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Miyata 615 center pull brakes question.

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Miyata 615 center pull brakes question.

Old 07-26-19, 12:51 PM
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Miyata 615 center pull brakes question.

Just picked up a nice 1988 Miyata. It has poor braking. The calipers seem to work ok so I'm thinking I just need new pads. Suggestions? Here's a photo of the pads. My other question is, should there be a barrel adjuster on the front cable like is on the rear? Here are photos of the rear barrel adjuster and where I would think the front one would be. Thanks
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Old 07-26-19, 01:44 PM
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Yes, I would replace those pads. Even though they look barely used the compound hardens over the years. Grab new post mount KoolStop pads. I would also remove, clean, and oil the brake arms to ensure the smoothest actuation.

The barrel adjuster is simply there for convenience. You can adjust the brakes by hand or with a cable puller tool (aka a third hand tool). If a standard barrel adjuster fits on your headset-mounted cable hanger, go for it. Might as well replace the housing and galvanized cable while you're at it. If a barrel adjuster doesn't work with that cable hanger, you can buy "in-line" barrel adjusters from Avid that you can mount anywhere along the housing run.

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Old 07-26-19, 02:31 PM
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It may not just be the pads and pivots that is causing poor braking. Modern high quality teflon or plastic lined cable housings and coated cables can significantly improve braking performance by reducing friction in the braking system. The cable housings you have on there may be original unlined housings and potentially corroded or unlubricated. If the housings are unlined, you might find some improvement from simply greasing the cables where they pass through the housings. If they are teflon or plastic-lined (these should not be greased), the lining may have worn through in spots in which case they would require their replacement.
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Old 07-26-19, 02:35 PM
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And just to be pedantic before @noglider chimes in, those are cantilever brakes, not center pull.

Nice bike!
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Old 07-26-19, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
And just to be pedantic before @noglider chimes in, those are cantilever brakes, not center pull.

Nice bike!
Is anal-retentive supposed to have a hyphen?
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Old 07-26-19, 04:03 PM
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The cantilevers in your pictures were OK, but not great. The brake pads were never even OK. Change the pads to the salmon pink Kool Stop pads. Replacing the cables and housing may not be necessary. I have an 85 Miyata 1000 with the original cables and housing and there is really no binding going on. The housing is unlined, and yours may be as well. I just lubed with a light lube about 4 years ago and they have been fine since.
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Old 07-26-19, 04:54 PM
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Also, be sure to adjust the pads so they contact the rim correctly. See "shoe adjustment" here: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rim-brakes.html#shoeadj
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Old 07-26-19, 05:53 PM
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That Miyata is really nice and pretty well
preserved. Before you go about replacing anything related to the brakes, I would read up on setting up cantilever brakes. Enjoy that endeavor. If the levers smoothly close the brakes and the brakes smoothly return the levers, then the cables and housing are fine (lube can come later). Focus on set up. If your finger nail can depress the brake pad, don’t replace them yet. If they are hard plastic dense, first file them to investigate if the hardness is only skin deep. I bet they will work adequately without anything but fine tuning. Not just advising ways to save $$$$ but suggesting that getting those brakes working well first and then making improvements incrementally is (for me) part of the fun of learning.
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Old 07-26-19, 06:43 PM
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#Standwithnoglider
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Old 07-27-19, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
And just to be pedantic before @noglider chimes in, those are cantilever brakes, not center pull.

Nice bike!
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Is anal-retentive supposed to have a hyphen?
Words mean things.

Those are cantilever brakes.
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Old 07-27-19, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
That Miyata is really nice and pretty well
preserved. Before you go about replacing anything related to the brakes, I would read up on setting up cantilever brakes. Enjoy that endeavor. If the levers smoothly close the brakes and the brakes smoothly return the levers, then the cables and housing are fine (lube can come later). Focus on set up. If your finger nail can depress the brake pad, don’t replace them yet. If they are hard plastic dense, first file them to investigate if the hardness is only skin deep. I bet they will work adequately without anything but fine tuning. Not just advising ways to save $$$$ but suggesting that getting those brakes working well first and then making improvements incrementally is (for me) part of the fun of learning.
I'm with you. Sandpaper the shoes and adjust them correctly and see what you get. I'd lube the cables and only replace if needed or you like another color. Cable adjusters would be nice if you can find some that fit. I couldn't tell if the hole was threaded or flat. Front brakes sometimes don't have adjusters because the cable is so short it doesn't stretch and broken spokes are less common on the front. I really like the quick release adjusters for ease of changing tires and getting to the next safe location with broken spokes.
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Old 07-27-19, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycle Tourist View Post
I'm with you. Sandpaper the shoes and adjust them correctly and see what you get. I'd lube the cables and only replace if needed or you like another color. Cable adjusters would be nice if you can find some that fit. I couldn't tell if the hole was threaded or flat. Front brakes sometimes don't have adjusters because the cable is so short it doesn't stretch and broken spokes are less common on the front. I really like the quick release adjusters for ease of changing tires and getting to the next safe location with broken spokes.
For the life of me I couldn't find a quick release adjuster. I had a heck of a time getting the front wheel back on
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Old 07-27-19, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
For the life of me I couldn't find a quick release adjuster. I had a heck of a time getting the front wheel back on
I don't know where to look. eBay or Amazon? After that I'd try some on line bike shops.
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Old 07-27-19, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
For the life of me I couldn't find a quick release adjuster. I had a heck of a time getting the front wheel back on
I’ll trade you a Shimano QR headset adjuster for that Miyata one. I might also have a Dia Compe one.
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Old 07-27-19, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycle Tourist View Post
I don't know where to look. eBay or Amazon? After that I'd try some on line bike shops.
Ohhh lol. I thought you meant the bike had those on it.
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Old 07-27-19, 08:43 PM
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Ditto the advice to adjust the brakes before replacing anything. Those pads look fine. Heck, the whole bike appears to be in excellent condition, with plenty of attention to detail, from the cable housings on up. The pads don't look old enough to be a problem. Maybe scuff 'em up with sandpaper or a file, but first go through the steps to adjust the brakes.

