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Thread: u-brake setup

  1. #1
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    u-brake setup

    yeah, i know this isn't the brake forum, but it seems like i would find more help here than over there, where all anyone seems to talk about is discs these days.
    so... i have a set of xt-brakes w/ mathauser pads, and a dia-compe 990. anybody care to comment on which they think the btter brake is?
    it seems like the 990 offers a little more adjustability on the pads, allowing you to set the cable hanger way low for more leverage. has anybody here setup a 990 with the cable hanger really low over the tire, or is it unnecessary because of the brake geometry?
    and of course, i have access to a pile of cantilevers, machine tech, critical, avid c-x, etc. so am i just wasting my time with the 990's and the XT, what's gonna get me the best braking, rim clearance, etc?
    thanks,
    tim

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    makes sense to post u-brake ? here

    I set up a lot of freestyle bikes (and old Klein Pinnacles) with 990 brakes. I've also set up a lot of bikes with Shimano u-brakes. Here's my opinion. Way back when, Kleins came with 990 u-brakes. At the same time, Shimano had a u brake and then a u-2 brake. The u-2 had a built in stiffener. Personally, even though the Shimano is heavier, I think it was stiffer and provided better braking. I don't like the 990 way of using the post type brake pads. Once they are tightened, the posts take a set to the washers making it hard to re-adjust if needed. The Shimano uses a threaded pad similar to today's v-brakes. Easy to adjust and easy to re-adjust.

    The straddle cable should be positioned so that the cable exits the arms at about 90 degrees to the arm. You can play around with the position, but it works best at about 90. The Shimano lets the carrier be a bit lower because of the arm shape than the 990.

    That all said and done, you mentione various canti brakes. I'm sure you know that u-brake mounts and canti (v-brake) mounts are not interchangeable. If your bike has u-brake mounts, you can install v-brakes and vice versa.

    And with all that said and done, if you have u-brake mounts and want the best brakes, roller cams are the way to go - especially WTB roller cams. WTB roller cam brakes rule!

  3. #3
    Tear it all out! SuperModerator
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    One other option, if you want great brakes on a U-brake frame you can install Magura hydraulic rim brakes with a small amount of modification to the mounting brackets. I just posted pics to the Brake board if anyone cares.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...75816#poststop

  4. #4
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    Pedersen SE's also an option

    Quote Originally Posted by uphiller
    yeah, i know this isn't the brake forum, but it seems like i would find more help here than over there, where all anyone seems to talk about is discs these days.
    so... i have a set of xt-brakes w/ mathauser pads, and a dia-compe 990. anybody care to comment on which they think the btter brake is?
    it seems like the 990 offers a little more adjustability on the pads, allowing you to set the cable hanger way low for more leverage. has anybody here setup a 990 with the cable hanger really low over the tire, or is it unnecessary because of the brake geometry?
    and of course, i have access to a pile of cantilevers, machine tech, critical, avid c-x, etc. so am i just wasting my time with the 990's and the XT, what's gonna get me the best braking, rim clearance, etc?
    thanks,
    tim
    I don't know if they make them anymore but I remember running XT U's with "eagle claw" grey compound brake pads that combination worked as good as I got the u-brakes to work. Tried just about every pad but that setup worked best (for me). Had a tendency to squeal a little but if you got them setup ok that wasn't a problem either, they were just less forgiving. The stock XT pads had a tendency to harden after some time and loose gripping power.

    If you can't find Suntour Roller Cams, my first choice, well actually, my second choice, as wtb's would be my first but If you find them, be prepared to out bid that euro exchange rate $$$$

    Pedersen SE worked ok (if you can find them) modulation isn't great but LOTS of stopping power. Better than the XT's. and pricing will be reasonable compared to WTB's I see them on ebay every once in a while.

  5. #5
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    Eagle Claws: good! SE cantis= portal to hell!

    Quote Originally Posted by crconsulting
    I don't know if they make them anymore but I remember running XT U's with "eagle claw" grey compound brake pads that combination worked as good as I got the u-brakes to work. Tried just about every pad but that setup worked best (for me). Had a tendency to squeal a little but if you got them setup ok that wasn't a problem either, they were just less forgiving. The stock XT pads had a tendency to harden after some time and loose gripping power.

