Sunday, January 30, 2011

Center-Pull Brakes

One of the parts that I would really like to use on this bicycle are the Dura Ace center-pull brakes I recently posted about.  This is probably the part that will determine whether I'll be getting a standard model or a custom built bicycle.  The reason for this is because I would want to have these brakes mounted to braze-ons which is not only strong, but I find it also attractive.

1973 Dura Ace center-pull brakes

Frame builders have been installing center-pull brakes mounted on these braze-ons for years for their strength and they are actually lighter than most modern brakes.  Builders famous for this are the obvious french constructeurs, Rene Herse and Alex Singer, but many custom builders continue to make bicycles using these braze-ons.  Traditionally you will see this treatment given to Mafac brakes, but I have a couple of issue with these brakes, namely that the pads are difficult to setup properly and any replacement parts are nearly impossible to find.  One feature that I feel makes these Shimano brakes superior is that any number of modern brake pads can be installed.  The Shimano brakes will also have plenty of room for fenders as well.

I am a fan of salmon Koolstop brake pads and use them on all of my bicycles.  I'm not sure whether I will use the pads pictured above or another version.  They work extremely well, even in wet weather, and are easily adjusted due to their conical washer design.  I will also be using a Salsa cable yoke, which can also be seen in the photo above.  I swiped the idea from an extremely nice road bike I saw on the now defunct Mariposa bicycles website.  These yokes not only look good, but should noticeably increase braking power too. 

Mariposa road bicycle showing Salsa brake yoke and brazed on Weinmann brakes
Of course if money was no object I would definitely be using Paul Components, Racer Medium brakes.  They are probably the best example of center-pull brakes ever made and with that quality comes a high price tag.  Depending on how long it will take for me to decide on a frame I may have time to save for these brakes or they could also be a future upgrade.

Paul Components, Racer Medium.  Probably the best quality Center-pull brakes ever made, but definitely not cheap.


  1. Do you plan to mount a rack on the center pull brakes? I'm not sure that can be done with the braze-on mounted centerpulls.

  2. I would like to use a a rear rack for this bike whenever I get around to building it. I was thinking of using one of two styles of rack; either the one Velo Orange makes that mounts to the fender or the other (if I get a custom one) that would mount to the centerpull braze on. Hers's some links to photos of how it looks,