Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ross Adventurer Update / What you might want to try when your caliper arm is bent

Hello and welcome, Once in a while I mount a caliper brake after polishing and installing new shoes, only to find one of the arms is bent. This causes the brake shoe to make uneven contact with the rim's braking surface. If I have a spare caliper I can replace it or just salvage the needed arm for the fix. But what if I don`t have a spare?
Above: Here you can see that the brake-shoe is not making contact with the rim except on the front part of the brake shoe surface. Now I have read that some folks think it is ok to just "bend it back". Well if it is a cast part as most caliper arms I run across are. I would not recommend bending it. It was already fatigued when it was bent the first time. Bending it back will just weaken it more. I decided that a shim made more sense to me. Get the shoe back in the proper position without causing further fatigue to the cast alloy arm.
Above: For my shim I chose to use a typical brake-shoe mount washer. I decided to fold it using two pair of pliers (one normal the other needle-nose) I figured if it was too thick I could try using a thinner washer. As it turned-out the thickness was perfect. But what is the "O ring" for?
Above: Before I crush the fold closed with my pliers I put this O-Ring in place. This will give me a little insurance that the shim will stay in place when I`m installing the shoe. Also it should hold the shim in place should the nut loosen during use. Not likely to happen, but who knows?
Above: Here is the shim on the shoe. held in place by the O-Ring. At this point I`m thinking "this might actually be a good idea". A little over-kill? Maybe, but lets see the the result anyway..
Above: Now the shoe is making excellent contact with the braking surface on the rim.
As you can see the calipers are a little pitted or oxidized. But still a huge improvement over the cheap side-pull calipers that were original to the Ross Adventurer.
Above: I was unable to locate a match for the Aluminum back wheel off the Ross Carrera. So I have decided to go with the original steel wheel-set. I did brush and polish them up a bit. I also trued them-up a bit as well and cleaned the spokes and polished the hubs. I replaced the rim-strips with new ones and greased the bearings.
For tires I tried the cheaper gum-wall from Niagara. I am actually quite pleased with them so far.The line between the gum wall and the black rubber tire is much neater and straighter than on the Kenda tires I have been using. The only down side is 5 lbs less on the max inflation of 85 lbs psi. But I will gladly give up 5lbs for a neater looking tire. Which by the way is well under 10.00 US per tire.
Above: Here is a shot of the rear brake. The brake shoes are maxed out as far as how low I could position them. I may have to go with a different shoe or shave a little off these for a proper fit. I might just drill a new hole lower on the mounting brace / plate. I may just leave them alone if there is no shoe contact with the tire. It`s awfully close to rubbing the tire though, we`ll see.
Above: A shot of the rear wheel, free-wheel and tire. The free-wheel is Shimano and the hub is a Mallard. (front hub was stamped Ross) And as usual I have installed Jag-Wire brake-shoes.
Above: This is where the bike is at as of right now. It should be finished by now. But I have had some "other things" I needed to get done before the real cold weather gets here. So far the coldest it has been was +18 F wind-chill. I don`t think the actual temp has been much below freezing so far.
Above: When finished the Ross will have white handlebar tape and a white saddle and white cable housings. I think I have some old "Continental Style" two-way brake levers off a Schwinn World. But I`ll check and see if I have anything else that might look better laying around.
Till Next Time Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh


  1. I tend to be of the bend it back camp. Fatigue is usually thousands of cycles or more. I cannot think of any particular downside to a tapered washer, however.

  2. Looking forward to the finished Ross - the white color scheme sounds very sharp and should look great. I have ordered those Gum walls on Amazon (via Niagra) and have been very pleased with them.

  3. Hey Steve,
    I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

  4. Hey Ryan,
    You know, I was going to credit you with giving me the idea of trying these tires. But I was not 100% positive that it was you that I heard it from. But after reading your comment I am now sure it WAS you. So thanks for the tip! These are very nice looking tires. And they are even cheaper than the Kenda equivalent.

  5. There is actually a tool specifically for bending calipers for pad alignment. Hundreds of thousands of those have been bent through the years, and I've never heard of a failure as a result.

    Still, your way works, from the looks of it. It's just a lot of trouble to go through, in my opinion.

  6. Well if it was me -glad to help! They are a heck of a deal and Gum walls just look so "right" on the vintage 10 speeds.

  7. Hey Ryan, I agree, On vintage ten speeds gum-walls really look sweet!

  8. Thanks Jon,
    I am amazed! I would have never thought that was the common practice. I`m gonna have trouble embracing that idea, but I will work on it. Thanks for the information.

  9. I have Panaracer Pasela TourGuard tires on my Fuji Pulsar. They are very nice looking gumwalls with Kevlar reinforcement. They are much pricier compared to Kenda tires, but are priced considerably lower than tires aimed toward the racing market. They are rated at 95 psi max. I inflate to 75-80 psi, giving me very low rolling resistance for my 140 lb. body weight. They are often mentioned and recommended at

  10. Hey FujiPulsar88
    You made a very good choice. The Panaracer TourGuard is an excellent tire. I have used them on some of the "better bikes" in the past.
    But the Ross Adventurer is an entry-level bike.(and that is putting it kindly) When rebuilding a "cheaper bike" you have to watch every penny spent. I am not looking to make any money when I sell the bike. However I do need to break even.
    I do agree when you are ready to move up to a better quality touring tire, The Panaracer is the best deal hands-down.
    And congrats on the 140 ! I`m having trouble getting down to 195. Eventually I would like to be around 185. But I gotta make 195 first.


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