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Grail Bike Rebuild-Japanese Side Pull Brakes, suggestions?

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Grail Bike Rebuild-Japanese Side Pull Brakes, suggestions?

Old 02-09-18, 09:53 AM
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Grail Bike Rebuild-Japanese Side Pull Brakes, suggestions?

I am rebuilding my grail Japanese bike. To date it has a mix of Suntour, Sunshine, Specialized and SR parts, which are my homage to the hand built frame and fork that started this project. While the builder lives there has been no response to a letter sent to Japan and there are no pictures of this race frame ( there are only about 6 pictures of this make found on the internet but none similar to this bike).


So I am building this bike the way I intend to ride it and now have the question of which brakes? I am considering two brakes the Suntour Superbe BR brake and the Shimano BR-7403, while both are highly regarded they are two very different creatures one a single pivot and the other a dual pivot.



For pure function, I really get dual pivot brakes. I have a lovely set of Campagnolo Record single pull brakes in my parts box, because once I tried a dual pivot the hand fatigue became a problem of the past and now there is power in an emergency stop.



But both brake sets are short reach brakes and I will be running either 28c or 32c tires on 700c rims, will there be enough brake arm to clear these tires and allow adjustment on the rims?



So function favors the Shimano and while of a later 80s age to the early 80s/late 70s of the other components they are lovely, but given the majority of Suntour parts, is this too much like dropping a small block 327 Chevy into a vintage Mustang?



Which gets us to the Suntour Superbe BR yes they would match the majority of the components, are beautiful, but are those hidden springs and invitation to the nightmare of unobtanium parts and then there is the single pivot hand fatigue (older guy here not getting any younger so there’s a premium to taking care of the body). Are there adjustments, weaker springs that could reduce the hand fatigue built into the Suntour Superbe single pivot brake design? Did Suntour make a later Superbe dual pivot? And if they did how good was it?


Is there another Japanese vintage 70s-80s side pull bike I haven’t considered that you would recommend? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 02-09-18, 10:07 AM
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I'm skeptical that you can run 32c tires on a bike that uses short reach brakes. The single pivot superbe brakes are very good; there is also a similar dia compe sidepull which has a certain coolness factor, the royal gran compe which I'm running on my RB 1.
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Old 02-09-18, 10:24 AM
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What era? Why not some gran-compe centerpulls?

Anyways, from what you've written I would just go with some double pivots. No reason to make riding on the bike less fun if single pivots give you hand fatigue.
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Old 02-09-18, 10:37 AM
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In my experience, the clearance under a Dura Ace 74xx series dual pivot is really pretty good. 28s would be no problem, but YMMV for 32s.
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Old 02-09-18, 10:41 AM
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You need to measure the distance between the brake mounting holes and the center of the brake track on the rim. (Front and back, as they may be different). This measurement will tell you whether you need long reach or short reach brakes. From there, you'll have a better idea of what your options are.

As a rough rule of thumb: earlier than late 70s - long reach, later than early 80s - short reach. Late 70s to early 80s, could be either, depending on the style of bike and how "modern" the builder was.
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Old 02-09-18, 11:25 AM
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Dia-Compe's gran Compe variations
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Old 02-09-18, 11:32 AM
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^^^ Yep. First determine the correct reach of brakes needed. The transition was very generally in the late 70s, but there was along overlap.

IIRC bikes with short reach (39-49) brakes will often accept 32 as the max, just, but it depends on the bike. Not with fenders of course.
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Old 02-09-18, 02:12 PM
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With 700c Araya rims, measuring the front fork from the middle of the mounting hole to the inside flat surface of the rim is 52mm. Measuring the rear wheel from the middle of the brake bridge to the inside flat surface of the rim the distance is 50mm. If I recall right most short reach brakes topped out at 49mm, will they be too short given the above measurements?



This is a custom frame with no identifying information on it, except that the Shimano drop outs used are from the early 80s time period.


