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I have a vintage Gitane Sprint from the early '80s which came with Weinmann 405s (single-pivot side pulls). I had been thinking about replacing the front brake anyway and then recently broke the quick release, which has been nearly impossible to replace without buying an entire brake and using it for parts. I was considering putting on a dual-pivot brake to help with some centering issues common to the Weinmanns as well as to increase stopping power.

Would a Shimano Tiagra 4500 be compatible with the Weinmann levers? If not, what type of brakes should I be looking for (whether new or vintage) without having to replace the levers?

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Cable pull is the same for most mechanical caliper brakes (though it differs for recent Shimano 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace which use the new "SLR" scheme).

The things to take into account are the mounting nut and reach. Older brakes use a hex nut to hold the brake in place while newer ones use shorter bolt and countersunk nut. Most of new brakes are for recessed mounting, if your bike has traditional nut you will either need to find a brake with longer bolt and external nut or drill the fork crown for recessed nut.

Whilst it's fine to drill out the rear of the fork crown to adapt an old frame to recessed mounting, it may be more problematic to deal with the (often narrrow) brake bridge at the rear. Instead, you can swap the (longer) front bolt on the front caliper of your new brakeset to the back - so giving the rear caliper enough protruding bolt to use an 'old style' non-recessed nut. Then use a new longer bolt (e.g from J-Tek http://www.jtekengineering.com/other/jtek-dual-pivot-brake-bolt-nut-conversion/) onto the front.

Sheldon Brown explains everything.

Weinmann 405s seem to be short reach, so that should be no problem.

Recessed and traditional nut

  • The new cable pull is "Super SLR" and also includes 4700 Tiagra and R3000 Sora. "SLR" is their name for their old system of splitting the return spring between the lever and the caliper. – Nathan Knutson Sep 14 '16 at 19:03

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