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Deep Drop Caliper on Vintage Road Bike

Old 01-23-23, 08:27 AM
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Deep Drop Caliper on Vintage Road Bike

Hi, I recently bought a Graham Weigh steel frame bike from I believe late Ď80s but I noticed that the rear brake doesnít quite reach the rim of the wheel and is just 1/2mm too high. After a bit of research I understand I might have to install a deep drop calliper so I was looking for some advice.

I currently have Shimano 105 on alloy rims for both front and rear. I was also planning to install Koolstop Dura 2 pads, since I noticed I canít brake on wet conditions.

If I have to replace the callipers with deep drop ones I would like to put something at least as good as the ones I currently have.

Any ideas I would really appreciate it.

Many thanks!
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Old 01-23-23, 08:36 AM
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I think you have a good candidate for the drop hanging brake pad holder, or you can get some mid-reach calipers.

I don't recall who the pad supplier is.
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Old 01-23-23, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66
I think you have a good candidate for the drop hanging brake pad holder, or you can get some mid-reach calipers.

I don't recall who the pad supplier is.
Couple different makers.
​​​​​​https://www.amazon.com/Aican-Aluminu...0788QX964?th=1

https://bdopcycling.com/product/bdop...rs-pair-black/
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Old 01-23-23, 08:58 AM
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+1 for above advice although I have read that the BDop holders being a little chunkier, can contact the tires when applying brakes and after setting up 105 calipers for wider tires like maybe wider than 28mm tires but the info is a little vague. Can't remember where I found that info but you might be able to with some searching

EDIT: Found this old BF thread about the BDop clearance problems which can answer some questions. 650 BDop: A Cautionary Tale - Bike Forums

Last edited by Crankycrank; 01-24-23 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 01-23-23, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by edo_999
Hi, I recently bought a Graham Weigh steel frame bike from I believe late Ď80s but I noticed that the rear brake doesnít quite reach the rim of the wheel and is just 1/2mm too high. After a bit of research I understand I might have to install a deep drop calliper so I was looking for some advice.

I currently have Shimano 105 on alloy rims for both front and rear. I was also planning to install Koolstop Dura 2 pads, since I noticed I canít brake on wet conditions.

If I have to replace the callipers with deep drop ones I would like to put something at least as good as the ones I currently have.

Any ideas I would really appreciate it.

Many thanks!
The word you need is "long reach".
Measure the reach you need.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/caliper...2010%2D15%20mm).

Often if it's just a bit the slots can be filed longer
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Old 01-23-23, 10:13 AM
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You need long reach caliper brakes like ...

These: Tektro R539 Road Caliper Set | Jenson USA

Or these: Tektro R559 Long Reach Road Caliper Pair | Jenson USA

Which are also available in black: Tektro R559 Long Reach Road Brake Calipers (Black) (55-73mm) (Pair) - Performance Bicycle (performancebike.com)

They may not be as good as 105 caliper brakes.
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Old 01-23-23, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by edo_999
Hi, I recently bought a Graham Weigh steel frame bike from I believe late Ď80s but I noticed that the rear brake doesnít quite reach the rim of the wheel and is just 1/2mm too high. After a bit of research I understand I might have to install a deep drop calliper so I was looking for some advice.

I currently have Shimano 105 on alloy rims for both front and rear. I was also planning to install Koolstop Dura 2 pads, since I noticed I canít brake on wet conditions.

If I have to replace the callipers with deep drop ones I would like to put something at least as good as the ones I currently have.

Any ideas I would really appreciate it.
If it truly is only 0.5 mm, I would not hesitate to use a round file to "extend" the slot on the brakes by that 0.5 mm.
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Old 01-23-23, 11:45 AM
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Too bad I can't sell or donate any of the excess slot on my Pro Miyata's Cyclone calipers. (Super short brakes; probably the shortest I've ever seen and I have the pads all the way up and they just make the rim perfectly. A whole lotta slot I"m not using.

I seem to recall that there used to be made adopters that mounted like the brake bolt and had a second lower hole like the bike frame's that you mounted the brake to for solving your exact problem. I have no memory of what they were called. (I simply put Mafac Racers on those bikes but that doesn't give you a brake with the looks, feel or status of a 105. It will also require a hanger and therefore probably a different seat pin. Will stop you very well despite the low cost and excessive brake "squish".)
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Old 01-23-23, 11:52 AM
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I'm glad I popped into this thread cuz I've not seen those extended pad holders before. They are clever.
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Old 01-23-23, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
You need long reach caliper brakes like ...

