Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Journey of the Boardwalk: Part 14 - Caliper Brakes for Boardwalk TT

There are many Dahon bikes, but how many Dahon bikes come with road shifters/brake levers and caliper brakes? Other than the Speed Pro TT and the new 2011 Dash X20, no other Dahon folding bike comes equipped with these road components.

Because of this, the Speed Pro TT can be truly called a road bike, since it has Shimano Tiagra ST-4500 road shifters and bullhorn handlebars. As for the brakes, it has been changed every year since 2008.

In 2008, the Speed Pro TT came with long reach caliper brakes. For 2009, it came with V brakes and NO Travel Agent, which caused the braking performance to be really poor. As for the 2010 version, it was V brakes but at least it came with the Travel Agent, which allows compatibility between the road shifter/brake levers and the V brakes. Currently, the 2011 version is called the Vector X27, which has V brakes with the Travel Agents.
 
2008 Speed Pro TT, comes with long reach caliper brakes. Chromoly Steel frame.


2009 Speed Pro TT, comes with V brakes and NO Travel Agent. Aluminium Frame.

2010 Speed Pro TT, comes with V brakes and Travel Agents. Aluminium Frame.


2011 Vector X27, comes with V brakes and Travel Agents. Hydroformed Aluminium Frame.

At this point, if you are wondering what are Travel Agents, you can check out my previous post showing the transformation of my Boardwalk to the Boardwalk TT.

Travel Agent as seen on the 2010 Speed Pro TT.

However, these Travel Agents are not ideal for braking performance, as it introduces a lot of friction and thus efficiency losses into the brake system. The are many points of contact between the moving brake cable and the Travel Agent, and the rubbing can be easily felt through the brake levers. Also, because the brake cable is bent around such a small radius, it tends to want to unravel itself and again causes a lot of resistance when applying the brakes. Lastly, the geometry of the bullhorn bars, together with the long frame of the folding bike plus the wrapping of the brake cable around the Travel Agent means that even with the full length of the brake cable, it is only barely long enough to reach the rear brakes.

Due to all these issues, I decided to try to find long reach caliper brakes, which can be mounted on the holes for the fender bolts and reach all the way down to the rim. After some searching, I came across some caliper brakes that are actually meant for trekking/comfort bikes, which means large and fat tires with fenders installed. These caliper brakes are able to reach up to 74mm (measured from mounting bolt to rim), compared to the normal reach of about 50mm.

Extra Long Reach Tektro R559 brake calipers. Comes in black or silver.

Compare the distance and the arch width between the Long Reach Tektro brakes (Nutted)
and the normal reach Ultegra brakes (Recessed).


Also, it is necessary to get the nutted version, which has a bolt and an external nut to fix the caliper brake onto the frame. The recessed version can only be used on certain frames, not Dahon frames. To learn more about these two different mounting methods, read the Sheldon Brown website here.

Installing the brakes was rather straightforward. For me, it was the first time I was installing caliper brakes, thus it was quite tricky to get the alignment correct. By the way, I changed to Kool Stop All-Weather brake pads, not even bothering to try the stock brake pads!

 
 Good clearance between brakes and fender! Clearance is maintained even when brakes are applied.

At the maximum reach, it is just long enough to reach the rims.
 
 Black caliper brakes to go with my black fork!


 Rear caliper brakes fit well too!

Once I had changed the brakes, the braking improved tremendously, as the cable pull of the road shifters match the required cable pull of the brake calipers perfectly. Also, there is much lesser friction acting on the brake cable, which means that the braking action is much smoother. No more squishy brakes!

This upgrade should be possible for most Dahon bikes, as the frame structure is similar and the reach required should be achievable by these Tektro R559 long reach caliper brakes. Of course, these should be paired with road shifters/brake levers for optimal performance.

43 comments:

  1. Hi Steve,

    I'm based in KL and currently riding a Helios. I'm thinking of changing to dropbars and road callipers. May I ask where you bought the black Tektro R559 from? I've searched online but I only find the silver version.


