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Old 11-14-10, 09:09 PM   #1
SunnyFlorida
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Brake Levers on R20

I'm using the original "long reach" brake levers on my R20. I'd like to have the levers a little closer to me though. However, the original levers doesn't have that little screw adjustment that more modern levers have that would bring the levers closer to me.

Any way I can adjust the levers that I may not be aware of? If not, any suggestions on levers that would work with the original R20 brake calipers I'm also using?

My LBS suggested I work with the original brake levers since they were made to work with the calipers. Doing this has saved me some bucks since I didn't have to buy new levers or brakes. However, it's proving to be uncomfortable as well as a tad unsafe, as time goes by.

Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 11-15-10 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 11-14-10, 10:28 PM   #2
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They can be bent a bit, however you will lose some travel which is probably not a good thing. I am on the road...AGAIN (I was supposed to be working in town until the end of the year) I will take a look at mine again, I vaguely recall doing something other than the bending to get the ones on the Twenty my bride rides down to a better reach for her small hands. For some reason I am thinking some type of spacer somewhere. I didn't do it one of my stellar LBS mechanics did.

Also while I am thinking about it I have a Raleigh Head Badge for you...

Aaron
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Old 11-15-10, 08:01 AM   #3
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They can be bent a bit, however you will lose some travel which is probably not a good thing. I am on the road...AGAIN (I was supposed to be working in town until the end of the year) I will take a look at mine again, I vaguely recall doing something other than the bending to get the ones on the Twenty my bride rides down to a better reach for her small hands.
Thank goodness for your bride with the small hands or else I'd be in a pickle.

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For some reason I am thinking some type of spacer somewhere. I didn't do it one of my stellar LBS mechanics did.
Greatly appreciate you taking the time with this. I thought I'd be able to "cowgirl up" with the levers but my hands are cramping.

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Also while I am thinking about it I have a Raleigh Head Badge for you...Aaron
Yayyyyy. Thanks so much. Sybil will be pleased.
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Old 11-15-10, 12:41 PM   #4
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Had you considered using ergonimic grips so your hands can be further forward?
I will be getting round the brake issue by getting V brake braze-ons for my kingpin (kinda late to suggest this after Sybils paint job I know).
You could try swapping out the brake levers with another bike and see if they work, if they work you know to look for another pair the same.
If you're into the whole cowgirl thing why not just lassoo stationary objects when you want to stop?
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Old 11-15-10, 08:26 PM   #5
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Had you considered using ergonomic grips so your hands can be further forward?
Err..no since I didn't know there was such an animal. I'll look into it as a possibility.

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You could try swapping out the brake levers with another bike and see if they work, if they work you know to look for another pair the same.
That's an idea I can try out now. I can use the spare brake lever from the old Broadwalk my nephew is renovating. I would like a lighter touch with the levers besides being able to bring them closer to me and be able to adjust the brake via the cable barrel too.

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If you're into the whole cowgirl thing why not just lasso stationary objects when you want to stop?
Excellent idea....sooooo what corner will you be standing on? YEEEEHAAAAA!!!!
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Old 11-15-10, 09:21 PM   #6
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I like the city bike brake levers from Orange Velo. http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...es/levers.html The place is like a candy store for bike goodies.
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Old 11-16-10, 06:56 PM   #7
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WowI Levers look exactly like the ones I have. Good site to note, especially for the fenders.

Well, Sybil will be ready for her close up soon. I fine tuned the shifter today. I got a replica SA 3 speed trigger shifter with cables which I installed all by myself
a few days ago (pats herself on back).

I fine tuned the brakes and repositioned the levers a bit too.

Braking is good when I use both levers. It sucks when you use one. I guess I'm going to have to get use to using both brake levers on the R20 as oppose to using one.
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Old 11-16-10, 09:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SunnyFlorida View Post
I'm using the original "long reach" brake levers on my R20. I'd like to have the levers a little closer to me though. However, the original levers doesn't have that little screw adjustment that more modern levers have that would bring the levers closer to me.

Any way I can adjust the levers that I may not be aware of? If not, any suggestions on levers that would work with the original R20 brake calipers I'm also using?

My LBS suggested I work with the original brake levers since they were made to work with the calipers. Doing this has saved me some bucks since I didn't have to buy new levers or brakes. However, it's proving to be uncomfortable as well as a tad unsafe, as time goes by.
I too is still using the "old" (but never really used and like new just like the rest of the bike) brake levers that came with the bike. I surely have the same smaller hands and fingers that most women have and you seem to have yourself. When my bike was purchased, the levers were positioned with the levers facing forward, rather than downward as was usual with the previous bikes I purchased. This was more suited for my smaller hands & fingers, plus a bonus of more power when applied. My previous Dahon Boardwalk's brake levers were set up just like this bike is. My Brompton originally when first purchased had it's brake levers pointed completely downward causing me much pain. The bike mechanic that tuned it simply rotated them up a small fraction. I use them now completely free of pain and improved braking along with it's own Kool Stop brake pads (so much that I don't have a need to upgrade them anytime soon with dual pivot ones).

