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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there gentlemen, and maybe a lady or two. I'm not an avid cyclist but am trying to get there. I have a 1985 Fuji mid end model (at the time) bike that is currently my primary ride…please stop laughing, it’s actually pretty good. But the problem is the brakes. It takes me a long time to stop. They are stiff and when I squeeze them, they don’t really engage so well. I cannot squeeze them hard enough to lift my rear wheel in the least (not that I’d want to, but I would like to stop quicker if I need to). So my question is – do you think this is because brakes on these types of bikes are simply that way or is there something I can do (my rims are aluminum)? I’ve been on other bikes (my own included) that the brakes have been much much tighter.

Also, I’ve been considering getting an updated ride – any thoughts on this:

http://boston.craigslist.org/nos/bik/1979911437.html

The longest I’ve done are a few 50 mile rides so far and I usually don’t go more than 8 miles/day so I don’t think I need or would appreciate the higher end components just yet. Seems like a good deal to me. What do you think?

I appreciate the input.
 

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That's a decent deal IF it fits you. Even for short rides, I think you would find it more enjoyable than your current ride.

As for the Fuji, older brakes simply aren't going to be as good, but it doesn't sound like they are working as well as they could. Part of the issue may be ancient brake pads.
 

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BostonG said:
So my question is – do you think this is because brakes on these types of bikes are simply that way or is there something I can do (my rims are aluminum)?
I'm guessing you currently have a set of cheapish single pivot caliper brakes on your bike right now, which aren't the greatest. It would be much cheaper and easier to just get a modern set of dual pivot caliper brakes than it would be buying a new bike you don't know much about. Your braking would improve significantly. Worth it for the ease of adjustment alone. It's an easy job to do on your own if you don't want to get the shop to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, maybe the pads - thanks.

Yes, they are single pivot calipers but I'm not looking for a new ride because of the brakes on my current bike - I'm just addicted to looking at bicycles and thought that one looked good for me at my level, but alas, I tried contacting the seller and the bike isn't available anymore :cryin:

It's difficult to find a nice ride (even used) in this part of the world without dropping at least $500 - at least. Ebay and Bikes Direct is looking more tempting but I shy away from those because of the no test ride thing. Maybe I'll go to my LBS and size myself up on an Allez and then get one on ebay but I don't like to be a user so I may not sleep for a few nights after that.
 

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New brake pads alone would likely make a huge improvement braking performance. Old pads, even quality ones, get hard and glazed. A quality aftermarket pad like Koolstop is an easy upgrade, and cheap.
 

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Try brake pads first. I have some well aged Shimano 600EX single pivots with dual compound Kool Stop pads. Stops wonderfully. May not have the same type of "feel" as the dual pivot calipers but it doesn't bother me.
 

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buy another set of brake calipers from the classified section of RBR. much better deal than messing with pad holders.
 

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?????????

cmg said:
buy another set of brake calipers from the classified section of RBR. much better deal than messing with pad holders.
"Messing with"?

Replacing pads is a very simple task, much easier than swapping calipers, reconnecting cables, etc. And you still have to adjust the pads if you put on new calipers

You get most of the performance upgrade from the new pads, and much cheaper than changing the calipers.
 

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A lot of factors goes into good braking - caliper design and pads, plus correct adjustment and low friction.
 

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I had a commuter from the mid 70s. The brakes were awful. I bought these...http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_175252_-1_201521_10000_200360. They were pretty good, then I bought Kool Stop Salmon Pads for them. They were very good brakes for a bargain price. If it were me I'd get the brakes (yes, they'll fit your bike & levers). If you think you still need more, try the Kool Stop pads.
http://www.amazon.com/Kool-Stop-Bic...MQ/ref=sr_1_31?ie=UTF8&qid=1285986372&sr=8-31

or

http://cgi.ebay.com/2-Pair-Kool-Sto...Cycling_Parts_Accessories&hash=item4aa4941683
 

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Put some new housings and cables on too. Let us know how it works. I have had 3 Fuji's over the years and liked them all. Ride yours and have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I went to one of the many LBS in town and got a set of new pads (this LBS is the closest one to where I live and is a high end racer type shop) - I can't say it did anything to improve the braking but geez, all the grime that built up on and around the old brakes! It was worth doing just to clean that out. The pads cost me less than 8 bucks (with my club member discount - thank you much) for all 4 pads.

