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  1. #1
    dork delicious's Avatar
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    removing "suicide" brake levers

    I've run into this problem in my amateur mechanicalizing a few times and have just run into it again. When I remove the suicide levers from an old pair of brakes and reattach everything, there is an annoying amount of "play" in the remaining lever. This is due to the space on the little bolt going through the brake previously taken up by the suicide lever being vacant. Is there any way to combat this? I suppose a washer would work, but I don't have one in the right size.

  2. #2
    cab horn
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    A washer would do the work.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  3. #3
    cs1
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    Try going to the hardware store and getting a shorter screw. Most good hardware stores have a selection of metric hardware. What you might want to do is to hacksaw off the portion of the boss that sticks out of the actual brake body. Then you shouldn't even need the screw. Put a nice gum hood over the whole mess and it will look great. Good luck

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    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I have heard of people cutting the pivot to be flush. Personally, I think I saw several pair on eBay that would replace it well for under $10.

    Nashbar sells new Aero levers pretty cheap.

    My favorite is the Cane Creek... Worth every penny!

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    An old timey bike shop should have the fix. When I wrenched for a living, the owner of the bike shop removed all suicide levers for liability reasons. There was a replacement pivot and I believe a plastic washer or two that converted the brakes perfectly.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho
    An old timey bike shop should have the fix. When I wrenched for a living, the owner of the bike shop removed all suicide levers for liability reasons. There was a replacement pivot and I believe a plastic washer or two that converted the brakes perfectly.
    Hi San Rensho, could you tell me what kind of problems customers were having with their suicide levers (what was the liability)? Are endos more likely to occur?

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    dork delicious's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help, you guys are fantastic. I'll be heading to the hardware store tomorrow.

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    Senior Member dave80909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delicious
    Thanks for the help, you guys are fantastic. I'll be heading to the hardware store tomorrow.
    DuMb QuEsTiOn :

    Why is it called a "suicide lever" ...just curious ?

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    cab horn
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    Because you can't brake as well from the horizontal levers.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave80909
    DuMb QuEsTiOn :

    Why is it called a "suicide lever" ...just curious ?
    Yes, operator is correct. To elaborate, most average riders did not maintain their bikes in the days of suicide brakes. Actually some things never change...

    Anyway, suicide brakes worked fine if your cable tension was nice and tight and your brake calipers were adjusted correctly. However, for the average yabo, as the brake pads wore and the brake cable stretched, they didn't do any maintanance or adjustments and the "suicide" brake levers became less effective until eventually, they would go to squeeze the brakes and Weeeeee they didn't work. Hence the term "suicide brakes".

    I think if you are the type of person who maintains their bike as needed, "suicide" brakes are nice. In fact, I think that properly adjusted they are safer than not having them because most riders ride with their hands in the top position most of the time. If they need to emergency brake, they can brake right from the top position rather than diving into the drops to brake.
    Mike

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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    Yes, operator is correct. To elaborate, most average riders did not maintain their bikes in the days of suicide brakes. Actually some things never change...

    Anyway, suicide brakes worked fine if your cable tension was nice and tight and your brake calipers were adjusted correctly. However, for the average yabo, as the brake pads wore and the brake cable stretched, they didn't do any maintanance or adjustments and the "suicide" brake levers became less effective until eventually, they would go to squeeze the brakes and Weeeeee they didn't work. Hence the term "suicide brakes".

    I think if you are the type of person who maintains their bike as needed, "suicide" brakes are nice. In fact, I think that properly adjusted they are safer than not having them because most riders ride with their hands in the top position most of the time. If they need to emergency brake, they can brake right from the top position rather than diving into the drops to brake.
    I agree, but I'll add this: don't fool around with old school non-aero brake levers, whether they've got suicide levers attached or not. For $30 or so you can get some aero style levers, attach them to your old school brakes, and you'll be surprised at the braking power you'll have. You won't have suicide levers anymore, but you can brake from the hoods with so much better ergonomics and leverage it's not even funny-

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    I agree, but I'll add this: don't fool around with old school non-aero brake levers, whether they've got suicide levers attached or not. For $30 or so you can get some aero style levers, attach them to your old school brakes, and you'll be surprised at the braking power you'll have. You won't have suicide levers anymore, but you can brake from the hoods with so much better ergonomics and leverage it's not even funny-
    Hey well-biked, can you describe and maybe illustrate aero vs. non-aero brakes. Interesting advice, but I would like to understand it better.
    Mike

  13. #13
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Heck, for $15 you can get cheap aero-style levers. Though I'd recommend spending $30 and getting nice Shimano or Tektro (which makes the Cane Creek model mentioned above).

