Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
GeoffC
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 May 2019, 8:32pm

Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby GeoffC » 15 May 2019, 8:51pm

Hi all, newbie here and only a recent returnee to cycling.

Over the Xmas holiday I dusted down my little used 1993 Apollo Kalamunda (I know!) which has sat unused in my garage for the last 20 years or so. Amazingly the tyres stayed inflated and I stripped and re-greased the wheel bearings and bottom bracket, even the Shimano index gears still work.

I've done over six hundred miles on it since, but the one thing that lets it down are the hideous cheap side pull brakes, the addition of Clarks blocks improved them slightly but they're still not good.

Any ideas on replacement brake assemblies or ideas welcome, I know with side pull I'm somewhat limited to what I can fit. Any ideas welcome. I know its a cheap old thing, but it works and I like it!

Any help most appreciated

G

gregoryoftours
Posts: 1016
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby gregoryoftours » 15 May 2019, 9:37pm

You are a bit limited as to what you can do with that bike, very long drop side pull caliper brakes are pretty limited in power and it's pretty hard to find much that's gonna be effective. The best gain in power for this type of brake is to go for dual pivot caliper because you get more power for the size of brake due to the increased leverage made possible by 2 separate pivots, but availability is quite limited for the size of caliper needed to get around the MTB tyres of your bike. I'd give these a try, they are very long drop so should fit around your tyres.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Aluminum-All ... SwH2Vb5m1z

According to the details they have a max drop of 79mm, which is the vertical distance from the centre of the brake mounting bolt to the centre of the brake block stud. Please note that they also have matte paint technology. What's not to like?

GeoffC
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 May 2019, 8:32pm

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby GeoffC » 15 May 2019, 10:16pm

Thank you for the reply.

They look to fit the bill. Will check the drop and other measurements tomorrow. Thanks again.

G

gregoryoftours
Posts: 1016
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby gregoryoftours » 15 May 2019, 10:30pm

They're not amazing quality (as reflected by the price) but you'd be hard pushed to find good quality side pull brakes designed for that type of use- mountain type bikes that use side pull brakes are cheap and cheerful. They will be quite flexy and will need looking after to stop them corroding but hopefully will be a lot better than what's on the bike now. You can't change the type of brake beyond this without changing the fork/getting the frame altered, which would not be worth it.

Samuel D
Posts: 2856
Joined: 8 Mar 2015, 11:05pm
Location: Paris

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby Samuel D » 15 May 2019, 10:58pm

SJS Cycles has a few long-drop options among listed among the calliper brakes. You’d need to know the drop you need before choosing one. Something like this might fit the bill.

Easily half of your braking power may be wasted by the old (rusty? Dirty? Dry as a bone?) cable housings and cables, however. So replace those too. You might even want to do that before replacing the callipers. The callipers themselves might not make much difference, assuming they’re clean and lubricated at the pivot.

While you’re at it, optimise the cable runs.

Also give the brake tracks on the rims a good clean. WD-40 followed by acetone does the job.

gregoryoftours
Posts: 1016
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby gregoryoftours » 15 May 2019, 11:03pm

Samuel D wrote:SJS Cycles has a few long-drop options among listed among the calliper brakes. You’d need to know the drop you need before choosing one. Something like this might fit the bill.


Anything with that long drop that is single pivot like this brake will be dismal in terms of power. It's like trying to pick up a milk bottle with chopsticks. I'd really only consider dual pivot models seeing as they are available and cheap. These are from the same site and if the drop is sufficient would be a better bet: https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brakes/fron ... rop-black/ I agree with your other points though.
Last edited by gregoryoftours on 15 May 2019, 11:09pm, edited 2 times in total.

Samuel D
Posts: 2856
Joined: 8 Mar 2015, 11:05pm
Location: Paris

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby Samuel D » 15 May 2019, 11:08pm

I hadn’t even noticed that Dia-Compe was single pivot. Just saw the brand, reach, and price. I agree a dual-pivot brake would improve your odds of getting a strong brake.

gregoryoftours
Posts: 1016
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby gregoryoftours » 15 May 2019, 11:12pm

Samuel D wrote:I hadn’t even noticed that Dia-Compe was single pivot. Just saw the brand, reach, and price. I agree a dual-pivot brake would improve your odds of getting a strong brake.

Agreed, and the Dia compe models that are dual pivot and very long drop will likely be a step up in performance from the Chinese eBay one (although more expensive)

Brucey
Posts: 35536
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Side Pull Brakes Upgrade

Postby Brucey » 16 May 2019, 12:34am

I am told that when Halfords were selling those bikes the magic number was 'fifteen'.

Fifteen was both the ex-works cost of the bikes and the number of miles that a customer might be expected to ride before leaving it to collect dust in the garage. Six hundred miles may be a record.

Anyway you may be able to improve matters by fitting better brakes, but all caliper brakes with that reach are liable to be pretty woeful in the grand scheme of things. If you are determined to make that bike work better then

-you could have canti bosses added to the frame or

- you could use a front wheel with a sturmey archer hub brake in it.

If you enjoy cycling then getting different bike may be the best idea in the medium term. A set of new brakes will cost only a few quid less than a much better bike, used, which may be in need of a little fettling to bring it back in shape, but would serve you better in the future.

cheers
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