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Rod brakes

Old 03-12-20, 08:58 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Yeah, I think you're right. Weird how the girl and the bike seem to occupy the same space, huh?
Also, if you look really close at an enlarged image, the tires do NOT appear to be even touching the ground.

Cheers
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Old 03-13-20, 01:40 PM
  #27  
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When you buy a rod-braked roadster, you should have some idea of the limitations and benefits the product that you have purchased.

Limitations:
1. Rod brakes
2. Difficulty of replacing tubes and/or tires
3. Availability of parts - brake parts, tubes, tires, etc.
4. They weigh a ton

Benefits:
1. They glide like a Bentley
2. People take notice when you ride by
3. You stole all of the cool from the places you ride past
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Old 03-13-20, 02:30 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by thorstein View Post
On the other hand, braking efficiency of rod brakes can be increased with the proper know-how. Also, as has been mentioned, if your riding style will not necessitate quick stops while at high speeds, the bike could work for you.
One quick tip- many people complain about poor braking performance, but adjustment is key. One adjustment that is often not known is the brake levers; they are made of soft steel and they bend over time. They have to be bent back into position on a regular basis! The technique to do this looks scary but its fairly easy. You grasp the pivot point on the handlebar so it can't be damaged broken off when you do the 'adjustment' and with the other hand band that brake level down so you've got plenty of travel.

If this isn't done the bike can get quite scary! But if you pay attention to this the bike will brake as well as any machine with side pull brakes.

I sold by 1957 BSA Golden Deluxe a couple years ago and thought I was free of these things but a 1949 Royal Enfield came my way cheap so I still have a rod brake machine. The real pain the rear with these is not the braking power so much as the need for the wheels to really be perfectly round so the braking is even. The point here is I'm walking my talk- but I do also recommend the proper Kool Stop pads as they really help.
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Old 03-13-20, 02:49 PM
  #29  
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I have them on my Umberto Dei grocery and cafe bike. The comments are all pretty accurate. I have nice pads that are adjusted well, but I just ride this on the flats. The rear mechanism has multiple rods and fulcrums so you would think it would lose leverage but it really doesn't - as long as there is no play in the pivots. I actually had to manufacture a missing fulcrum when I obtained this bike.

One thing this style of brake tells you instantly is if your rims are not perfectly round with absolutely no hop. You can feel half a millimeter with your fingers on the lever.


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Old 03-13-20, 08:40 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Dunlop offered a Westwood and Endrick hybrid that they marketed as Dunrick rims. They were manufactured under license in Canada by CCM.during the late 1940s and 1950s..

Have the same rims but in aluminum, made in Argentina.


---

Originally Posted by ldmataya View Post
I have them on my Umberto Dei grocery and cafe bike.


Classy! Especially like the styling chaincase and front mudguard
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Old 03-14-20, 04:58 AM
  #31  
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I had a 1955 Chevy with drum brakes all around. They don't stop a well as disc brakes (duh!) but if you take into consideration a longer braking distance, they'll do OK. Same thing with rod brakes-if you keep them adjusted and with decent pads and pay attention to your braking distance, they will get the job done. Even in a panic stop, well adjusted rod brakes are pretty good, but not a good as proper caliper brakes-its just mechanical physics.
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Old 03-14-20, 06:32 PM
  #32  
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I think I unvealed a serious concern with rod brake. In a youtube video, the mechanic pointed that a out-of-adjustment rod brake is quite dangerous in a way I never expect.

He said if the pad is too far inward, it could snag on the valve of the tire, and potential rip the tube out.

It this is the front tube getting ripped out, this is a disaster of epic proportion...like locking up the front way and you become superman. I imagine no manufacturer would want to be liable to that.

Originally Posted by BigChief View Post
I have rod brakes on my DL-1. They are cool in a funky, old fashioned sort of way and I did, after much work, get a reasonable amount of performance out of them. At least for the speeds I ride. But they are difficult to set up, make wheel removal a pest and are no match for caliper brakes in stopping power.
Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Rod brakes are generally paired with Westwood style rims. These rims do not have a flat sidewall, but rather a a curved edge which provides insufficient contact area for caliper brakes and causes the brake pads to ride either up over or down under the rim, unless the rim is perfectly round and the pad centred exactly on crest of the curved edge. So, typically you'd have to replace the rims/wheels for a rod to caliper brake conversion.

