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Old 03-28-12, 01:32 AM   #1
veryredbike
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Under Chainstay Rear Brake

Why and why not? I saw one on a beautiful Retrotec at NAHBS and was wondering why there isn't more variation there.

Edit: this was a caliper mounted on the chainstay bridge, not a u-brake or roller-brake.

Last edited by veryredbike; 03-28-12 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 03-28-12, 07:55 AM   #2
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I think the idea is that the brake gets dirtier in that location and is more of a pain to adjust.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:32 AM   #3
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Yes, the under chainstay caliper location is a poor one. Chain splat, tire spray both contribute to the mess that coats the pads. Adding the knuckle cutting nature of chainring teeth near by and you know why a collective sigh of relief was heard (among those who have to service the damn things) when the mainstream manufactures moved away from this location. Andy.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:33 AM   #4
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why: it's different and gives a cleaner look; initially you are left wondering where the rear brake is. And I guess less drag.

why not: extra cable run on the DT, possible clearance and access issues, gets contaminated quickly
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Old 03-28-12, 08:35 AM   #5
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Why not- mounting a kick stand means a rear axle located one. Which don't balance the bike as well as a traditionally located one does. Don't laugh, I lost sales because of this issue in the early 1990s. Andy.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:58 AM   #6
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I think the best reason for doing it is just to be different. On my frames I've mounted brakes (in addition to the traditional location) under the seat stays and on top and under the chainstays. I do it mainly because I like the clean look of a "bare" seatstay... makes people wonder and scratch their heads.

On "handmade" frames you only have so many opportunities to be different. That's what you see at NAHBS.

Others do it for different reasons. I think Rob English (English Cycles) does it for aero. Look at some of his examples. Brilliant! Neat cable routing too. These are mainly race bikes where "dirtiness" is not an issue, though I'm not certain a rear brake mounted anywhere is any cleaner than anywhere else. If you didn't see his stuff while in SAC you missed something special.
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Old 03-28-12, 09:02 AM   #7
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Why not- mounting a kick stand means a rear axle located one. Which don't balance the bike as well as a traditionally located one does. Don't laugh, I lost sales because of this issue in the early 1990s. Andy.
Kickstand? LOL. I doubt people requiring a kickstand would be interested in the type of bike that would benefit from alternative brake mounting solutions. Don't you know? Real bikes don't have kickstands.
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Old 03-28-12, 11:13 AM   #8
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Reddog3- The real people who buy bikes from your LBS do care about convenience and practicality. We, the people who read this forum, are not the people who make possible my bill paying. So i have to pay attention to what the buying masses want. back in the late 1980s and early 1990s under chainstay U brakes were the rage and found on $300 recreational ATBs. At that time the average bike sale price in my shop was about $400. It took a lot of $300 bikes to offset the few $1000 bikes i sold.

Also i have a mechanic's view of what is a beautiful bike. The ones that are hard to service, fit accessories to and otherwise limit my options or make my job hard are not beautiful in my eyes. Kind of like seeing a high heeled woman who is overly pumped and made up. Perhaps interesting to look at (in the train wreck sense) but not the girl I want to take home to my tandem. Andy (asking for forgiveness for the analogy).
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Old 03-28-12, 11:26 AM   #9
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I think the idea is that the brake gets dirtier in that location and is more of a pain to adjust.
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Old 03-28-12, 01:10 PM   #10
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Yeah, that's certainly true. One of the benefits of having started as a mechanic more recently is that I've done few enough adjustments on bikes with that mounting to forget how annoying they are to work on.
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Old 03-28-12, 05:59 PM   #11
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Put it on the underside of the seat-stays? Never minding the fact it's all been done, if uniqueness is the desired goal.
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Old 03-28-12, 11:07 PM   #12
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Reddog3- The real people who buy bikes from your LBS do care about convenience and practicality. We, the people who read this forum, are not the people who make possible my bill paying. So i have to pay attention to what the buying masses want. back in the late 1980s and early 1990s under chainstay U brakes were the rage and found on $300 recreational ATBs. At that time the average bike sale price in my shop was about $400. It took a lot of $300 bikes to offset the few $1000 bikes i sold.

Also i have a mechanic's view of what is a beautiful bike. The ones that are hard to service, fit accessories to and otherwise limit my options or make my job hard are not beautiful in my eyes. Kind of like seeing a high heeled woman who is overly pumped and made up. Perhaps interesting to look at (in the train wreck sense) but not the girl I want to take home to my tandem. Andy (asking for forgiveness for the analogy).
True enough Andy. But the OP mentioned a feature he saw at NAHBS. I know you know that this where framebuilders display their wares, and doing something different (practical or not) garners much attention. That's why you seem some different stuff that may not appeal to the masses, or the LBS mechanic for that matter.

However... speaking about braking systems, the well thought out mounting systems don't pose a maintenance problem, regardless of position. The U-brakes and roller brakes of old required maintenance due to design and would have been a PITA regardless of mounting.

Do I think there is an advantage in mounting brake calipers anywhere but the "traditional" location? Not really. But it does open up the possibilities for incorporation of other features (racks, fenders and lights to name three), that may be otherwise compromised due to traditonal brake mounting postitions, and/or provide at least a more appealing or different look.

If you're appealing to the masses, you probably aren't gonna get there with custom handbuilt frames. China can build what they want and a whole lot cheaper.

I can attest to the fact that I've mounted brakes in all positions on the rear. None were harder to adjust or maintain the other. I'm not even pushing the envelope. Mark my words- you will see the day when brake "pucks" will extend from a hidden position in the chain stays to contact the rim's brake tracks. And it will develop beyond that. Think about it- how many years ago did you think you'd see electronic shifting?

Again I remind you- the OP saw something different at NAHBS. Open the mind or get left behind.
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Old 03-29-12, 09:49 PM   #13
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In this case, it was in combination with Di2. It let him build an incredibly clean bike. One cable and one thin wire right along it down the down tube and under the BB, no cables anywhere else on the frame itself. It was just gorgeous.

I was vaguely considering the same (again, gorgeous and clean), but I don't really think it makes sense for my first bike. I don't intend to go digital on my shifting, so three cables fixed to the frame are an unavoidable reality. Moving them all to the down tube won't yield the same "almost no wires" look, even if it shifts them to a slightly less visible position than the top tube. Plus, this is going to be a muddy super-commuter if I do it right.
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