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Rob's WD16H and Big4 Forum

Dutch army, Johan Herman Fuhler, somewhere between 1945 and 1950

Rob's WD16H and Big4 Forum
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rear brake without acceptable function


even though I know what to expect from 40ies bike wrt brakes I miss any pressure point on my rear brake. It's like stepping on a softball.
Shoes look good, everything in place working.
Is the "step into nothing" only due to the very long brake pedal?
My front brake works fine but braking downhill with only one brake is sometimes a little too exciting.
Any advice / experience you can give me to improve?


Re: rear brake without acceptable function

Hello Heiko,

I do not recognise your problem so it seems its related to your bike.
My rear brake will stop the wheel when giving it enough push.
The long lever does however give a bit strange feeling through its long travel. Certainly if you are used to modern bikes.

Maybe that the liners look good but are crap.
Are they modern or still the 40ties type?

I still have the 40'ties version and they work OK for me.



Re: rear brake without acceptable function

Heiko, I'm puzzled too. The rear brake is usually thought of as more effective as the pedal gives more leverage and the drum is surrounded by the chain ring which makes for a more rigid assembly. Vintage racers have used rear drums on the front for a little extra 'bite'.

It's entirely subjective but I trust my rear brake to stop me far more than the front... Is the brake plate nicely free on the axle so that it can centre . If so then I'd suspect lining contamination / material or possibly operating diameter of the shoes.

Re: rear brake without acceptable function

I notice as my chain needs adjusting and I move the wheel back, the angle of the rear brake plate lever on the wheel, changes and the brake rod fouls against the nut on the frame stud, that holds on the mudguard stays. Only by shortening the chain can I move the brake plate lever higher and the rod doesn't hit the nut. Could this be affecting your braking?

Re: rear brake without acceptable function

You may have contaminated brake shoes
Clean with petrol and a wire brush and leave to dry.
My M21 rear brake is pretty rubbish as grease has got to it.