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Replacement brakes suggestion

Old 06-15-23, 07:17 PM
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Replacement brakes suggestion

My wife has Tektro RL 520 brakes on her LHT. The right one became stiff on tour and we squirted copious amounts of lube inside which semi solved the problem. It is becoming stiff again and I want to replace it before our next tour. I know nothing about bike parts but I think I should replace them with something of higher quality so that they don't fail again. Can someone recommend a good replacement?
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Old 06-15-23, 08:11 PM
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That particular model of brake lever is designed to work with V brakes which have more cable pull (more cable movement) than other drop bar brake levers, thus that lever works with long arm V brakes. If someone else makes a brake lever that will do the same thing, I am unaware of it.

On two of my bikes, I am using regular drop bar levers and long arm V brakes, but I am using a Travel Agent that allows a regular short cable pull lever to work with the V brakes. Two photos below.
https://problemsolversbike.com/products/travel-agent
https://www.parktool.com/en-us/blog/...and-adjustment







Travel Agents are getting harder to find, as rim brakes are disappearing so the hardware associated with rim brakes is finding less room on store shelves. Last time I wanted to buy one, I could not find one for sale, but I found a clone from Asia that was basically a copy of it.

But before you go shopping, take a close look to make sure that your cable outer housing where it is inserted into the brake handle is not the problem. I have had some high friction problems in the past from a cable run that is not quite as friction free as it should be.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 06-15-23 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 06-15-23, 09:25 PM
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Thanks for the reply. As these are not expensiveI and I know they fit, will just buy the same kind again!
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Old 06-15-23, 09:57 PM
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I would go SRAM S500 levers you will need a travel agent as shown above but they are the best levers out there, really comfortable and ergonomic.
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Old 06-16-23, 04:25 AM
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I like TRP brakes and levers, they are well made, light, responsive, and comfortable.
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Old 06-16-23, 07:35 AM
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Don't replace brake levers just because something's "stiff". Although there are certainly exceptions, brake levers don't go bad and generally last pretty close to forever. In addition, Tektro RL520s are on a gazillion bikes and are pretty well thought of. Of all the reasons your brake may be stiff, the lever has the least chance of being the culprit. I'm willing to bet if you remove it from the bike you'll find that it moves freely.

When was the last time you changed cables and housing? Or is there something maybe going on with the brakes themselves? (My money would be on cables and housing.)
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Old 06-17-23, 06:29 AM
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When you write that the arm is "stiff" It could be a cantilever stud that is either not sufficiently lubed. When you say stiff do you mean not returning from the rim? Could be a simple spring tension adjustment issue. You need to release the spring and unbolt the arm from the stud and grease the sud/ see if that makes it less "stiff".
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Old 06-17-23, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
My wife has Tektro RL 520 brakes on her LHT. The right one became stiff on tour and we squirted copious amounts of lube inside which semi solved the problem. It is becoming stiff again and I want to replace it before our next tour. I know nothing about bike parts but I think I should replace them with something of higher quality so that they don't fail again. Can someone recommend a good replacement?
most likely was dirt or dried out lube in the housing at the tight turn near the lever.
you sprayed some lube in which softened the blockage, for a while, but then that fresh lube got gloopy as well.

remove the cable from the brake to see if it's the lever that's sticking.
when you replace the cables, use a spray lube with teflon.
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Old 06-17-23, 12:28 PM
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Now there are three of us telling you the same thing. You might want to consider that.

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
...
But before you go shopping, take a close look to make sure that your cable outer housing where it is inserted into the brake handle is not the problem. I have had some high friction problems in the past from a cable run that is not quite as friction free as it should be.
Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
...
When was the last time you changed cables and housing? Or is there something maybe going on with the brakes themselves? (My money would be on cables and housing.)
Originally Posted by saddlesores
most likely was dirt or dried out lube in the housing at the tight turn near the lever.
you sprayed some lube in which softened the blockage, for a while, but then that fresh lube got gloopy as well.

remove the cable from the brake to see if it's the lever that's sticking.
when you replace the cables, use a spray lube with teflon.
But you might need new bar tape if you have to access the cables.
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Old 06-18-23, 06:55 PM
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Thanks for all the comments. I will look into the details.
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Old 06-22-23, 05:52 AM
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hi waddo, I also would suspect the issue is a cable and housing thing going on, but no matter--just wanted to mention that putting softer brake pads on will make a real difference in braking power. I have used those salmon coloured pads by Kool-Stop for a long time and they really made a difference in braking power on one of my canti braked bikes. Being softer they also have the added benefit of being easier on the rims over time. The cantis I have on my bike have a pad holder that you can slide out the old pads and slide new ones in, after removing a tiny cotter bin to hold them in place. Makes it cheaper to change pads, although I can go years on a set--but I dont ride this bike that much in rain and gritty conditions and Im not riding it down long downhills so this is a huge factor in pad life.
What I can say is that way back when after getting this bike in question, I wasnt happy with the braking performance compared to my much much older canti bike from the 90s, so changing to these pads made a very, very noticeable difference in stronger braking, and I've been sold on them ever since. This bike also has those second set of interrupter brake levers on the bars, and the softer pads made these brake levers much much more useable with the increased braking performance.
I know you aren't into bike mechanics, but I hope that you find that the brake issue is just the housings and cables and some sort of friction point going on somewhere--its pretty common over time and with some water getting in there and some slight unseen rusting going on that adds friction. Usually happens gradually over time so we dont notice it.
cheers
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Old 06-22-23, 12:24 PM
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I have a travel agent on my front v-brake but had to keep the rear canti as the rack got in the way of a travel agent there.
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