On the Suntour Superbe BRS if the inner hidden spring breaks, which I understand is one of the keys to this brakes mechanism, are there replacements available, or, work arounds? Thanks
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Old 02-09-18, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I'm skeptical that you can run 32c tires on a bike that uses short reach brakes. The single pivot superbe brakes are very good; there is also a similar dia compe sidepull which has a certain coolness factor, the royal gran compe which I'm running on my RB 1.
I use Compass 32’s (true measured width) under Shimano short reach dual pivots on my Marinoni, but unfortunately no photos of that combination (I know - “So it didn’t happen!”), but here’s a Compass 28 in front. Notably, the pads are at the bottom of the slots front and rear. The minimum clearance point is the fender mounting boss on the underside of the rear brake bridge.

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Old 02-09-18, 05:42 PM
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Dfrost that looks about right for the clearance I observed on my project frame/fork, except it looks a bit tighter in back than in front when I mounted wheels with Compass 28c tires on the rims. I figure that 28c will fit just fine, and can test the fit with the 32c Compass tires later as I have them on newly built Velocity Atlas rims for my Nishiki Cresta, assuming that with a max. of 49mm the arms will align with the rim side wall and that the arch of the brake arms are high enough to clear the tires (no fenders need apply, this will be a bike for dry days).
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Old 02-09-18, 06:58 PM
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I'd love to see some more photos of that Hagiwara!
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Old 02-09-18, 09:53 PM
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It's coming obrentharris, once I've figured out the brakes. All the components have been assembled for the Hagiwara. But, it's second in cue right now as I am getting ready to finish the Katakura-Silk Nishiki Professional, it is off at the paint shop having new decals and clear coat applied. Once the Katakura-Silk Nishiki Professional is done then the Hagiwara will start.

Will a 28cm tire pass through Shimano Dura Ace BR-7800 brakes when you have opened them to max, or, do you have to drop pressure to fit a 28cm tire through the gap and then reinflate them? I read that a 23cm is ok, but a 25cm was about the limit of clearance. Can't seem to find any information on the maximum tire clearance for this brake. Does anyone know?

Update: Well you keep looking and there are answers, I found another post that asked my question above, and the answer was yes 28cm tires with some tricks, can fit between BR-7800 brakes. I can live with a 28cm and always will have two 32cm vintage bikes to fall back upon. So with that question answered I think I've answered the question of this post and will go for a set of BR-7800 brakes. Thanks all.

Last edited by since6; 02-09-18 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 02-10-18, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
It's coming obrentharris, once I've figured out the brakes. All the components have been assembled for the Hagiwara. But, it's second in cue right now as I am getting ready to finish the Katakura-Silk Nishiki Professional, it is off at the paint shop having new decals and clear coat applied. Once the Katakura-Silk Nishiki Professional is done then the Hagiwara will start.

Will a 28cm tire pass through Shimano Dura Ace BR-7800 brakes when you have opened them to max, or, do you have to drop pressure to fit a 28cm tire through the gap and then reinflate them? I read that a 23cm is ok, but a 25cm was about the limit of clearance. Can't seem to find any information on the maximum tire clearance for this brake. Does anyone know?