These: Tektro R539 Road Caliper Set | Jenson USA

Or these: Tektro R559 Long Reach Road Caliper Pair | Jenson USA

Which are also available in black: Tektro R559 Long Reach Road Brake Calipers (Black) (55-73mm) (Pair) - Performance Bicycle (performancebike.com)

They may not be as good as 105 caliper brakes.
The R559's are super long reach and probably much more than the OP needs.

The R539 should have the right reach range but these brakes have VERY strong return springs and require a lot of hand pressure just to make thee pads contact the rim. They are harder to apply than any Shimano brake caliper I've ever used. I bought a pair for an older Trek road frame and found them hard to get adequate braking even with Kool Stop Salmon pads due to the effort needed. Yes, the 105s are much better.

I agree with Kerry, if all the OP needs is 0.5mm, by all means file the slot.
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Old 01-23-23, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney

I seem to recall that there used to be made adopters that mounted like the brake bolt and had a second lower hole like the bike frame's that you mounted the brake to for solving your exact problem. I have no memory of what they were called.
They were called "drop bolts". One of the problems with long reach brake callipers is reduced mechanical advantage. Drop bolts solved this problem
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Old 01-23-23, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by edo_999
Any ideas I would really appreciate it.
You may be able to make a drop bolt to use your existing caliper.
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Old 01-23-23, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by edo_999
... and is just 1/2mm too high.
0.5mm????

One word: Dremel.
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Old 01-23-23, 03:47 PM
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I did the filing on a set of Sora calipers, front and back. Like the op, I only needed a millimeter of so. I tried the Dremel first, but felt like I had more control and accuracy with a round file. Took very little time, and cannot tell it has been done with shoes/pads back on. Alternately, as stated above, mid reach brake calipers would solve the issue. I have used the Tektro 539, the braking with salmon pads was very good. I have the long reach 559's on a bike now, braking is very good, but the 539's are a bit better and more than long enough for the op. The 559 would have a lot of unnecessary length, IMO. Shimano has some, but I cannot remember what models they are. Also the Kool Stop salmon pads are a bit narrower than most stock pads. I highly recommend those. I do not recall having an issue with having to use a lot of hand strength with the 539, the 559 do take a bit more.
If it was me, I would do the filing again. No cost and not much effort.

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Old 01-23-23, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
0.5mm????

One word: Dremel.
or jeweler's file
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Old 01-23-23, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
or jeweler's file
Chain saw file is about right size
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Old 01-23-23, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66
I think you have a good candidate for the drop hanging brake pad holder, or you can get some mid-reach calipers.

I don't recall who the pad supplier is.
many thanks for the suggestion, this sounds like a good option.
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Old 01-23-23, 06:08 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

My apologies for the confusion, I was meant to write 1~2mm too high. To be more specific, with the Shimano brake pads I have atm, itís about 1mm but when I tried to fit the koolstop pads, the offset increases to ~2-2.5mm.
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Old 01-23-23, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by edo_999
Thanks for all the suggestions.

My apologies for the confusion, I was meant to write 1~2mm too high. To be more specific, with the Shimano brake pads I have atm, itís about 1mm but when I tried to fit the koolstop pads, the offset increases to ~2-2.5mm.
Here are the Bdop drop pads in action. Shimano 6600 brakes on my 1991 Trek 400


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Old 01-23-23, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by edo_999
Thanks for all the suggestions.

My apologies for the confusion, I was meant to write 1~2mm too high. To be more specific, with the Shimano brake pads I have atm, itís about 1mm but when I tried to fit the koolstop pads, the offset increases to ~2-2.5mm.
Even at 2mm Iíd probably take a file to the pads where it might interfere with the tire. Or hold the pad stud by a pair of vice grips and take them to a bench grinder or angle grinder.
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Old 01-23-23, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
Chain saw file is about right size
But the chainsaw isn't. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
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Old 01-23-23, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by edo_999
with the Shimano brake pads I have, it’s about 1mm.
1mm?? File/grind the slot. If they're "Dura" holders, buy Kool-Stop inserts to fit.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/304659107008
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Old 01-23-23, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
But the chainsaw isn't. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
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Old 01-24-23, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
Chain saw file is about right size
This is what I used, Worked great
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Old 01-24-23, 06:00 AM
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Shimano makes mid reach brake calipers. They come in black and gray. I have a set I put on an old Trek 1000 frame. They work well on the carbon rims. Iíd have to look the number up.

I did the filing years ago on an old set of 105 brakes I used on a Trek steel frame made for 27 inch wheels I put 700 wheels on.
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