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Suicide Brakes w/Weinman calipers & older block-style brake pads. Other upgrade Q's

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Suicide Brakes w/Weinman calipers & older block-style brake pads. Other upgrade Q's

Old 07-05-13, 12:33 PM
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SteelCan
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Suicide Brakes w/Weinman calipers & older block-style brake pads. Other upgrade Q's

Backstory: I recently returned an old friend (late 70s/early 80s 10spd Motobecane) to use as a grocery getter.
I was considering swapping the old Weinmann calipers with an inexpensive (<$30) SET of dual-pivot brakes. (they provide just enough drop -57mm - for 700cc rims).

But during that contemplation, I received a set of Koolstop V-brake shoe/pads ordered specifically for my road bike. (There was a discussion in the 41 pointing-out the longer V-pad provides more grip surface than a standard road pad). Unfortunately the length of the V-pads (which are 50% longer compared to the regular road pads) would not fit inside the fork of the road bike. (I'm using 23mm width rims. Shoe would likely fit with 19mm rims). Soooo...

Since I have this spare pair of V-pads ($20), I popped them onto the front of the grocery getter. EXCELLENT. They fit and the stopping power is SIGNIFICANTLY better than the older style block pads. (old pads had been dremel'd and softened). They also have a lot more dish adjustment than both the old block shoes as well as the new road shoes.

Ok, so the question (after the lengthy commentary), FROM A COST PERSPECTIVE (disavowing that the pads are now "free") for only $10 more, I "could" have swapped over to a set of DUAL pivot brakes.
Is that (upgrading the brake calipers) still the better long term solution?
Is there any issue with the Miche brake set above with the original brake/suicide levers system?

OT: 2yrs ago, I actually rode this 32lb grocery getter for a couple weeks w/o incident on AA group rides, when road bike was in for a repair. (back when I had little appreciation as to the value of good brakes).
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Old 07-05-13, 03:46 PM
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Really hard to say - are you missing anything from a safety perspective with the current setup? Lots of us used the Weinman calipers without incident when that was the best choice available.

As for issue with the Miche and your levers I don't really know if there's a difference in lever pull required, but I rather doubt it. The big issue is with the suicide levers - using them at all is the problem. Do you think they got that name because some bike snobs did not like them?

Let's start with the hand position: Your hands are toward the center of the bars so you have less steering control. If you hit what you are trying to avoid your hands may rotate down - breaking your wrists, or up - breaking your grip and trapping you inside the brake housing loops.

Then there's the operation of the levers. Ones fingers curl around the levers as they are depressed, resulting in slower actuation. and when fully depressed the levers almost always pull the cable less than the standard levers. They also have significant play both in the lever and in the pivot, further reducing effectiveness.

Even when you don't use the suicide levers they partially depress the regular levers, giving them less travel, and also interfere with the popular top of the hood position for riding.

Harder to find than they used to be but the extended lever pivots can be replaced with shorter ones, or the extension can just be sawed off and filed down smooth.
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Old 07-05-13, 03:52 PM
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I'll second the recommendation to eliminate the "suicide" levers. They contribute nothing of any value. Either remove them from your current brake levers or get a pair of Tektro R200 "aero" levers which will work far better and give a better cable routing.
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Old 07-06-13, 01:21 AM
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Are we talking Weinmann center pull or side pull? If it's just a grocery getter I think new pads (which you have), good new levers, and new cable and housing will really improve the power. Tekro road bike levers are like $20, new cable for brakes is like $7. This set up would work a lot better than newer cheap dual pivots with bad levers and bad cables.
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Old 07-06-13, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by thedevilisbad View Post
Weinmann center pull or side pull? If it's just a grocery getter I think new pads (which you have), good new levers, and new cable and housing will really improve the power. Tekro road bike levers are like $20, new cable for brakes is like $7. This set up would work a lot better than newer cheap dual pivots with bad levers and bad cables.
Answer: Center pull Weinmann calipers (which I believe are the lesser of the two)
Surprising (to me) that you believe replacing the levers are a more cost effective improvement than upgrading calipers.
I didn't notice anything bad about the levers (other than everyone suggesting I remove the non-used suicide brake arm). One thing I like about those suicide brakes - I think it confirms the bike is old, hence less attractive to thieves.
BTW, $20 for that single pair of shoes/pads was not cost effective. I'd never have done that if they fit my road bike. For the extra 10 bucks, I get TWO sets of calipers AND TWO sets of brake pads.
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Old 07-06-13, 06:12 AM
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+1 ditch the suicides for the Tektros.

A dual-pivot on the front would be nice, but the Weinmann with adjustable pads is probably okay.
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Old 07-06-13, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by SteelCan View Post
Answer: Center pull Weinmann calipers (which I believe are the lesser of the two)
That belief is incorrect. Older medium grade side-pulls like the Weinmann were not all that effective. The centerpulls have short, beefy arms with essentially no flex and are easy to center. Modern dual pivot brakes incorporate the best features of sidepull and centerpull calipers.
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

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Old 07-06-13, 09:20 AM
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Center pulls are great! I like them for a few reasons that cny-bikeman mentioned. First, they're strong and easy to center. Second, you can fit nice V-Brake pads on them, like what you bought or Kool Stop Salmons. Thirdly, Many of them have super long reach arms which is great for 700c conversions.

Check out the advice given here:
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/mafac.html
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Old 07-06-13, 09:27 AM
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the chicken wing additions were part of the lever , Yes once you buy, New Aero style, Brake levers,
where the brake cables go under the tape , then the Cross/interruptor levers
can be placed in an interruption of the housing, the brake levers then spread the housing
making the cable that runs through them, relatively shorter , and also applying the brakes.
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