Brakes Ditch those caliper brakes.

Discussion in 'Bicycle Repair' started by professor, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. professor

    professor Active Member

    Buzzing along, the light ahead changes and I hit the binders. About a 150 leisurely feet later I stop at the crosswalk. Not good, less than 30 mph to zero in the legnth of my yard.

    I have been using a V brake on the front and a caliper out back.

    Today I cut some Vs off a curb- sale frame and welded the posts and attached the parts onto my frame.
    Went for a ride on wet streets (in and out of the rain) - the bike stops better in the rain than it did dry before.
    Rims are alum. (don't know if that matters)

    If you can't weld, I think there are some adapters out there to bolt on V brakes.

  2. caferacer

    caferacer New Member

    I have front and rear v brakes on my cruiser, kinda sucks how much i have to pull the front brake lever to top when my pads are like super close to the rim...i suck at adjusting i guess. idk what to adjustt
  3. a/c man

    a/c man Member

    You inspire me to do the same, since I have several V brake set ups in my
    big box-o-bike parts .
    I've just been concerned that I will have to convert both front and rear to V brakes because I use a dual pull brake handle and I know the cable pull length is longer for v's than my crappy side pulls. I can't mix the two on the same handle.
    The v brake adapters from Dan's comp are nice for sure but $25 a piece is pricy for my poor self.

    Here's a great website with lot's of informative bike "how to's "

    A good place to start getting your brakes working better is buying some decent brake pads.
    You'll be amazed at the difference if you buy some Kool Stop Salmons, I recommended them along with many other members also.
    Cleaning your rims thoroughly will also help give the brake shoes more bite.
    I use 000 steel wool, or 250 grit sand paper on the braking surface.

    Here's a good bike parts site for getting some decent brake pads.

    Make sure to get the correct type of post, threaded or non-threaded for your application.
    Once again, the SALMON is the type to get, they are a special compound unlike any others.

    V brakes should be able to stop on a dime if you adjust them right, clean the rims, and get good brake shoes.

  4. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD Active Member

    I agree with a/c man wholeheartedly on this. If you have caliper brakes get the Continental Kool Stop brake pads in the Salmon color. These are probably the best pads out there (IMHO). The pads that came with my caliper brakes were junk - they had all the stopping power of a frozen pat of butter. I was debating whether to get a front drum brake but tried these Kool Stops instead. Now I don't need to get rid of my caliper brakes, as these pads offer really good stopping power.
  5. professor

    professor Active Member

    Great info on the pads Kilroy and A/C.
    By the way, I use the dual brake lever and used it with the V front and Caliper rear with no problem -as far as lever travel is concerned.
    I'll have to spring for some of those kool stop pads next time I order something.
    If they work for calipers they should be awesome on Vs.
  6. gothicguy64

    gothicguy64 Member


    my current unmotorized bike is a ESPERIA Eagle 20.5 inch frame
    it has both vee mounts an a front disk mount on preloaded forks .
    since i killed my last rear wheel (motoredbike)i fitted my old bikes disk front wheel to new bike .
    im now waitin on sbp parts to motorized my bike :sweatdrop:

    ohhh with a disk front i can stop better since im addin a motor
  7. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    The pads that came with my caliper brakes were junk - they had all the stopping power of a frozen pat of butter.

    Kilroy, I had some pads like that....think I got them on Ebay. Came from Pennsylvania if I remember correctly....think the guys name was Clif. :devilish:

    Oddly enough, the pads with the best friction I ever had came from Wallyworld....the short black ones. Only good for about two stops though. :ack2: I'll have to suggest that the LBS starts stocking the salmon jobbies.
  8. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

  9. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    The picture by Gearnut didn't show up. I was interested to see what kind it is.

    I liked A/c Man's post about sanding the rims a little for traction and using v-brake pads.

    By all means, if you can upgrade to v-brakes, it is a great system, esp with long v-brake levers like Avid or similar.

    I am currently using a caliper brake on the front, with generic v-brake pads (and coaster brake rear with low pedal gear). It works well, but does require some strong hand effort with the short v-brake lever. It came as a set for $7 (with the stock crappy square pads). I figured I would have upgraded by now, but have put it off because I planned to buy a fork and v-brakes. I don't want to buy another rigid fork, and don't have any welder friends.

