Altenburger centre-pull brakes

by drmatthewhardy   March 29, 2013  

I just wanted to report a very positive experience with the Altenburger alloy centre pull dual pivot brakes that were commonly fitted to Raleigh and other 10 speeds made in the 1970s.

I've recently restored my old 1976 Raleigh Record (14kg of steel..) and as part of that replaced the rusty steel rims with new alloy rims. I decided to keep the old Altenburger alloy brakes for authenticity and because they still worked, but swapped out the pads and blocks with Ultegra cartridge pads and standard pads.

The result is surprisingly the most powerful and progressive brakes I've ever known. I took the bike for a spin up into the hills and found the brakes hugely reassuring approaching downhill hairpins at speed. I was able to wash off speed quickly and with great feel using just a single finger on the levers while in the drops. This was a transformation as the original pads on chrome steel rims were terrifying. It was also better than I've experienced using Ultegra side pull brakes on my modern bikes.

Has anyone else used centre-pull dual pivot brakes lately? Why did designers move to side pull?