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  1. #1
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    Front + rear brakes operated by one brake lever

    I asked this on an earlier post, but it got lost among all the other questions I was asking in the thread. So I decided to ask in its own thread.

    I am a lightweight backpacker and stand by the saying that lighter is better. With that in mind...

    Can the front and back brakes be operated with one brake lever?

    Thanks
    Wayneburg

  2. #2
    Chi
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    If you can engineer a mechanism that will pull both brakes at once, you can, I guess. The Campagnolo differential brake design might work nicely here. But again, without individual control of both wheels, it would be hard to control the bicycle, I think. I can see situations where only one wheel need braking, esp. in mountain biking.

    If they were hydraulic disc brakes I'm sure you can build a distribution valve that will allow pressure to both calipers.

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    Why would it be hard to control the bicycle? I've always used both brakes at the same time. Why would I want to operate one or the other individually?

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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Some tandems are set up that way....a single lever actuates the front cantis and the rear drum simultaneously.....or something in that effect. There are gismos that allow you to do this. The other lever pulls the rear cantis. You may get a better response posting this in the tandem section.

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    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    You may get a better response posting this in the tandem section.
    I think the response will be just fine here. General Discussion gets more page views than any of the other forums, and the last thing this forum needs is a heap of cross-posted threads.
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    Oops I just cross posted to the tandem section. Guess I'll delete it.

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    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayneburg
    Oops I just cross posted to the tandem section. Guess I'll delete it.
    That's okay, I took care of it. Nobody is questioning the validity of your question, it's just that if everybody starts cross-posting in the forum, there will be a lot of clutter and it gets harder to keep track of replies.

    Cheers.
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  8. #8
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    Here ya go Grimeca

    This is one of their systems were one lever actuates to calipers but you could purchase just the IBS part and rig it to any hydro they make.


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    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    I mostly use front brake and then both but almost never just the rear. You dont want the rear to washout on you and it can happen. Dual pull might be ok if you can adjust pressure seperate.

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    Last edited by Wayneburg; 01-31-04 at 12:07 PM.

  11. #11
    Censorship Stinks! pcsanity1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    I mostly use front brake and then both but almost never just the rear. You dont want the rear to washout on you and it can happen. Dual pull might be ok if you can adjust pressure seperate.
    That is backwards from what I was told....I always use rear to prevent endo in a quick brake situation. Use the front to assist for extra power after the rear grab. (Or if I am eating with the right hand....

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    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    If you only use the back, you aren't going to be able to stop as fast, since the weight transfers to the front of the bike on deceleration. A wheel with no weight on it loses traction whch is a pre-requisite of good braking. Proper modulation of the front brake, much like ABS on a car, will give you the most braking ability. The point of greatest braking power is that point just before lockup, which is when the tire loses traction, and the wheel stops all forward motion, which would cause an endo. Yeah, I'm a car guy too.
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    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    I had a 99 trek 7500 and it had a abs type thing on the front brake so it would'nt lock up and it worked pretty good. Wonder why they dont use them more?

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    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Front should maintain around 60% of the stopping power between both sets. I do see a use for individual control as sometimes 'washing' out is a useful technique. I think a single control lever would be cool but it would have to be modulated. Meaning not a 50/50 draw. Then again I would never consider it on a mtb...

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    You cannot use one lever to control both brakes coz that'll be too dangerous, you have to judge the situation 1. if you're going downhill straight road dry no sand and need to stop urgently you may put 70% front 30% rear to stop efficiently

    2. if you're going downhill wet and winding road then a more pressure on the back is safer to control the bike.

    There're so many other example that tells you to use your own discretions, but definately applying different pressure for the front and rear. Therefore I think having one lever controling both brakes are dangerous.

  16. #16
    road siklista dexmax's Avatar
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    as so many has mentioned... It is possible to use one lever for two or more brakes...

    But it will be very dangerous, if for example you apply the same pressure on both front and rear. It would cause the rear to skid, while the front has not reached it full stopping power, making the whole thing useless in emergencies and quick manuevering especially in XC and DH.. as mr skareb stated above.

    Besides, I like to play with my rear wheel. Controlled skids to come in useful when going DH.

    This is the reason why motorcycles use diff. controls/levers for the front and rear wheel. Same applies to bikes.
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    check this out

    Quote Originally Posted by Chi
    If you can engineer a mechanism that will pull both brakes at once, you can, I guess. The Campagnolo differential brake design might work nicely here. But again, without individual control of both wheels, it would be hard to control the bicycle, I think. I can see situations where only one wheel need braking, esp. in mountain biking.

    If they were hydraulic disc brakes I'm sure you can build a distribution valve that will allow pressure to both calipers.
    I saw this site. It is way cool in addressing this very issue:

    Go to www.brakedirector.com

  18. #18
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Let me get this straight, trying to save weight by dropping 1 brake lever.. isn't this almost akin to that discussion thread a while back saying that you can shave over half a pound by simply taking a dump before getting on your bike?

