||01-14-07 10:21 PM
Krazy-glued Brake Levers
Well, it's been unseasonably cold up here in Vancouver, Canada. We've had high winds knocking down half the old-growth trees in Parque Stanley, more than the usual two snowfalls per winter, and it's been around minus 5 Celsius for the past week or so. I've crashed on ice twice since January 1 (and I average two crashes per year, so I guess I'm safe now). The second crash, the left brake lever (Campag Daytona/Centaur ergo with the gearshift removed since I use a fixed gear) looked a little crooked, so I gave it a good whack with the heel of my hand. The plastic hood shattered, and I was left with the lever dangling from the cable and without a rear brake. I was able to ride to work over the rolling, icy hills (I don't like using back-pressure on the pedals, but it beats using the front brake on an icy descent), and I even did the ride home. Sheldon Brown is right, you don't really need a rear brake on a fixie. But it's still nice to have, especially on ice.
Anyway, I ordered a set of Tektro levers (they look just like the Ergopower levers, even to the quick release, which I need because I'm running Centaur calipers), and in the meantime I was going to replace the broken lever with an old Shimano unit I had laying around. But after removing the lever from the bar, I took a good look at. I could see why it would break. Campag had to take out a lot of material so they could fit the gearshift mechanism into the hood, so you've got this plastic frame that doesn't look like it's properly supported for the loads it's supposed to take. But I also noticed that I could still fit the lever into the broken hole on one side, and the shattered side of the hood fit neatly back into its original position. Because the pull is straight back (no lateral forces required), it looked like it would still work. I found some "Super Glue" (one of these Krazy Glue-type adhesives) in my girlfriend's fridge and actually glued the broken housing back together. Took it for a test ride on Saturday and it seemed to hold OK. Sunday I rode it with impunity, really cranking on the brakes on icy descents, and it's still holding after 50 km. I realize, though, that if I crash on the left side of the bike again, I'll lose the rear brake (these Krazy Glues never work as advertised - how many football players have you seen hanging by their helmets glued to the crossbar?). But I should have the new lever installed before that happens. Besides, with the wounds on my left elbow, hip, and knee, I'm not too anxious to crash on that side again.