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C&V brakes

Old 11-22-20, 04:04 PM
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gthomson
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C&V brakes

Sorry if this is a repeat thread, I just don't fine the search engine that good when looking through older posts. Just wondering what my options are for a set of brakes (rim obviously) for my small collection of 80's road bikes. All are Shimano components and have some 27" wheels and some 700c. Tires size is mostly 26mm to 30mm.
Looking for mid range price as none of these bikes are classics but would like to consider riding in winter conditions (minimal precipitation on the road) and want to know I can stop with confidence. Took one of the bikes out which had the worst set of brakes and could barely slow down.
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Old 11-22-20, 04:22 PM
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nlerner
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New cables, new housing, and new pads are the first step.
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Old 11-22-20, 04:31 PM
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AS mentioned above do some maintenance. Caliper brakes generally work very well from most companies. The arms can flex or you can have worn out or poor quality pads but first make sure the pads are fresh, aligned properly, the cable pull is correct and the housing not causing drag. The pad "rubber" compound can differ from brand to brand and one of the most respected is the Kool Stopwith their salmon colored pads.

With two wheel sizes you have to be concerned that the caliper reach is adequate to reach the rims correctly, The pads are adjustable up and down over a limited range after that you need a longer or shorter caliper.

I would guess that currently Tektro probably makes most of the caliper brakes for most brand names. They make brakes at very many price points. The high end brakes are as good as the best and the lowest end can be pretty bad. So you get what you paid for. I have used most every brand of brakes and the Tektro tend to be a good value.

Good Luck
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Old 11-22-20, 05:00 PM
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There is seldom a need to replace brakes unless your hand strength is poor and therefore you need the higher mechanical advantage of dual-pivots (though there are disadvantages to those too). Poor braking generally stems from insufficient friction at the pad/rim contact and too much friction in the calipers and cable system (usually due to unlubricated pivots and worn out liners in the housing). In addition to doing what @nlerner said, you should check that the brake pivots move freely...if not, take them apart, grease the pivots and adjust the play. Also, after a while the braking area of the rim gets a nasty buildup that can reduce braking performance. Clean them isopropyl followed if necessary with an extremely mild abrasive such as a sanding sponge. Be sure to rinse off the abrasive grit after you're done...you don't want that stuff embedding in the pads.
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Old 11-23-20, 11:11 AM
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Ok, thanks I'll remove the brake and apply some lubrication to make sure it's just not clamping as it should. What about the type of rim that's on the bike? I thought I saw someone mention aluminum vs steel make a difference to braking in wet conditions?
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Old 11-23-20, 11:27 AM
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Yes, in wet conditions alloy rims provide a much better braking surface than steel.
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Old 11-23-20, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Pcampeau View Post
Yes, in wet conditions alloy rims provide a much better braking surface than steel.
+1 Except Pcampeau is understating this. In really wet conditions it take two full revolutions of the rim to get to some braking power. Stopping is a gradual process. There are hills steep enough that stopping in the wet is near impossible. If you must ride steel rims in the rain equip your bike with Mafac RACER calipers. (There was good reason Peugeot equipped the steel rimmed UO-8s with those brakes.)
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Old 11-23-20, 12:12 PM
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Just an update, the wheels are Rigida Superchrome, Cromix wheels which are steel so maybe this has an impact?
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Old 11-23-20, 12:45 PM
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I have a couple of bikes that still have the chrome steel Rigida rims on them: while they are definitely not as good as other bikes with identical brakes (Mafac Racer) on alloy rims, they are still pretty good. I don't ride in the rain (on the road anyway) very much so can't comment there, but your brakes even on chrome rims should be decent enough. So maintenance, and new pads (I have used the KoolStop post style pads on my Mafacs and while they are not miraculous they seem to work well and don't squeal too much) will go a long way.
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Old 11-23-20, 01:21 PM
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Modern low-compression cable housings help. Sometimes braking performance is compromised because of protrusions at the ends of the cable housings.

KoolStop salmon pads always help. I could barely stop my Bianchi on a steep descent after I installed Shimano pads (because they looked great). KoolStops to the rescue!

Aluminum rims always!

Aero brake levers will improve your stopping force by about 10-15 percent, but they will of course travel further on a squeeze. (Nothing is free in the world of mechanical advantage.)

Careful attention to cable housing can help -- avoid any sharp turns or kinks, particularly at the ferrules/stops.

High-quality ferrules won't help, but compromised ferrules will definitely hurt.
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Old 11-23-20, 02:16 PM
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As a rule of thumb, I don't usually ride in the rain either cause I'm a fair weather rider, not really interested in going down nor do I want to maintain the bike after the ride (cleaning, making sure it's all dry, etc...) but I have an older bike that I sorteve converted over to a tour bike.
I think it probably needs all the maintenance mentioned above so I'll start with the cables and brake pads and see how much that improves the ride. I planned on upgrading the wheels as well so that will also help.

thanks all
,
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