Update: Well you keep looking and there are answers, I found another post that asked my question above, and the answer was yes 28cm tires with some tricks, can fit between BR-7800 brakes. I can live with a 28cm and always will have two 32cm vintage bikes to fall back upon. So with that question answered I think I've answered the question of this post and will go for a set of BR-7800 brakes. Thanks all.
Tire fitting through the brakes is affected by the rim width. I can get just 28’s through with only the brake QR open (there’s another QR on my Campy Ergo levers for additional clearance) if they’re mounted on 22mm wide (tb14) rims, but not if they’re mounted on 19mm Open Pros. The Compass 32’s I mentioned earlier, on tb14’s, just clear with both brake caliper and Ergo QR open. That wouldn’t work on Open Pros.
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Old 02-10-18, 02:09 AM
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Thanks Dfrost, yes rims to must be added to the sauce. While this is a vintage racing frame, I am not going for a narrow rim/tire combination. I find that the 28cm and 32cm tires are to me much faster than 25cm or narrower tires. I run 28cm Compass tires on the vintage Araya rims on my Nishiki Professional and lose nothing in speed while gaining much comfort and control. Being heavier means with a narrow tire I would need to run much more tire pressure to avoid pinch flats also small high pressure tires transmit lots of shocks through the frame and then to the rider, whereas the 28/32cm run much lower pressure even with the weight and much less fatigue. I notice no loss of speed, but a great increase in comfort and the ability to enjoy hours riding the bike in all road conditions, and...if you ever slip off the trail into soft soil, you don't auger in like you would on narrow tires, you ride back onto the trail no worse for wear. I've been very impressed by the Velocity Atlas rims we have on our tandem and my Cresta touring bike. Yes, a heavier rim, but they are bomb proof and so easy to get the 32cm tires on and off to change a tube, you can almost do this with just your hands. I'll have to see if Velocity makes something similar to fit a 28cm tire.
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Old 02-10-18, 05:19 PM
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Would these rims work with 28cm 700c tires with the Shimano Dura Ace BR-7800 brakes?

This is a PAIR of Araya 700 C Rims in 36 Hole Drilling. ** Heavy Wall "welded" construction. Araya was "renown" for High Quality "Strength and Trueness".
** This Rim was common on 70's Vintage Touring Bikes. And was even used on Tandems because of its "strength".
** Rim measures 22 mm Wide - Ideally used with 28 C or 32 C Clincher Tires. But will also fit 25 C.
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Old 02-10-18, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Dia-Compe's gran Compe variations
This. Dia-Compe made the Superbe brakes and many other hi quality sidepulls. I like the NGC-400's personally. Plentiful if you need parts. Only you can decide if you want stay period correct.
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Old 02-11-18, 10:47 AM
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while i do use period correct 600's on my 91 miyata 912, every time i ride it i wish i had some tektro dual pivots on it. they are the best brake for the money in my humble opinion. they clear fenders beautifully and they stop on a dime with very reasonable hand pressure. none of this applies if you want to be period correct of course.
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Old 02-11-18, 01:17 PM
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I don't think there was a better single-pivot caliper ever made than the Spb Pro SB-00 hidden-spring caliper. There was no Dia-Compe equivalent, and nothing as completely thought-through and tweaked. The downside to that is not a lot of parts interchangeability with other calipers out there, best to buy some beaters for spare parts.

This may be a little more of a stretch, but I don't think there was a better first-attempt, all-new component introduction than Shimano 7400-level STI. The 7403 dual-pivots are heavier than later models, but nothing later feels as solid or looks as good. Ditto on the STI levers, the mechanism was so precise and beautiful I almost cried the first time I shifted one. Well, maybe not cried, but I had a massive smile on my face, and I might have heard angels whispering in my ears.

I'm all for mix/matching, and riding whatever the hell you want. When I was upgrading stuff back in the day, when this stuff was new, I never worried about a new bauble being ex-grouppo. That said, I think 1st-gen D-A STI looks fabulous as a group, the new standard, as does last-gen Spb Pro, the old buggy whip.

The 7403 dual-pivots are certainly better stoppers than the Spb Pro.

I don't think either will open far enough to let a true 32mm tire easily slip between the shoes with the qr opened, unless maybe you're using modern 25mm+ width rims. With 32s I generally just rock the wheel back/forth and bully the wheel into place. I'm always trying to max tire width, and I'd rather have a minor wrestling match getting fully-inflated 32mm tires back through the shoes i/o narrower 28s, as long as the 32s have decent minimum clearance. The way I look at it, on the road with a flat the tire is coming out uninflated, and I can reinstall the wheel before reinflating the tire to max. In the shop, there's no rush, and I can cuss all I want. I've never knocked a shoe out of the holder, worse case is sometimes I get a dark smear on a gumwall where it squeezes through the shoes. If I haven't had too much beer and my brain ain't hazy, I'll remember to reinstall the wheel before I fully pump up the tire.

