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Can't Reach: change wheels or brakes?

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Can't Reach: change wheels or brakes?

Old 10-15-12, 10:39 AM
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Can't Reach: change wheels or brakes?

Hey gang,

Working on my dad's 1970 Falcon:



I'm not sure whether you can tell from that photo (but you can click here and browse around), but the brakes just don't have enough reach; especially the rear wheel, where the pads are in the bottom of the calipers and basically are half on rim, half on tire.

I know these 700C clinchers replaced sewup wheels some time when I was in middle school (originals are long gone, but I remember dad showing me how open, patch, re-sew, and re-mount a sewup -- I want no part of that!), so I'm guessing the originals were 27". (Anybody with a similar vintage Falcon, or other comparable British bikes know whether 27" was preferred because of Imperial sizing rather than metric?)

SO, in order to solve this problem I guess my options are to replace the brakes or the wheels. I'm thinking brakes will be cheaper, but how easy would it be to find even longer-reach vintage brakes? (These centerpulls are Weinmann Vainqueur 999, 610 front/750 rear) And longer-reach would be less-effective, right?

Looking at eBay right now at 27" wheelsets, these are almost in my neighborhood so I might be able to save the $40 shipping with 60-90min of driving (which, with the cost of gas all of a sudden in CA, is about $10-15 anyways!!)

Or this set looks pretty good, maybe I should jump on them for $89 shipping included? (But Schraeder? Really? What would happen if I ran Prestas through the bigger holes?) Also, 130mm spacing, I don't know what my Falcon's spacing is offhand, but I do know there's a lot of extra spacer going on to fill in all the extra space with only the 5sp freewheel that's in there right now.

While I have your attention, I am having another problem with the brakes, the pads are not parallel to the rims (the brake-arms seem twisted), and I can't figure any way to adjust the brakes to change this. I tightened the pivot-bolts and that seemed to help a little, but if I tighten any more I think I'll crush the little red plastic insert sleeves.

Thx as always...

[UPDATE] I'm an idiot, and once again BFC&V helped me rise above myself! Look at the obvious angle between the rear calipers and seatstays in the picture above. I loosened the mounting bolt, pushed the brakes toward the stays (against the pressure of the cable), and the brakes swung into proper position with a perfect reach. Almost like the brake bridge was designed to be used with Weinmann 750s to reach 700C rims!

The problem was I tuned cable tension BEFORE tightening the mounting bolt, so the brakes were pulled away from the seatstays. The reason I did that was because I wanted to tighten the mounting bolt last, so I could get the centering just right. I did the same thing on the front, but there's less of a problem because of the longer mounting bolt (all the way through the fork).

I guess I need to tightly mount the brakes in the proper position first, so I can properly tune the cable tension. Then loosen the mounting bolt again so I can center, and also push the calipers down towards the stays when I'm holding them in place to tighten. I might have to get some kids involved here as third and fourth hands for this operation!

As for the toe-in, I think the best solution for that would be good brake pads with spherical washers, so a little angle in the caliper ends becomes irrelevant.

Last edited by RubeRad; 10-15-12 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 10-15-12, 10:46 AM
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Trying to retain the present 700C whells will be the best thing for the bike as you will have a much bigger choice of tires out there with the now more common size. If you can find longer reach calipers, you can make it work out, but if not, 27 1/4" wheels are still supported enough that you can still survive with them.
Regarding your brakes, your dad might have "toed in" the brake calipers by bending the ends of the caliper slightly (easily done with a small adjustable wrench on the flat ends of the calipers.). this is done so the trailing end (relative to the rotation of the wheel) of the brake pads contact the rims before the rest of the pad so you do not get the screeching and shuddering which is likely to happen if the pad is perfectly parallel to the rim surface. As long as the angle is not way too angled away from the rims. it should work out good. You also do not want to bend the caliper ends back and forth too much as the aluminum might start to crack. So, avoiding bending them again will be best for them.

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Last edited by Chombi; 10-15-12 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 10-15-12, 10:49 AM
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The rear caliper is not parallel to the stays, so the brake mount hole is drilled off or too large, this is making the distance to the rim longer than it needs to be.
The front... looks close.
I would file a mm or 2 to the brake caliper slots if that will get you there or go mod Tekro's for stopping power.
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Old 10-15-12, 10:54 AM
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https://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brake-calipers.html

It actually looks like your rear frame is not seated correctly as the brake frame doesn't follow the seatstay. See how close the pad is to the stay on this Raleigh GP? And I switched from 750's to short frame.

Maybe you're missing the pivot nut that holds the frame together?

