed they way I expected.
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Old 07-20-22, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
That bike probably has steel rims. They're notoriously hard to stop, especially in rain. Try a different brake pad, like Kool Stop Salmon.

And was the work done by a reputable shop? Small problems in cable routing can cause loss of braking.
Voyager was Schwinn's top of the line touring bike, absolutely had alloy wheels. Specs show DiaCompe 500G brqkes, so flexy sidepulls instead of cantis.

Best bet would be installing some modern dual pivot that have enough reach, like Tektro 559 or 369 These come in nutted mounts which that bike likely has and long reach. You'd have to check what reach you need.
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Old 07-20-22, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
My bike has a hard time stopping. They replaced the brake cables and brakes pads. So far, no change. Any ideas of what to do next? ( I have side pull brakes, BTW. The ones that came with the bike back in 1981. Schwinn Voyager.)
Kool-Stop pads might help if your replacements are generic cheapies. Are you using the front brake enough?
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Old 07-20-22, 08:44 AM
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Did the housing get replaced as well? You have to do it all.
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Old 07-20-22, 09:15 AM
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They replace the housing but put on, cheap-no name pads on it. I called the shop and told them about the advice this list gave. They will order Kool Stop pads, ASAP. They are going to put on something called, duel (??) hardness brake pads. My rims are Alum. and the bike was rebuilt last year. (Barn Find) I hope this works. Thanks everyone!
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Old 07-20-22, 10:18 AM
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Probably "dual-compound." That's where it's part salmon, part black rubber to cut down on squeal.

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Old 07-20-22, 11:06 AM
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My guess is the new pads won't help noticeably, but I hope I'm wrong. Older side-pulls are just not all that great. Dedhed had it right about installing dual-pivots--even cheap ones. Compressionelss housing will make them even better.
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Old 07-20-22, 11:15 AM
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Give those rims a good clean. Soap and water, then a light pass with 300+ wetordry sand paper, then wash again. You want to go the extra mile? A pass with magic eraser should leave them real clean.
With those new pads and clean rims you should be golden.
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Old 07-21-22, 09:44 AM
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Flexy side pulls. If you never knew anything else, theyíd seem fine to you. If youíve experienced modern brakes, theyíll always seem underwhelming.
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Old 07-21-22, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
My guess is the new pads won't help noticeably, but I hope I'm wrong. Older side-pulls are just not all that great. Dedhed had it right about installing dual-pivots--even cheap ones. Compressionelss housing will make them even better.
kool stop salmon in my experience can make a huge difference, I have seen this with multiple sidepulls

dual pivot is certainly better, but IMHO older side pulls were not as bad as you seem to think. higher end are better as always, I have had good results with dura ace 7400, ultegra tricolor and universal 88 among others

I personally would stick with the all orange pads
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Old 07-21-22, 10:47 AM
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Stopping power was always underwhelming with most single pivot brakes I grew up with. However their stopping power increased dramatically with the degree of my fright. So they never failed to stop me in time to avoid what ever it was that scared the heck out of me. Even in the rain with chromed steel rims and a heavy as heck 46 pound Schwinn Varsity.

On the flip side, I've heard noobs to cycling complain about the stopping power of their disc brakes and dual pivot brakes. Maybe they'd be more satisfied with what they have if they could try the brakes I grew up with.
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Old 07-22-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
dual pivot is certainly better, but IMHO older side pulls were not as bad as you seem to think.
After using dual-pivots, yeah...older sidepulls are definitely as bad as I thought--or seem to think.