Edit: I echo the previous sentiments regarding the performance of rod brakes. Brake performance is large a function of the coefficient of friction between the rim and pad materials. Chrome plated steel is far inferior to aluminum in this aspect and given that rod brakes are found on inexpensive models, I highly doubt that they would use premium brake pad material.
Originally Posted by thorstein View Post
I have a rod brake Raleigh Tourist DL-1 which I love to ride. That being said, function trumps form when looking for a commuter bike. Although I value lugs and decorative fork crowns, they will not help when trying to avoid sticky situations especially when braking is needed.

On the other hand, braking efficiency of rod brakes can be increased with the proper know-how. Also, as has been mentioned, if your riding style will not necessitate quick stops while at high speeds, the bike could work for you. After all, in the history of bikes, rod brake bikes have probably been used more than any other bike for commuting.

Weigh the pros & cons, and consider what your riding style will be.

Good luck!

PS - Being this is a biking forum, I should probably tell you to buy both!
Originally Posted by dweenk View Post
When you buy a rod-braked roadster, you should have some idea of the limitations and benefits the product that you have purchased.

Limitations:
1. Rod brakes
2. Difficulty of replacing tubes and/or tires
3. Availability of parts - brake parts, tubes, tires, etc.
4. They weigh a ton

Benefits:
1. They glide like a Bentley
2. People take notice when you ride by
3. You stole all of the cool from the places you ride past
Originally Posted by Salubrious View Post
One quick tip- many people complain about poor braking performance, but adjustment is key. One adjustment that is often not known is the brake levers; they are made of soft steel and they bend over time. They have to be bent back into position on a regular basis! The technique to do this looks scary but its fairly easy. You grasp the pivot point on the handlebar so it can't be damaged broken off when you do the 'adjustment' and with the other hand band that brake level down so you've got plenty of travel.

If this isn't done the bike can get quite scary! But if you pay attention to this the bike will brake as well as any machine with side pull brakes.

I sold by 1957 BSA Golden Deluxe a couple years ago and thought I was free of these things but a 1949 Royal Enfield came my way cheap so I still have a rod brake machine. The real pain the rear with these is not the braking power so much as the need for the wheels to really be perfectly round so the braking is even. The point here is I'm walking my talk- but I do also recommend the proper Kool Stop pads as they really help.

Last edited by mtb_addict; 03-14-20 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 03-14-20, 06:33 PM
  #33  
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You guys say rod brakes make it difficult to remove wheel, but the video (11:00) below shows it is quite easy...you just squeeze and then pull the brakes apart to allow the wheel to slide out.

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Old 03-15-20, 04:26 PM
  #34  
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How good are they? Poor under the best of circumstances, entirely useless in the rain.
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Old 03-16-20, 02:50 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by palincss View Post
How good are they? Poor under the best of circumstances, entirely useless in the rain.
I've not found this to be the case at all. Any bike using steel rims has stopping problems in the rain. The rod brakes machines share that issue, but they are no worse than any other bike in that regard if the brakes are set up correctly. Usually they aren't and so can be quite scary!
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Old 03-17-20, 08:57 AM
  #36  
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Rod brakes work just okay for pottering around. They should have a warning, "Not to be ridden in anger". I enjoy the feeling of antiquity when riding Sir Wayes A. Tonne. Cables last forever, which is likely the only reason for doing it in the first place.
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Old 03-17-20, 10:31 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I think I unvealed a serious concern with rod brake. In a youtube video, the mechanic pointed that a out-of-adjustment rod brake is quite dangerous in a way I never expect.
Yes. The fact that rod brakes require knowledgeable setup to avoid disaster and achieve even mediocre braking, is why I and others are convinced this is a bad idea... please don't pursue this.
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Old 03-17-20, 10:53 AM
  #38  
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IIRC Roughly 50% of all bicycles in the world are rod brake machines. Most of them are in service in 'third world' countries and made mostly in China and India. Its arguable that they were the first mountain bikes as many of them have seen service over the last century on single track and the like doing mail service and other utilitarian duties. But here in the US they are poorly understood and most of them that I see its obvious that the owners haven't set them up right- which can make them quite scary. Once I learned that the brake levers bend so easily I found that the braking was really pretty decent. But they were designed at a time when it was expected that mechanical things were going to see routine and competent service... and those days are long gone. Now everything has to hold up much better with the expectation that proper service is not going to be commonly administered.