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Old 10-15-12, 11:16 AM
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Chombi, I'm not too worried about finding 27" tires (but maybe longer-reach brakes would be better/easier?) Is 27 1/4" the precise size and 27" is shorthand, or are there two slightly different sizes for me to worry about?

repechage/oddjob: I don't quite understand (oddjob did you forget a link? I don't see any raleigh on that SB page). Are you saying my rear brakes are angled too far CW from the perspective of the whole-bike pic above? So then I might be able to file the bottom of the back of the brake-mounting bolt hole, and the top of the front, to angle the brakes downward? Would a larger hole weaken the brakes, or would a plenty-tight mounting bolt hold it all together? Is it angled up in that pic maybe because the mounting bolt/nut is loose, so cable tension is pulling it upwards?

Problem is, I don't think 2mm would do it, I'm seeing it half a brake pad off right now.

From the SB link, I see plenty of good options for my rear if I wanted to replace that way, but they would be too long for the front, and mixmatched would just not look good.
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Old 10-15-12, 11:19 AM
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Tubular/sew-up wheels are equivalent in size to 700c. I agree that your rear brake looks askew.
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Old 10-15-12, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
The rear caliper is not parallel to the stays, so the brake mount hole is drilled off or too large, this is making the distance to the rim longer than it needs to be.
The front... looks close.
I would file a mm or 2 to the brake caliper slots if that will get you there or go mod Tekro's for stopping power.
Ah, I get it; file a mm or 2 out of the bottom of the brake caliper slots, that plus if I can straighten the mounting might just get me there on the rear brake. I guess the bottom of the brake caliper would not be significantly weakened that way, as the pressure will be forwards, not downwards, so as long as I don't file all the way through I should be ok?
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Old 10-15-12, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by sss View Post
Tubular/sew-up wheels are equivalent in size to 700c. I agree that your rear brake looks askew.
So then this frame and these brakes and 700C wheels should all fit together happily (and I shouldn't have to replace anything)? That's good news.

What are my options for making the rear brake be at the right angle relative to the seat stays?
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Old 10-15-12, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Chombi, I'm not too worried about finding 27" tires (but maybe longer-reach brakes would be better/easier?) Is 27 1/4" the precise size and 27" is shorthand, or are there two slightly different sizes for me to worry about?

repechage/oddjob: I don't quite understand (oddjob did you forget a link? I don't see any raleigh on that SB page). Are you saying my rear brakes are angled too far CW from the perspective of the whole-bike pic above? So then I might be able to file the bottom of the back of the brake-mounting bolt hole, and the top of the front, to angle the brakes downward? Would a larger hole weaken the brakes, or would a plenty-tight mounting bolt hold it all together? Is it angled up in that pic maybe because the mounting bolt/nut is loose, so cable tension is pulling it upwards?

Problem is, I don't think 2mm would do it, I'm seeing it half a brake pad off right now.

From the SB link, I see plenty of good options for my rear if I wanted to replace that way, but they would be too long for the front, and mixmatched would just not look good.
Sheldon Brown link just shows all available caliper lengths. But you should be able to see the photo of the silver Raleigh in my post, which shows your caliper askew to the rear by a 1/2 inch or so.
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Old 10-15-12, 11:25 AM
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Is there a possibility the rear brake mounting bolt is bent?
Tektro long reach, or extra long reach dual pivot brakes are the way to go, and they sort of look vintage, and they will stop you better than vintage, but I agree that if you return to 27x1-1/4 wheels, everything will be as it should.
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Old 10-15-12, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Sheldon Brown link just shows all available caliper lengths. But you should be able to see the photo of the silver Raleigh in my post, which shows your caliper askew to the rear by a 1/2 inch or so.
Well I still can't see your Raleigh, but at least I can see quite clearly that my rear brake is not at the angle it should be. I will definitely take a look at that tonight, release the cable, loosen the mounting nut, see what kind of angular play there is, whether I can get it on there straight, maybe that will help.
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Old 10-15-12, 11:41 AM
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https://dl.dropbox.com/u/102899028/Bi...2010.56.07.jpg
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Old 10-15-12, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
Is there a possibility the rear brake mounting bolt is bent?
Tektro long reach, or extra long reach dual pivot brakes are the way to go, and they sort of look vintage, and they will stop you better than vintage, but I agree that if you return to 27x1-1/4 wheels, everything will be as it should.
Bent bolt? I guess that's a possibility, I didn't notice any bend when I recently removed, disassembled, cleaned, and remounted. (pics above are from before all that, so it's not my fault!)