    I go to Singapore on business once every few months so I can probably pick it up if it is sold in Singapore. If you got it through a website, can you provide me with the link?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I got it online at SJS Cycles, they have it in black. Glad to help!

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  3. Thanks for the info, Steve. I'll be camping here for more tips on bike mods. God bless you =)

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  4. roughly how much was the shipping to Singapore?

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  5. hmm you can check out sjscycles.com for the shipping costs

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  6. is it possible to change stock v-brakes of dahon bikes to disc brakes?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you cannot do that, even if you have disc compatible hubs as there are no mounts on the frame for the disc brake calipers. you can check out the Dahon model KAA084. it is a disc brake folding bike.

      Delete
  7. Hi, i would like to get consult you for your expertise or foldies. i intend to get a TERN D8, and planning to swap the brakes to road bike brakes (SRAM APEX) ... and would like to check with you if that is possible in you opinion... i dont intend to fix and fenders... so technically, i would have ample space... also, about the drive train, i would like to consult you about the cassette, i also intend to get the wheelsport set and would liek to check if i can change it to a 10 speed cassette as well. for the cassette change, is there anything i need to upgrade to manage to fit the 10 speed cassette... generally i'll use a single chain ring 56 maybe 58t for my crank.. // appreciate you sharing your knowledge.. cheers, mark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to give advice here. The SRAM Apex brakes are not possible, because the caliper arms are not long enough to reach the rims. THe frame is built to accept fenders, thus there is a rather large gap between the frame and the tires. The reason why the usual road brakes will not fit is not the space, but the distance. If you want to put caliper brakes on the bike, you will need those extra long reach caliper brakes, such as the Tektro R559. Even so, there is no guarantee the brake pad will clear the tires.

      10 speed cassette will fit fine on the Wheelsport wheels. I'm running 2x10 on my Boardwalk. However, there will be a problem with the rear derailleur. There is no RD hanger on the Tern D8 for a normal 10 speed RD. You will have to make do with the stock Neos derailleur, which may not be ideal.

      The 10 speed parts you need will be the chain, cassette, and shifter. The shifter's operation will be reversed as the RD is not a top normal RD but a low normal RD. This means that pushing the main lever will change to a higher gear instead of a lower gear as on other bikes.

      You cannot just get a single chainring and swap it in, as the stock crankset does not have a removable chainring. If you want to change the chainring, you will need to change out the whole crankset and likely the BB as well.

      My suggestion is not to upgrade the Link D8, as it will inflate the cost. In fact, the final cost may be more than the Verge P18. Just get the Verge P18 in the first place, it is great out of the box without needing any upgrades. In the event you want to upgrade it further, it will be much easier than doing the same on the Link D8.

      Delete
    2. Hi Steve, i get what you mean, but i dont intend to burn so much $$ at one go.. i ride a cannondale.. but planning to get a foldy for my other half and i can also use it for recreational rides when im lazy to lug my bike around.. was thinking of making it an "aesthetic" project and at same time functional.. since the build up of the d8 makes it "rigid" in such sense, then there is no point to get it.. any recommendations for me? i dont mind upgrading it to a 9 speed only, but i intend to change the RD, wheelset, brakes and such... for the crankset, yes, i intend to get the 105 crank arm + bb hollowtech 2 and swap out the 60T chain ring... but if i do get a foldy, it should be a 1 year project... if i really have to burn that much at one go, i'll go for the brompton... im about 100kg at 182cm... so i want to make sure i get something that can support me..

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    3. get a folding bike model that already has a standard rd hanger, then you can swap in any rd you want.

      the Brompton offers a very different folding experience. it is super compact, but will be even less upgradeable.

      Delete
    4. Steve, is there any "adapters or extensions" that is sold in the after market for me to install on the d8 for the upgrade, after some consideration reading your advise, i should probably stick it to 9 speed max. or would you recommend to go for the tern c7 instead?

