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Question re: brake caliper swap(17 posts)

Question re: brake caliper swapWarren128
Sep 6, 2002 6:39 AM
Hi there, it's been a long time since I've posted. Anyway, I didn't have any luck on the Components Forum, so here's my question: It's regarding my mid-80's Raleigh Team Replica...

I feel the need for more stopping power for my front brake. Will the newer style dual pivot Campy calipers (Centaur or Chorus) swap okay with my current Campy SR vintage calipers? I'm hoping to only have to swap calipers, but retain everything else (lever, cable, etc.)


I meant to reply to the other posting, but......Kurt H
Sep 6, 2002 8:39 AM
I'll pick up my slack here. If any of this seems elementary or redundant, I apologize. I'm typing this up while halfway listening to a conference call.
Two big factors to consider: attachment type of the brake and reach.

First, spin your fork around and see if you have an allen nut sticking into the back of the fork or a threaded rod sticking out of the back of the fork with a standard nut on it. If you have an allen fitting, you're halfway there. Modern calipers use the sunken allen fitting. If you have a nutted fitting, all you need to do is use the existing hole as a pilot and use a drill to widen out the old hole to the width of the new allen fittings. Sheldon Brown can tell you exactly what size bit to use, but I don't remember.

Second, take your wheels out of the way. For each, then draw an imaginary line between the center of the brake pads and measure the distance from that line up to the center of the mounting bolt. If it's less than 49mm, you're again golden. If it's more than 49mm, I don't know if Campy makes anything that long (don't think they do). Shimano does and they are available from Rivendell and Sheldon, among others. But these new long reach calipers are only available now in allen fitting. If you need them in a nutted attachment and don't want to alter your fork (as was my case), you MIGHT be able to get a set of long reach nutted calipers from St.John's street cycles in the UK. They had some NOS long reach nutted dual pivot calipers in stock, but were running low.
Good luck!
Kurt H
What size tires 700 or 27"?Dave Hickey
Sep 6, 2002 9:04 AM
As long as reach isn't a problem, it will work fine.
Have you tried??Lone Gunman
Sep 6, 2002 9:14 AM
May be a simple answer, have you tried Kool Stop brake pads? I replaced my stock shimano ultegra pads and also my pads on a 1978 center pull brakes. The pads substantially increaserd stopping power, more than I could believe. Also there might be an arch that you add to the caliper (front) that increases stop power, check Sheldon Brown or Rivendell but try pads first.
Agree about pad swap--made a big difference for mecory
Sep 11, 2002 10:15 AM
I used Scotts, but I don't know that they're better (or worse) than any other good aftermarket pad. Anyway, they cured my brake problems for about 12 bucks.
re: Question re: brake caliper swapWalter
Sep 6, 2002 12:18 PM
Assuming your SRs are short reach there's no problem. In fact I replaced the old Campy SR single pivot brakes on my 80s Basso with dual pivot Records and am very pleased with the result. On a collector old brakes are the ticket but if you ride the bike alot the dual pivot design is a benefit.

If you have long reach original brakes you have options as well as others have pointed out for you.
Thanks guys...(more)Warren128
Sep 8, 2002 8:05 AM
Thanks for all your replies and suggestions. I now have a plan of attack. FYI: my current Campy SR brakes use recessed retaining nuts, and are short reach. The bike is a mid-80's Team Replica frame painted in the Team USA color scheme. It was sold in the U.S. as a frameset only, and was built in England using Reynolds 531C tubing. The frame was built up by its original owner with a combination of Super Record and C-Record components. It would be nice to retain the classic look of the bike, so my first try will be to replace my brake pads. If that doesn't give me enough stopping power, then I'll consider the newer, dual pivot Campy brakes. Maybe I'll find a set of used, new style, dual-pivot Campy Record calipers just to keep my Raleigh "all Record".