Tektro extra long reach (70-88mm) on the SB/Harris page are only in black (not very vintage), and I think would be too long for the front. And the non-extra long reach at 47-57 would not be long enough for the front (much less the rear!). The "Action" 75-91 at the bottom do look pretty old-school (but also pretty low kwality), and definitely too long to replace a 610 front!

So do you think the original sewups were 27's? sss above thinks sewups would also have been 700C
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Old 10-15-12, 11:49 AM
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Any opinions on the linked 27" wheelsets at eBay? The crowd seems to be driving me to solve my problems in the brake department.

Definitely when I get home I will take a close look at that rear brake mounting, but even when straight, it'll be close (the front seems straight and it is still arguably a little high on the rim itself).

Does there exist a kind of brake-mount adapter that would allow me to mount my rear brake maybe 1cm lower, with the mounting bolt just under the existing brake bridge?
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Old 10-15-12, 12:01 PM
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I seem to recall hearing something about 27" tubular tires long ago, but 700c has certainly been the standard for a very long time. While changing to 27" wheels might be one way to solve your current problem, it doesn't seem like the best one to me, at least not if your current wheels are any good.

[edit] apparently what I heard was hogwash. The following was taken from Sheldon Brown's glossary:
Back in the 1970s, 622 mm clinchers were very rare in the U.S., and most sporty bikes used either 630 mm (27 inch) clinchers, or standard (622 mm) tubulars.The fact that these sizes are so close led to an in-accurate habit of referring to "27 inch" tubulars. This careless nomenclature still causes confusion, and people often imagine that there is a different "27 inch" size in tubulars as there is in clinchers.This is not true. THERE IS ACTUALLY NO SUCH THING AS A "27 INCH" TUBULAR.All full-size tubulars fit all full-size tubular rims.There are smaller tubulars, "26 inch", "24 inch" and even smaller, but those are VERY uncommon, mainly used for children's race bikes, which hardly exist at all in the U.S. The smaller sizes are very poorly standardized; tires and rims of nominally the same size may not fit one another.

Last edited by due ruote; 10-15-12 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 10-15-12, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
THERE IS ACTUALLY NO SUCH THING AS A "27 INCH" TUBULAR.
Thx due, that is reassuring (that I will be able to make this bike work properly in its current configuration). I guess this guy fell prey to that common misconception...
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Old 10-15-12, 12:27 PM
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I know they were a bit more common in the '70s but I find it hard to believe this bike came with sewups. But anyway I agree the rear brake looks askew somehow. The front brake looks plenty long enough to me,



Judging how long the rear brake looks now a change to something longer will cause lots of flex issues, unless you some Trektro sidepulls but they may still be flexy.

Can you post some closer pics of that rear brake?
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Old 10-15-12, 12:41 PM
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I'm kinda having the same issue. Except I'm just going to switch the brakes. My build sports 26x1 3/8 tires, so I need long reach and the brakes I have are fairly well worn especially in the springs. I know newer brakes will look abit off on an older ride, but I fugre I'm gonna be rippn around with my buddys quiite abit and I think something I'd rather not skimp on is stopping power. So adding a newer technology to an old frame, I'd find that reasonable if its for safety
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Old 10-15-12, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I know they were a bit more common in the '70s but I find it hard to believe this bike came with sewups. But anyway I agree the rear brake looks askew somehow. The front brake looks plenty long enough to me,

Judging how long the rear brake looks now a change to something longer will cause lots of flex issues, unless you some Trektro sidepulls but they may still be flexy.

Can you post some closer pics of that rear brake?
Yes, I have some closer-up brake pics after my rebuild, in the camera right now, should be able to post those tonight.

I can guarantee the original wheels/tires were sewups, but I can't guarantee they were stock. My dad picked this bike up from some unclaimed freight operation, who knows whether it was special-ordered/custom-built.
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Old 10-15-12, 08:33 PM
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Hey all, I updated the OP; the problem was me tightening down the mounting bolt after setting cable tension, which pulled them up. At least that's what I did after this picture, after taking the brakes off, disassembling, cleaning, reassembling, and reinstalling. I guess somebody else had the same problem the last time those brakes were put on. Or maybe after decades, cable tension gradually pulled them up.

If anybody knows of any good tutorials for tuning centerpulls, I'd appreciate it!
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Old 10-15-12, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Hey gang,

Working on my dad's 1970 Falcon:

I'm not sure whether you can tell from that photo (but you can click here and browse around), but the brakes just don't have enough reach; especially the rear wheel, where the pads are in the bottom of the calipers and basically are half on rim, half on tire.

I know these 700C clinchers replaced sewup wheels some time when I was in middle school (originals are long gone, but I remember dad showing me how open, patch, re-sew, and re-mount a sewup -- I want no part of that!), so I'm guessing the originals were 27". (Anybody with a similar vintage Falcon, or other comparable British bikes know whether 27" was preferred because of Imperial sizing rather than metric?)