      Delete
    5. there is currently no adaptor for Tern bikes to install other rd. the Link C7 may be a good choice for you as you plan to change most of the parts anyway. it has a standard rd hanger for any rd. however do take note that because it is an entry level bike, it may lack some features of higher end models, such as different handlepost and latch designs.

      Delete
  8. Hi Steve, wanted to consult your expertise here.
    I have a long term plan in upgrading my drhon vitesse D8 to a bullhorn handle with road brakes and shifters and a 18 or 20 speed setup for future oversea riding trips.
    I understand that also means I will need to spend a lot and change a lot of things. So I am going to take baby steps and upgrade bits by bits.

    I have already change my wheelset to wheelsport 406. my next step, was to get more braking power. I am thinking since I am going to end up eventually with a bullhorn setup, I might just change to a caliper brakes? do I also need to change my brakes cable and brakes lever to fully maximise the caliper brakes?

    let me know your thoughts.
    thanks

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  9. Change the brake levers and calipers at the same time. When you upgrade the shifters to road shifters, you can upgrade to caliper brakes at the same time. If you change now it will not be compatible with the V brake levers.

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    Replies
    1. do I need to change my RD and cassette and add FD and chain ring together when I upgrade to road shifter as well?

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    2. RD, cassette and shifters must be of same speeds. Cassette and chain can be of other brands. Of course, it is best to get all of the same series for best performance and matching appearance.

      If you get drop bar road shifters, you don't necessarily need to install an FD. You can use it as just a brake lever. But you might as well use it, and put on FD and inner chainring.

      Delete
  10. wow looks like my plan of taking baby step to upgrade is not working,
    so many things need to be change at one go.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Steve...
    Thanks for all the info you shared here.
    I got 1.85 tire on my bike. Will this R559 fit in?
    Thanks.
    J. Lim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Should not be a problem. The R559 calipers are really wide.

      Delete
    2. OK...thanks.
      I found an online store in Bali who has this item. Will place an order. :)

      J. Lim

      Delete
  12. Hi steve, I got issue when I install a tektro r540 caliper on my tern D8. I notice that I was unable fold as the frame will block the caliper when I twist my handle bar. Also notice that no matter it is install at the front or back of the fork, the frame will still block it from turning. Able to advise on how to solve this issue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is because of the N-fold used by Tern. It requires the fork to be turned 180 degrees when folding, which causes interference between the caliper brake and the frame.

      In this case you will have to fold it the Dahon way, which is basically just fold the middle frame joint without turning the fork. The magnet will not work as it is on the wrong side of the fork.

      Delete
  13. Hi Steve,
    Wanted to ask you for a brief bit of advice, and I realize this is an older article and thread. While researching braking options for my Dahon speed pro, I came across your article and purchased the Extra Long Reach Tektro R559 brake calipers based upon your recommendation. They appeared that they would fit, but I brought the entire setup to my trusted mechanic to be sure. He has informed me that even with these calipers we're a minimum of 10 mm short. Other than the idea of using a drop bolt, he couldn't recommend another option. Any ideas? Thank you for your time!
    mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In this case you need something like this.

      1) Brake Pad extender. The brake pad is offset from the mounting bolt and so it should give you sufficient reach.
      http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=1103tW5y.3-1G2Np.h-GXJG7&id=13801099839&

      2) This adaptor moves the mounting point downwards, closer to the wheel rim.
      http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.22.vfg9Ns&id=14773946138
      http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.119.TSle1y&id=18071350762

      3) Change your wheels to 451 size and the caliper brakes will fit!

      Delete
  14. Steve, that is kind of you to take the time to point me in the direction of these products. I'll see about having a buddy in Japan send them to me, thanks again for your help! Also, here is another link I found yesterday after some more digging around, photos of some home made 'drop bolts': http://www.instructables.com/id/Old-bicycle-new-wheels-building-a-drop-bolt-to-/?ALLSTEPS

    Cheers!

