Thursday, November 15, 2007

Putting on the Brakes

My task yesterday was to put the brakes back on, a somewhat daunting task because it involved my first-ever cable cutting. I was afraid I would somehow cut in the wrong place and have cables that were too short or some similar disaster, but that part went pretty well. I just used my old cables and housings as a guideline. The only problem came when I actually assembled the hand brakes and noticed that the metal caps the bike shop gave me for the ends of the new cables were too small for my hand brakes. I was able to reuse the plastic cap on one side, but on the other side, it had cracked. Using the new caps creates a problem because when I squeeze the brake, it moves the whole housing instead of just the cable on the inside, which is what actually works the brakes. I rigged a temporary solution with a washer and a piece of rubber I cut from an old tire, but I'm going to need a more permanent solution.

This is what it is supposed to look like. You can see that the plastic cap is designed to keep the housing from moving around when the cable is pulled with the handbrake.

And here's what I rigged up. First tried just the piece of rubber with a hole punched through it to let the cable work, but the rubber just got pulled through the opening in the handbrake when I squeezed the brake. I then added the washer to provide some resistance. The tightness of the cable keeps the whole thing in place and it seems to work well enough for now. Maybe I'll try to fix the other old plastic cap somehow. I guess a more permanent solution would be to just get new brakes altogether, but I am really interested in using as much of the original bike as I can.

PS--the black cable housings look really sharp against the dark red paint.

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