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Old 03-11-10, 11:15 AM   #1
texasdiver
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How easy to remove cross top levers?

Hi guys: I'm looking to purchase a cross bike to use as a general fitness/touring/commuting bike. I'm looking at cross bikes because I want the larger wheel clearance for sturdier commuting tires and fenders and I want a more relaxed geometry than most modern road bikes.

However the models that I'm looking at generally come with the cross top brake levers which I don't want. So my question is this. How easy is it to remove and discard the cross top brake levers? Am I going to need to buy new brake cables and brake cable housings and re-tape the handlebars in order to get rid of them? My LBS doesn't carry cross bikes so I'm only looking at pictures here and I can't tell how the cross top levers are attached and what it would take to get rid of them.

Thanks.
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Old 03-11-10, 11:32 AM   #2
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Yes, it's basically a whole rewire deal. I don't know why you wouldn't want to keep the inline levers. They usually come with barrel adjusters, which is nice since most canti brakes don't. They also come in handy when you have to start and stop a lot. Also great for long descents, you don't have to be in the drops the whole time.
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Old 03-11-10, 11:35 AM   #3
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I just did this. (See the "One Cross Lever" thread in "Bicycle Mechanics".) It was easy. I reused the brake cable. You will need a piece of housing in the front, because the cross lever interrupts that section. You will need to un-tape/re-tape the bars. I was also able to reuse my tape. If the bike is new, I don't see any problem reusing the cables/ housings/ bar tapes. You have to be careful not to let the cable ends fray. I cut mine with a dremel because I don't have a good set of cable cutters.

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Old 03-11-10, 11:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flargle View Post
Yes, it's basically a whole rewire deal. I don't know why you wouldn't want to keep the inline levers. They usually come with barrel adjusters, which is nice since most canti brakes don't. They also come in handy when you have to start and stop a lot. Also great for long descents, you don't have to be in the drops the whole time.
Well, in 30 years of riding I have found that I never ride with my hands on the tops of the bars. I ride either with my hands on the tops of the hoods (most of the time) or on the drops. So I'm not sure I would ever use the bar levers in that position.

On long rides I also like to use a small handlebar pouch to stash my wallet, iPhone and snack. And it looks like the inline levers might interfere with the placement of a handlebar bag.

I'll probably leave them on to start with and see if they bother me. I was just curious how they were attached and how big of a deal it would be to scrap them. From the pictures it looks like a complete re-cabling job and probably new handlebar tape. I just wanted to confirm this.
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Old 03-11-10, 11:48 AM   #5
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It would be easier to angle them down to avoid conflict with a bar bag.
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Old 03-11-10, 12:17 PM   #6
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Remove the cable ends and inspect the cable. If they are frayed, you are going ot have to cut it so it has a clean finish.
You can reuse the housing and butt them up against each other however it might end up being a bit short unless you use some sort of barrel adjuster?? I found that when you butt cable housing together, you need either a barrel adjuster or some sort of steel coupler. If not, your brakes might feel squishy.
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Old 03-11-10, 01:53 PM   #7
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I removed some and replaced them with inline barrel adjusters no re-wrapping involved.

Looks like this.
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Old 03-11-10, 04:48 PM   #8
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Thanks, those look like just the ticket.

As for frayed cable ends. I used to use a soldering iron to melt a dab of solder into the ends of my cables to prevent fraying. Do people still do that?
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Old 03-11-10, 05:16 PM   #9
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That works but I just use the end caps now because it's easier.
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Old 03-11-10, 06:17 PM   #10
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I don't really use them in cross racing, but enjoy the levers as I use my cross bike as my winter bike. It's nice when you are just cruising along and need a little braking. Removal is not difficult just a pain, as brake cable housings need replaced, tape, etc...
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