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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 12-16-11, 10:53 AM   #1
jbrow1
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Top mount interrupter brakes

Was at a race the other day and didn't see any of these. Wondered why? There were many places on the coarse I felt it wasn't any slower to ride on the tops and kind of would have liked brakes up there. It was my first race though, and I did not have my bars setup properly for that type of riding. I had placed the hoods lower like my roadbike and well, I can see why they need to come up Maybe if I get the hoods in the proper place I won't have any desire for top mount brakes also?

Do they work well, and are they a pain to set up?
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Old 12-16-11, 12:04 PM   #2
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They're OK. I've my bike with a set,
there is a cable pull ratio difference with the Aero type lever

so a compromise adjustment between the 2 maybe helpful ..
I now, have wide profile brakes (Spooky) Empella top Mounts,
and a set of Shimano Aero levers,
and Bar end shifters.. an old/new mix of components..
post racing age JRA ..

perhaps If you set your Brifters Up High It may be fine,
and you may just hang on to them mostly ..
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Old 12-16-11, 12:22 PM   #3
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They can be a pain to setup, particularly if you don't have a lot of drop between your bars and the front cable hanger. It can be very difficult to get them setup in such a way that just having them there doesn't introduce drag into the cable routing. I have them on my race bike, but I'm not sure I used them at all this year and I may take them off before next year. I use them a lot on my commuter but hardly ever when racing. You usually don't have as much control over the bike with your hands on the tops.
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Old 12-16-11, 12:25 PM   #4
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Brifters? lol, I'm using downtube shifters dude! lol
Actually will be upgrading the rear to a integrated brake shifter though, b/c letting go to shift is great on the road but not so much in the bumps.
Thought about using bar ends, but figure if I'm going to make a change might as well be to the most efficient (unless it breaks) mode of shifting if it fits my pricerange.

One thing I like about using the bar top is that you can get away with less weight on your hands, and not so tight of a grip. Makes the vibrations less and the hands feel better later on. That may sound like a pussnboots type statement, but it's just an observation, I'll do what I gotta do
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Old 12-16-11, 01:22 PM   #5
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I don't have them on my rig because I don't spend much time on the tops during a race. I have a pair on one of my distance bikes because I spend a bunch of time on the tops when doing century rides.
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Old 12-16-11, 02:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jbrow1 View Post
One thing I like about using the bar top is that you can get away with less weight on your hands, and not so tight of a grip. Makes the vibrations less and the hands feel better later on. That may sound like a pussnboots type statement, but it's just an observation, I'll do what I gotta do
Incorrect! CX is all about pain. If hand discomfort is a problem, train with gravel in your gloves. If hand discomfort isn't a problem, race with gravel in your gloves just to enhance the experience.
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Old 12-16-11, 02:27 PM   #7
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Abundant readers of this section seem to be commuters , On CycloCross type bikes .

Simon Burney in his book shows Dieter Runkle trying a Prototype,
which used MTB levers and road levers and More cables ,
right up to the straddle cable hanger.
a rather cluttered mechanic's nightmare, but, given Dieter won the Cross world championships with that kit ,
others got busy with their CNC prototypes, making something simpler.
and that, with some variation, is what we have now..
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Old 12-16-11, 04:39 PM   #8
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my bike came with them - took them off after the first time I raced with them.
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Old 12-16-11, 07:01 PM   #9
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Road racer, tt, xc mountain bike rider here. No commuter Had a blast in my first cx race! Alot like a mountain bike race but shorter and more intense. Plus the spectators got to see most the action, which was cool. I think getting my bars and hoods adjusted properly will be plenty good, I just thought having the extra braking position might be worth having if they worked well enough and were not to horrible to setup. But I still like bar-ends on my mountain bikes and 27" road wheels. lol I guess I stray a bit from the norm.
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Old 12-17-11, 10:09 AM   #10
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Top-mounts are great. There are still some pros that use them, including Adam Craig, Steve Chainel, and Katie Compton. Get the right clamp size so you can mount them near stem; if they are too far to the sides, they get in the way. Set them up for one- or two-finger use. Make sure there's enough slack in the cable housing for them to work right; for the front this probably means routing it up and over the handlebar.

There are usually a couple to several sections per lap where they really come in handy. On steep descents, in particular, they give you a reliable grip but let you keep your weight farther back than if you were in the drops.

If you ride on the tops a fair amount, thumb shifters with top-mount levers is a really good combo, and prevents knee-shifting.
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Old 12-19-11, 07:01 PM   #11
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have them on the commuter to try them out and they seem ok. They are hard to set up just right, especially with certain brake combos.
I don't think I'll bother putting them on any of my other bikes.
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Old 12-19-11, 07:07 PM   #12
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Did another race on sunday and feel there were plenty of times I would have liked to have them, so I'll be picking a set up from flea-bay. I do all my own work, so it won't cost much other than wrench time to give em a try. Going to swap bars anyhow, so might as well try them and form my own opinion.
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Old 12-20-11, 10:52 AM   #13
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Visual aid for cable routing:
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Old 12-20-11, 08:31 PM   #14
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Thanks for the pic. That is a sweet looking ride !
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Old 12-21-11, 09:55 AM   #15
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Is that Compton's?
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Old 12-21-11, 10:34 AM   #16
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Yes.
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Old 12-21-11, 10:59 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
I don't have them on my rig because I don't spend much time on the tops during a race. I have a pair on one of my distance bikes because I spend a bunch of time on the tops when doing century rides.
+1 racing, the only time I'm on the tops is a climb. Get to the top and its back to either the hoods or drops. Mostly the hoods.

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Old 12-22-11, 10:44 AM   #18
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Can't speak to racing cross but I have them on my commuter cx bike (came that way). If I was racing I'd probably be on the hoods most of the time, but they're handy once in a while when commuting. My wife likes to ride on the tops a lot so I installed them myself on her bike and it was super easy. They were under $20. Most cross racers probably don't have them because they find they don't use them.
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Old 12-22-11, 03:07 PM   #19
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Guess I'm odd man out. On climbs I prefer the hoods/drops. On road rides including long rides I prefer hoods and drops (never tops on road). The little bit of cross I've done the hoods don't seem to provide any aero benefits so I trade between the tops and hoods and drops. For going into turns and downhill I prefer the hoods, uphill hoods/drops, and flat sections that aren't to fast or long is where I like the tops. Think I need to change my bars out too, haven't really liked the bars I've been using since installing them. Time for a change there too I suppose.
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