• TA

    A couple of small points:

    You don't need TA cranks - the 5 pin fitting is standard - although English cranks are very slightly larger at the centre and the adapter (or ring) will need slight easing with a file. Falconvitesse's Stronglights will fit with no problem. I suspect this is another of those irritating metric/imperial conversion errors - this fitting was originated by BSA, I believe, in 1904.

    Yes, I know about the single adapters - I've got one, but it's the only one I've seen in the flesh. The inner shoulder is not very deep, so it's unlikely to cause a problem, and as I say above, it could be removed with a few minutes filing.

    Inner ring size: towards the end of production (when a 42 inner had become standard) there were some 43 inners made. Not a huge benefit, and that's the absolute minimum that can fit. I once rode a 3rd cat. road race on the Woldingham circuit with a 44 x 18 bottom. I know I got up the big hill for at least one lap because I can still remember the smell of 30 odd sets of overheated brake blocks on the descent - but I don't think a 43 ring would have saved me from an ignominious DNF that day.

  • Ah good. I trust you can find a use for them!

  • Anyone know what the best brake pads are for GB pad holders?


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  • Would Kool Stop Campagnolo fit?
    https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-blocks­/koolstop-campagnolo-retro-brake-blocks-­2-pairs-salmon/
    "The dovetail fitting is 12mm wide, 9mm at the narrow section. Overall length, 40mm."

    I think GB pads are usually 35mm long but the wedge shape looks similiar so could be chopped down.
    I have the salmon pads fitted to some Mafac brakes that I am really pleased with. They also do a black version.

  • I use Koolstop, just measure the holders first.

  • Interesting I was looking at those myself, a couple of sets on Ebay. How are they? If I’m reading it right, the 1952 Brown Brothers lists those for Endrick rims. I don’t know how sloped towards the hub Endrick rims are, never had any. Do the blocks sit square?

    I have some #282 which are for GB in that catalogue but they feel pretty pretty hard and slippery. Can’t imagine they’ll stop anything.

    AFAIK the earlier GB Hidiminium shoes are wider at around 41mm, the GB 66 are 36mm. [I asked a while back in here for tips on how to cut brake blocks :D I have some red Fibrax (for alloy rims) that I need to cut for Lytaloy shoes. I’m thinking fine hacksaw.]

    I think you just need to buy a few sets and if they don’t fit throw them in the parts bin! There’s a cheap set of #269 on Ebay right now.

    Edit - that was a reply to @7ven’s post.

    Edit #2 - I meant to upload this pic, sorry had a couple of medicinal brandies. I might be reading it wrong and it probably doesn’t matter if I’m not!


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  • Thanks @benjaminbunny, @7ven, @Big_Block and @veloham for the advice /recommendations.

  • Braking

    First, naming of parts - Traditionally we had brake blocks and shoes . It's only recently any other terms (pads, holders etc.) have come into use.

    Old brake blocks - as mentioned in connection with Resilion, there must be question about the quality of 'new' but very old stock. A friendly bike shop gave me a whole box of red Fibrax blocks - they'd been on a shelf for years, because practically nobody (except me) puts new blocks into existing brake shoes. I assumed these were intended for ali rims (like red Weinmann blocks), but they seemed to have hardened with age so that they damaged the rims without much stopping effect.

    Riding old bikes inevitably involves the potential hazard of things just breaking under you (I've had a couple of lucky escapes) , so it seems sensible to do the best you can when dealing with braking. Therefore I think it's best not to worry too much about originality when it comes to brake blocks. The callipers are noticeable, the blocks and shoes much less so - I use the best shoes and blocks I can find, and I've not yet come across shoes that won't fit my Weinmann or GB callipers.

  • Perfectly agree. Period as much as you want, but safety first. And brake blocks will always be new on my machines.

  • Yes I second that.
    I bought these a couple of years ago and used them on alloy rims.
    They didn't work, they seem to just heat up and melt and then disintegrate. I could actually smell the burning rubber while riding along.


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  • Yep had a similar experience with an old block. Since then, never anymore.

    I've got steel rims on the Holdsworth and they're hard to stop already :)

  • nuremberg hercules c.1950s
    shot on a petri colour 35
    shout out to nbrc


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  • for steel rims, Fibrax Raincheater have the leather strip to get some grip.

  • Edit - sorry I wrote this in a rush when I should have been putting the kids to bed. Corrected now ...

    Oh but the feeling of painstakingly cleaning your period brake shoes ...

    So the white (284) blocks are in nib GB Coureur and are 41mm long, around 10mm at the pinch point that slides (ahem is pulled with aneurism inducing force) into the shoe.

    The 285 are in a set of the earlier “Hiduminium” callipers and are 46mm long with a similar profile. The later 1980s Fibrax leaflet a few places on the web specifies 285 for GB brakes. So there’s a fair chance these are not original anyway - it’s a front calliper, and the rear has definitely been swapped- for the no number black pair (in the last pic). To the point of the others above, I hadn’t even noticed I had a mis-matched set front and back till I checked! For what it’s worth the rear are even 5mm shorter at 41mm.

    I’ve measured the salmon Koolstop I have In Mafacs on my 70s rider and they are 46mm and 10mm at the pinch point. So if you have the 46mm GB shoes they should fit. I quite like the salmon :)

    FYI the group shot are the 282 which I guess are ‘correct’. Although I don’t think they’d stop a coasting mouse. Interestingly they are also angled.


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  • Upskirting my Mafacs with Koolstops


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  • Got some of those. Not sure if that exact brand. Still, braking power is much reduced compared to alloy rims

  • Thanks for the comprehensive reply and options. I'll dig out the GB shoes and give them a measure.

  • No problem, SJS Cycles stock the various retro looking Kool Stop blocks a well as the Fibrax raincheaters @BigBlock mentioned - https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-blocks­-caliper/ If you haven't found SJS previously they're great for bits and pieces.

  • Good call @SideshowBob
    A friend of mine through caution to the wind and bought this.
    It's his first vintage bike and it will be his first foray into fixed wheel.
    Should be fun.

  • You're very welcome.
    You don't see many around.

  • So after my chainring disintegrated, I intended on replacing it with a TA adaptor and new chainring attached to the Stronglight cranks, however in the end I thought i would just raid the parts bin for a suitable chainset.
    It would need to be reliable, maintenance free and geared for cycling up and down Blackheath hill everyday.
    I found this.
    Williams C34 46t.1/8.
    Back to basics


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Pre 1950s rides of LFGSS: old bikes, vintage rats, classic lightweights

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