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V-brakes vs. Center-pull brakes

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V-brakes vs. Center-pull brakes

Old 11-16-22, 11:36 PM
  #51  
RCMoeur
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...they are still popular with very, very old people, who remember them fondly as the original dual pivot rim brake.


...and eliminate the need for a bell or horn. A quick tap on the brakes, and the French-accented howling squeal will alert everyone to your presence.

I do have a pair of Racers on my fixie. And although I've adjusted toe-in and other items, I still get the legendary "Mafac sound" much of the time upon application. But they will definitely stop you, as long as the pad rubber doesn't date from the Nixon Administration.
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Old 11-17-22, 01:25 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
Yes, but these brakes seem to need to be re-adjusted if I look at the wrong. I never had that issue with center-pull brakes.
​​​​​​
I think you keep missing the part where we explained that you have really cheap brakes on your bike.

V-brakes are bog simple to set up; As you've noticed, there's really only the spring tension to adjust. However, those springs are a lot less stiff than the one on the bike you remember from 30 years ago. They really don't need to be very strong, but they need to be able to move smoothly and easily for good operation.
Here's where inexpensive parts start causing trouble: Inexpensive brakes usually have low quality pivot bushings, and the mounting posts on the frame may not be finished well, leading to friction and binding, that causes the inconsistent operation you've noticed.

I've had success bringing these kinds of brakes closer to "acceptable" operation by cleaning and dressing both the inside of the bushings and the mounting posts, and applying some light lubricant before reassembly.
​​​​​​
(This is usually reserved for bikes that aren't mine, or I don't plan on keeping; brakes are almost always the first 'hard parts' I upgrade on a bike I plan to ride on the regular)
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Old 11-17-22, 01:58 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
> The only adjustments required are the tension screws

I have found that adjustment to be tricky. If it is not done exactly right, the brakes will not center correctly after releasing, and one pad will rub against the rim. That is a problem that I did not have, even with the cheapest center-pull brakes.

With center-pull, there is one spring pulling the pads apart. No need to synchronize two separate spring tensions, and get each one pulling with just the right amount of tension.

With my V-brakes, even after getting the spring tension adjusted for both springs, it seems to go out of adjustment very easily. Sometimes, for no apparent reason at all.

Perfectly adjusted V-brakes my provide better stopping power. But they seem to be a constant headache to keep adjusted, and really, there is only so much stopping power you need.
Your experience exactly matches mine. My wife's bike has V-brakes, and almost every time I remove the front wheel, I have to adjust the brakes. I rode with cantilevers from 1983 until this year and removing a wheel never required brake adjustment, other than disengaging and reengaging the brake yoke. I have mechanical disc brakes now, and I'm back to making adjustments for wheel removal.
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Old 11-17-22, 02:06 AM
  #54  
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Are brakes no kidding this hard for people?

I've never had a brake that wasn't set and forget
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Old 11-17-22, 02:34 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Thanks for that clarification. I thought I had read somewhere above that centerpull was another name for standard cantilever. Definitely not the same thing, and I have not seen the former in a long, long time.
Imho, a cantilever brake is a centerpul design without the cross bridge. The cantilever pivots mount directly to the fork or frame but the brake is still activated via a cable pulling on t he center of the straddle cable.

A LOT of CASUAL bicyclists do NOT know the proper terminology for a lot of bicycle components or parts.

Cheers
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Old 11-17-22, 03:00 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
A LOT of CASUAL bicyclists do NOT know the proper terminology for a lot of bicycle components or parts.
A lot of casual cyclists like the OP, when they bought their last bike 30+ years ago, didn't know the proper terminology for all the components on their ten-speed "racing" bike, so asking nicely for clarification is in order before we jump on them for daring to offend The Keepers of the Isoterica?.

Seriously, the majority of the (not Road Bikes) bikes made in the last ~35 years have had either canti's, V's, or disk brakes, so if someone who is not a distinguished, silver -brazed member of this forum, were to hear the term "center -pull" you can see how they might associate it with cantilevers?

In this case, the OP is actually right on his terminology, he's just having a Boomer moment about his cheap V-brakes.
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Old 11-17-22, 03:07 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
Note: all of this is JMHO, based on my limited experience. And I am not a bicycle mechanic at all.

Way back in the 1990s, I always had center-pull brakes. That was fairly standard. I never had any trouble with them. The only maintenance I have had to do was move the clip further up the wire, or change the pads. Both operations were dirt simple, and rarely had to be done. The brakes allowed for a reasonable amount of slop. For example if tires where not exactly true, it was not a problem. I could take my tire off the bike without releasing the brakes.

Now I have an Infinity Boss 3 from Costco. It has V-brakes, and I find them to be a PITA. I have to adjust them frequently. If the two side are not calibrated just right, the brakes will not spring back correctly, and the brake pad on one side will keep rubbing against the rim. Also, the pads are supposed to be angled so the front grabs the tire first. For the brakes to effective, very little slop is allowed. It is a time consuming and complicated operation. I have to unhook my brakes to take my tire off - and that will probably cause me to have to re-adjust the brakes.

