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  1. #1
    Member indyjanie's Avatar
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    Stupid question...

    I was just reading posts and I saw a picture of brake levers on the down tube. I'm amazed, never saw such a thing. What is the purpose, and really, really stupidly, I have to ask, do you still use your hands?

  2. #2
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Brake levers on the down tube? I don't believe that I have ever seen such a a thing either, I'm not sure why they would do that.
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    Are you sure they weren't shift levers?

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    The only levers I've ever seen mounted to the down tubes are SHIFT levers.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The OP is probably young enough not to have seen shift levers on the down tube before, and doesn't know that is what he saw.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The OP is probably young enough not to have seen shift levers on the down tube before, and doesn't know that is what he saw.


    That would be my guess...

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    snob rogwilco's Avatar
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    Well, there are people who put their brake levers on all kinds of places, BSNYC features such pictures all the time (usually of fixed gear bikes), including behind the seat, on the top tube etc. Why people do that? Possibly because they don't know any better, because they cut the brake cables too short, because they think it's funny, to flaunt opposition to compulsory brake laws without risking getting a traffic ticket, etc.
    (eta: and no, of course none of that are good enough reasons to do something so ridiculous)

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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    Member indyjanie's Avatar
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    Okay, I just reread the thread, and yes, I misread, the question I guess was where are your "shift levers, are they on the brake levers or on the down tube"

    So the same question applies though - do you use your hands? Do they not make them anymore?

    And while the OP is in her 30s, which to some circles is young and other circles is old, the OP would appreciate you not having a discussion as if the OP is not still in the room

    I started riding bikes in the eighties, so maybe they are pre-80s? Thanks for the input if anyone can clarify - already, yes, is clarified they are shift levers....but why? And do you use your hands or knees or what?

  10. #10
    Member indyjanie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogwilco View Post
    Well, there are people who put their brake levers on all kinds of places, BSNYC features such pictures all the time (usually of fixed gear bikes), including behind the seat, on the top tube etc. Why people do that? Possibly because they don't know any better, because they cut the brake cables too short, because they think it's funny, to flaunt opposition to compulsory brake laws without risking getting a traffic ticket, etc.
    (eta: and no, of course none of that are good enough reasons to do something so ridiculous)
    I get your point about it being accident or maybe for no good reason, but does this mean brake levers can be moved for people with disabilities who can't squeeze their hand? Because that seems interesting...

  11. #11
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Downtube shift levers were very common on drop bar bikes for a long time. Pictured are SunTour Power Shifters, my favorites, with a racheting mechanism.
    Similar stem-mounted shifters were also common.
    All shift levers that I am aware of, with a few rare exceptions, are finger-operated.
    Downtube shifters are occasionally seen on bikes in the Land of the Hoosiers.
    Downtube shifters were common at least through the '80's.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    It'a a vintage road bike thing. Not something you find on mountain bikes because of control issues.

  13. #13
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    definately shift levers - such a bike would have had squeeze handles for the brakes on the handlebars.
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    snob rogwilco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyjanie View Post
    I get your point about it being accident or maybe for no good reason, but does this mean brake levers can be moved for people with disabilities who can't squeeze their hand? Because that seems interesting...
    Yes, of course, it's a very simple mechanic. So, if you were born in Chernobyl and have a third arm growing out of your thigh, putting the break lever on the seat tube could be useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by indyjanie View Post
    So the same question applies though - do you use your hands? Do they not make them anymore?
    I think the Fuji Newest 4.0 is available with them because the lowest brifter systems can add $100 or more to the price of a bike.

  16. #16
    Member indyjanie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogwilco View Post
    Yes, of course, it's a very simple mechanic. So, if you were born in Chernobyl and have a third arm growing out of your thigh, putting the break lever on the seat tube could be useful.

  17. #17
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage sale GT View Post
    I think the Fuji Newest 4.0 is available with them because the lowest brifter systems can add $100 or more to the price of a bike.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    all my bikes through from the 60s-mid 80s had downtube shifters. These were common on higher end road bikes.

    I have never seen anything but handbrakes or coaster brakes. I have seen some bikes that have both brakes operated by a single brake lever for a person that didn't have ability to brake with the other hand.
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  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyjanie View Post
    So the same question applies though - do you use your hands? Do they not make them anymore? ... I started riding bikes in the eighties, so maybe they are pre-80s?

    What else would you use???? Of course you use your hands.

    And downtube shifters were definitely still around in the 80s ... possibly even into the early 90s. If you started riding in the 80s, chances are you would have had a bicycle with downtube shifters ... or maybe your bicycle was one of the old single speeds with coaster brakes back then?? Or were you one of the early mountain bike crowd? I'm trying to think how you could possibly have started riding in the 80s and not know what downtube shifters are.


    Edit: It occurred to me that if you're 30, you were born in 1980 (how old does that make me feel!!). If that's the case, you were on tricycles and children's bicycles through the 80s and likely graduated to a mtn bike in the 90s. Is that correct?

  20. #20
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    I so do not miss downtube shifters.

  21. #21
    Member indyjanie's Avatar
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    In my thirties...not thirty. Lol I'm a seventies baby which means although I was on two wheels on my way to school five miles away I was definitely not on a high end bike! Between you and me, though, we can pretend I'm still thirty and I'd be happy with it, although I'm not sure my oldest would like the math....ha! :-)

  22. #22
    Member indyjanie's Avatar
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    oops, forgot to answer the other part...this is my first mountain bike. all the rest were handmedown kmart ten speeds, as we called them. which I now recognize as road bikes with the drop bars. :-)

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