I like my brakes with the stock pads, but maybe I'll swap some Kool Stop salmons this weekend just to see what all the fuss is about.
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Old 07-22-22, 09:22 AM
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Quit fooling around. Get a SA 90 mm DRUM brake hub, or better yet a SA XL-FDD dyno drum. My first one has 29,000 miles on 3 bikes and 2 tours at 120 lbs.
ZERO fuss in any weather. Stops almost as well as my TRP Spyre disc on my Rohloff. Neither ever squeals. You can then use the hole for a front rack to beef up the fork.
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Old 07-22-22, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Quit fooling around. Get a SA 90 mm DRUM brake hub, or better yet a SA XL-FDD dyno drum. My first one has 29,000 miles on 3 bikes and 2 tours at 120 lbs.
ZERO fuss in any weather. Stops almost as well as my TRP Spyre disc on my Rohloff. Neither ever squeals. You can then use the hole for a front rack to beef up the fork.
Yeah, I need to do more to make my bike as heavy as possible.
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Old 07-22-22, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Yeah, I need to do more to make my bike as heavy as possible.
LOL. 2 weeks ago I rode 120 MILES in 12Hr12 min with the tour bike at 78 lb. BEAT THAT sucker. LOL.
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Old 07-22-22, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
LOL. 2 weeks ago I rode 120 MILES in 12Hr12 min with the tour bike at 78 lb. BEAT THAT sucker. LOL.
Ferris Bueller, you're my hero!

Besides, I did 121 miles one week ago in 12 hours 11 minutes with a 79 pound bike. SO THERE!
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Old 07-22-22, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
LOL. 2 weeks ago I rode 120 MILES in 12Hr12 min with the tour bike at 78 lb. BEAT THAT sucker. LOL.
Two weeks ago I went for a lovely couple hour ride with a <20 pound bike and spent the remaining 10 hours playing with my 6 month old child. Canít wait until his neck is strong enough to stoke the tandem in another 6-9 months.

Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
After using dual-pivots, yeah...older sidepulls are definitely as bad as I thought--or seem to think.

I like my brakes with the stock pads, but maybe I'll swap some Kool Stop salmons this weekend just to see what all the fuss is about.
The salmon pads made more of a difference for me in the rain than dry, though I am happy with their dry performance as well. Of course my first experience with them was coming off of 10 year old, hard as rock, 90ís Shimano pads, so it wasnít hard to improve.

To the OP, as stated above, well dressed housing and dual pivot brakes are they key if you want to improve stopping. The pads will help, but youíre going to be at a disadvantage with the original side pulls. All that said, I rode 60ís center pulls followed by 80ís side pulls (though good ones) for a long time. New ones work better, but the old ones do still stop as long as youíre respectful of their capabilities.
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Old 07-22-22, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
The salmon pads made more of a difference for me in the rain than dry, though I am happy with their dry performance as well. Of course my first experience with them was coming off of 10 year old, hard as rock, 90ís Shimano pads, so it wasnít hard to improve.
I have both the salmon and the black versions for dry-weather riding. Which would be better for brake improvement in dry conditions? The black, I suppose. I have four empty Dura Ace shoe holders, so I'll load two with the black, and two with the salmon.

The one thing I don't like about the Kool Stop pads is that little "ramp" on the back of them. I want the faces of my pads to be completely flat.
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Old 07-23-22, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
I have both the salmon and the black versions for dry-weather riding. Which would be better for brake improvement in dry conditions? The black, I suppose. I have four empty Dura Ace shoe holders, so I'll load two with the black, and two with the salmon.

The one thing I don't like about the Kool Stop pads is that little "ramp" on the back of them. I want the faces of my pads to be completely flat.
Iíve only used the black ones once. For me they werenít a ton better than the salmon ones dry, but weíre not nearly as good wet. As a result I just put the salmon ones on everything. That was a decade ago though, so my memory might be fuzzy.

I think the ramps are supposed to act as a wiper or anti squeal feature. Other than looking goofy if they donít fit in the holder, is there anything else you donít like about it?
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Old 07-23-22, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post

I think the ramps are supposed to act as a wiper or anti squeal feature. Other than looking goofy if they donít fit in the holder, is there anything else you donít like about it?
Like I said, the stock pads work great for me, but Iím open if thereís something even better.
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Old 07-25-22, 04:09 AM
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I will go to the LBS today and pick up the bike. More later.
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