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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm riding for exercise and for a good rush. Spending $700 for an entry level bike didn't interest me so I combed craigslist for about 3 weeks. I picked up this trek elance 400 for a cheap price. So far so good. I figure if I'm still riding this bike in 3-6 months then I can splurge on a $700 bike. I need to clean up the chains. The thing doesn't stop on a dime but I assume that's because of it's age.

My questions about this bike:

In order to use the brakes I have to be riding in what I call the Aggressive position. Can bike levers be swapped out so I can brake while in the upright position?

A lot of folks post that they ride XYZ miles per day/week. HOw are you all keeping track of your mileage?

PS - I assume that rope that's attached to the bike was used to hang it up in the garage. It was tucked in the seat bag so I didn't realized it was attached to the bike until I got home.
 

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In order to use the brakes I have to be riding in what I call the Aggressive position.
Not sure what you mean by "aggressive position." If you mean "riding on the lowest part of the handlebar" (the "drops"), there's no need to do that every time you want to brake. The levers can be squeezed forcefully like shown in the photo.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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Judging from that saddle position, I'm thinking the bike is to large for you. If so, that may be a contributing factor in your inability to brake from the hoods. But to answer your question, there are secondary levers (popular on Cyclocross bikes) that allow you to brake from the tops. However, I'm skeptical they'd work with your current levers.

Cyclocrossworld.com - Brake Levers

RE: braking, I'd suggest bringing your bike to your LBS and asking if KoolStop pads can be fitted. Or, take a close up pic of your brakes and we may be able to advise further. Most likely, something could be found (or made) to fit.

If you want to track miles (and more), invest in a bike computer. I recommend the one below for price/ performance.

CatEye Astrale 8 Cyclocomputer with Cadence - Cyclocomputers / GPS

Re: the rope, I couldn't hazard a guess, but suggest you remove it.
 

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No bike will stop on a dime, and older single pivot brakes will stop just as fast as modern dual pivots!! Don't let anyone tell you that's not true, I have both kinds and they all stop just as good as long as the tires has adhesion to the road. If the bike doesn't stop to your liking then you may have an issue with improperly adjusted brakes, worn pads or the wrong pads, cables need to be replaced, or the rims need to be cleaned up.

All road bikes are equipped with brake levers like what you have, if for some reason you must have the brake levers on the top of the bar you can get brake levers made for Fixie bikes with bull horn handlebars, but I don't see the point.

That is a very nice vintage bike you have, it can last you a long time, you just need to get the brakes to work better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It took a while to find a picture of the type of brakes levers I want. Here they are. https://wandel.ca/bikes/0620-170639.jpg

I can't say I have a problem with these brakes, yet. I've been able to stop when I need to. Before riding it I had a notion the brakes would be better though but this is not a 2013 model bike.

Thanks that computer looks pretty sweet and much cheaper than I assumed it'd be. Is this one of the popular models? I will do further research on CPUs later.

The saddle is not setup for me yet. The screw looked a bit rusted and I didn't have any spray until today. Hopefully tomorrow it'll turn without issue so I can adjust the seat. While riding it I can definitely feel that it needs to be higher. I'm 6' tall. 200 Lbs clothed with all of my gear.
 

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It took a while to find a picture of the type of brakes levers I want. Here they are. https://wandel.ca/bikes/0620-170639.jpg

I can't say I have a problem with these brakes, yet. I've been able to stop when I need to. Before riding it I had a notion the brakes would be better though but this is not a 2013 model bike.

Thanks that computer looks pretty sweet and much cheaper than I assumed it'd be. Is this one of the popular models? I will do further research on CPUs later.

The saddle is not setup for me yet. The screw looked a bit rusted and I didn't have any spray until today. Hopefully tomorrow it'll turn without issue so I can adjust the seat. While riding it I can definitely feel that it needs to be higher. I'm 6' tall. 200 Lbs clothed with all of my gear.
Wow, that pic brought back memories. That's the main problem with bikes of 'older' vintage - scrounging up parts. Might want to try bike coops, e-bay or LBS's to see if you can find something compatible.

Re: the brakes, froze's suggestions (along with new pads) may improve their performance to the point where you're more comfortable. The cost is pretty low and the pay back could be pretty high. Worth the money/ effort, IMO.

Since it's somewhat dated and simple in features, I'm not sure I'd say the computer I linked to is popular, but IME it's reliable, offers all the needed functions and is inexpensive. Nowadays, lots of folks 'require' GPS's, downloading data, etc. so opt for higher priced models with more features. As you say, research and decide based on need and/ or want what best suites you.

Glad to read that your saddle isn't set for you yet. Hope the bike fits well when you get the contact points adjusted.
 

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Those attached brake levers were considered a low end feature found on low end bikes...but, Schwinn made a few years of Paramount that had that option! Weird for a high end bike back then, but I think they were trying to market to wealthy riders who back in that day thought those brake handles were the way to go and they wanted a nice bike with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I saw road bikes with brakes like that at a major bike store around here. I figured people that wanted to sit upright and cruise would purchase that style.

I live next to a trail that takes me all around my city. Well I can't say all around but There happens to be a bike shop 4 blocks away. I went in once and they wanted to sell me an over priced bike but seemed like good people. So I may have them help me a bit with tuning the bike. HOwever I am a DIYer so it just depends on how lazy I feel. Thanks for all the help thus far.

GPS lol. No way. Because I'm riding for exercise and fun I'm just interested in knowing how far I go. How fast would be a plus but this is no 636.

One thing about this bike I wonder about is some of the metal looks bubbled for lack of a better word. Other pictures Ive found of this bike still have the metal looking completely smooth. Ill try to get pictures and talk about this later.
 

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One thing about this bike I wonder about is some of the metal looks bubbled for lack of a better word. Other pictures Ive found of this bike still have the metal looking completely smooth. Ill try to get pictures and talk about this later.
You'd likely find rust under the paint in those 'bubbled' areas. Not a problem until it permeates the metal. Or (IMO) more worrisome if internal. This is one advantage of tearing a bike down to the frame - you get to see inside the BB area.
 
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