Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Opinions on Dia-Compe Side-Pulls?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Opinions on Dia-Compe Side-Pulls?

Old 01-24-21, 05:53 PM
  #1  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Opinions on Dia-Compe Side-Pulls?

I got some basic low end Dia-Compe side pulls on my vintage road bike. I've heard mixed opinions on these type of brakes. What do you guys think?

- Taking apart the assembly to wipe down the pivot points as well as spring seemed to really help with stopping power. But I forgot to grease the pivot points. As a result I have to quickly spray some oil onto the mounting point before every ride to get the brakes to centre correctly. I've been diligent in regularly scrubbing that area to avoid grit build up.

- replacing lines and housing has improvement braking feel through the levers tremendously.

- Stopping power could be stronger, but I suspect this is due to the pads being used. Should I try using some.newer design wide pads?

- I make sure to regularly wipe down the rim braking surface with a microfiber and use my handy wire brush to resurface the pads.

- Keeping the brakes centered for optimal performance can be a bit of a nuisance. Should I just keep using oil on the pivot points? Grease? Or both?

- I see that new road bikes still use this design brakes. Why? And how do they vintage side pulls stack up to cantilever brakes?
.
Moisture is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 06:56 PM
  #2  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,448
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 901 Post(s)
Liked 397 Times in 277 Posts
A couple of my bikes have these old side pulls, either Dia Compe or maybe Schwinn branded Dia Compe.

The shorter reach ones seem to work OK on decent aluminum rims with pads that are not too old. The longer ones seem like they flex a lot under braking force. That unnerves me even if it isn't dangerous. A decent rule of thumb is that you should be able to lock up the wheels before the levers touch the handlebar, even if that's not how you usually use the brakes.

Life is too short for bad brakes. Or maybe a better way of putting it: Life will be shortened by bad brakes. If an old brake doesn't basically work like new, it goes in the bin. I'm really happy with Tektro dual pivots on a couple of my builds. I've never used anything but oil, however, the experts might have a better opinion.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 07:02 PM
  #3  
skidder
Bipsycorider
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,216

Bikes: Why yes, I do have a few! Thank you for asking!

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 546 Post(s)
Liked 259 Times in 192 Posts
I've got a pair on an old Schwinn, too. Took them apart and cleaned them/lubed them when I took the bicycle apart for a rebuild, and they work with no. They do what they're supposed to do; stop the bicycle.
skidder is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 07:18 PM
  #4  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 546

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 250 Post(s)
Liked 410 Times in 197 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
- Stopping power could be stronger, but I suspect this is due to the pads being used. Should I try using some.newer design wide pads?
If there is any possibility the pads are as old as the bike, I'd pop for a new set of pads on there. They might be dry-rotted (just like an old tire) and nearly petrified!
Reflector Guy is offline  
Likes For Reflector Guy:
Old 01-24-21, 07:48 PM
  #5  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 1,829

Bikes: Univega, PR-10, Ted Williams,UO-8, Puch, PHLE, UO-18 Mixte

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
...pop for a new set of pads on there.
ABSOLUTELY!!! It's amazing what a new set of pads will do. Also be careful of new vintage pads you get off the shelf. They may look brand new and never used but are dried out and hard. "Dry Rot" is a very good term for these.

The Dia-Comp breaks can give your bike an original vintage look and are well worth the money. Do be careful with the "Double Brake Lever" type. I have only seen the double brake lever fail twice but it was not pretty.
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)

Last edited by zandoval; 01-24-21 at 07:57 PM.
zandoval is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 10:06 PM
  #6  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
If there is any possibility the pads are as old as the bike, I'd pop for a new set of pads on there. They might be dry-rotted (just like an old tire) and nearly petrified!
I dont think that these pads are original, but they certainly are old. The front ones are brand new. They are still soft so doesn't look like they sat around for too long. Braking power became better, but not a huge difference. Luckily I haven't ran into a situation riding this bike where I needed more. But the levers will hit the bars pretty easily when braking hard.

The previous owner of my bike was nice enough to source some cool dia compe brake levers when converting her to flat bars.

Should I take apart the calipers again and grease the pivot points? Or would that just attract too much grit and dirt? I plan to use regular lube spray and occasional greasing to get the brakes to centre properly.
Moisture is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 10:24 PM
  #7  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 7,630

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2001 Post(s)
Liked 906 Times in 632 Posts
As you said basic and low end. I wouldn't use them unless I absolutely had to. If they are super short arms they are going to be a bit better but flexy brakes are not what I want. You want good stiffness in your braking and sadly those brakes don't have it. A dual pivot brake is going to be a better solution especially one with good non-flexing arms and you can find some cheaper ones out there and upgrade with better pads and shoes and good cables and housing.

New fresh pads will help any brake but again with loads of flex in the system those new pads can only improve so much. If you want your bike to work well use quality parts.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 11:33 PM
  #8  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,448
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 901 Post(s)
Liked 397 Times in 277 Posts
I have been quite happy with Jagwire Basics pads on my bikes. Kool Stop Salmon pads are recommended by a lot of folks here, and aren't prohibitively expensive. I've noticed no difference on my bikes.