    If you can't find Suntour Roller Cams, my first choice, well actually, my second choice, as wtb's would be my first but If you find them, be prepared to out bid that euro exchange rate $$$$

    Pedersen SE worked ok (if you can find them) modulation isn't great but LOTS of stopping power. Better than the XT's. and pricing will be reasonable compared to WTB's I see them on ebay every once in a while.
    Grey Eagle claws are awesome on any canti set-up! But those dreaded Pedersen SE brakes are my worst nightmare to set-up! I hate those brakes! They do stop well though; you are right about that. You are also right about rollercams. I think First Flight bikes has a set or two for sale at a reasonable price. Check it out!

    My experience with u-brakes is similar to what's been said here. They are pretty crummy for mud clearance, so I'd opt for the rollercams. You'll need to get them tuned just right-but when you do they're like buttah!
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  6. #6
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    Straddle cable adjustment question

    I picked up a tandem with an old seatstay-mounted Exage U-brake.
    It has almost no stopping power and I'm wondering about how the straddle cable should be set up. Currently it is set up with a very short straddle cable (you can barely fit a finger between the straddle carrier and the brake). I'm kind of thinking longer would be better, but I'm just guessing here.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville View Post
    I picked up a tandem with an old seatstay-mounted Exage U-brake.
    It has almost no stopping power and I'm wondering about how the straddle cable should be set up. Currently it is set up with a very short straddle cable (you can barely fit a finger between the straddle carrier and the brake). I'm kind of thinking longer would be better, but I'm just guessing here.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Usually the straddle cable is somewhat similar to a cantilever setup(just a lot shorter), 90 degrees more or less, though more acute is possible. I use eagle claw pads on my U-brakes also.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by unicrown junkie View Post
    Usually the straddle cable is somewhat similar to a cantilever setup(just a lot shorter), 90 degrees more or less, though more acute is possible. I use eagle claw pads on my U-brakes also.
    Thanks. New Salmon Kool Stop Eagle Claw pads were the first thing I did. It had a mismatched pair (who changes one pad?)of very old shimano pads on it and I figured the Kool Stops would do their usual magic. But not this time.

    My understanding of the 90 degree rule is that it is based on the angle between the straddle cable and an imaginary line drawn from the pivot point (the brake boss on the frame) through to the spot on the brake arm where the straddle cable connects. And measured when the brake pads contact the rim. If so, the brakes were probably set up correctly with the very short straddle cable. In either case, I already tried it with a slightly longer straddle cable setup and that didn't do any better.

    I had also already done a light scrubbing of the rims with a scotch-brite pad and then cleaned with alcohol, but may have to go a little more aggressive on it.

    Anyway, I'll keep trying. Thanks for the input.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  9. #9
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    I wish you the best of luck. A few years ago I decided to put U-brake bosses on the seatstays of my 85 Rockhopper. Turns out it was a bad idea, way to much flex. Sorry for forgetting to mention that earlier.

    Otherwise, looks like we have the same skill set here. I have three bikes curently with U-brakes, and one of my next projects is to re-convert the RH back to canti's. Sigh....stupid me!

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville View Post
    Thanks. New Salmon Kool Stop Eagle Claw pads were the first thing I did. It had a mismatched pair (who changes one pad?)of very old shimano pads on it and I figured the Kool Stops would do their usual magic. But not this time.

    My understanding of the 90 degree rule is that it is based on the angle between the straddle cable and an imaginary line drawn from the pivot point (the brake boss on the frame) through to the spot on the brake arm where the straddle cable connects. And measured when the brake pads contact the rim. If so, the brakes were probably set up correctly with the very short straddle cable. In either case, I already tried it with a slightly longer straddle cable setup and that didn't do any better.

    I had also already done a light scrubbing of the rims with a scotch-brite pad and then cleaned with alcohol, but may have to go a little more aggressive on it.

    Anyway, I'll keep trying. Thanks for the input.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

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