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brake options

Old 12-21-08, 02:18 AM
  #1  
hypermaniac
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brake options

hi i currently have a Raleigh grand prix on hold at my bike co-op to fix up. i was wondering does anyone have experience with Weinmann center pull brakes or center pulls in general? do they have enough braking power? also what do you think the widest tires i can fit on the rims? finally where would i find the serial number for the bike? i couldn't find it on the bottom bracket, where else can it be?

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Old 12-21-08, 05:02 AM
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Centre pull (excuse British spelling, but that's where I'm writing from) brakes were better than most 1960's & '70's side pull callipers (except for the Campagnolo Record etc. side pulls right at the top of the tree) but are nowhere near as effective as modern dual-pivot brakes. Set up correctly - and this includes lubricating the arm pivots, spring contact points & cables, checking toe-in and fitting soft pads, they will be as good as they ever were. That means not as good as dual pivot but not too far behind in my opinion. Sheldon Brown has some good opinions and information on his web site. Weinmanns are among the simpler versions of this type of brake so you don't have the hassle of straddle wire length adjustment or two dimensional shoe alignment to worry about that you would have with a pair of say, Mafac Racers. Cable run is important, especially the rear, to be reasonably short but with no tight bends in the housing - sometimes difficult to achieve if the hangers are tight under the saddle & stem. Good luck!
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Old 12-21-08, 06:56 AM
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I cannot agree more with Oldpeddaller.
I have a pair of old Weinmann center pull brakes. I keep them in mint condition, and they work flawless. Never had a problem about braking even with the pads pretty worn out. Still the quality it's better with the new side pull type of brakes.
I now have Campa Centaur brakes, and they offer in my oppinion about 20% max better braking and response time than the center pull ones.
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Old 12-21-08, 09:22 AM
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Charles Wahl
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If you want to replace centerpulls (I wouldn't), then you may have reach issues going to a double-pivot brake, esp. in the rear, where Weinmann 750s are common (75 mm reach). Tektro makes some long-reach double pivots, and I'm sure they work great; but they look goofy to me.
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Old 12-21-08, 10:47 AM
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look here for different formats for raleigh serial numbers. The serial numbers are almost all found underneath the bottom bracket...
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Old 12-21-08, 11:15 AM
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+1 Center pulls are fine.
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Old 12-21-08, 11:40 PM
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I have a '74 Grand Prix which I've owned for over 25 years. It is a good sturdy bike. The Weinmann center pulls are very good brakes. As mentioned, check Sheldon Brown's site for tips. My best suggestions when you start working on the brakes is to clean them and the cables very well, lightly lubricate, add some new KoolStop pads and switch the wheels to aluminum alloy rims if you can. Be patient when adjusting the brake cables and use a "third hand" brake tool. My bike is stored in the attic now, so I can't go check, but I think that frame is designed for centerpulls with a cable stop "bridge" on the rear and an integrated front reflector/brake cable mount as part of the headset spacer, so switching to sidepulls may be a hassle.
Best Wishes!
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Old 12-22-08, 02:31 AM
  #8  
ozneddy
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In the 60,s all anyone near me had was wienmann centrepulls they worked fine then ,should work fine now, only problems we had (us kids) was the riders NOT the brakes !----Go 4 it ! ps: 27,s work perfect with em !
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Old 12-22-08, 02:29 PM
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I had a hard time finding my serial # on my GP. It is on the seat tube below the binder bolt.

Weinmanns are good brakes. I was thinking of changing mine to Mafacs in the future so I could use one of those nice TA racks that mount to the front brake.
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Old 12-22-08, 09:41 PM
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Good call,"Mafac Racers" look better,polish up better too but (there,s always a BUT) you need to replace the pads with "coolstop" or the like !
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Old 12-23-08, 04:42 AM
  #11  
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I have Weinmann center-pulls calipers on a few bikes and I find them superior to any of the early single-pivot side pull brakes - including 1960s-80s Campagnolo NR/SR. You might almost view them as a variant of cantilever brakes, but with the pivots attached to a single central yoke rather than frame mounted bosses. I always feel very confident making sudden emergency stops in city traffic or when making very fast descents on local mountain roads. They have been in use on my daily commuter bike for years, and have never let me down.