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  15. Hi Steve, I'm using a Tern D8 and plan on using R559 as well. I'm using the stock rims and stock schwalbe citizen tires. You think this would fit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure if the fatter Schwalbe Citizen tires will fit between the brake calipers. You might also need the brake pad extenders. http://handsonbike.blogspot.sg/2011/10/journey-of-boardwalk-part-14-caliper.html#uds-search-results

      Delete
  16. Hi Steve, I measured my bike, the distance from center of the hole on the front fork (where a fender is installed) to the center of the rim is 75 mm, about the same distance from the center of the hole on the rear 'bridge' over the tyre (where a rear fender is installed). So I am not sure whether Tektro R559 is long enough since it's 73 mm at max. From this link http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brake-calipers.html there are some even longer calipers, e.g. IRD B76 or Odyssey 1999, do you think these will work? Btw, my frame is a fnhon kc 2018, in theory it should be quite similar/same to a Dahon frame, what's your measurement (center of the hole to center of the rim)? Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For my Boardwalk and Vitesse, sometimes I need to use the Aican brake pad extended to extend the reach of the brakes. This is an offset brake pad holder that extends the reach a little more.

      You can find this on taobao by searching for Aican. http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=13801099839

      Delete
    2. Hi again thanks for the info. I came across this today.
      http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/BCTK926MV/tektro-926al-front-and-rear-mini-v-brakes
      It says A V-brake designed for use with road levers. Any experience with this? If it works then it seems the easiest one to set up?

      Delete
    3. I have tried these kind of mini V brakes before. The cable pull required is still not as short as caliper brakes. By the way, the normal arm length of V brakes are around 100mm.

      These will give a performance that is better than standard V brakes, but still not as good as a proper caliper brake.

      Delete
  17. Hi Steve. I have a bullhorn setup. Tiagra STI with mini V brakes. You are correct, the feel of the mini V is not as good. Do you have any experience with cantilever brake that is use on some cyclocross bikes ? I know it not so common. Am thinking to take this route to upgrade my brakes.

    Regards
    Kel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why cantilever brakes? They are not as good as V brakes or caliper brakes. Besides, to use a cantilever brake, you will need a cable stopper at the middle. Google some pictures of cantilever brakes on bikes and you will know what I mean.

      Delete
  18. Hi Steve,
    Can the Tektro R559 Long Reach caliper be mounted on Dahon Speed P8, too?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Steve, thank goodness for your posts here, they are awesome...woukd you recommend the Tektro559 long reach caliper brake instead of the stock v brake with travel aid on the 2010 Dahon Speed Pro TT? I wasn't quite sure from the blog if they will fit. Would it be better to just upgrade the brake pads? Right now the braking performance is terrible and spongy. Thank you for your help! Cheers, Eric J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Changing to the Tektro R559 caliper brakes should improve the braking performance. The only worry is whether it will fit the frame or not. Upgrading the brake pads will help improve the braking power, but it cannot improve the spongy braking feeling.

      Delete
  20. Hi Steve
    I own Tern C7 (2013 ver).
    Do you know if the Tektro R559 caliper brakes will fit to the frame or any other part on it?
    I want to upgrade the calippers and levers(to Avid Speed Dial 7 levers).
    Is it possible?
    Tnx!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Should be no problem. If there is mounting for fenders, should be able to install the long reach brake calipers.

      Delete
  21. Hi,
    Thank you for the quick replay.

    Can I ask you to check also the calipers on that link?
    http://m.ebay.com/itm/152193602144?_trkparms=aid=222007&algo=SIC.MBE&ao=2&asc=40130&meid=6fad5b454a8a4f3295bad19a3e7119ed&pid=100005&rk=6&rkt=6&sd=272654057404&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_mwBanner=1

    Do you know if they also same as the tektro's would work with the C7?

    With this tektro's levers:
    http://m.ebay.com/itm/291762924266?_mwBanner=1

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The link you posted are for V brakes, not caliper brakes.
      The v brakes will work with the brake lever that you posted.

      Delete
    2. Looks like I confused...

      Found a nice deal for Shimano Deore.
      Price is nice...
      Wonder how is it comparing to the Tektro's road set here.

      Thanks!

      Delete