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  1. #1
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    Converting to Aero Levers & Cable Routing

    Soon I’m going to perform a brake upgrade to my mid 1980’s Motobecane Grand Tourer with Weinman model 610 centerpull brakes (see pics attached below). This will entail swapping out the stock Weinman brake levers for Aero brake levers (Tektro model RL340), a pair of cyclocross style interrupter levers (Tektro RL70), replacing the front and rear brake cables and housings, replacing the brake shoes (the latter covered on a separate C&V post), and finally installing new bar wraps.



    I have few questions before beginning:

    1) Cable Routing: note in the attached pic how the front brake cable is routed. A rather large chrome brake housing holder (is that the term?) which also held a reflector , attaches under the upper headset nut and the bare cable runs from there to the calipers. If the Aero cable routing for the front brake follows the handle bar until near the quill then curves down to the cable housing holder, it seems the cable bend there would need to be of a pretty small radius (compared with the current routing) and thus problematic?

    2) Cyclometer wire routing: What is the cleanest? I have the wire wrapped around the bare front brake cable (not pictured), but there’s no brake housing there to protect it and I fear that a sawing action from brake cable friction may eventually damage the wire. It looks sloppy and jingus.

    3) Order of work sequence: Based on the location of the front brake housing holder, should I perform the headset maintenance first (lube and/or replace headset bearings), before addressing the brake cable routing and installation?

    4) Handle Bar Wraps: the stock rubber ‘faux stitched leather’ bar wrap looks as if it was shrink wrapped onto the handlebar. I assume there is no way to salvage this and it needs to be cut off (i.e., it’s not removable/replaceable)?

    5) Brake Housings: I’d like to get the similar color brake housings as they match the silver paint well. They’re weathered, but look clear as one can see the inner spiral metal wraps. I’m reading about Teflon coated housings, but some folks say they cause more problems than they solve? What is recommended as an inexpensive yet well made housing?


    I also need to get some fitting issues squared away which will have an impact on this upgrade, as I'm thinking it may be beneficial to swap in a shorter stem. I have very long legs, very short torso, and slightly longish arms. I feel way too stretched out to ride comfortably with my hands on the hoods (albeit riding the stock hoods is awkward due to ergonomics). I think the frame top tube may be a tad too long for me. Nonetheless, I'm eager to reap the benefit of improved braking action and more importantly, improved ergonomics, from the aero brakes. Currently I ride mostly in NYC and with my hands on the bar tops: perhaps the aero brakes (possibly combined with a shorter stem) will allow me to conformably ride on the hoods; if not then the shorter reach to the bar tops plus interrupter levers will be my comfort zone.









    Last edited by Lovegasoline; 07-15-11 at 04:51 PM.

  2. #2
    )) <> (( illwafer's Avatar
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    1:


    2. get a GPS or smartphone. i use a forerunner 305 or my phone if necessary.
    3. yes.
    4. should be removable, but i'll let someone else get this one.
    5. velo orange braided housing (also in pic #1).

  3. #3
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Ilwafer, your stem looks much shorter than the op's. I'm not sure he can get the same results as yours.
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    From your description, just cut off the hoods and get a set of "comfort" lever hardware.

    The cable routing with is probably going to be tight the way you have planned, not that it could not be done, but some history in wrenching like bikes will help. From your inquiries, which are sound, you are going to have to fiddle with it yourself.

  5. #5
    )) <> (( illwafer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    Ilwafer, your stem looks much shorter than the op's. I'm not sure he can get the same results as yours.
    true. he could route off the bottom of the bar and/or get a different hanger.

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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 Route housing across the bottom of the bars, even to the bottom/rear of the bars. Should work fine.

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    you could upgrade your brake calipers too while you're at it then not have to worry about the center guide thing
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    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frantik View Post
    you could upgrade your brake calipers too while you're at it then not have to worry about the center guide thing
    That's true. Those centerpulls are good brakes though so it would probably only be an aesthetic change. I would try what ilwafer and wrk101 suggested, finding the lowest possible hanger and routing the cables towards the back.
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    Holy Spokes it's Batsman! Glennfordx4's Avatar
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    First thing is to get your bike to fit, so if you need to change your stem do it now, then service/replace your headset if needed and look for a drop cable hanger that will let you make a smooth transaction from your interrupter levers to the hanger. I have the same set up basically on my Centurion except I have dual pivots and I found some NOS Schwinn lined brake housing on Ebay like yours and it works well. I also used Rav-X Cotton Gel wrap to cover things up and so far really like it.




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    As shown in Glennfordx4's photos, I'm going to be restricted on where to run the cable on the handlebar based on where the cable exits the interrupter lever.

    As for swapping out the center pull front brake for a side pull: the center pull Weinmann brake works well and I'm not in a financial position to buy another set of brakes. I'm on a very tight budget.

    Does anyone know what sort of cable hanger would work here? Or another solution?