Most can't-deliver brakes are a PITA to set up. Check several tutorials and videos. It'll take a few tries to get 'em right, but worth the effort so you'll better understand how they work.

The main adjustments are in the cables. Helps to have a third-hand tool, but I'm too cheap. I use velcro straps, small bungee cords, paracord or even shoelaces to hold the cantilever arms and brake levers in the desired position. Non-elastic paracord or shoelaces can be easier to use for some adjustments, with a mariner's hitch to hold position temporarily, untie and retie quickly. Ordinary knots can make it more difficult. Check online for diagrams of sailor's hitches and fisherman's knots. Saves a few bucks over buying a third hand tool that we'll rarely need at home.

Watch out for brake shoes rubbing the tires. That's one of the main hassles setting up can'tdeliver brakes. With the brakes open it'll look like there's plenty of clearance. But when the brakes are closed, darned if the shoes don't develop a mind of their own and try to rub the tire sidewalls.

While you're at it, check the spring tension position of the brake arms at the frame. There are usually three positions. Most manufacturers assemble them with the stiffest position and most spring tension. Usually unnecessary.

For a couple of years I just tweaked my '92 Univega's canti brakes in bits and pieces. Finally a few months ago while recuperating from surgery, I redid the entire canti brake setup on my Univega, from cables and housings to pads, etc., including setting the spring tension to the middle position. Improved the brakes from can't-deliver to cantilever. Better feel, better braking power with better modulation.
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Old 07-27-19, 08:50 PM
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BTW, if you do decide to replace the brake pads, I'll recommend two that have worked well for me:

Kool Stop Eagle 2 (formerly Eagle Claw and sometimes still advertised that way). Outstanding pads, and easy to set up for toe-in to prevent squealing. I've use those on my Univega's canti brakes for about 3 years.

Unfortunately the thick Eagle 2 pads didn't permit enough clearance on the fork to drop the front tire. So I switched the front to Jagwire thinline, long, curved pads. Also excellent and inexpensive. The black pad material brakes as well as the salmon Kool Stops. Only tricky bit is the toe-in. I use zip ties to set the spacing for toe-in. After a little practice it was easy. I think Jagwire calls these pads their Mountain Sport Canti 70mm pads. They're longer than usual for more braking surface, curved to match the rims so there's no risk of the longer pads rubbing the tires, and thin enough to clear any wheel/fork.
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Old 07-27-19, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post

For a couple of years I just tweaked my '92 Univega's canti brakes in bits and pieces. Finally a few months ago while recuperating from surgery, I redid the entire canti brake setup on my Univega, from cables and housings to pads, etc., including setting the spring tension to the middle position. Improved the brakes from can't-deliver to cantilever. Better feel, better braking power with better modulation.
They're "can't deliver" brakes because you had them set up improperly?
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Old 07-27-19, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
They're "can't deliver" brakes because you had them set up improperly?
Yeah, it's how the mechanic set up the canti brakes. I rode the bike that way for awhile but got tired of the high felt resistance and poor modulation. So I read and watched a bunch of tutorials and set 'em up to my liking. Took a little longer than adjusting V-brakes but worth the effort.
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Old 07-28-19, 12:57 AM
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I definitely don't get the canti hate. Sure, more adjustment alternatives are better than fewer, but if you're clever, you don't really need them. Just look at and consider the mechanicals here. And the pads are probably OK, too, if resurfaced with some sandpaper. Unless you're taking fully loaded touring in the Alps or Tibet.
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Old 07-28-19, 08:05 AM
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Since the OP did not post a full picture of the front brakes I can't really tell, but the straddle cable on the front looks very long to me. It may be that the levers were designed for that, but I would consider lowering the cable hanger on the cable to give a bit more modulation.
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Old 07-28-19, 09:47 AM
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Looks like that pad is buried in the mount. You have a replacement rim on there?
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Old 07-28-19, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
Ohhh lol. I thought you meant the bike had those on it.
I do. I'm selling a st400 with it on the front.
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Old 07-28-19, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
I definitely don't get the canti hate...
Oh, I don't hate canti brakes. They're just more fussy to set up than the dirt-simple sidepulls on most older road bikes. And even more fussy to set up than V-brakes.

Once set up well canti brakes are very good. But at first it's a daunting chore when adjusting one thing affects everything else. But it's worth it to be able to ride in almost any conditions without mud jamming things, or to easily install fenders.
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