If you're interested in seeing pictures of my bike as it is today, go to the following link:

thats a sweet looking ride .....Spirito
Sep 8, 2002 8:50 AM
having a closer look i noticed that the rims are hardly worn in. from experience with rims of that era (non machined sidewalls) the braking will improve a lot as the anodizing wears down. as it is the anodizing wont offer any real friction with the pads and this is why modern rims are sold already machined or worn down on the braking sureface - braking is immediately good staight off the showroom floor but the tradeoff is that some say the rims wear out quicker.

you can speed it along a little by running some light grit sandpaper along the braking surface and rubbing/roughing up the pads as well. as its gets uglier (i actually quite lke the way it looks) the braking will get better. some coolstop replacements pads will also help as they are of better material than the original campy items but give it some miles before diciding on replacing them.

in short, i think it justs needs a little time (miles) and braking will improve. after that im sure you wont want to ruin its classic parts or lines with newer dual pivots but only you will be able to tell wither the calipers you have will have sufficient stopping power.

i must add again that you have one very sweet ride. where did you score that - it looks like its new.


ciao, ben
Sep 10, 2002 10:27 AM
Hi Ben,

Thanks for the nice words (and advice) about my Raleigh. I purchased it on Ebay from its original owner. As the story goes, he bought the frameset new in the mid-80's, and he transferred an older groupo from one of his existing bikes to the Raleigh frame. He then rode it set up that way for a total of about 150 miles. At that point, he located all NOS Campy SR and C-Record parts and rebuilt the bike using the new parts. After it was all done, it became too NICE to ride, so he left it stored away for a few years. A few more years, plus kids, plus more interest in off-road riding left the Raleigh unridden. He had intended to keep it forever, but he ultimately decided that someone should be enjoying the bike more. He was sent me an extra set of decals, and a TI-Raleigh jersey.

I have another bike, a late-80's Nishiki Tri-A that I ride more often than the Raleigh, so that's why the Raleigh is in such good shape.

I love a good story to go with a nice bike :).


Don't forget levers if you swap.Walter
Sep 9, 2002 12:49 PM
I swapped the SRs off my Basso for new/used Records awhile back. I like the trade and I also like the more compact, to my eyes, look of the dual pivots but there's a catch. Modern Campy brakes have the QR in the lever not on the brake arm like the SR. I didn't realize this until I had finished. Had to hunt eBay awhile to find a set of early 90s Chorus levers that have the QR in the lever. They're not particularly plentiful but they can be wired either conventional or aero depending on how you feel.

The only new choice is the Record nonErgo aero levers. Carbon fiber and mucho $.

Even if you were willing to go with non-Campy levers (cross yourself and say 100 Hail Marys) there're not many choices that will work.
There's a pair of those levers for sale hereKurt H
Sep 10, 2002 3:58 AM
I was here when they pulled these off the bike. They're in really nice shape, and look like the ones you're talking about. No affiliation, but the owner is a nice fella. I've done business with them a couple of times. Look at the bottom of the page:
Thanks, i completely overlooked that fact (nt)Warren128
Sep 10, 2002 10:29 AM
Cable routing?Straightblock
Sep 13, 2002 10:55 AM
Are your levers aero type or standard levers converted to aero by re-routing the cables out the bottom? I remember a few guys doing this in the early 80's, and the sharp bend in the cable under the lever body added a lot of friction to the lever pull. Looked cool, but you needed big, strong hands to get a lot of stopping power.
Another great point... (more)Warren128
Sep 14, 2002 6:29 AM
You guys are sharp! I missed this point too. My levers are C-Record levers that were introduced along with the Delta Brakes. I understand that these levers are now pretty rare. They allow a choice of traditional routing or aero routing. The bike came to me with aero routing. Perhaps I'll return it to conventional routing.


Sooo clean, do you ride it? :-) New pads, keep SR nmrwbadley
Sep 11, 2002 8:49 PM
Yes, I ride it :) ... (more)Warren128
Sep 12, 2002 7:20 AM
Thanks. Those pictures were taken when I first got the bike. I've ridden it a bit since then, but my main ride is a late-80's Nishiki Tri-A with Shimano 600 group (downtube shifters, indexed). I've been riding the Raleigh more recently, which is what brought up my questions concerning the brakes. On my Nishiki, I really like the simple, elegant look of the old 600 series brake calipers, and I can brake (with confidence) using fingertip control of the levers from the "over the top" grip position. When I switch to my "high-end" Campy equipped Raleigh, I have to use a "death grip" on my levers in order to generate any kind of stopping power. By the way, I ride in the hills of San Francisco, so stopping power is important to me :).

I guess the problem is a combination of mint condition anodizing on my Omega rims, possibly older rubber on the pads, and "feel" by design.

I got some great advice here (thanks again, everyone). I think I'll try the brake pad swap first before any more drastic measures.

......brake padsSpunout
Sep 13, 2002 3:54 PM
Rubber crystalizes as it ages and oxidizes, so try changing pads before anything. Especially if they are original or NOS.