To me the biggest weakness with rod brakes is that the concentricity of the wheels has to be good and kept that way. But if that is good the braking power is really quite good if the brakes are also maintained. That bit I mentioned earlier about the brake levers is pretty important in that! The more out of round the wheels are, the more play you have to have in the brakes.
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Old 03-17-20, 12:54 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I think I unvealed a serious concern with rod brake. In a youtube video, the mechanic pointed that a out-of-adjustment rod brake is quite dangerous in a way I never expect.

He said if the pad is too far inward, it could snag on the valve of the tire, and potential rip the tube out.

It this is the front tube getting ripped out, this is a disaster of epic proportion...like locking up the front way and you become superman. I imagine no manufacturer would want to be liable to that.
While that is true, it's pretty easy to avoid this in practice. Still it's clearly good advice to be aware of this issue and watch out for it.

To be fair, if a caliper brake is badly adjusted, it can rub the tire and cause a blow out. Also a disaster, and this does happen. The moral of the story is to keep your brakes properly adjusted.
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Old 03-17-20, 12:59 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I think I unvealed a serious concern with rod brake. In a youtube video, the mechanic pointed that a out-of-adjustment rod brake is quite dangerous in a way I never expect.

He said if the pad is too far inward, it could snag on the valve of the tire, and potential rip the tube out.

It this is the front tube getting ripped out, this is a disaster of epic proportion...like locking up the front way and you become superman. I imagine no manufacturer would want to be liable to that.
Rod Brake machines are the vast majority of bikes made world wide today. Apparently manufacturers aren't that concerned.
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Old 03-17-20, 02:45 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by browngw View Post
Rod brakes work just okay for pottering around. They should have a warning, "Not to be ridden in anger". I enjoy the feeling of antiquity when riding Sir Wayes A. Tonne. Cables last forever, which is likely the only reason for doing it in the first place.

Beautifully set up Tourist! Could you give the details of the headlight, rear rack, and panniers?

I think some people get it, and some don't. Whenever I go for a spin on the Tourist I have a blast, but there is a definite mindset to it. I often take it for a spin around a local lake, but I also go on longer trips on nearby bike paths. A favorite ride was taking it to the woods about a half mile from my house. The guy on the fat bike I rode by gave me a pretty odd look!

In the two years I've had mine I've never had an issue with braking even having it up to 30mph going downhill. Proper set up, just like any brake.
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Old 03-17-20, 07:15 PM
  #42  
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The rods are not the flaw of these brakes which we should call stirrup brakes. The flaw is with the stirrup, because it pulls up on the rim (away from the axle). The pads don't work against each other as they do with caliper brakes.

Rod-actuated drum brakes work well and offer a maintenance interval advantage over cable-actuated drum brakes. But rod-actuated drum brakes are rare.

You could modify caliper brakes to work with rods, but I've never seen it.
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Old 03-19-20, 03:29 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by thorstein View Post
Beautifully set up Tourist! Could you give the details of the headlight, rear rack, and panniers?

I think some people get it, and some don't. Whenever I go for a spin on the Tourist I have a blast, but there is a definite mindset to it. I often take it for a spin around a local lake, but I also go on longer trips on nearby bike paths. A favorite ride was taking it to the woods about a half mile from my house. The guy on the fat bike I rode by gave me a pretty odd look!

In the two years I've had mine I've never had an issue with braking even having it up to 30mph going downhill. Proper set up, just like any brake.
Thanks for the kind words. The rear rack was on the bike when I got it. Originally chrome, it was so rusty it could only be cleaned and painted I thought about painting it red, but settled on black. I assume it was dealer installed when sold in Hamilton ON in 1979. The headlamp is a Lucas unit a friend picked up for me at a flea market. A similar era taillight is installed on the rack. Both have been converted to LED and are powered by a homemade battery pack nestled in the newer Brooks B68. The panniers were a lucky find at MEC Sporting Goods Store. They are heavy canvas and store branded. There were matching tool and saddle bags as well. To bad they were discontinued as they were all priced below $70.
My next project is to replicate a Raleigh style battery holder on the seat tube. Since the photo I removed the bar mounted bottle holder and changed the mirror. Lots of room for a bottle in the panniers.

As found and purchased.

Rack was in poor shape

After vinegar soak , sanding and painting

Lucas lamp.

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Old 03-19-20, 04:01 PM
  #44  
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I feel like someone should point out that rod brakes were a huge improvement over spoon brakes, which preceded them. They would have been super duper brakes in comparison! Technology marches on.

Personally I prefer hub brakes on roadsters. Does Gazelle still do a roadster? Had one briefly back in the 80s and it was great fun.
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