Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Side Pull Brakes

As I have written in a previous post, I am keen to use brazed-on center-pull brakes with this bike.  This may only be possible if I end up going the custom route, so in lieu of center-pull brakes, I'm also looking at some single-pivot brakes as an alternative.  A problem with nicer single-pivot brakes is that they can be difficult to find with a reach suitable for mudguards and tire since they were mainly available in short reach ranges, 39-49mm.  Underneath those mudguards I'm thinking of using 700x32 wheels, so this means that I will likely require brakes with a standard reach,  47-57mm.  Of the options that I have been researching, there were some great brakes made by Shimano, Dia Compe and Suntour.  Here's some brakes that I've been looking around for so far. 

Shimano 600, br-6207, 353grams.

The Shimano 600 brakes shown above were apart of the EX group and were available from approximatley 1984-1987.  What generally makes Shimano 600 and Dura Ace parts more expensive than other groups, and this is also true amongst other parts manufacturers, is that they are generally made with a full metal construction, which means no cheap or easily breakable pieces.  If you were to compare these with say the 105 groups brakes from the same time period, you would see plastic barrel adjusters and quick-releases.  Another nice feature of these brakes is that they have recessed brake bolts, which save a small amount of weight and is more compatible with modern frames.

Dia Compe, NGC 500, 320 grams

Dia Compe was also producing very nice brakes during the mid 80's as well.  A side note, I wonder if the folks at Channel ever sued them over their logo.  Dia Compe was also producing a line called Royal Gran Compe and Royal Gran Compe II, which had more expensive finishing.  All of these models were cold-forged and weighed the same, but you could actually get them gold plated or anodized a number of different colours.  I personally prefer the polished look of the New Gran Compe line over anodized.  

Suntour Superbe Pro, CB-4100, 346 grams. 

Last, but not least, the Suntour Superbe Pro.  Pretty much in the same vein as the above two brakes, but you could consider the Pro model to be in line with a Dura Ace tiered component, where as the other two are more second tier.  This doesn't really have much bearing on my decision between these brakes, I'll probably pick up which ever of these I can find in good shape.  I do like the Shimano 600 brakes slightly more just based on the engraved logo.

Shimano, BR-R650, 385 grams

If my quest for these lovely vintage brakes fails, then I will likely go with the brakes pictured above.  They are  Ultegra level, BR-R650, Dual -pivot brakes.  A final point that I wanted to add is just to say what a great site Velo Pages is.  Their site is where I found the catalogue pages shown in this post.  I'm really glad to see that someone is taking the time to archive these difficult to find documents.

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