I would... 1.) make certain that your cables and housings are in top condition. 2.) Lubricate the caliper spring pivot points, and clean and lube the pivot bushings of the arms. 3.) Even if your old pads look hardly worn, simply replace them anyway. Pads can dry, harden, and the rubber can glaze over without even giving the appearance of being worn or old. 4.) Adjust your brake levers so they do not feel too "spongy" or require too much pull. Center-pulls will never have that "power-brake" instant-grabbing "feel" of modern dual-pivot brakes, but they are still VERY powerful.

One very inexpensive, currently produced, brake pad & holder replacement which I know of the is the "X-caliper" model made by Jagwire. These are as close as one can hope for to the original black Weinmann "X" pads which were used on virtually all Weinmann brakes for over 25 years, and (IMHO) they seem every bit as effective.

You really could select most any replacement pads. But I would recommend mainly trying to approximate the depth/height of the older pads - by which I mean the distance from the caliper arm to the rim contact surface of the rubber. Unlike Mafac calipers, the Weinmanns you cannot adjust the angle of approach of the pads. Some very slim/flat modern cartridge-type pads & holders, intended for modern brakes (which always remain very close to a rim when released) can change the angle at which the arms will reach toward the rim and prevent the pad from making full contact against the rim. And you definitely want to ensure a nice flat contact "footprint" with most of the rubber pressing against the rim.

Center-pull brakes had eventually become so very common on so many lower range bikes during the 1970s that both Weinmann [Raleigh & Motobecane] and Mafac [Peugeot] center-pulls gradually came to be regarded as cheap or second rate brakes. However, they were not so easily disregarded even after Campagnolo brakes became more increasingly accepted by the Pro racers.

Weinmanns were even offered with brazed-on bosses as an option on ultra-expensive Rene Herse bikes like this one... and one similarly mounted version of the basic Mafac center-pull, was used on Thevenet's Tour de France winning Peugeot in 1975. This was also later offered on the top-end Peugeot PY-10 bikes of the late 1970s - a very slick look... which I would STILL consider if I were having a bike custom built today!

Ah yes, I do love old center-pulls!

Since this subject has come up, here is my single-photo hommage showing the humble Weinmann X-pad evolution.
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Old 12-23-08, 11:11 AM
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Stronglight's made some interesting points. I didn't realise that the Jagwire pads were identical to Weinmann - like a lot of people I've still got a pair of highly polished Weinmanns sitting in a box awaiting new pads. Problem solved, thanks! I'm also a Mafac fan and have been for years, in fact my venerable Racers are again due for a dust off and polish ready to fit to my forthcoming build. When I last used them I tried Sheldon's idea and fitted aero levers with short cable runs - that improved the "feel" of the brakes considerably. It wouldn't be appropriate for the next build though - a British 'club tourer' in the style of the 1950's, but I'll still be confident of the brakes.

Impressive photos, thanks for sharing them. The Benelux changer is interesting too and a very clear photo. Is the cable run down the chain stay to the toggle chain? Do you have to have stem or bar end levers to achieve this routing or is there any way to use Down tube friction shifters? How does the cable fit to the toggle chain? I used to have one of these rear mechs many years ago but now I can't remember! It might be something I could consider using with a 5 speed block for the club tourer.

Best regards.
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Old 12-23-08, 11:17 AM
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I have racer's on two bikes. I recommend buying the replacement brake shoes from Velo Orange. They have a ball/socket joint so you can tow them easily and accurately as well as use modern pads. I have mine set up using those posts and mathhauser pads. works great!

http://velo-orange.com/voadbrsh.html
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Old 12-23-08, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
I had a hard time finding my serial # on my GP. It is on the seat tube below the binder bolt.

Weinmanns are good brakes. I was thinking of changing mine to Mafacs in the future so I could use one of those nice TA racks that mount to the front brake.
The T.A. racks also fit Weinmann centerpulls.
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