    Aero-style levers have cleaner-looking cable routing and have greater mechanical advantage. "Aero" refers to brake cables being routed under the handlebar tape, instead of sticking up from the top of the lever and then looping back down.

  14. #14
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    Hey well-biked, can you describe and maybe illustrate aero vs. non-aero brakes. Interesting advice, but I would like to understand it better.

    Simplest clue is visual: aero levers don't have the cable housing coming out of the tops. The housing comes out the back of the hoods, routed around the bars under the handlebar tape. I installed some Cane Creeks on my Dia Compe sidepull caliper brakes, and they are far more effective. If you want top-bar braking, you can add a pair of inline/cyclocross levers to aero-only setups. They also work wonderfully well. (It's like springs didn't exist back in the 70s/early 80s.)

  15. #15
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    I have heard from an old machine shop guru that the suicide levers would also bend or brake at the pivot...
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    There were two other problems with "suicide levers". First, the levers themselves were flexable and would often bend to hit the handlebar before full braking was achieved even if the cables and pads were in good shape. Second, the brake calipers on the cheap bikes that came with those levers were so lacking in rigidity that they themselves would flex and allow too much lever travel.

  17. #17
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Maybe with no-name pot metal brakes, but the Shimano, Dia-Compe, and Weinman levers I've encountered aren't going to bend, flex, or break unless you dump the bike on them.
    I just mounted a set of Dia-Compe levers with saftey levers on the Ficelle I'm building up for my daughter; she couldn't reach the Mafrac levers with her 12-year-old fingers and can grasp the saftey levers from the tops and regular levers from the drops no problem.
    The key, as stated above, is proper set-up and maintaince.
    To the OP, I've removed saftey levers by both cutting the piviot pin flush with the side of the lever housing and shortening the lever mounting screw and just cutting the piviot and dressing it down. A new set of hoods from Bikeparts ect or Biketools will cover up bad workmanship
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  18. #18
    Senior Member thePest's Avatar
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    <thePest smurks> your side of the counter was called that! WE called them extension Levers...

    Here's what you need to do...

    If you are savy enough. The "Yoke" cable carrier for center pull / Cable anchor bolt for side pull brakes. Just needs to be tighten and reset by pulling the cable a sqoush. If you aren't sure how to do this???

    Most brakes have a backup system called a burrel adjuster. "long screw looking thing at the end of the brake housing with many threads on it** Crank Away!!!.

    What if it's already cranked?
    A: Ah, this means you will need to crank it all the way back and read above what to do next.

    ==============================

    As for the povit bolt that the extension levers where connected to? This should have NO effect how lose the Brake lever is.


    btw is this a Dia-Compe / Weinmann
    or is it generic or Shimano

  19. #19
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    Hey well-biked, can you describe and maybe illustrate aero vs. non-aero brakes. Interesting advice, but I would like to understand it better.
    As peripatetic already said, you can tell the difference visually by the way the brake cable is routed. On aero levers, the cable stays beneath the bar tape and exits near the stem. Functionally, while there's a good bit of variation in the shape of the hoods from model to model, generally speaking aero levers will have at least a little more flat area on top of the hood to rest your hand comfortably, and will also be shaped to where you can get better leverage with your fingers when you pull on the lever. Non-aeros tend to be more hook-shaped, giving not really a resting place for your hand but simply a place to hook your thumb, and even that is typically not as good as with aeros. Also, and probably most importantly, the pivot location of the brake lever is slightly different with the aeros, giving better leverage. It all adds up to noticeably better braking. Here's a link showing the Cane Creek SCR-5 aero levers that have been mentioned earlier in the thread: http://www.canecreek.com/scr-5_lvr.html

    I just bought some of the Cane Creeks from bicyclesupply, on ebay, for $26.95.
    Last edited by well biked; 10-27-06 at 07:32 AM.

  20. #20
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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou
    I've used those, too. Trust me, it's worth it to spend the extra $15 or so and get Shimanos or Cane Creeks. Another one that hasn't been mentioned that I bought through my LBS a couple of years ago is the Shimano Exage levers. I paid around $15, I think, and they're excellent levers. Could have been a closeout deal on the price, though, I'm not sure-

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    Quote Originally Posted by guruguhan
    Hi San Rensho, could you tell me what kind of problems customers were having with their suicide levers (what was the liability)? Are endos more likely to occur?
    They didn't work. You could squeeze the levers against the bars and they would provide pitiful braking.

    I think there was also the issue that they were on lower priced bikes, and to make them work at all you had to adjust the brakes very close to the rims, and there were many complaints of dragging brakes.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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