    BMX Softee brake pads ($3)

    Large selection of brake pads and small parts
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  10. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

  11. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    The oddysey Pit Bull! I had forgotten about those! I wonder if they will fit on road racing bicycles from yesteryear.
    The type you are describing is a version that mounted to the brake-post hole where conventional calipers would mount up.

    The type shown below used dedicated frame bosses, much like U-brakes and V-brakes (the locations are different. Each brake cannot be interchanged on the other type of bicycle)
    I think those were called roller-cam brakes. [​IMG]
    More about old brakes :

    They have a lot of power and aren't too heavy, but they are probably not as convenient for the manufacturers as the v-brakes.
    Beware that there was a PitBull brake sold that mounts on the cantilever bosses. I thought I found one of the adapter-brakes on ebay, but the seller said it does not mount by the drilled hole; it goes on studs. Oh well.

    I would like one of those if they will fit a standard beach cruiser 26" rigid fork.

    I think i'll just shop around for a yardsale or police auction bike and switch parts. If I find a cool bike I'll move everything over. If I find a busted bike with a good beefy rigid fork and working v brakes, that would do it.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  12. flashstar

    flashstar Member

    One of my motorbikes used to use a caliper brake on the front, which unfortunately resulted in painfully slow stops. I switched to some expensive pads from the local bike shop but I saw little improvement until I put a Spinner Grind front fork on the bike and installed a v-brake. Even the stock Chinese pads on this v-brake work much better the old caliper brake with quality pads. My next goal is to install a hydraulic disc brake on the front fork and move the v-brake to the rear with an adapter from Dans Comp. Hopefully, this brake arrangement will turn a safety hazard into a great stopping experience. :)
  13. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    If you want to convert to v-brakes on a rigid fork, try calling some local bike shops (close enough to pick up in person, or for cheap shipping should they offer shipping). I bet a lot of BMX and mountain bike shops will stock new and used rigid 26" touring forks with v-brake studs, and might even have some leftover Tektro or other v-brakes from people's upgrades. The coolest shops always have bargain bins and leftovers for the poor kids and the budget bikers.

    fork crown mounted v-brake adapter with hose clamps.

    Ugly! But effective, no doubt. The arch probably helps too.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  14. retromike3

    retromike3 Member

    oddity brake set

    I remember working on those brakes back in the day. they were horrible, now part of the problem back then was that the brakes were put down under the chain stays by the bottom bracket. still they are easily out done by a cheep set of Tecktro V brakes. You do need to use V brakes with the corresponding lever or they wont stop very well.

    There was one gal I remember who set herself up with a new set of V brakes on her cross bike and she had a standard set of drop bar brake levers I can only imagine how badly that system worked for her. I have a special set of drop bar levers just to make them work with cantilevers.

  15. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

  16. Whizzerd

    Whizzerd Member

    Great discussion on that oh so important part of setting up a safe mb. Just my $.02, I like the Shimano Acera V brakes better than Tektros. Set up w/ a basic coil spring mountain bike suspension fork makes for a comfortable and safe ride.
  17. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    How do the Acera differ from the Tektros? What did you like better?
  18. Whizzerd

    Whizzerd Member

    Hi Happy, the Tektros I've used aren't as smooth at returning to proper position after brake release and seem to require frequent adjustment. I've set up three sets of Aceras w/o that issue. But, to be fair, I may have just got a bum set of Tektros from the LBS. Only tried the one set.
  19. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I haven't ridden with the set I've just bought, yet, but I've used the Tektros before on a BMX. They seemed okay to me, with strong springs, and typical brass bushings many v-brakes use. They need a dab of grease for the posts, upon installation. I got it for $15 with a matching lever and 2 cables from Danscomp. I like to pinch pennies, but the shipping was free, and its the only place I know with the v-brake adapter plates.

    Perhaps you had a sticky cable, or binding caused by uneven brake bosses.
    I've had that issue before. Its usually fixed by adding a small washer, if the brake spring pin can still engage, and using a higher spring return tension on the brake.

    Ps, a little bit of lube where the straight spring contacts the brake arm (near the top), helps return operation. The aluminum will wear a little there from use.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  20. Motorbikemadman

    Motorbikemadman New Member

    I am planning on using direct pulls on the front and a coaster brake on the back.... Am I headed for trouble? Please be honest with me, I would like to be able to get this new build to stop once I get up to speed.