Just look at the photos of my bikes below and you will probably get a good idea of each bike's present set up (from left to right, Raleigh Twenty, Dahon Boardwalk S1, and Brompton CE3).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Raleigh Twenty Br.jpg (49.8 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Boardwalk Brake L&#.jpg (53.3 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg My Own Brompton's.jpg (66.8 KB, 7 views)

Last edited by folder fanatic; 11-16-10 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 11-18-10, 08:58 PM   #9
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Thanks for the pics FF. I did fuss with the levers again. The rear one is more comfy and I adjusted the front lever a little downward to see if it makes a difference. It does slightly. I am getting slowly accustomed to having at least one finger from each hand on the brake levers. Stopping is definitely smoother this way.

P.S. I adjusted the gears again. shifting a whole lot easier on that end.

Now all I have to do is put the front fender on. Of all the things I had to do with the R20, you would think putting the fenders on would be a piece of cake. It isn't.

I don't know if it was the paint job or not but the fork became super tight. I can't slip the front fender on easily. Gotta wait for my nephew to come by this weekend so we can man handle the fork and get the wheel off. I'm getting the wheel off not only to slip the fender between the fork but to slip some spacers on the wheel so it won't jiggle.

Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 11-18-10 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 11-19-10, 07:41 AM   #10
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On a Twenty with steel rims you are going to need both brakes. I have the alloy rims on mine and I need both brakes, but I am pretty good sized at 6'-2" and 215#...

The original brakes on the Twenty are a bit on the flexible side and make for some weak braking power, but with Kool Stops it is still way better than what it came from the factory with 35+ years ago.

Aaron
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Old 11-20-10, 06:35 AM   #11
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On a Twenty with steel rims you are going to need both brakes. I have the alloy rims on mine and I need both brakes, but I am pretty good sized at 6'-2" and 215#...

The original brakes on the Twenty are a bit on the flexible side and make for some weak braking power, but with Kool Stops it is still way better than what it came from the factory with 35+ years ago.

Aaron
Wow!!!! Were the original brakes that crappy???? It's so ironic that the R20 is so desirable now. However, in its day, was it considered an "okay" bike to have with no real bragging rights?

Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 11-20-10 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 11-20-10, 07:18 AM   #12
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Wow!!!! Were the original brakes that crappy???? It's so ironic that the R20 is so desirable now. However, in its day, was it considered an "okay" bike to have with no real bragging rights?
They weren't great, but when that bike was built brakes on most bikes were not that good compared to what is out there now. There have been huge improvements in pad materials as well as brake types; disc, roller and V-brakes are all relatively recent innovations in the mass market. Kool Stop pads have been around in one form or another for close to 40 years, but they were a niche market item.

I have been messing with and riding bikes since the late 1960's and never saw a Raleigh Twenty until 5 years ago...now I own 3 of them...go figure!

Aaron
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Old 11-20-10, 08:17 PM   #13
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Okay

I hauled the Twenty my bride rides out into the light of day today...

This is how the brakes are set up:

I bent the levers a bit, made sure they were at the optimum location for her hands, used Kool Stop Continentals and have the wheels trued to the absolute best I can do, then set the brakes as close to the rims as I could without scrubbing. Result is relatively short brake travel and quick braking. HOWEVER, she doesn't feel comfortable with using dual hand brakes, so the new wheels will be built up using a 3 speed coaster brake hub (most likely a modern one) which is what is on her other bikes.

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"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 11-20-10, 08:54 PM   #14
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SunnyFlorida I put Kool Stop brake pads on mine and my wife's R20 and that made a huge difference in stopping. The original pads were worthless...
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Old 11-21-10, 09:20 AM   #15
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Hey Dave -

When I first got Sybil (yes I name my bikes) the front brake was good enough to stop with. The rear brake did not existent, at least not in this universe. Stupid me I assumed any ole brake pads would do. After trying two sets, I finally gave in and got the Continental Kool Stop pads. What a difference.

However, I'm going from a trike (that had a front brake only) to a two wheel bike (and I have the skinned knees to prove it) and so I'm not use to braking with both brakes.

I assumed I could brake only using the rear brake since it's pretty much stop and and go here and I'm not going very fast. I could do that easily with my Speed D7 but not with the R20.

When I first used the rear brake on the R20 I would skid to a stop. Not good. After checking and/or adjusting the brake levers, pads and the brake cable tension, I can brake a little more safely. However, I don't have the same rear brake stopping power of the Speed D7.

At this point I'm gonna have to learn to use both brakes with the R20.

The reach brake lever problem really concerned stopping with the rear brake alone. I had to pull extra hard to stop, which was hurting my hand after a while.

Since I'm now stopping using both brakes, I don't have to pull so hard on the brake levers.
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Old 11-21-10, 02:21 PM   #16
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I see you got it figured out SunnyFlorida. Yes, using both brakes is the preferred method of stopping. Your front brake has more stopping power than the back so don't over do it
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