Side pull brakes

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Trish

Side pull brakes

Postby Trish » 31 Jul 2005, 11:04am

Hi :-)

I'm a relative newcomer to cycling proper though I had bikes as a kid.

I bought a 2nd hand bike which has sidepull? brakes. The problem is that when the brakes are applied the whole unit moves sideways and one brakepad stays on the rim even after the lever is released. I tried holding the whole unit centralised and tightening the nut that holds it to the frame but although it did tighten a little the problem remains.
Could it be that Im not tightening enough? ( Im not that strong ! ) or is it that theyre old and I should replace them? I dont want to spend a fortune as
A) I cant afford to
B) I got the bike for next to nothing and its fine in all other respects and new brakes would very likely cost as much as I paid for the bike !!
Any help would be most welcome
Thanks in advance

Trisha X

TJ

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby TJ » 31 Jul 2005, 9:24pm

What make are they? Some Weinmann side-pulls from a few years back had a strange arrangement which needed a tool to centre the caliper. Have a look, if there is a black plastic thingy in the centre of the caliper, (it looks a bit like the top off of a tube of glue) and it has what looks like a small allen key shaped protrusion in the centre of it, that's your problem.

TATANAB

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby TATANAB » 31 Jul 2005, 9:32pm

There is a method that can be used with very budget brakes.

If you look down on top of the brake, do you see a continuous spring with a coil on each side? If you do not, then this will not work, but if you do then try this.

You want to get the part that links the two coils to be horizontal. You tried by holding the brake, but you'd have to be strong indeed . With a hammer and a blunt object, a rod of some sort, tap the spring on the side that is held off from the rim. This will push that side of the brake down, so continue until you are satisfied with clearance and the way the brake returns in use.

It sounds harsh, but this is the way we used to centre cheap steel brakes on cheap roadster bikes.

TJ

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby TJ » 3 Aug 2005, 10:39am

Did you get your problem sorted Trish?

Raph

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby Raph » 3 Aug 2005, 11:11am

Hi Trish,

Other than to agree with the previous replies, I just want to emphasise that the spring is crucial in pushing the brake caliper's arms back outwards, so getting the spring central is the ony thing that makes any difference. And that doesn't necessarily mean getting it looking central.

Loosen the centre bolt just enough to pivot the brake left and right, get the brake centred while pumping it on and off, when it's coming off the rim an equal distance both sides, then the hard bit is holding it there and tightening the bolt without it the bolt turning. Weinmanns had a hex thing on the front end of the bolt that you held with a special tool while doing up the bolt, old campags had flat bits that you could get a 13mm spanner on, if there's nothing like that then you might have to do it by trial and error until you get the position of the bolt, therefore the spring, right.

Also, taking the brakes to bits and greasing all the surfaces that rub together will make a big difference. Dry friction makes it almost impossible to get a reliable movement, cos the friction will be different at different temperatures, humidity etc. It's a pain taking them apart, but cheaper than buying better brakes.

Trish

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby Trish » 3 Aug 2005, 6:51pm

Hi :-)
Thanks for all these replies folks - Sorry for delay in replying but BT Broadband has been giving me grief - wasn't able to get logged on all day yesterday for some reason.
Yes, the brakes have that strange plastic 'thingy' on them with a hexagonal projection inside but I dont know what would fit it or what to do if I had such a tool. I did apply some WD40 to the top of the brakes where the bolt passes through and it seems to have freed things up a little At least the brakes dont stick on the rim on one side any more when I release the lever after braking, even if the thing isn't exactly central !
Thanks for all your replies anyway, I really appreciate you all having taken the time to offer advice

Trish

TJ

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby TJ » 3 Aug 2005, 9:55pm

Trish, your local bike shop will probably let you borrow this tool. It is like a "female" allen key, and about the same size. Just push it over the protrusion and centre the brake by turning it as though you are tightening or loosening a bolt, depending on which side it is biased toward. Failing that, try some long nosed pliers.

Raph

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby Raph » 6 Aug 2005, 1:56am

Tell yer wot though... Those old Weinmann sidepulls never were the cutting edge of technology, and a pair of cheap dual pivot brakes won't break the bank AND they'll work ten times better, stop you better, and be easy to adjust. Can't remember any brand names to recommend, but I know I've fitted cheapo dual pivots to friends' bikes and they've been miles better than even pretty decent sidepulls. I think £20 should get something workable. I can't imagine you're misty-eyed over the retro charm of the Weinmanns, or at least I hope you're not, so perhaps treat yourself to some better brakes? Remember to check the reach (distance from fixing bolt to rim) if you do buy new brakes.

