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Old 05-11-09, 11:36 PM   #1
Austin Rice
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Custom Hand Brake

Hey fellas. I am converting a bike to a fixie, and thought up a very unique idea. I want to make a handbrake for it that is mounted on the top tube and controls the back brake. I was wanting something that would lay parallel with the top tube when the brake was not being used. I was thinking about modding one of these down tube shifters by mounting them to the top tube, and somehow extending the "arms" and have them merge into a single arm. Could you guys help me out with designing this?

P.S. I am planning on making the two cables merge into one and making it a U brake.



***EDIT*** I forgot to say that I want it so that when you pull it back, it activates the brake as if the brake lever were on the handlebars.

Last edited by Austin Rice; 05-12-09 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 05-12-09, 08:47 AM   #2
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You should ask this question in the single speed/fixed gear forum. They know a lot more about that kind of setup.
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Old 05-12-09, 10:02 AM   #3
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I thought that this would need to be custom made, so that is why I posted it in the Alt Bike Culture forums.
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Old 05-12-09, 10:03 AM   #4
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I don't think those will have the same mechanical leverage as a brake handle. The pivot point is much closer to the axis on the shifters than would be on a brake handle.
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Old 05-12-09, 10:04 AM   #5
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It would be similar to the Schwinn Stingray's stick shifter, but instead of shifting, it brakes.
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Old 05-12-09, 01:09 PM   #6
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Shifters require much less pulling strength, that is why the cables are smaller diameter. You will not have the same stopping power and may have a greater chance for your hand slipping off the brake. You may be better with a larger shifter such as the stingray shifter- better grip and more leverage.

what about mounting a brake handle on the top tube? or under the seat
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Old 05-12-09, 02:42 PM   #7
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There's been discussion of top tube mounted brake levers in the SSFG forum before.
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Old 05-12-09, 03:25 PM   #8
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I dnt want a normal brake lever. I want something similar to the stingray's stick shifter. Today I saw a cool idea: clamp a normal brake lever to the rear of the seat post. It looked cool, but I like my idea better. Better response time.
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Old 05-12-09, 03:26 PM   #9
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Take your balance into consideration here as well. Do you want to be holding on to your top tube in an emergency braking situation?
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Old 05-12-09, 03:35 PM   #10
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Well, it is going to be put onto a fixie, so at least it will have a brake. Besides...it would probably be more for looks, but I would still want it to function.
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Old 05-12-09, 06:58 PM   #11
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Thick brake cables won't fit within the groove for thin shifter cables.
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Old 05-12-09, 09:35 PM   #12
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A flaw I see is that hand brakes can require considerable force, available from your grip, whereas the shift levers are made to adjust things, not to apply large amounts of force.

I've seen photos of a number of oriental pedicabs that had what appeared to be large homemade sure-fire brakes. You might take a look at them. Probably not the route you'd want to take, but it's been done.
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Old 05-13-09, 06:40 AM   #13
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You'll probably stop faster by resisting the pedals than using this type of brake.

It could be used as a drag brake going down hills so you don't spin out. The brake may remain "engaged" when you release the levers.

Panic stop use more likely to result in an accident while you decide which hand to remove hand from handlebar to activate, finally DO activate, and realize it's not going to stop you in time.

Others have used bar-end shifters in this style, but again, it should not be a primary brake.
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Old 05-13-09, 10:48 AM   #14
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I believe it's called a "suicide brake", on account of the fact that you have to ride with one hand to use it.
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Old 05-13-09, 02:41 PM   #15
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You'll probably stop faster by resisting the pedals than using this type of brake.

It could be used as a drag brake going down hills so you don't spin out. The brake may remain "engaged" when you release the levers.

Panic stop use more likely to result in an accident while you decide which hand to remove hand from handlebar to activate, finally DO activate, and realize it's not going to stop you in time.

Others have used bar-end shifters in this style, but again, it should not be a primary brake.

Ahhh. I see how this could be usefull on a fixie.
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Old 05-17-09, 05:55 PM   #16
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I know---use a pogo(or springer)seat post--then mount the cable end to the seat.when you stand the seat go up and pulls the brake cable!
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Old 05-17-09, 07:19 PM   #17
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coaster brake?
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Old 05-18-09, 12:06 AM   #18
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I believe it's called a "suicide brake", on account of the fact that you have to ride with one hand to use it.
+1. Braking HARD requires bracing your decelerating body mass on the handlebar. Braking hard with one hand on the bars = your mass pushes forward on one side of the bars only, your front wheel turns sideways, you flop over and crash.
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Old 05-18-09, 12:15 AM   #19
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I have decided to just mount a standard brake lever on the bottom of the top tube. I will take pictures as soon as I get the right lever.
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Old 05-18-09, 08:03 AM   #20
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+1. Braking HARD requires bracing your decelerating body mass on the handlebar. Braking hard with one hand on the bars = your mass pushes forward on one side of the bars only, your front wheel turns sideways, you flop over and crash.
That weight shift is also why front brakes do most of the work. The harder you decelerate the less weight there is on the rear wheel and the less stopping power it has. That's why 99% of fixed gear bikes that have a hand brake have it on the front.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:25 PM   #21
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IMO more dangerous than going brakeless. If you have an existing bike try riding around holding the top tube while slamming the rear brake with your other hand.

Now imagine on a fixed gear where locking up the brake stops your pedals, abruptly... Now you are off balance, trying to control a skidding bike with one hand on the top tube and one hand on the bars.

If you want to be unique, this isn't the way to go about it.
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Old 05-25-09, 12:30 PM   #22
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What like his :



.
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Old 05-25-09, 12:38 PM   #23
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Yep. That is what I want, except it will be on the top tube.
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