The Spb Pro arms are pretty thick at the pivots, to make room for the internal springs. A rear tire would rub the caliper underside before rubbing on your average brake bridge. The 7403 might have a little better clearance underneath, but I haven't played with any for a long time, so that's barely a guess. Unless your frame has lots of protruding fork crown/brake bridge centers, 28s should fit fine. 32s could be tricky, you're in "it depends" land.

And if both f/r clearances are far enough beyond 49mm, you might not be able to use either caliper without mods/tricks. Mods/tricks for maximizing lower shoe position include filing the arm slots, no heresy in my book, or using drop-holders, brake shoe holders that let the shoes sit a few mm lower. Somebody in Taiwan makes 'em, has them on ebay, might be available elsewhere:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/AICAN-Alumi...r/111103902065

The upside of the shoes being at the bottom of the slot, of course, is that's maximizing your tire clearance, always a Good Thing. I'm very biased about lots of stuff, and cranky, but if I'm having somebody build me a frame, I'm going to want those shoes at slot-bottom regardless of brake reach. And I get really annoyed when I see a high-end frame with non-bottom, and especially with mixed, shoe positions. Why sit down and sketch geometry with a 49mm reach in the rear and 46mm at the front? Harumph. Get off my lawn!

I need to holler at some folks in Japan, I'll try to remember to ask about Hagiwara.
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Old 02-11-18, 02:34 PM
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I run 30mm Schwalbe Cx Comp on 19mm internal rims with 7403s on my '82 Nishiki. Shoes in the bottom of the slot. Lots of room. Brilliant brakes.
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Old 02-12-18, 06:42 AM
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Side-pull to me means single pivot.

Dual pivots are so much better that most cheap dual pivots are better than the best single pivots, as far as stopping.

So back to single pivot.

They require a true wheel, since the key to stopping power (and the mitigation of hand fatigue) with single pivots is adjusting them as close as possible to the rim, and keeping them from pivoting on the mounting bolt when in use. Once you figure out the adjustment so they don't pivot on the bolt during use, they are light, pretty, and stop well. Figuring out the adjustment also can give "new life" to those polished, light 1050 calipers that tons of cyclists have tossed into the trash.

I agree with pcb that the Superbe Pro are sliced bread, and elegant looking. I need to toss in my choice:
Suntour GPX.

Same hidden spring. Dark anodized finish.
They look great with the OEM pads, 6400 pads, Walmart pads, or polished shoe/pad combinations.



The only drawback I find with them is that darn rubber bolt-end plug that often goes missing (Lowe's has a close one in the small hardware section). Now, if we went Euro, Universal's AER's are phat.

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Old 02-12-18, 09:20 AM
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How do the Shimano BR-7403 compare with the BR-7800? The latter seem to have a following and the "Dura Ace" is mostly out of view so you see the design of the brake instead. But, I am also looking at the Superbe hidden spring brakes too, but very pricey when they appear for sale on the bay. Considering this rebuild will be ridden into the 60s, 70s and 80s, that’s years ahead not decades past (Mr. Marchand of France finally retired at 106from racing and setting Hour Records, due to high blood pressure-isn’t it great to have a role model for the future!). So I am partial to dual pivot given the natural decline that comes with time in muscle mass, grip strength. How do the 7403 and 7800 compare? My thanks
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Old 02-12-18, 12:57 PM
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So do you have the Superbe hidden spring brakes already and are considering whether or not to use them? If not, this is an easy question in my mind because the true hidden spring brakes (as opposed to the ones with springs behind the caliper but visible, which many eBay sellers mistakenly refer to as hidden spring, are fairly rare and expensive when you find them. On the other hand, the more common Superbe Pro brakes with visible springs work pretty well and are available with short or medium reach.

