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Old 05-10-06, 10:24 AM   #1
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Bikes: A very old, very crap mtb that I rarely use, and an even older but lot more stylish oldschool absolutely not practical girly pink thing I call Klara with the adventage that noone tries to steal it, so I can park it anywhere in the city...
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getting the first roadbike fever!


I am getting my first roadbike style bycicle. All excited about it, and as my budget is cut short it'll be defintely some vintage. Probably rather old. So now I am researching a bit what to pay attention to.
I've figured already the approximate size with the help of some online calculator.

My question is now about brakes. What kind to avoid, what to search for...
Any ideas?

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Old 05-10-06, 08:38 PM   #2
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Assuming you're looking at vintage, possibly hitting the local second-hand/recycle bike shop to keep the cost down, I'll drop two words on you: Weinmann centerpulls.

I'd always considered them the best centerpull brake 30 years ago, and when I started putting together a parts drawer for possible projects, I picked up about four pairs of Weinmann calipers, spent an evening pulling them down and going over the alloy with metal polish, and now I've got a container of clean, new-looking brake calipers just waiting for the next project. They're strong, well-built, stop very well once you've dropped by the LBS and picked up a new set of pads, oh, did I mention they're extremely common be they branded Weinmann/Dia-Compe/Schwinn/Raleigh or whatever which means they're incredibly cheap while still being a quality product.

Don't want to mess with something as old as centerpulls? Go Shimano or Dia-Compe top end sidepulls from the 70's. Here again, damn good quality for not much money.

Mafac brakes are good, have to be set up right to really work well, noisy, and will cost you a fair bit more (they're not as common) for no appreciable advantage.

Universals, er, I never was too impressed with them.

Campagnolo sidepulls are the best, but there's this little matter of cost . . . . . . Zeus were good, assuming you can find them. Ditto Favorit (they were Czechoslovakian ripoffs of Campy), but once again we're talking hard to find.

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Old 05-11-06, 04:04 PM   #3
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I second the Weinmanns with new pads. I would add that new cables are cheap, and can make a world of difference if the old ones are shot.
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Old 05-11-06, 06:21 PM   #4
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I like Weinmann centerpulls, and both of my Capos have the original calipers, with new cables and KoolStop pads.

I disagree on the Campag. sidepulls. The set on my Bianchi look fabulous, but they provide only marginally adequate stopping power, even with good cables and pads. The Gallis on my PKN-10 are noticeably more effective.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
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Old 05-11-06, 08:59 PM   #5
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I've never been a fan of centerpull breaks because the pull on the straddle cable introduces more slop than I like. However, I found these Weinmanns on eBay and have them on my commuter:

With Kool Stop salmons, the stopping power is terrific. I have no idea of their vintage but probably 80s or later as the front was set up for a recessed nut.

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Old 05-11-06, 09:25 PM   #6
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A quick way to spot a good vintage frame is to look for rear axle adjuster screws. This is not foolproof but they are definitely not found on entry level/low quality frames. nlerner, I have a mid 80s Motobecane Grand Tour touring bike with that brakeset & also testify to their stopping power. Yours is only the 2nd set I have ever seen & my LBS which really knows vintage stuff had never seen their like either! A Motobecane could provide a pretty good ride for the OP especially if he could find one with a set of these brakes, if not my 2nd choice would be the Weinmann or Dia Compe centerpull. Moto's are usually pretty cheap given the other baggage of French bikes. Don
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