It may be that, if the V-brakes are adjusted perfectly, they have greater stopping power than than center-pull. But how much stopping power do I need? I don't want to fly over the handlebars when I stop.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe the Infinity Boss 3 from Costco has crappy brakes.

Any thoughts?
An image of your brakes would really be helpful. Do you have the type where there's a long spring arm going up the back of the arm of the V-brake to a stud on the arm?

Examples from a Costco Infinity Hybrid Bicycle.



Cheers
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Old 11-17-22, 06:25 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
> The only adjustments required are the tension screws

I have found that adjustment to be tricky. If it is not done exactly right, the brakes will not center correctly after releasing, and one pad will rub against the rim. That is a problem that I did not have, even with the cheapest center-pull brakes.

With center-pull, there is one spring pulling the pads apart. No need to synchronize two separate spring tensions, and get each one pulling with just the right amount of tension.

With my V-brakes, even after getting the spring tension adjusted for both springs, it seems to go out of adjustment very easily. Sometimes, for no apparent reason at all.

Perfectly adjusted V-brakes my provide better stopping power. But they seem to be a constant headache to keep adjusted, and really, there is only so much stopping power you need.
As other people have pointed out, these are all symptoms of the low quality of those particular brakes, not linear pull brakes as a whole.
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Old 11-17-22, 07:26 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by bboy314 View Post
As other people have pointed out, these are all symptoms of the low quality of those particular brakes, not linear pull brakes as a whole.
Exactly. There is a saying that goes - Buy cheap, buy twice. I would spring for a pair of Shimano Deore V-brakes. If you search around, you may even find them cheaper. See below:

https://www.brandscycle.com/product/...saAl-rEALw_wcB
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Old 11-17-22, 07:50 AM
  #60  
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Vs are dead simple to adjust, and there is zero reason to need to re-adjust after unhooking them to remove a wheel.

The problem is that this is a really cheap bike with really cheap parts, and something (either the brakes or the brake mount studs) are faulty.
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Old 11-17-22, 10:21 AM
  #61  
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Centering V-brake arms and toeing the pads in has always been a matter of set-and-forget for me. You probably ought to upgrade to better brake arms, and some brake arms of the Litepro brand out of China are surprisingly good for the price. Nicer brake levers are quite affordable and will make a world of difference, too.

No matter what type it is, your front brake is your best friend - if you treat it with respect. Once you've figured out how to use it to steer the bike through tighter turns and adjust your body position on the bike for ideal front-rear braking balance, this whole "flying over the bars" fobia will take care of itself. Take the time to train yourself on that.

I had a single, solitary brake-related crash in my life: It was the summer of 1984, I was 11 years old, I was barreling down what probably was an 11-percent grade street, and I was was on a BMX that only had a front brake. I'll just say that part of your soul dies when 11-year-old girls point at you and laugh. Especially when you're wearing Bermudas and slippers.

Last edited by sjanzeir; 11-17-22 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 11-17-22, 10:51 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
No matter what type it is, your front brake is your best friend - if you treat it with respect. Once you've figured out how to use it to steer the bike through tighter turns and adjust your body position on the bike for ideal front-rear braking balance, this whole "flying over the bars" fobia will take care of itself. Take the time to train yourself on that.
^^^This.^^^
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Old 11-17-22, 11:32 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
Yes, but these brakes seem to need to be re-adjusted if I look at the wrong.
Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
Disc brakes are ... - I would think - more difficult to adjust and maintain.
I've never found that V-brakes or disc brakes require much of any adjustment, and when they do, it's pretty simple. If you buy quality parts you'll eliminate the "maintenance" complaint.
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Old 11-17-22, 01:08 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
An image of your brakes would really be helpful. Do you have the type where there's a long spring arm going up the back of the arm of the V-brake to a stud on the arm?
Cheers
Photos came out a little blurry. Hopefully, they will serve the purpose.


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Old 11-17-22, 01:39 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
Photos came out a little blurry. Hopefully, they will serve the purpose.


There are a few things that can be done here that will transform the bike for not a whole lot of expense. Those V-brake arms probably flex like crazy when you brake hard (pull the lever hard and watch them bend between the pad nuts and the cable anchors! ) The flex can be easily taken care of with stiffer V-brake arms. Although they would be nice, you don't have to shell out carbon fiber money for a set of Bombshells, Bull's Eyes or even LDCs - a couple of nice, cheap, and very stiff Litepro long-arm (108mm) V-brakes off of Aliexpress will do just nicely (see the link in my earlier post above.)

Next, you need a set of nice brake blocks from Kool Stop or Swiss Stop or, at the very least, Avid. The black compound should be more than good enough.

