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Old 07-11-10, 02:03 AM   #1
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brake pads for down hill commute?

The bike is a 1980s era Schucks (nothing special). It's fitted with road tires so I guess its a road bike. I know I have a side pull break system.

I plan on using it for a 2.5 mile commute and other times just when I need to get from point A to B. My concern is that my commute is down hill one way and up hill the other and I want to make sure I will be safe.

Someone who 'knows a ton about bikes' talked me into buying Kool Stop Tectonic 3-compound brake pads to replace my rear ones ( I understand how these would keep me safe in my situation but I can't get them to fit. They rub the rims before I even apply the brakes among other problems.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a better brake pad solution or know why I am having such a hard time installing the kool stops I have? Also do I need different pads for the front and rear tires or do I use the same for both?
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Old 07-11-10, 03:08 AM   #2
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The front brake (not 'break') is the most effective. Concentrate on that. You may have steel rims, which are not known for providing great braking. Post a pic of the bike, rims and brakes here. If you're fettling the brake system on a 30 year old bike you may feel it wise to replace cables and outers too, and lube all the pivots. A downhill crash when a cable fails is painful. Don't ask.

30 years is a long time for bike cables and calipers.

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Old 07-11-10, 03:12 AM   #3
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Should be able to use the same pads for front and rear. It sounds like you need to readjust the brakes to open further, when the lever isn't being pulled. If there's a barrel adjuster, just threading it in further (if it isn't already in all the way) might do it. If not, you may have to loosen the cable clamp on the brakes, and let some cable out. It's easier to do, if you can release the springs.
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Old 07-11-10, 10:07 AM   #4
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If you plan to keep this bike and your safety is worth the investment, I would get new brake calipers, and pads. Tektro dual pivot calipers are reasonably priced, and made for the newer style replaceable pads. I have a Schwinn World tourer with steel rims that I installed Tektro's on, and Kool Stop salmon pads. The salmon pads are listed as wet weather pads, but are fine for wet or dry riding. A side benefit of the salmon's is less 'brake pad debris' on your rims. I use them on alloy rims too, for the stopping power, and cleanliness.

You MAY be able to find pads to fit your sidepulls, but if safety is your main concern, I would highly recommend getting the Tektro's. I also agree that cables/casings should be replaced. New calipers will make a substantial improvement in your braking power. Salmon Koolstops will make THAT better. These are MY opinions, and YMMV.
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Old 07-11-10, 11:01 AM   #5
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If safety is a concern and the bike has steel rims, ditch the steel rims immediately. Learn how to use the front brake as well as it provides the majority of your bike's stopping power.
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