I'd just put a drop of regular lubricating oil on the pivots and ride the bike. If you don't want to buy anything, any kind of oil is probably fine. I've been known to steal a drop of oil from my car by just pulling out the dipstick. I'm trying to deplete the different kinds of interesting lubes and fluids in my house, hence my recommendation of "whatever works and is handy."

First thing I do when salvaging an old bike is ditch the old rubber unless it's really in good shape.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 11:39 PM
  #9  
SurferRosa
Señor Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 3,772

Bikes: Old school lightweights

Mentioned: 50 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1548 Post(s)
Liked 1,504 Times in 867 Posts
Need pics of the front at least. I mean,
SurferRosa is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 02:24 AM
  #10  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
As you said basic and low end. I wouldn't use them unless I absolutely had to. If they are super short arms they are going to be a bit better but flexy brakes are not what I want. You want good stiffness in your braking and sadly those brakes don't have it. A dual pivot brake is going to be a better solution especially one with good non-flexing arms and you can find some cheaper ones out there and upgrade with better pads and shoes and good cables and housing.

New fresh pads will help any brake but again with loads of flex in the system those new pads can only improve so much. If you want your bike to work well use quality parts.
On the plus side, the small amount of flex will probably contribute to better braking feel, lol.

I actually like these brakes a lot, mainly for that reason. My old GT mountain bike had some good AVID rim brakes with Koolstop pads with ridiculously strong stopping power, but not much feel through the levers.

Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I'd just put a drop of regular lubricating oil on the pivots and ride the bike.
I've been using Jig a loo and well.. I won't ever again. It barely lubricates for more than a day even if its perfectly dry outside.

Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
If you don't want to buy anything, any kind of oil is probably fine. I've been known to steal a drop of oil from my car by just pulling out the dipstick. I'm trying to deplete the different kinds of interesting lubes and fluids in my house, hence my recommendation of "whatever works and is handy
LOL... this is hilarious.

I'll have to do some research and find some sort of thicker oil which lasts longer for my chain and whatnot.

Honestly, before I put my front brake back on, I will just lube the pivots with some dollar store Vaseline quick. Apparently it works fine..
Moisture is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 02:25 AM
  #11  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Need pics of the front at least. I mean,
Any ideas identifying what sort of model it is?

Moisture is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 04:16 AM
  #12  
Kabuki12
Senior Member
 
Kabuki12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Ventura County ,California
Posts: 1,468

Bikes: 1973 Windsor Profesional,1976 Kabuki diamond formula with full Campy, 1977 Raleigh Competition GS , 1971 Stella original Campy equip. 1978 Raleigh Super Grand Prix, 1972 Italvega Gran Rally ,1972 Super Mondia Special,Medici Pro Strada,Colnago

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 322 Post(s)
Liked 461 Times in 312 Posts
I have not used that model , but I have used the “G” model and they worked fine. I had a bike that I used for many years with them and stopped just fine. The top end Dia Comp brakes are as good as anything else out there (of the same time period) imho
Kabuki12 is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 04:54 AM
  #13  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 17,791

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 150 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4836 Post(s)
Liked 1,293 Times in 863 Posts
It would be helpful to see a pic of the brakes on the bike. These may have a longer reach than the dia compe 500g brakes which were once very common. They showed up on a ton of old Treks for example. You can make pretty much any old brake work reasonably well with a few tweaks. New cables and housing are a big help. So are quality brake pads. Kool stops are very good; dia compe grey matter are good as well.

I'd get the kool stop continentals:

https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...xoCxLIQAvD_BwE
bikemig is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 06:44 AM
  #14  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,276

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1474 Post(s)
Liked 966 Times in 656 Posts
Progression of side pull brake service on vintage bikes.
I just want to stop-
Replace rock hard old pads and cables.

I want to stop better-
Above plus using Kool Stop pads, aero levers, clean rim braking surface with Alcohol etc.

I really want to stop.
Above plus replace calipers with modern dual pivot brakes whether factory or aftermarket like Tektro.

Centering Side pulls
Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - Centering side-pull brakes
dedhed is offline  
Likes For dedhed:
Old 01-25-21, 08:45 AM
  #15  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,448
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 901 Post(s)
Liked 397 Times in 277 Posts
I believe the Dia Compe brakes that had no additional markings were just their basic model. Some of mine are "Schwinn Approved" which are unmarked and of unknown age. I have one on my single speed bike, it works just fine. I also have a "G" in my bin, doesn't seem to be materially different, but the aluminum seems to be more brightly polished. I did notice that there's a washer between the brake arms on both brakes, but mine are so old that I can't vouch for them having the original or correct parts any more. Some mixing and matching of parts may have occurred! On one brake the washer is thin metal, on another, nylon. I can see daylight between the brake arms on all of the sidepulls in my fleet.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 09:15 AM
  #16  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,019

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1497 Post(s)
Liked 448 Times in 265 Posts
" Life is too short to put up with maintaining and using crappy brakes."

