re [CR]brake caliper tension.

Date: 19 Jun 2003 13:30:35 -0000
From: "Steve Kurt" <>
Subject: re [CR]brake caliper tension.

From: "matt yee" <> ".... I noticed that older sidepull brake calipers have a ton more spring tension than, say, newer dual pivot brakes. ....... Wondering though why there's so much more tension on the springs than the new stuff? Are there differences between the old Italian stuff and other contemporary component manufacturers?"

Hi Matt, I think a lot of the difference is simply due to the improved brake cables and housings. The old stuff relied on a bit of grease to allow the cable to slide thru the metal housing. It worked... but wasn't great, especially after all the grease ran off somewhere else, and a bit of dirt and grit got attracted to the remnants of the grease. The modern cable & housing is a big improvement, and really improves the feel of the rear brake on classic bikes. Another factor is that modern brake levers incorporate a spring that returns the lever to the "at rest" position. This means that the brake calipers don't have to provide this bit of force, and also reduces the tension on the brake cable a bit. Speaking of classic brakes, I spent last Saturday fixing up donated bikes, so that they could be distributed to needy kids. Lots of old 3 speeds, Schwinns, a couple of decent old Raleighs, and plenty of horrid Huffy's, etc! The worst offenders on all of these bikes were the cables and housings, as they were typically rusted in place. Of more immediate interest to the CR group was the Raleigh Mixte that was donated. Our local framebuilder says it had Nervex lugs on it. Any chance this is true? They weren't the Pro's, but were reasonably fancy, especially for a mixte frame.

Steve Kurt
Peoria, IL