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  1. #1
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    Straight Bar Levers for Dual Pivot Caliper Brakes

    I bought a bike equipped with Shimano A550 Dual Pivot Caliper brakes, drop bars, and Shimano Tiagra ST4500 combo brake levers and shifters. I wish to change the bar to a flat type, and the combo levers will not work for this. What makes and model break levers can I use that will give me good modulation and feel? Obviously I will use separate shifters. TIA for any insight you might have.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    From loosescrews.com:

    Shimano R550 Flat Bar Road Brake Levers /Pair

    Price: $20.65 USD

    Item #LS-9584RB: If you would you like to use an upright mountain type handlebar on your road bike, these brake levers may be just the ticket. They mount on a mountain bike type handlebar but are compatible with dual pivot or single pivot side pull brakes typically used on road bikes. They are not compatible with cantilever or linear pull (V) brakes. Cables and black brake cable casing are included.

    There is also a silver version that I like better on road bikes. I have them on two bikes.

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    From my experience, road dual pivots or even single pivots work well with v-brake compatible levers. The spring action mimics the old SLR road levers Shimano made back around the time dual pivots took over.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWnyc View Post
    From my experience, road dual pivots or even single pivots work well with v-brake compatible levers. The spring action mimics the old SLR road levers Shimano made back around the time dual pivots took over.
    Dierct pull levers pull the cable twice as far and half as hard and should not be used with cantilevers or road calipers.

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    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    Direct pull levers pull the cable twice as far and half as hard and should not be used with cantilevers or road calipers.
    Some can be made to work- there are some "V-brake" levers with adjustable pull. I have a set of Tektro MT2.0 levers that can be switched, and my wife's bike has Avid levers that can be adjusted. Both work find with dual-pivot calipers.

    More of a concern is which shift levers you will use. There's incompatibilites with front derailleur cable pull that you might have to address.
    Jeff Wills

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    Pardon my off-road ignorance. I thought the difference was the spring loading in the levers. I have a bike with Alivio 7sp shifters/levers and new Ultegra dual pivots and the combination works great. I just grabbed the first flat bar levers I could find and put them on without knowing the difference. I guess they must not be direct pull. Ooops.

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    Check the Tektro page. They have a full line of levers and calipers for every application. They're inexpensive and work great.

  8. #8
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    I have had good luck with Avid SD7 levers dialed down to minimum throw/maximum force. Very little difference in hand feel between them and regular "road brake levers"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWnyc View Post
    From my experience, road dual pivots or even single pivots work well with v-brake compatible levers. The spring action mimics the old SLR road levers Shimano made back around the time dual pivots took over.
    I looked all over this site and could not find a way to flag a post as 'BAD ADVICE,' so I have invented a way...

    BAD ADVICE

    Quote Originally Posted by MWnyc View Post
    From my experience, road dual pivots or even single pivots work well with v-brake compatible levers. The spring action mimics the old SLR road levers Shimano made back around the time dual pivots took over.
    BAD ADVICE

    edit: saw your explanation about the confusion over you levers above. You are forgiven... for now.

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    I searched the thread and read up on the differences. I remember the few cantilever-compatible levers I've used (like 200gs, for example) lacking a spring loaded lever. Were there standard pull levers with this feature? Just curious.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWnyc View Post
    I searched the thread and read up on the differences. I remember the few cantilever-compatible levers I've used (like 200gs, for example) lacking a spring loaded lever. Were there standard pull levers with this feature? Just curious.
    Yes, there are both standard and direct (more cable pull) pull levers that have springs. THe only common difference between direct pull and standard are the amount of cable pulled for the same lever travel, and hence the amount of force pulled for the same lever force.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Some can be made to work- there are some "V-brake" levers with adjustable pull. I have a set of Tektro MT2.0 levers that can be switched, and my wife's bike has Avid levers that can be adjusted. Both work find with dual-pivot calipers.

    More of a concern is which shift levers you will use. There's incompatibilites with front derailleur cable pull that you might have to address.
    Thanks for the universal agreement! No one said it was gonna be easy.
    The shifter is the easy part. I'm going with a single chainring 1X9 Sram X9 short cage rear with a twist shifter. Most likely will go with a Tektro as it seems they make some light weight, inexpensive models that will fit the bill. Unless someone has a recommendation for some high zoot bling that simply works better than anything else.

    Edit: Would "top mount" levers work?
    Last edited by konut; 08-14-09 at 05:39 PM. Reason: Killing time

  13. #13
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by konut View Post
    Thanks for the universal agreement! No one said it was gonna be easy.
    The shifter is the easy part. I'm going with a single chainring 1X9 Sram X9 short cage rear with a twist shifter. Most likely will go with a Tektro as it seems they make some light weight, inexpensive models that will fit the bill. Unless someone has a recommendation for some high zoot bling that simply works better than anything else.

    Edit: Would "top mount" levers work?
    "X" series SRAM shifters are their proprietary 2:1 ratio system. You could use either a SRAM twist shfter or
    a SRAM trigger shifter. A "top mount" shifter might work if you ran it in friction mode and used a Travel Agent ti get enough cable pull.

    Sounds like an interesting project!
    Jeff Wills

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  14. #14
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    Sorry for not being clearer. The "top mount" lever would be for the brakes, not the shifter. I'm already using the SRAM derailleur with a SRAM twist shifter on my present bike that I will move to my new bike. The Tektro reference was to the brakes. The "top mount" question was prompted when I was finding that the 25.4mm dia. of my bar was not commonly supported except in 26mm and 31.8mm brake levers with shims.

  15. #15
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by konut View Post
    Sorry for not being clearer. The "top mount" lever would be for the brakes, not the shifter. I'm already using the SRAM derailleur with a SRAM twist shifter on my present bike that I will move to my new bike. The Tektro reference was to the brakes. The "top mount" question was prompted when I was finding that the 25.4mm dia. of my bar was not commonly supported except in 26mm and 31.8mm brake levers with shims.

    25.4mm (and 26.0mm and 31.8mm) all refer to the center portion of the handlebar where the stem clamps. All "mountain" handlebars are 22.2mm (aka 7/8") diameter at the grip. Any upright handlebar will accept any brake lever designed for upright handlebars with only rare exceptions.

    What exactly did you mean by "top mount" brake lever? I've never heard of brake levers called that- and I've been around bikes for 30 years.
    Jeff Wills

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