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Old 03-04-09, 04:50 PM   #1
ernestmurphy
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Hoods for gripping rather than for braking?

Hi. Geezer (almost 61) who just bought a beater fixed-gear conversion. For exercise on mostly flat land, not for tricks, not for touring, not for commuting.

All my biking life I used drop bars and have ridden the brake hoods a lot of the time because that's always been the most comfortable position for me.

Haven't been on a bike in 20 years. Now I find that on the fixed bike, the palms of my hands get sore very fast holding riser bars in the normal way, on the grips at either end. May be related to carpal-tunnel syndrome I've had off and on.

I'm tempted to put on good old drop bars. I use a front brake, and will continue to do so, despite what a lot of fixed-gear fanatics will say, but I'd like to have a hood on the opposite side as well, just for gripping, not for the rear brake I don't have.

Is there any more elegant solution than buying a matching pair of road brake levers and hoods and installing one for the front brake and one connected to no brake at all? Being an old guy, I care about my riding comfort a lot, and looking cool is not a consideration. Still, having a brake hood and lever not connected to anything seems like a strange idea. I'll do it, though, if there's no better alternative. Thoughts? Thanks.
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Old 03-04-09, 05:21 PM   #2
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Anybody who notices is paying way too much attention to you. As a fellow sexagenarian, I can promise you that very rarely happens at our age.
seriously, if it's comfortable and solves your problem, who the hell cares? I separated a shoulder several years ago and rode around for a year with one brake lever two inches higher on the bars than the other, because I couldn't reach it in the normal position. Nobody ever commented on it, and I wouldn't have cared if anyone did.
Back in the day, several manufacturers made "dummy" levers for tandems, like the mounts without the actual lever. You could hunt up some of those, or just take the lever part off, bolt on the mount and fake it.

Last edited by Velo Dog; 03-04-09 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 03-04-09, 05:37 PM   #3
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You could always run bullhorns.
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Old 03-04-09, 05:45 PM   #4
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I was the same way with my hands of the bars without hoods. I switched to bullhorns and it's a big improvement.

I saw a few years ago Harris Cyclying (where Sheldon Brown worked) sold my fixie (Fuji track bike) set up exactly the way you described - regular drop bars with a working barke and hood and just a hood without the brake. So it's something people want and use.

There's also nothing wrong with having two brakes. I've seen that on several bikes. It makes it easier to quickly stop without having to skid the rear
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Old 03-04-09, 06:21 PM   #5
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Why not run a rear brake? They do have their place on a fixed gear bike and they're certainly far more effective than trying to use your legs in a hurried stop. I'm probably just old and boring but the more I ride fixed gear the more I appreciate the added flexibility of having brakes, especially when your legs are cold - my uni commute starts with a slight down hill run with lots of side streets and seeing my legs are cold, it's murder trying to slow the bike without using the brakes ... so I just use the brakes. I also like the balanced feel of using both levers but that just might be what I'm used to. Mind you, if you're using a track frame, you probably can't mount a rear brake or don't have cable guides, both of which qualify for reasons not to have a rear brake.

If you want to use drop bars, just fit another brake lever and be done with it. Most (all?) aero brake levers are sprung loaded so the lever sits up in the 'off' position - they don't need to be connected to a brake.

Have you considered bullhorns? They're popular because they work very well and the bars provide that balanced hand position. Mind you, they don't give you the 'drop' position which is why I wound up keeping drops (for headwinds).

Richard
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Old 03-04-09, 06:25 PM   #6
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By the way, it's okay to admit to using brakes in the 50+ forum - we regard those who use brakes as sensible and those who don't as suffering from age related dimunition of cognitive function (ie, they're going ga ga) ... which is appropriate here

Richard
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Old 03-04-09, 06:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
By the way, it's okay to admit to using brakes in the 50+ forum - we regard those who use brakes as sensible and those who don't as suffering from age related dimunition of cognitive function (ie, they're going ga ga) ... which is appropriate here
Richard
Yes Richard,

I must be suffering from ARDOCF too, thanks for pointing that out . That must be why I have bullhorns and two brakes on my fixed gear bike! Are those bars called "Cow Horns" on a woman's bike?

Rick / OCRR
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Old 03-04-09, 07:09 PM   #8
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Use one drop bar brake lever, and one "stoker" lever for a tandem.

http://www.ebikestop.com/drop_bar_br...evers))397.php

Or bullhorn bars.
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Old 03-04-09, 07:29 PM   #9
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Goodness.

Quote:
Hi. Geezer (almost 61)
If you are a "geezer" at ALMOST 61, I wonder what that makes me at ALMOST 70?

No, don't answer that!
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Old 03-04-09, 10:12 PM   #10
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A considerably less expensive answer to your numb hands problem using riser bars might be to try a pair of bar ends such as these. They will have a similar effect as dropbar brake hoods and they are very comfortable. They're only about $25 a pair.

Doug
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Old 03-04-09, 11:03 PM   #11
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Add a rear brake.
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Old 03-05-09, 04:27 AM   #12
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I vote bullhorn.
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Old 03-05-09, 05:10 AM   #13
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Check out the tandem specialty dealers. They'll have stoker "dummy hoods". I think that you can even get an exact match for some brake levers.
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Old 03-05-09, 11:28 AM   #14
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Dummy hood or two brakes.

I will say that I would question the notion of "gripping". Gripping is to me a sign of bad form. Generally fingers should be draped over the bar or hood loosely in a very relaxed fashion, except maybe when standing to climb.
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