I am a new rider and trusted that the skinny runt (I am a skinny runt so I can say that) at the shop would give me some good pads – I didn’t know they carried anything that wasn’t of the higher end. But alas, they suck. I am pretty sure they are one of the cheapest no name brands around. I should have known from the price and look of them, and kind of did but I am cheap and tried my luck – no dice.

Do you guys think that a set of koolpads will really make that big a difference? I’m definitely willing to give them a try if one of you credible bloats thinks so.
 

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BostonG said:
Well, I went to one of the many LBS in town and got a set of new pads (this LBS is the closest one to where I live and is a high end racer type shop) - I can't say it did anything to improve the braking but geez, all the grime that built up on and around the old brakes! It was worth doing just to clean that out. The pads cost me less than 8 bucks (with my club member discount - thank you much) for all 4 pads.

I am a new rider and trusted that the skinny runt (I am a skinny runt so I can say that) at the shop would give me some good pads – I didn’t know they carried anything that wasn’t of the higher end. But alas, they suck. I am pretty sure they are one of the cheapest no name brands around. I should have known from the price and look of them, and kind of did but I am cheap and tried my luck – no dice.

Do you guys think that a set of koolpads will really make that big a difference? I’m definitely willing to give them a try if one of you credible bloats thinks so.
Koolstops are better, almost certainly. But first, see if you're getting the most out of your new cheap pads. Clean the rims very thoroughly, with a mild solvent like rubbing alcohol. Get them nice and shiny. Then take some medium sandpaper to the working surface of the pads. Even brand new pads in the package can have some hard glaze, and exposing new, softer rubber will improve performance.

Try that, and report back ;-) good luck.

8 bucks for 2 sets of pads is way cheap.
 

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I clean the braking surfaces on my rims by dipping a small Scotch Brite Pad in Simple Green or odorless mineral spirits & scrubbing them. i just wipe them off with a clean rag when finished. It makes a difference. I couldn't hurt.

If you bought the Kool Stop pads I think you'd have noticed the difference. IMO on a bike of that age I would take the brakes, cables & hardware off and start from zero. I'd buy new cables, housing, pads, and clean the hell out of everything else. You may not need new brakes. If it were my bike & I intended to keep it & ride it I'd get the Nashbar brakes I posted it my previous response.
 

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Are the wheels on the Fuji steel or aluminum? They're probably aluminum, but sometimes wheels get swapped over the years by previous owners, plus I don't know for certain what this particular bike came with.

Once we know that then I'll throw in a +1 for Koolstops, and Salmon colored ones for steel rims.

And a pic of the bike would help too. Or three pics, one of the bike overall from the drive side, one zoomed in on the brake levers, and one zoomed in on the pads/calipers.

As to finding something decent for a decent price on craigslist or ebay, search nearby areas or areas that you know someone in who can look at the bike for you and help facilitate getting it to you. Boston is an active and higher priced used bike market.
 

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I'd like to see a picture of the brakes. If it was a top end Fuji in the mid-'80s, then it probably has good calipers. But it probably does need new cables & housings. The calipers themselves may need to have the pivoting bolt loosened up a bit, but maybe the cables and housings will free them up sufficiently.
 

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first squeeze the brake caliper together with your fingers. it should close and open smartly. if not it may need some lube. next sueeze the brakes wth the brake ever, again it should both open and shut easily and without delay. if not replace or lube your cables. finally the cheap pads you bought are worth what you paid. get the koolstops and it will work way better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Naa, it wasn't a top end bike. Fuji Espree? With my limited knowledge, I would say mid end at best. Wheels are aluminum alloy. Me thinks me will replace the cables and housing. It looks pretty old and the breaks are not smooth at all when I squeeze them (they have been removed, cleaned, and lubricated already). I think it's just time for some new stuff. Gonna place the order and watch my wife's eyes roll (becasue I got yet another thing for my bike) when it comes.
 

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I'd go with Mr. Versatile's suggestion - those look like Tektro brakes which are pretty good, especially with the salmon Kool Stop pads. They're brakes, not worth cutting corners in that department IMO.
 
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