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First problem solved

July 7, 2011

It took a while but I’ve finally fixed the brakes, so I can keep riding!

It wasn’t a simple choice on the brake front. After deciding that it wasn’t worth attempting to fix the old Weinmann brakes I had to find some new ones. I found out that I’d need some fairly rare sizes, and also a fitting that isn’t now the standard. Because the frame is rather old, and to accomodate a possible upgrade to new 700c wheels in the future, I looked for some ‘very deep drop’ caliper brakes. Luckily this kind of upgrade has been done a few times before, so I went by some recommendations on message boards at bikeforums.net and CTC forum and bought some Tektro R556 from SJS cycles. These come in the nut fitting I need, and have a drop range of 55 to 73mm, so they are perfect for my frame and wheels. They also have a quick release lever to allow the wheel to be removed more easily and seem to be well built. At £35 they were a bit more expensive than an alternative brake, the Alhonga deep drop brake from Spa cycles, but in general the Tektros got a better report.

I also needed new cables. I didn’t realise that these came in different fittings – Shimano and Campagnolo, but I guessed that my levers fit the Shimano type cable end. I found some very cheap (but highly rated) Transfil Shimano type cables from Wiggle, so I bought them in the hope they would fit. The whole cable set (two lengths of inner cable, one outer and outer caps) only came to £7, which I thought was pretty good!

Everything arrived by Friday, so I spent Monday evening fitting them to the bike. I found a tutorial on Youtube which went through the basic set up, and within a few minutes I had the brakes on the bike with new cables and adjusted to fit. It was so much easier than trying to adjust the old brakes. It took a little time to find the perfect clearance from the rim (because the rear is still slightly bent) but at least these brakes were easy to centre and tighten. Now for the test drive!

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