I think it comes down to what you want to do with your build. In my mind Shimano dual pivot calipers are clearly a step into a different era. I love their performance, but I don't think aesthetically that they match well with SunTour components. A full 7400 (or even 7800) group would look great on an 80's Japanese racing bike and would be my choice for a regular rider. But if you want a more early-80's look that feels more vintage, SunTour is the way to go.

Since we all love pictures, let me give you two bikes to meditate on and decide which is more what you're going for. Neither of these frames are Japanese, but the component sets should paint a pretty clear picture.

First, my Shimano equipped A-D. These components are from all over the map for Shimano, everything from 1050-series 105 to 6700-series Ultegra and touching every generation in between. IMO these groups, despite covering over 20 years, all have a similar feel.



I think these brakes are 6500, though they're practically identical to everything from the dual pivot 7400 to the latest R9100, give or take some polish and paint.






On the other side of the spectrum, here's my Trek 614 with a full Superbe group.



This one has medium reach CB-4700 Superbe Pro brakes, which would never be mistaken for a Shimano offering (since they were copying Campagnolo).





So which of these looks are you going for?

BTW, in terms of vintage hands and braking response, I've been told (and have verified for myself) that the key is to brakes from the drops with single pivot. You still have to squeeze harder, but it works very well.
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Old 02-12-18, 01:05 PM
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I’ve got a set of Dura Ace 7210 long reach side pull brakes, if you end up wanting these. They’re beautiful, and dated to the early 80s.
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Old 02-12-18, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
How do the Shimano BR-7403 compare with the BR-7800?
BR-7403


BR-7700


BR-7800


BR-7900


BR-9000


I'm sure there is some difference between them. There were some minor changes in expected cable pull (from 7800 to 7900 and from 7900 to 9000, I think), but these are all basically the same. All of them require some kind of SLR brake lever.
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Old 02-12-18, 04:44 PM
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So here is the build to date waiting in boxes. It is a mix of things, chosen so that I can ride this bike for a long time over hills which are common where I live. The main theme is homage to a Japanese hand built frame/fork with parts that were the best/very highly regarded that were made in Japan around the early 80s-until the end of the 80s/early 90s.


I already have two Campagnolo bikes, a vintage one and then my modern but getting vintage custom bike, so this is the other end of the spectrum. I want to be able to go as fast as my body will allow, but also dawdle with grandchildren learning to ride and enjoy the comfort of steel and 28cm/32cm tires on longer rides.


In a very real sense this is a custom build of a vintage bike. It is as if I picked up the frame/fork sometime in the early 80s and just now am taking it down to complete it as a bike, my bike. So yes, I have a set of NOS BR-7800 brakes coming, as mentioned earlier it’s why the single pivot Record brakes are no longer on my custom bike which is furnished with Record components, dual pivots just don’t wear my hands out and to me (and casting no stones here) they are just better, and for those who love the single pivots great!



So, don’t wince when you see this canvas of parts, but come on over and find out the story behind this old, unique, eccentric bike, you know there’ll be stories…thanks again for all the advice.

Front/Rear Hub:- SunShine Pro/Am 36H NOS
Front/Rear Derailleur: Cyclone Mk II NOS (rear long cage)
Bottom Bracket: Suntour Superbe [Note: will need a longer spindle to accommodate the Specialized Triple.]
Crank Set: Specialized ST (Flag) 46-36-26 (Specialized Chainrings)
Pedals: MKS-New Touring
Headset: Suntour HS-SA00, Sprint 9000 NOS
Down Tube Shift Levers: Suntour Superbe NOS
Stem: SR Sakae New Royal Super Light NOS
Handlebar: SR Sakae Randonneur/Road Champion 42cm Vintage
Brake Levers: Suntour Superbe –Slotted 1st Generation Vintage
Seat Post: Sugino SP-H (fluted) NOS
Seat Postbolt-Silva New
Brakes: Shimano Dura Ace BR-7800 NOS
Brake Hoods: Dia Compe 202/204 Brown Hoods NOS
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