Tip for New Rod Brake Installs

I’m jamming tonight in the Flying Pigeon shop, trying to get a batch of bikes ready for an independant film company shoot, and I figured now is as good a time as any to release a little tip aobut rod brake installation.

Out of the box, some sets of rod brakes just don’t seem to work right! You tighten everything down, adjust to your heart’s content – but still, you get slipping of the rods when you pull firmly with the brake lever. What to do, what to do!

This can be a real pain with a new set of rods, or a new set of brakes to fit old rods, and it is due (in my opinion) to all that damn hiny new chrome on your rods and your rod brake parts.

Now, don’t go bathing your parts in salt water baths just yet! Try my rod brake installation trick instead!

You’ve got two options:

Option 1: Let it rust.

This is the easiest to do, as all it requires you to do is leave the bike alone until the sleeves that retain the rods coming off of the handlebars generate enough oxidation inside them that a firm pull on the lever will not produce any slipping of the rod.

Pro: Easy, just be lazy.

Con: Never know when it’s done (wait another month and watch your bike melt in the elements or try riding a bike with brakes that are questionable?).

Option 2: File or grind the rods.

This involves ANSI eyewear, a flame retardant suit, adult supervision, a condom, and a jar of Tinactin. Always use tools with the greatest of caution, as you may harm yourself and decide to sue me in your injured state.

Take a dremel (or a file, if you’e got time to kill) and lightly file, grind, or sand the ends of the rods that will be clamped into the sleeves of the rod brakes by the rod draw bolts. This abrasion on the rods will prevent slipping, and it doesn’t require waiting for the bike to rust into place!

Pro: It works!

Con: Bike doesn’t have that cool vintage patina of oxidation and cracked nickel plating.

So, that’s it. Let the critiques and grammar corrections come pouring in (see the comment section below). If you’ve got a better technique, or think that this is irresponsible, please let me know by calling 213-909-8986 or by emailing us at info@flyingpigeon-la.com

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