Now it’s time to look at the brakes… these are the very common “V-brakes” or “linear pull brakes”.
V-brakes ( and also cantilever brakes ) all use the same sized bosses brazed onto the frame seat stays and the forks. They have a thread in the end to take the brake arm securing bolt and a little flange with 3 holes for return spring location.
Normally V-brakes use the middle hole and the tension is then adjusted via the little bolts or screws on the side – screwing them in increases the spring force. Many cheap bikes use badly plated chromed or painted brake arms that rust quickly (yuk), some use alloy (which I like), and these ones are steel, partly encased in plastic (so-so). The spring-and-adjusting-bolt holders on cheapie brakes are often made of plastic and that can be a problem – if they get a lot of sun over a period of time the UV can weaken them and cause them to break. The same can happen with the common plastic “C-star” brand brake lever brackets if they are really old and neglected and left outside too long. These were all OK though, so I cleaned and “armour-alled” the plastic bits before re-fitting.
The curved metal “noodle” tube between the cable and brake arm needed de-rusting as usual – it has a separate plastic inner core for the cable to slide on. I will touch up the last rusty bits by hand later and fit a cover ferrule to the sharp cable end.
To adjust V-brakes, I first screw in the cable adjuster at the levers, align the pads to the rims (can be tricky) and squeeze the pads onto the wheels then release slightly, make sure the cable slack is just taken up and then tighten the domed nut onto the cable before balancing the return springs via the little screws on the side so that the brakes release cleanly and evenly.
With the wheels fitted, the ratty Roadmaster is starting to look a bit like a bike again. I used the least knobby tyre from my used collection for the back wheel … and the bars from my purple Giant. It’s no Bella Ciao, but hey, neither is the price!
As this is a minimal cost project I used the original chain – this took at least an hour to free all the seized links, loosening them by hand and wire brushing away all the surface rust. At least I didn’t get greasy fingers as it was bone dry! Saved at least $20 on a new one. Of course I checked it wasn’t too worn first…
It was soaked in hot linklyfe chain grease and hung up to cool. The chain was then refitted around the drive and jockey wheels and the link pin pushed back in from its “almost out” position with the rivet extractor. Now I need to fit the rear brake and gear cables. Oh, and find a seat…
Found a seat – it’s a $20 Repco from Big W, it seems OK, comfort wise at least for shorter journeys. $8 each for gear cable inners and a rear brake cable from the LBS and we’re almost there.
Now I’d better stop before I start twining things … there are a few details to go yet !