Once I got my first set of dual pivot brakes I've never been tempted to look back.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Likes For Retro Grouch:
Old 01-25-21, 09:45 AM
  #17  
shelbyfv
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 7,823
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2046 Post(s)
Liked 1,755 Times in 951 Posts
Yep, any current Shimano or Tektro dual pivot will provide a better experience.
shelbyfv is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 01:39 PM
  #18  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 7,630

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2001 Post(s)
Liked 906 Times in 632 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
On the plus side, the small amount of flex will probably contribute to better braking feel, lol.

I actually like these brakes a lot, mainly for that reason. My old GT mountain bike had some good AVID rim brakes with Koolstop pads with ridiculously strong stopping power, but not much feel through the levers.
I guess some people love mediocrity. You might have had the wrong levers on your old GT. But flexy brakes when you need to stop are not good. That feeling you could be getting from those brakes is not ideal. There are much better brakes that will still give you a good feel.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 01:44 PM
  #19  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 546

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 250 Post(s)
Liked 410 Times in 197 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
But flexy brakes when you need to stop are not good. That feeling you could be getting from those brakes is not ideal.
As we say in the automotive world, those brakes are spongy. And that's not good. Not a confidence builder.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Likes For Reflector Guy:
Old 01-25-21, 01:53 PM
  #20  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
It would be helpful to see a pic of the brakes on the bike. These may have a longer reach than the dia compe 500g brakes

Excuse the filth. What do u think?

Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I believe the Dia Compe brakes that had no additional markings were just their basic model. Some of mine are "Schwinn Approved" which are unmarked and of unknown age. I have one on my single speed bike, it works just fine. I also have a "G" in my bin, doesn't seem to be materially different, but the aluminum seems to be more brightly polished. I did notice that there's a washer between the brake arms on both brakes, but mine are so old that I can't vouch for them having the original or correct parts any more. Some mixing and matching of parts may have occurred! On one brake the washer is thin metal, on another, nylon. I can see daylight between the brake arms on all of the sidepulls in my fleet.
Stamped 1080 on inside of caliper.

Washers are supposed to be there. I saw ones on the inside/outside of each arm, as well as two more between the outer nut.

Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Yep, any current Shimano or Tektro dual pivot will provide a better experience.
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I guess some people love mediocrity. You might have had the wrong levers on your old GT. But flexy brakes when you need to stop are not good. That feeling you could be getting from those brakes is not ideal. There are much better brakes that will still give you a good feel.
I went out for another ride today, this time with just the rear brake installed.

They work pretty bad. Its especially apparent now that thre is quite a lot of flex.

Some newer sidepulls could be a good upgrade, But not necessary as long as I don't over speed.
Moisture is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 02:00 PM
  #21  
shelbyfv
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 7,823
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2046 Post(s)
Liked 1,755 Times in 951 Posts
I'd describe those as brake shaped objects and whomever you are paying to maintain your bike is beyond useless.

Last edited by shelbyfv; 01-25-21 at 02:57 PM. Reason: sp
shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 01-25-21, 02:04 PM
  #22  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I'd describe those as brake shaped objects and whomever you are paying to maintain your bike as beyond useless.
What makes you say that?

Luckily, I haven't had to spend anything for maintenance and practically nothing for parts either. I use either my friends shop or the local bikehub. I've done majority of work myself.
Moisture is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 02:07 PM
  #23  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 7,630

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2001 Post(s)
Liked 906 Times in 632 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post

I went out for another ride today, this time with just the rear brake installed.

They work pretty bad. Its especially apparent now that thre is quite a lot of flex.

Some newer sidepulls could be a good upgrade, But not necessary as long as I don't over speed.
Wow...No if you want crap then enjoy your crap but you don't get to always control when you really need your brakes to work well and your bike to work well. I don't fully understand why someone would want to try and clone a Wally-mart special but if that is your goal kudos you are nailing it.

You wanted to upgrade to a White Industries crank but a really bad brake caliper that you even recognize is bad from the get go and since riding is OK because you magically will never "overspeed"
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 01-25-21, 02:10 PM
  #24  
cbrstar
BMX Connoisseur
 
cbrstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 577

Bikes: 1988 Kuwahara Newport, 1983 Nishiki, 1984 Diamond Back Viper, 1991 Dyno Compe

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 293 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 21 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Any ideas identifying what sort of model it is?

My guess they are 810's. Flip them over and on the back will be the model and the year they were made.

I find the old Japanese Dia Compe brakes flex a lot less then the new ones made in Taiwan. You get 100x more breaking power when they are "Toe-In" properly I'm sure there are places you can google that show you how.
cbrstar is offline  
Old 01-25-21, 02:27 PM
  #25  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 17,791

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 150 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4836 Post(s)
Liked 1,293 Times in 863 Posts
Yeah I think these are 810s. Post 14 pretty much nailed it in terms of what you can do to get a better braking experience. Also clean them up. There is a certain amount of hate here for old gear. Take it with a grain of salt. Some things have gotten better but that doesn't mean you can't have a well functioning bike with old parts including these brakes.
bikemig is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.