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  1. #1
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    Can one use a short-pull brake with long-pull levers?

    Hi all,

    First, I think I need to clarify a couple things in case my understanding of the basics are incorrect.

    1) I believe cantilevers and calipers are considered short-pull, yes?
    2) drop bar levers are designed for these types of brakes and they too are short pull, right?
    3) XTR, XT, et al levers are long-pull (to be used with v-brakes, etc.)

    Can one use a lever, designed for long pull braking systems, with a short pull brake? Will it cause any undesirable effects (decreased cable life, sudden braking, etc)?

  2. #2
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    The "long pull" (V-brake type) levers will have less leverage than using the correct levers so more hand strength will be required for any level of braking.

  3. #3
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guruguhan
    Hi all,

    First, I think I need to clarify a couple things in case my understanding of the basics are incorrect.

    1) I believe cantilevers and calipers are considered short-pull, yes?
    2) drop bar levers are designed for these types of brakes and they too are short pull, right?
    3) XTR, XT, et al levers are long-pull (to be used with v-brakes, etc.)

    Can one use a lever, designed for long pull braking systems, with a short pull brake? Will it cause any undesirable effects (decreased cable life, sudden braking, etc)?
    The problem with this mismatch is that you will have to pull twice as hard on the lever to get the same amount of braking force. The levers will "feel" great, instant, rock solid response, but you will need to have very strong hands to get acceptable braking force.

    Some of the levers you mention have an adjustment for the cable pull, but whether there's enough adjustment range for safe use is questionable.

    You could use an "Inline Travel Agent" to adjust the pull, if these are integrated brake/shifters. If they're just plain brake levers, better to just buy short pull levers, nice ones are cheaper thatn Travel Agents.

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    Thanks Match 'Em Brown

    So travel agents are used both ways? (ex. When one wants to use v-brakes with normal road levers, and when one wants to use xtr levers with road brakes?)

    I'm asking because I could get some Avid discs which are meant for use with road levers (not the standard type of avid disc brake - I think these were sold as OEM parts to some manufacturers like Giant) - they are short pull, but I'd like to use them on a mountain bike with dual-shift XTR levers. If its a problem, I'll just go with normal Avid discs, since they arent that much more expensive, but my curiousity sparked the question.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Get the "normal" mtb Avid discs. Keep it simple (and correct). You'll be happy you did. The travel agents unnecesarily complicate things, and many users don't like them. Do a search on travel agents and see for yourself. They're a band aid...

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    Thank Old Hammer, I've considered travel agents (and tossed the idea) when I was considering v-brakes with STI shifters on a touring bike. I was asking Sheldon for clarification that travel agents are used both ways "(ex. When one wants to use v-brakes with normal road levers, and when one wants to use xtr levers with road brakes?)".

    Do you know if this is correct?

  7. #7
    Blue Light Special kmart's Avatar
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    I have the opposite setup on my MTB. I had cantilever brakes and levers, but then I upgraded my front fork to one that didn't have a cantilever brake mount, so I had to put a V-brake on instead but kept the old levers. I love my front brake now. It's very light, snappy, and takes very little force to come to a stop. The rear brake feels quite impotent by comparison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmart
    I have the opposite setup on my MTB. I had cantilever brakes and levers, but then I upgraded my front fork to one that didn't have a cantilever brake mount, so I had to put a V-brake on instead but kept the old levers. I love my front brake now. It's very light, snappy, and takes very little force to come to a stop. The rear brake feels quite impotent by comparison.
    The down side of what you have done is that you have to set the brake shoes very close to the rim to keep the brake lever from running out of travel before it applies the brakes properly. If the rim is very true it will work. The other problem will surface if you have to remove the front wheel and can't compress the brakes enough to disconnect the noodle.

  9. #9
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guruguhan
    Thanks Match 'Em Brown

    So travel agents are used both ways? (ex. When one wants to use v-brakes with normal road levers, and when one wants to use xtr levers with road brakes?)

    I'm asking because I could get some Avid discs which are meant for use with road levers (not the standard type of avid disc brake - I think these were sold as OEM parts to some manufacturers like Giant) - they are short pull, but I'd like to use them on a mountain bike with dual-shift XTR levers. If its a problem, I'll just go with normal Avid discs, since they arent that much more expensive, but my curiousity sparked the question.
    Sure, the inline Travel Agent can be installed in either direction, depending on whether you want to step up or down.

    This would be a bit of a Rube Goldberg kluge though, and if you consider the cost of the Travel Agents, I don't see how it could be cheaper unless you already own the "road" calipers.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    Sure, the inline Travel Agent can be installed in either direction, depending on whether you want to step up or down.

    This would be a bit of a Rube Goldberg kluge though, and if you consider the cost of the Travel Agents, I don't see how it could be cheaper unless you already own the "road" calipers.

    Sheldon "Simplicity" Brown
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    Ok, thanks again Sheldon!

    How are you feeling these days? Hope you're well

  11. #11
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guruguhan
    Ok, thanks again Sheldon!

    How are you feeling these days? Hope you're well
    'Fraid not. I've got MS, and can't ride a bike anymore... :-(

    http://sheldonbrown.com/health

    Sheldon "Gimp" Brown
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    'Fraid not. I've got MS, and can't ride a bike anymore... :-(

    http://sheldonbrown.com/health

    Sheldon "Gimp" Brown
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    Sheldon, I'm so sorry to hear that.

    I dont think anyone here will ever believe you to be Sheldon "Gimp" Brown. I think Sheldon "the Brainiac" Brown is more fitting.

    All the best.

  13. #13
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    I use road V-levers (287V's) with standard cantis on my tourer/commuter. It takes a bid more hand strength but lever action is solid.....no spongy feeling. I like the set up.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    I use road V-levers (287V's) with standard cantis on my tourer/commuter. It takes a bid more hand strength but lever action is solid.....no spongy feeling. I like the set up.
    I'll bet it's solid with no spongy feeling. If your hands are strong enough and you don't have any real long down hills to contend with, this arrangement will probably work. I recommend you stay out of mountainous areas with a loaded bike with this set-up. Coming down a 10-mile long mountain pass road could be a real trial of hand strength and endurance.

  15. #15
    Blue Light Special kmart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    The down side of what you have done is that you have to set the brake shoes very close to the rim to keep the brake lever from running out of travel before it applies the brakes properly. If the rim is very true it will work. The other problem will surface if you have to remove the front wheel and can't compress the brakes enough to disconnect the noodle.
    You're right, it requires a true rim, and my front really isn't, but thanks to the left/right adjust set screw on the V-brake, I've adjusted the shoes as close as possible without rubbing and it's fine. Removing the wheel is also super easy. The front brake is super smooth and very light (I usually brake with an index finger). I am thinking of doing this on the rear wheel as well.

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