Tour Easy: New Rear Brake

While I had the bike up on the stand to replace the seat strut screws, I installed a new rear brake. The old brake hadn’t been braking well for a while, which I attributed to different brake pads, but nothing seemed to help.

New rear brake
New rear brake

I had to drive the old brakes off the mounting studs with a drift punch; the studs were pretty well rusted after a decade of continuous use under the hostile conditions that pass for normal around here.  Shined them up, applied a generous layer of Never-Seez, and bolted the new brakes in place.

Turns out that the rear brakes on a Tour Easy are backwards from their orientation on an upright bike: the studs point spinward, so the cable exits on the right side of the frame. Doesn’t make any difference, as that’s how the front brake studs work, but if you’re thinking of buying some fancy brake with odd mounting requirements, you probably shouldn’t.

The installation specs require “more than 39 mm” of cable between the clamp bolt and the bracket on the other arm. The Tour Easy frame tubes are closer together than that, allowing a bare 25 mm of cable.

Rear brake cable and boot
Rear brake cable and boot

I trimmed the boot to fit, but the real problem is that the arms aren’t at quite the right angle with respect to the braking surface on the rim and provide a bit less leverage than you’d like; the pad alignment is also trickier. I tried adding spacers to the brake pads, but the mounting studs aren’t quite long enough for that.

The first road test indicates the new brakes work much better than the old ones…