Finally, a pair of compressionless brake housings (Google that) will get you where you want to be. All of this combined shouldn't cost more than 60-70 bucks or so, and you should be able to put it all together yourself.
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Old 11-17-22, 02:25 PM
  #66  
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None of these brake pads are positioned correctly. The two front pads should both hit the rim at the same spot directly across from one another. On the rear, the pad is not aligned with the curvature of the rim. Until these are corrected, all the spring adjustment in the world isn't going to achieve good performance.

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Old 11-17-22, 02:48 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
None of these brake pads are positioned correctly. The two front pads should both hit the rim at the same spot directly across from one another. On the rear, the pad is not aligned with the curvature of the rim. Until these are corrected, all the spring adjustment in the world isn't going to achieve good performance.

WHOA!! Good grief! That is quite a skew. Yes, they really, really, really need to be adjusted properly. That one pad isn't even touching the brake track. No wonder braking is lousy! Forget getting new calipers. You will notice a world of difference once these are adjusted correctly.

Last edited by Lombard; 11-17-22 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 11-17-22, 03:48 PM
  #68  
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Thank you. I will try adjusting them again. I had to monkey with them quite a bit to get them to work at all. Once I got them to basically work, I didn't want risk having them set so that one pad constantly rubs against the rim after braking.

But this is what I mean. Back when I had center-pull brakes, I never this sort of problem.
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Old 11-17-22, 03:53 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
one pad constantly rubs against the rim after braking.
If this tends to happen after you've adjusted the arm not to rub and then it starts rubbing after you apply the brake for the first time, then V-brake arm it's bolted to is sticky. Unbolt all four arms from their studs and apply a dab - just a dab - of lubricant, reinstall and test each one for smooth pivot action.
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Old 11-17-22, 04:04 PM
  #70  
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Another thing to look for with sticky V-brakes (or sticky cantilever brakes) is that the end of the stud hasn't been mushroomed due to over tightening of the mounting bolt. I've often improved the braking of either type of brake by removing the brake from the stud, cleaning the stud with a degreaser, then buffing the stud arm, where the brake pivots and then lightly greasing the stud and reinstalling the brake. I use a quality marine grade grease on my bicycle items.

Make sure too that none of your brake pads are touching the tire. A brake pad rubbing against a tire at the rim will soon wear through that tire.

Cheers
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Old 11-17-22, 04:09 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by walterbyrd View Post
Thank you. I will try adjusting them again. I had to monkey with them quite a bit to get them to work at all. Once I got them to basically work, I didn't want risk having them set so that one pad constantly rubs against the rim after braking.

But this is what I mean. Back when I had center-pull brakes, I never this sort of problem.
Considering how off your brakes are, I'm guessing it was maladjusted when you bought the bike.

Note that there are tiny phillips screws to adjust the spring. The larger allen fittings opposite the pad surfaces are to adjust the pads to the correct position. Don't touch the tiny phillips screws until you get the pads in the correct position on the brake tracks. Adjust the position (using the allen fittings) with the brake levered depressed and the pads against the rim brake track. Lastly, when your pads are in the correct position, if one of them rubs, tighten the phillips screw on the side that rubs (or loosen the phillips screw on the other side) until you get the two pads equidistant from the rim brake track. Squeeze the lever again, release and then adjust the phillips screws again if necessary.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-17-22, 04:23 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
tiny phillips screws
Better yet, drop by the hardware store and pick up four M4x10 or 12 (should be long enough) set screws to replace the original Phillips with. A 2mm Allen key will make your life a whole lot easier as opposed to a Phillips head screwdriver.

Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
if one of them rubs, tighten the phillips screw on the side that rubs (or loosen the phillips screw on the other side)
And remember: tighten first, loosen last! Screw the adjustment screw one that's rubbing in first until you're happy with how far off the rim it is, and then if you feel that you need to get the other one farther from the rim as well, go ahead and turn that screw in by a quarter of a turn at a time. Repeat incrementally until both pads look about equal. If you feel that one of the pads is too far out at this point, you may tweak the screw by turning it out. Turn the rim around a couple of times while you're at it to see where the runout is.

Last edited by sjanzeir; 11-17-22 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 11-17-22, 05:01 PM
  #73  
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Shimano made a V-brake with a plastic shroud covering the spring. When (not if) the shroud cracks, the spring is only sloppily secured and centering the brake becomes impossible.
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Old 11-17-22, 06:34 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Shimano made a really cheap version of a V-brake with a plastic shroud covering the spring. When (not if) the shroud cracks, the spring is only sloppily secured and centering the brake becomes impossible.
I'm sorry you have a set of broken, budget model brakes on your bike. Did you know that decent quality replacements are not that expensive?
You're Welcome

​​​​
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Old 11-17-22, 09:53 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
I'm sorry you have a set of broken, budget model brakes on your bike. Did you know that decent quality replacements are not that expensive?
You're Welcome

​​​​
I'm pretty sure you have no idea who you're talking to here.
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