[CR]Now: tuning Campy brakes

(Example: Events:Eroica)

Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 07:47:44 -0800 (PST)
From: "Thomas Adams" <thomasthomasa@yahoo.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
In-Reply-To: <8C80120E0ED9F0A-D0C-2607@MBLK-M41.sysops.aol.com>
Subject: [CR]Now: tuning Campy brakes

I'll echo Dale's tips, especially to make sure the levers have some travel before the pads contact the rims. Not only does this provide greater mechanical advantage, but most perople can apply more force with a "more closed" fist than with the fingers spread and reaching for the levers. This is counter intuitive: you'd think the tighter the pads are to the rim, the more braking power available, but there needs to be some movement in the mechanism for optimal force.

And if that doesn't work (and assuming cables and calipers are running freely without drag), add some oversize aftermarket brake pads. Grippy pads will pep up any brake set, and you can switch back to the real Campy pads for display or show, if needed.

I frequently offend local list members by sticking sticky red Kool Stop pads on vintage bikes, because at 240 lbs I need lotsa whoa power. These have worked well for me:


Made a tremendous difference on a set of Universal 68 brakes. Went from braking action equivalent to reversing props on the Queen Mary to being able to stop okay. Still not equal to modern dual pivots, but okay. You may need to buy one of the thinline variants if your fork blade clearances are tight. If that doesn't work, and you need still more stopping power, switch to centerpulls.

Tom Adams, Shrewsbury NJ

oroboyz@aol.com wrote: Hi Kyle: You wrote: << But if your brakes are REALLY hard to work -- so bad that you fear for your safety -- one thing that you should look at is the tension adjustment. You can adjust the tension on those brakes pretty easily, and make sure you have good lubrication on the pivots. >>

Thanks for your posting, it prompts some thought. I don't quite understand, how is the tension adjusted? Do you mean by bending the springs for less force exerted by them? I know that the Campag springs are strong suckers...

As a side note, I approached a customer of mine (whose business is spring manufacturing for textile machines) some years ago, with the idea of making springs of less strength for Campag brakes. Unforunately he didn't have the ability to do springs like that.

But I am interested in your approach.

Failing less burly springs, for easiest operation of Campag brakes, I have always "addressed the basics" by absolutely optimizing the cables & housings, making them the shortest length possible while still making graceful loops, properly "dressing" the housing exit ends, properly lubing internally and using lined housing, etc., etc. The Koolstop-made black replica pads seem to work very well (and look right!) Also a good trick is not setting them up so as to have short brake lever action; if the brake lever can closer approach the bar before activation, better mechanical advantage is available...

Dale Brown cycles de ORO, Inc. 1410 Mill Street Greensboro, NC 27408 USA 336-274-5959 http://www.cyclesdeoro.com http://www.classicrendezvous.com Giant, Specialized, Orbea, Bianchi, Felt, Litespeed, Landshark, Colnago, Townie and other exotica. National Bicycle Dealers Association Board member

-----Original Message----- From: kyle-chrisbrooks To: bjwebel@mac.com; CR List Sent: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 07:39:04 -0500 (EST) Subject: RE: [CR]Campy standard/long reach (57mm) calipers?

I too wish Campy would come out with a modern longer reach brake.

Regarding the Nuovo Record brakes: Many people complain about the effort on them. I use both earlier and later versions of the brakes, but haven't noticed much difference between them. But while I do notice the effort to be tougher than modern brakes -- and even contemporary offerings from SunTour or Shimano -- I've never had any near-death experiences. My favorite pads for these are from Aztec and are somewhat similar to KoolStops, but I don't think the ones I like are available anymore. I occasionally see them on Ebay, and sometimes with the name Madison on them -- but they work well, and you can adjust the toe-in very easily. But if your brakes are REALLY hard to work -- so bad that you fear for your safety -- one thing that you should look at is the tension adjustment. You can adjust the tension on those brakes pretty easily, and make sure you have good lubrication on the pivots.

Kyle Brooks Akron, Ohio

On Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 10:25 PM, bjwebel@mac.com wrote:
> I have a pair of Campy N. Record calipers from the early 70s, and am
> not all that thrilled with the braking on them, particularly the hand
> effort required, even with new pads.
> Does anyone have any suggestions on others to try? Were later campy
> models better in this regard?
> I'd really rather not go to the modern shimano or tektro calipers,
> and campy doesn't even make 47-57mm reach these days as far as I can
> tell, but I had a pretty close call on a ride a few days ago and was
> thinking ugly brakes might not be the worst thing compared to being
> plastered on the back of a van.
> thanks,
> Baird
> __________________________
> Baird Webel
> Washington DC
> _______________________________________________



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