SO, in order to solve this problem I guess my options are to replace the brakes or the wheels. I'm thinking brakes will be cheaper, but how easy would it be to find even longer-reach vintage brakes? (These centerpulls are Weinmann Vainqueur 999, 610 front/750 rear) And longer-reach would be less-effective, right?

Looking at eBay right now at 27" wheelsets, these are almost in my neighborhood so I might be able to save the $40 shipping with 60-90min of driving (which, with the cost of gas all of a sudden in CA, is about $10-15 anyways!!)

Or this set looks pretty good, maybe I should jump on them for $89 shipping included? (But Schraeder? Really? What would happen if I ran Prestas through the bigger holes?) Also, 130mm spacing, I don't know what my Falcon's spacing is offhand, but I do know there's a lot of extra spacer going on to fill in all the extra space with only the 5sp freewheel that's in there right now.

While I have your attention, I am having another problem with the brakes, the pads are not parallel to the rims (the brake-arms seem twisted), and I can't figure any way to adjust the brakes to change this. I tightened the pivot-bolts and that seemed to help a little, but if I tighten any more I think I'll crush the little red plastic insert sleeves.

Thx as always...

[UPDATE] I'm an idiot, and once again BFC&V helped me rise above myself! Look at the obvious angle between the rear calipers and seatstays in the picture above. I loosened the mounting bolt, pushed the brakes toward the stays (against the pressure of the cable), and the brakes swung into proper position with a perfect reach. Almost like the brake bridge was designed to be used with Weinmann 750s to reach 700C rims!

The problem was I tuned cable tension BEFORE tightening the mounting bolt, so the brakes were pulled away from the seatstays. The reason I did that was because I wanted to tighten the mounting bolt last, so I could get the centering just right. I did the same thing on the front, but there's less of a problem because of the longer mounting bolt (all the way through the fork).

I guess I need to tightly mount the brakes in the proper position first, so I can properly tune the cable tension. Then loosen the mounting bolt again so I can center, and also push the calipers down towards the stays when I'm holding them in place to tighten. I might have to get some kids involved here as third and fourth hands for this operation!

As for the toe-in, I think the best solution for that would be good brake pads with spherical washers, so a little angle in the caliper ends becomes irrelevant.
Not surprised your existing brakes work for 700 once you got them lined up right. I've had two bikes taht worked out just this way: a 1980 Woodrup Giro and a 1984 Trek 610. Both originally sold with 27" and both original sets of brakes worked with 700c when set up properly. I think some builders actually planned it this way. I had a similar Falcon that I bought new in 1969, and it came with 27", and the same set of Weinmann brakes. I never liked them too much, but they worked with a hard enough squeeze.

As far as the wheels, mine were originally 120 mm OLD, standard for 5-speed of the day. If you can de-space an available non-freehub wheel to 120 mm OLD, the 5-speed freewheel will be a snug fit with good chainline, an easy installation, and the original derailleur fitting and swinging as it was designed to. I know it's always tempting to just muscle a wider hub in there, but it gets really hard with 130, and with any frame-stretching (as opposed to cold-setting with proper re-alignment) the hubs will absorb new stresses due to the dropouts not being in line. Take any cheap metric ruler and measure the distance between teh inner dropout faces. If it's near 120 (plus or minus 2) mm, it doesn't need much adjustment. Most of us here will downplay this aspect, but if you want your old hubs to last their longest, get the dropouts and really, the whole frame, aligned. Then get the hub spacing fixed for proper 5-speed chainline, and enjoy your old Campy setup. Not the greatest, but a piece of history.

Last edited by Road Fan; 10-15-12 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 10-15-12, 09:14 PM
  #22  
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If this were mine I'd go back to 27" wheels... it's what the frame was designed for. As for tire selection, why would you need a huge selection when there are plenty of low, mid and high quality tires still available in 27"?
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Old 10-15-12, 09:29 PM
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Most English (and French) racing (even entry level) bikes of this time were equipped with sew-ups... 700c. All of Raleigh's were (Professional, International, Competition). Not sure how much further down the line sew-ups went. Looking at the catalog sheet scans at classicrendezvous (https://www.classicrendezvous.com/Bri...les/Falcon.htm), 3 of the 4 bikes on the 2 model sheets at the bottom were equipped with sew-ups, so I would think this bike was likely intended for 700c. The Raleigh Internationals of this time period also used Weinman 610F/750R calipers as well. I would say you are on the right track.
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Old 10-15-12, 10:17 PM
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