  19. #19
    road siklista dexmax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    Let me get this straight, trying to save weight by dropping 1 brake lever.. isn't this almost akin to that discussion thread a while back saying that you can shave over half a pound by simply taking a dump before getting on your bike?
    ....

    I take a dump before I ride.. not to save some weight, but for other reasons....
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  20. #20
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dexmax
    I take a dump before I ride.. not to save some weight, but for other reasons....
    So do I. I have to say I missed the original thread. Guess I just don't spend enough time around here these days.
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  21. #21
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    I had a 99 trek 7500 and it had a abs type thing on the front brake so it would'nt lock up and it worked pretty good. Wonder why they dont use them more?
    As I recall, Shimano produced two types of modulator devices. Neither of them perform like real ABS units which could detect wheel spin (or rather wheel lockup) and force a backoff or reintroduction of the braking effort as appropriate. The "inline" brake modulators were mainly attached to the cables on lower-end and hybrid bikes. They basically created a non-linear pull of the cables to prevent an initial grab (pull) on the brake levers from applying too much effort. The second form of brake modulator actually came first (introduced about 10 years or so ago) and was called (probably still is) "Servo-Wave". This mechanism was integral to the levers themselves and used a special ramp cutout to introduce a non-linear leverage on the cable end. They were also adjustable/tunable. These are still available on the high-end cable-actuating MTB levers I believe. They came in two forms (stepped and stepless). The higher end units were stepless.
    Last edited by khuon; 02-14-04 at 04:28 AM.
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  22. #22
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayneburg
    I asked this on an earlier post, but it got lost among all the other questions I was asking in the thread. So I decided to ask in its own thread.

    I am a lightweight backpacker and stand by the saying that lighter is better. With that in mind...

    Can the front and back brakes be operated with one brake lever?

    Thanks
    Wayneburg
    It is possible. Any reasonably resourceful mechanic could do it.

    But it is not a good idea.

    On pavement, most of the stopping power is in the front brake. As you stop, the bike leans forward taking weight off of the rear wheel. The idea is to use both brakes and to apply pressure to the front&back and when you hear the rear wheel skid, to let up pressure on the front a bit. That means the rear wheel is unloading and much more pressure on the front will cause you to flip over the handlebars.

    The people have already posted that on mountain bikes off road, there are varying conditions that affect the optimal braking technique.

  23. #23
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    One of the better discussions about brake techniques is here:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
    The other thing to look at would the brake combiner/modulator weight more of less than a brake lever? You could always go fixed and run a front brake only.
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  24. #24
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    Hey - not true

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat
    It is possible. Any reasonably resourceful mechanic could do it.

    But it is not a good idea.

    On pavement, most of the stopping power is in the front brake. As you stop, the bike leans forward taking weight off of the rear wheel. The idea is to use both brakes and to apply pressure to the front&back and when you hear the rear wheel skid, to let up pressure on the front a bit. That means the rear wheel is unloading and much more pressure on the front will cause you to flip over the handlebars.

    The people have already posted that on mountain bikes off road, there are varying conditions that affect the optimal braking technique.
    I have been involved in riding for many years - and the comment about the front wheel brake stopping power is a myth. When do you pull on the back wheel brake less? If you follow your example, the momentum would lift the back wheel high, pitching forward ---- and Over the Handlebars goes the rider. It happens. What counts is even braking, distributing the momentum across the bike. This is something a rider develops over time. It has been an industry tradition of safe biking.

    Now that I have discovered Brake Director, I can say that any mechanic could do the simple, but this little item does it all for a whole lot less mulah than you'd think. The comment about mountain bike is true, also adding in extreme or trick biking where individual wheel control is vital.

    But as for dropping one lever cause of weight - give it up. It won't make that much difference weighwise. Most traditional single lever setups pull both brakes off of one cable. You got to be pretty strong to operate it. I can write a whole lot more on this subject. It's a weak trade off.

    BTW if you are in Seattle, the guys from Brake Director are handling the NEW TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY BOOTH at the GROUP HEALTH SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL BICYCLE EXPO in March. I'm getting mine there.

  25. #25
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    This is getting absolutely scary. Please take no offense, but this is a fine example of how everyone needs, at some time in their life, some training in how to ride a bike.
    Save for those times when traction is sketchy, the front wheel has far greater stopping power than the back. Don't believe me? Fine, just look at cars and motorcycles. The front brakes on both are far more powerful than the rear. Many motorcycles have one disk brake in the rear, with two in the front. If the rear wheel is better, why are the two disk on the front?
    The Bike Gospels of the Three Johns all teach the same technique. Hit both brakes, the front harder than the rear, while shifting your weight rearward (quick stops). If the rear brake begins to skid, due to unloading by weight tranfer forward, ease up on the front brake to prevent an endo. You will stop far faster than the rear brake alone, somewhat faster than front brake alone, and safer than front brake alone.
    Trust me, I am League of American Bicyclists LCI # 1126.
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