    Maybe also there's a special brake cable housing that is more compliant that can be used?
    Last edited by Lovegasoline; 07-18-11 at 03:19 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Check some older bike shops that will have a good junk box. What you're looking for is a drop style hanger that fits onto your threaded stem like the present one but has a downward offset to the hole. They are out there as I've had them on some bikes. You just need to look around in some well stocked junk drawers.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member trekKiller's Avatar
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    Why are people doing those interruptor cx style brakes so often now? The new giants shipped to our store with them on a 105 equipped bike! Blech!
    building bikes = riding bikes

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
    4) Handle Bar Wraps: the stock rubber ‘faux stitched leather’ bar wrap looks as if it was shrink wrapped onto the handlebar. I assume there is no way to salvage this and it needs to be cut off (i.e., it’s not removable/replaceable)?
    Don't think that's shrink wrapped. Never seen shrink wrap tubing that thick for that diameter.
    On top of that, it'd be a neat trick to maintain the embossed pattern while simultaneously rearranging the molecules enough to get the tube to shrink. You'd probably have to cast the tube, as opposed to extruding it, which is the regular production process. It's a guess though.
    I'd reach for my trusty needle-nosed air ***. Poke the nozzle gently between bar and tube, give it a blast while turning/pulling on the tube.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
    .. reading about Teflon coated housings, but some folks say they cause more problems than they solve?
    What issues wouuld that be? Never noticed any, never read about any.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
    What is recommended as an inexpensive yet well made housing?
    I've used a wide variety of cables & housings over the years, and as long as it's lined I don't think I'd be able to tell the difference from one brand to another if my life depended on it. Die drawn cables run a little smoother, but even the crude stuff is perfectly serviceable in a lined housing. Haven't tried Nokon, and that stuff called Flak Jacket though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
    I also need to get some fitting issues squared away which will have an impact on this upgrade, as I'm thinking it may be beneficial to swap in a shorter stem. I have very long legs, very short torso, and slightly longish arms. I feel way too stretched out to ride comfortably with my hands on the hoods (albeit riding the stock hoods is awkward due to ergonomics). I think the frame top tube may be a tad too long for me. Nonetheless, I'm eager to reap the benefit of improved braking action and more importantly, improved ergonomics, from the aero brakes. Currently I ride mostly in NYC and with my hands on the bar tops: perhaps the aero brakes (possibly combined with a shorter stem) will allow me to conformably ride on the hoods; if not then the shorter reach to the bar tops plus interrupter levers will be my comfort zone.
    I'm working on a pet theory of mine which revolves around that bike fitting should really be seen as a short for bike fit and rider fitness. There's a number of formulas out there that will serve you well to put you in the right zone, but to find the spot is all down to trial & error.

    And one thing I think is overlooked in the bike sizing formulas is rider build, fitness and amount of commitment during the ride.
    Being hunched forward does two things:
    1) it provides leverage for your legs pushing down
    2) it provides less poor aerodynamics

    A guy with a heavier upper body (than what the charts were developed for) will get the same amount of leverage, and can push just as hard as a skinnier guy, at less of a forward lean.
    A guy riding harder can tolerate more of a lean forward (w/o adding load to his arms) than someone who's riding at less of a power output.

    For a commuter, I ride hard, but I still like my bikes set up shorter than what the charts are telling me.

    Shortish torso but longish arms, shouldn't that suggest a shorter-than-average stem, and a lower-than-average bar position?

    You might not get too much ergonomic improvement out of your new brake levers. Old-style drop bars, with their smoother bends don't give the same hood angle as a newer bar with tighter bends. And tight bend bars don't fit in stems with wraparound clamps.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    (4) If you don't have an air compressor, you can slide a spare spoke into/along the housings, pry a bit and squirt some soapy water in there. Do this a few times and you should be able to slide it right off.

    I reeeeally don't understand the interruptor levers for riding on the tops of the bars. If you need that extra .08 second to grab the brakes, you'd probably be better off paying closer attention to what's going on around you. Levers cost money and add weight and complexity. Paying attention is free, adds no weight and makes things less complex.
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    Thanks for the replies.

    repechage:
    By ‘comfort lever’ do you mean those old school lever extensions that fit onto the brake lever? The main point of this upgrade is to get better braking/ergonomics from the aero hoods.


    BCrdier:
    I think it would have to have a very large offset – several inches – to provide the necessary distance. Do they make such a hanger?


    TrekKiller:
    I can’t speak for others, but my interest in interrupters is based on ergonomics, safety, and aggressive traffic riding in NYC. Most of my urban riding is done on the bar tops, well under 20mph, but often demanding quick reactions and very sudden brake response. Moving from a more upright body position into a crouch and also moving hands from the bar tops into the drops in order to grab a handful of brake – so you don’t get run over by a taxi or other banshee driver - can be the delay to get you maimed.


    Dabac:
    I have no clue at all how the rubber was installed. Also, the brake hoods look to be integral to the wrap … the rubber looks as if it's one big piece shrunk over the bar and brakes. Pulling to much on the rubber tears it.
    I have two compressors here (one IR true 5 HP/80gallon tank). I have a needle nozzle and imagine all it would do would blow apart the rubber. How would the rubber be pulled over the brakes? It’s like some puzzle.

    Brake housings: some folks have reported Teflon wearing off and gumming up the interior of the housings. ???

    I’ll need to start a new thread with pics regarding a rudimentary bike fitting.

    Your point regarding older style drop bars and brake lever orientation is something that had crossed my mind (gah). I hope this doesn’t turn into an epic to get a better cockpit ergonomics.


    Captain Blight:
    Stretching the rubber in that manner will just tear it. It’s not thin or elastic like an inner tube. And it’s 25 years old. It is grippy though.
    Last edited by Lovegasoline; 07-20-11 at 04:59 PM.

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