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recommend an inexpensive front brake for a conversion?

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

recommend an inexpensive front brake for a conversion?

Old 08-25-21, 06:31 PM
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cyrano138 
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recommend an inexpensive front brake for a conversion?

I'm finishing up converting my 77 Raleigh super course to a fixed gear. The original wienman brakes are center pull and in my opinion kind of big and clunky for a nice sleek fixed gear. I'd like to install a basic aluminum side pull front brake and run it to the top of the bars to a short lever.

Can anyone recommend a brake+lever set? I forget what the diameter of the old road drops are near the stem but I can always measure that.

I've had good luck with origin8 stuff but to be honest with you I've also had good luck with sunlite stuff. I'm really not fancy. I like stuff to be durable, not flashy, and inexpensive as possible.

Thanks for any help!

Jack
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Old 08-25-21, 07:58 PM
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If it's an old road conversion then you probably need long reach brakes. I usually use Tektro R559 for my conversions.
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Old 08-25-21, 08:11 PM
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I would measure the reach and get the Tektro that works. I think the tektro dual pivot is worth the extra 10$ or whatever on Amazon. And kool stop pads.
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Old 08-25-21, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by acoustophile View Post
If it's an old road conversion then you probably need long reach brakes. I usually use Tektro R559 for my conversions.
That's what I wound up going with!

Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
I would measure the reach and get the Tektro that works. I think the tektro dual pivot is worth the extra 10$ or whatever on Amazon. And kool stop pads.
Do you guys have a lever you'd recommend? Something for the top of the drop bars.
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Old 08-26-21, 01:05 AM
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[size=16px]Tektro fl750? They look nice. Seem to be for short pull, non linear pull brakes. No barrel adjuster. Have not used myself.[/size]


I am running the tektro bmx levers. I am going to run dia-Comp ss6 levers next. They look like the levers are a little longer giving more leverage/power.
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Old 08-26-21, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post

[size=16px]Tektro fl750? They look nice. Seem to be for short pull, non linear pull brakes. No barrel adjuster. Have not used myself.[/size]


I am running the tektro bmx levers. I am going to run dia-Comp ss6 levers next. They look like the levers are a little longer giving more leverage/power.

I like them but it seems like they only make them for 22.2 bars. My bars are 24mm (near the stem where I'd mount it).
I remember going into this rabbit hole before. I miss the early 2000s when everyone and their mom was riding fixed gears and you could get whatever you wanted. Now there's so little to choose from -- especially in the older style. Seems like now it's heavier frames, wider tires, and 48inch bars. Mountain bike-y. No judgement, just not for me. Of course, the 12inch bars back in the day were pretty dumb.
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Old 08-26-21, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
My bars are 24mm (near the stem where I'd mount it).
Tektro, and its companions Cane Creek and Soma, offer 24mm inline levers. Good luck...
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Old 08-26-21, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by IAmSam View Post
Tektro, and its companions Cane Creek and Soma, offer 24mm inline levers. Good luck...
Thank you. I always figured cane creek and soma were out of my price range, but their stuff doesn't look too bad.
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Old 08-26-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
I like them but it seems like they only make them for 22.2 bars. My bars are 24mm (near the stem where I'd mount it).
I remember going into this rabbit hole before. I miss the early 2000s when everyone and their mom was riding fixed gears and you could get whatever you wanted. Now there's so little to choose from -- especially in the older style. Seems like now it's heavier frames, wider tires, and 48inch bars. Mountain bike-y. No judgement, just not for me. Of course, the 12inch bars back in the day were pretty dumb.
Shoot. I missed the 24mm part. Sorry.
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Old 08-26-21, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Shoot. I missed the 24mm part. Sorry.
No worries!
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Old 08-27-21, 07:32 AM
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Too bad the FL750's only come with 22.2 clamps. They are cheap, elegantly simple and have nice long levers for a good pull on old brakes. They solved a problem I had with cantilevers and a Velo Orange Crazy bar 22.2 ends. On my fixed conversion with Origin8 Tiki bars (mustache type in road diameters) I tried inline levers but they seem to lack power and feel for my old center-pull calipers. Incidentally, the long reach versions of the Weinmann center-pull or Dia-Compe 750 copies have enough reach for 700c wheels on an old 27" frame and have a nice vintage look. Now I've switched the conversion back to a regular drop bar and old style road levers. The only drop bars I know of with 22.2 ends are Soma Gators.
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Old 08-27-21, 07:46 AM
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Brakes are not something to try to save money on in my opinion. Whatever you do, don't sacrifice function for looks or for budget.
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Old 08-27-21, 04:03 PM
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Used dura ace 7800 brakes on Ebay FTW. But only if they're long enough
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Old 08-28-21, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
Too bad the FL750's only come with 22.2 clamps. They are cheap, elegantly simple and have nice long levers for a good pull on old brakes. They solved a problem I had with cantilevers and a Velo Orange Crazy bar 22.2 ends. On my fixed conversion with Origin8 Tiki bars (mustache type in road diameters) I tried inline levers but they seem to lack power and feel for my old center-pull calipers. Incidentally, the long reach versions of the Weinmann center-pull or Dia-Compe 750 copies have enough reach for 700c wheels on an old 27" frame and have a nice vintage look. Now I've switched the conversion back to a regular drop bar and old style road levers. The only drop bars I know of with 22.2 ends are Soma Gators.
I agree, I really wanted them. I feel like this is kind of what I was talking about above. There was a time when fixing up 70s and 80s road bikes and/or converting then to fixed was very popular. I think now that's it's essentially gone out of style it's harder to find stuff made to fit those vintage bikes. Take bottom brackets -- it used to be easy and cheap to get basic, unsealed, brackets but now it's all sealed. You can find a sealed cartridge that fits, but it's bit the same stuff.

Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
Brakes are not something to try to save money on in my opinion. Whatever you do, don't sacrifice function for looks or for budget.
Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've ridden a lot of cheap ass bikes with cheap ass components in the last 35 years and I've yet to have a brake fail. I understand paying for a certain threshold of quality, but that threshold has always been pretty low for me. In almost 4 decades of riding I've never crashed from anything but user error. I appreciate the advice though.

Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
Used dura ace 7800 brakes on Ebay FTW. But only if they're long enough
I'll check this out, thanks!

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Old 08-29-21, 04:56 AM
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I had a Super Course of about the same vintage as yours. I believe that the center pulls on it are Weinmann 610's with spec;d reach of 50 to 65mm. Those nice Dura Ace calipers only go to 49mm so will probably not reach on your frame. A bigger problem on an old frame is the lack of a recessed mounting in the fork crown. I don't know of many dual pivot calipers with a long enough bolt and nut option except Tektro R539 and R559's.

I tend to agree with you about braking needs in certain situations. A single-geared bike is not likely to carry a heavy luggage load in hilly terrain. And as you're in Florida (where I spend most of the year) the steepest descents are likely on a short bridge. So if I had a total front brake failure I guess it would be time for a skid stop. But while I'm temporarily in Upstate New York with a fixed bike I do feel the need for good brakes on both ends.
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Old 08-29-21, 04:40 PM
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Finally basically done. Honestly it didn't involve much real mechanic work. I bought a set of fixed hub wheels, and stripped everything off.

The chain line was already spot on. Didn't have to re-dish, or swap out for a shorter bb spindle length. Years ago, before I knew how, I had a friend replace the bb and he put a 122mm in. It was actually too short by a hair because the inner ring rubbed slightly on the chain stay which I'm thrilled about now because it saved me the trouble for this conversion.

I kept the original cranks and chainring (just removed the inner chainring), bought a 14 tooth cog for the rear, out a nice shiny 3/32 chain on, and did a basic service on the headset bearings and cleaned er up.
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Old 08-29-21, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
I had a Super Course of about the same vintage as yours. I believe that the center pulls on it are Weinmann 610's with spec;d reach of 50 to 65mm. Those nice Dura Ace calipers only go to 49mm so will probably not reach on your frame. A bigger problem on an old frame is the lack of a recessed mounting in the fork crown. I don't know of many dual pivot calipers with a long enough bolt and nut option except Tektro R539 and R559's.

I tend to agree with you about braking needs in certain situations. A single-geared bike is not likely to carry a heavy luggage load in hilly terrain. And as you're in Florida (where I spend most of the year) the steepest descents are likely on a short bridge. So if I had a total front brake failure I guess it would be time for a skid stop. But while I'm temporarily in Upstate New York with a fixed bike I do feel the need for good brakes on both ends.
The fact that I'm in Florida really opens up the possibilities for just what constitutes adequate brakes. Can I stop in time to avoid running that alligator over? Yes? Perfect.
I rode my first fixed gear, a 2007 Fuji track that I'll never forgive myself for selling, without brakes successfully for almost a year before I put one on at the behest of a mechanic buddy.

I ordered one that had a range of 59 to 69 I think. I measured the weinmans at just about 60mm.

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