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1954 Raleigh Mixte - How to route brake cable?

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1954 Raleigh Mixte - How to route brake cable?

Old 07-11-12, 07:02 AM
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G1nko
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1954 Raleigh Mixte - How to route brake cable?

I picked up this 1954 Raleigh Mixte for my 1952 aunt. The previous owner said he'd taken the bike to REI and let them hack away at it. There are a few questionable "upgrades," mostly reversible.

They appear to have cut the rear brake cable is way to short and it needs to be replaced. Currently it is routed from the top of the caliper. It's a double-ended cable. After doing some research, I opted against the $35 NOS replacement cable and instead ordered some of the $6 cable knarps from Harris. I read, however, that the cable should be routed from the bottom, not from the top. While that makes sense in terms of the frame, the caliper seems to warrant routing from the top. I could not find a picture on the 'tubes.

Can somebody with more experience in this shed some light?

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Old 07-11-12, 07:21 AM
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First of all, is that a Mixte or just a step-through frame? They are not the same thing. It doesn't look like a Mixte to me from that photo. If it is a step-through the cable bend is going to be EXTREME in a double S-bend or else the cable is going to be floating in mid-air for quite a distance from the seat tube to the top tube -not a good situation for an erstwhile "step-through."

I put the knarp at the brake caliper rather than at the lever. The knarp in the lever doesn't pivot and this creates a spongy and weak feel. I put the knarp behind a shortened spoke nipple and recreate the "bottle" shape of the original cable end.

The bottom-routing of the cable makes for a smoother and less-drag routing. On a real Mixte the cable would simply run straight up the mid-tubes when the caliper is mounted on the mid-stay brake bridge without any bend at all in that area.

The disadvantage of routing from the bottom is that water tends to run down the cable and pool inside the housing at the bottom of the curve and can't drain out at all. This causes the cable to rust and bind up in short order. Rear brakes freezing up on these bikes is very common because of this.
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Old 07-11-12, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by G1nko View Post
I picked up this 1954 Raleigh Mixte for my 1952 aunt. The previous owner said he'd taken the bike to REI and let them hack away at it. There are a few questionable "upgrades," mostly reversible.

They appear to have cut the rear brake cable is way to short and it needs to be replaced. Currently it is routed from the top of the caliper. It's a double-ended cable. After doing some research, I opted against the $35 NOS replacement cable and instead ordered some of the $6 cable knarps from Harris. I read, however, that the cable should be routed from the bottom, not from the top. While that makes sense in terms of the frame, the caliper seems to warrant routing from the top. I could not find a picture on the 'tubes.

Can somebody with more experience in this shed some light?
Can you provide more pictures of the cable routing, please? Specifically, how is it routed along the top tube and seat tube? I think they may have routed the cable in that fashion because of the double ended cable. Using a knarp will partially solve the issue, but you'll still have an issue with that caliper since it is not "flipped" properly for the routing of a cable on a womens bicycle.
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Old 07-11-12, 07:34 AM
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I have several Raleighs were the brake cable is routed from the bottom. I will see if I can get a picture up for you. FWIW I put a dab of grease in the end of the cable and it helps keep the water from running down in it.

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Old 07-11-12, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
Can you provide more pictures of the cable routing, please? Specifically, how is it routed along the top tube and seat tube? I think they may have routed the cable in that fashion because of the double ended cable. Using a knarp will partially solve the issue, but you'll still have an issue with that caliper since it is not "flipped" properly for the routing of a cable on a womens bicycle.
I suspect the routing is because this is the wrong caliper for this installation. The way the double-ended cable calipers are designed you can not simply flip the orientation as one side of the caliper has the "loop" that the cable end fits into and the other has the hole that the adjuster assembly from the cable bolts into. The caliper on the step-through bikes is reversed with the parts on the other side from the diamond-frame caliper. Unlike on a regular caliper where the cinch bolt and the adjuster bolt can be simply swapped top/bottom this type of caliper is not "flipable."
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Old 07-11-12, 09:51 AM
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You are right, it is a step-through frame, not a mixte. I know the diff, but I was goofing off at work and two minutes late to a meeting (Goofing off at work? Never!) and not thinking.

If I'm reading this right, this is the wrong caliper?

I have one additional picture of the bike on me, I can take more when I get home if this is insufficient. I appreciate the help. My 16yo is trying to make some summer money restoring bikes and Auntie is helping him out...

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Old 07-11-12, 09:56 AM
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^ You will definitely want to re-route that cable so that the cable makes a large loop and enters the caliper from the bottom instead of the top. I would think that brake doesn't work very well given the way it is routed now.
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Old 07-11-12, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
^ You will definitely want to re-route that cable so that the cable makes a large loop and enters the caliper from the bottom instead of the top. I would think that brake doesn't work very well given the way it is routed now.
If by "doesn't work very well" you mean "not at all" then you are precisely correct.

I'm confused, though. The cable passes through the adjuster on the top caliper lever and then the big knarp on the end of the cable pressure fits into the tang on the bottom lever of the caliper. How would I route through the bottom?
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Old 07-11-12, 12:02 PM
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Just about any more modern side-pull caliper will work in this situation and be convertible from top-pull to bottom-pull. Just about any of these are going to give you better feel and less flex than the steel vintage calipers these old bikes came with. It might be possible to source the double-ended caliper that is a bottom-pull but it'd be easier to go to a coop or just about any LBS and get something pretty cheap that will do the job better. If you don't care about being vintage-correct and this is just a rider I'd find something in a cast-off bin.

Brake reach is 85mm on the Raleigh Sports so that is all you really need to worry about. Brake reach on those old 3-speeds was sort of long compared to many newer types of bikes.

Something like the Tektro 984 would probably work and have enough reach. I'm not 100% sure it can be reversed but it looks like it can from the photos. While you are at it just replace both front and back and be done with it with a matching set. They are not very expensive.
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Old 07-12-12, 02:36 AM
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Is that a red chain?
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Old 07-12-12, 03:51 AM
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I still have this bike, but it's not in my immediate reach right now to take better photos. Here are some that may help you figure this out, hopefully :





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