With most things that "work roughly OK" I go along with the "if it aint broke don't fix it" philosophy, but for brakes I tend to think - get as good as you can get. My memories of Weinmann sidepulls include downhills where I couldn't even slow down despite the levers being pressed right up against the handlebars cos the calipers would flex so badly, and I'd only slow down when the hill got less steep. Brakes like that should hardly be called brakes.

gar

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby gar » 24 Aug 2005, 1:34pm

Think you have got problems? My machine is front wheel drive AND has both disc brakes and normal ones on the front wheel!

Raph

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby Raph » 27 Aug 2005, 2:28am

"but the Weinnmans, although dated work as well as a sidepull "

I thought we were talking about Weinmann sidepulls? I worked in bike shops in the 80s and fitted hundreds of these to new bikes. They worked ok when brand new if you dismantled them and greased the mating surfaces, otherwise they were hopeless to keep centred, even with the special tool the held the spindle while you did up the locknuts.

Respecting older gear? The classy stuff yes - I'm still a bit misty-eyed about my old campag sidepulls - cutting edge at the time, now beaten by cheap dual-pivots I reckon... but gear as cheap and nasty as weinmann sidepulls is simply better forgotten. If it's a museum piece you're restoring for a nostalgic view of how hard and dangerous life used to be with cr@p brakes, I totally understand, but if you just want to get where you're going without crashing into things, get decent brakes!

I got shimano tiagra brakes for my fixed wheel bike - they're the modern "cheap and nasty" and yet work better than the campag GS sidepulls they replaced. I changed them cos my other ergo fitted bikes have better brakes and swapping between bikes means if one of them has less good brakes I might get a nasty surprise when tanking down a hill somewhere, so to make all the brakes roughly the same power, I had to relegate the campags to the history drawer. With all the old campag bits I've got I might just put together a nostalgia bike, sidepulls and all!

Elucasr

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby Elucasr » 27 Aug 2005, 1:25pm

I'm glad I can use Vee brakes (have to use downhill bars: physio's instructions). You can lift the back wheel off the road if you are not careful. We have a chap in the DA who has a special adapter with Vee brakes for drop bars, but I'm not convinced that the end result is better than calipers or cantilevers.

Raph

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby Raph » 30 Aug 2005, 1:01am

"please do not knock these brakes as they are a damn sight better than my S##### Raleigh chrome plated steel plate sidepulls!!!!!!! "

With a recommendation like that, how could I ever slag them off again!!!


In the 80s I had a phase of using Aztec blocks, and I agree that they'll make even the worst brakes usable. Given that weinmann sidepulls are, as roadrunner assures me, far from being the worst brakes on the planet.... I'm sure Aztec blocks will improve them! (...if they need improving, that is...)

By the way, one reason to stick with the old brakes is the fact that modern calipers have recessed bolts, and you have to do a bit of careful drilling to fit them. It's never stopped me fitting new brakes to an old bike, but you might be a bit reluctant to do the conversion. All it takes is drilling to specific depths with exactly the right drill bits, then doing a bit of rustproofing - it takes ten minutes. But if that's not your scene then I can understand sticking with the old weinmanns, and when you go on a ten-mile ride, start slowing down after about nine miles or you might not be able to stop at the end!

Raph

Re:Side pull brakes

Postby Raph » 30 Aug 2005, 8:31pm

No fluffy washers. Just brakes that flexed rather than transfer any braking effort to the rim. Dual pivots don't deviate all that far from the KISS principle (which I agree with by the way).

The KISS principle is a good one as long as it's not a religion - if better brakes come along that are reliable, I'll have them. If dual-pivots were failing all over the place because of their supposed extreme intricacy then I'd agree the KISS principle would be applicable, but as it is, they're pretty simple, and simply better. OK so the cheapest nastiest dual pivots aren't better than the nicest sidepulls, but comparing like with like in as much as that's possible, they're better. The £30-odd tiagras I got for my fixed wheel bike recently are definitely better than the campag super records I used for years, which cost over £100 a set in the late 80s. Now campag make dual pivot brakes - can't be that bad then.

So - there's nothing wrong with rubbery flexy old cheap sidepulls if you change the washers, the blocks, keep the pivots greased, centre them every other ride.... sod it, life's too short. Get better brakes!

Progress isn't always progress, but just occasionally it IS! There's no point being luddite for the sake of it.

ardeidae
Posts: 39
Joined: 5 Nov 2014, 7:29am

Re: Side pull brakes

Postby ardeidae » 18 Oct 2017, 7:16pm

Weinmann brake centering tool.

What is a good alternative to this overpriced collectors item please?
Attachments
tool_weinmann_brake.jpg

drossall
Posts: 3917
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Side pull brakes

Postby drossall » 18 Oct 2017, 7:51pm

Where are you, Trish? I've got one, but I don't want to part with it, just in case. Others will have one too.