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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 02-19-08, 05:09 PM   #1
TallRider
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put rear brake on a fixie so that right brake lever doesn't rattle?

I'm finally finishing my fixie project which has sat in my attic for the past eight months.
I'm putting standard drop bars on the bike, because I like having all the available hand positions, and I've stuck old Shimano RX100 brake levers, basically the exact same as the current Tiagra model stocked by Rivendell.


I could put just a front brake on the bike, but have two reasons to install a rear brake:
  1. cable tension from a rear brake will keep the right brake lever from rattling as I ride
  2. if I switch the rear wheel to a singlespeed setup I'd have more need of a rear brake
So, what would y'all say? Am I likely to get rattling? The brake levers do have a return spring of course but I think cable tension from the rear brake would make the right brake lever much less likely to rattle.
Removing the right lever isn't an option because I like the brake-hoods hand position and am using these Shimano levers because I find they have a more secure - though slightly less comfortable - spot for my hand than the Tektro levers I have on two of my road bikes.

I don't see any downside to having a rear brake on a fixie, besides a little weight and a little less simplicity.

Last edited by TallRider; 02-19-08 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by timcupery View Post
I don't see any downside to having a rear brake on a fixie, besides a little weight and a little less simplicity.
Well then there you have it.

Edit: Yes, you will have rattling. Not necessarily th levers themselves, but the mechanism that holds the end of the cable will be able to rattle around in there. I suppose you could take it out or glue it or something, but that's just silly.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:15 PM   #3
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yeah, there's no problem with it. just one more way to stop. go for it.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:19 PM   #4
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...only run one lever?
you have a pair of back brakes attached to your pelvis.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I think I'm going to just run the rear brake as well - there's also some side-to-side rattling in the lever that will diminish with cable tension attached to the lever.

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Originally Posted by frankstoneline View Post
...only run one lever?
you have a pair of back brakes attached to your pelvis.
Quote:
Originally Posted by timcupery View Post
Removing the right lever isn't an option because I like the brake-hoods hand position and am using these Shimano levers because I find they have a more secure - though slightly less comfortable - spot for my hand than the Tektro levers I have on two of my road bikes.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:25 PM   #6
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oops, didnt see that, sorry.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:28 PM   #7
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I once took care of the rattling problem on the dummy lever by jamming a piece of bubble gum.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:37 PM   #8
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might be nice to have a hand position involving two hoods, instead of just one.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:39 PM   #9
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It's usually a pretty straight forward procedure to remove the lever from the hood.
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Old 02-19-08, 05:39 PM   #10
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you could probably remove the lever part of the rear lever and just mount the hood... that way you'd still get the hand position.
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Old 02-19-08, 08:18 PM   #11
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It can't hurt to have a rear brake.

Backpedaling to slow the rear wheels down is sub-optimun on older knees and the weight of the rear brake is trivial.

Lastly you can stop faster.

I run both brakes on my old school Cinelli 66 drops on both my FG bikes.
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Old 02-19-08, 08:33 PM   #12
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I've thought about rocking a back brake, I decided against it because it'd take away the simplicity and make me too dependent. It would also add another part of the bike that I don't know how to fix.
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Old 02-19-08, 08:56 PM   #13
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Just jam something into the part where the lever contacts, something rubbery.
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Old 02-19-08, 09:00 PM   #14
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My current winter fix was set up with front and rear brakes as a SS so that a friend could ride it last summer. I never bothered to take the back brake off and it hasn't really bothered me- I can count on one hand the number of times I've used it but taking it off would be extra work and would result in the rattle the OP was talking about.
There's nothing shameful about running a road-going fixed gear with two brakes. If you're going to have the lever there for comfort anyway, it might as well work.
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Old 02-19-08, 10:14 PM   #15
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Run a rear brake, disassemble the lever and turn it into a dummy lever, or rig it up to actuate something fun.

I don't realize how much I miss hoods until I take a ride on my geared bike.
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Old 02-20-08, 07:54 AM   #16
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Install two pre-aero levers (cable comes up out of hood) operating just a front caliper. They are in series like a road lever and an auxilliary top lever. Cable goes normally out the top of one lever, over to top of other lever, out the bottom of lever handle (one little zip tie there through a drillium hole), to front caliper.

(I plan to post a photo someday.)

Last edited by dogsridewith; 02-20-08 at 07:56 AM. Reason: add
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Old 02-20-08, 08:30 AM   #17
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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I think I'm just going to run a rear brake though. There's no real downside to it here for me. I'm riding a fix for fun and training and care about my knees, and I plan to use it for longer rides, not commuting-around-town stuff anyway.

If I were to run just one brake I'd see about removing the lever from one of the hoods, or using something gummy or rubbery to dampen any vibration.

On an old fixie build, I used pre-aero levers (the kind without even rubber hoods) and simply removing the lever from one of the hoods. But the ones I was using didn't give a very comfortable or secure sport for my hands. Here's a picture.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:38 AM   #18
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JB weld the lever so it doesnt move
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Old 02-20-08, 08:58 AM   #19
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cc levers+stoker=$$$

expensive option...

http://www.canecreek.com/ergo-stoker-levers.html
http://www.canecreek.com/scr-5-brake-levers.html
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Old 02-20-08, 08:59 AM   #20
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It feels gross and weird to use a rear brake while backpedaling.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:32 AM   #21
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I have done the zip-tie idea, it works well. You can also use a rubberband creatively tied as if it was the cable to prevent the lever moving.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:42 AM   #22
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Not looking for expensive options myself, but someone reading this thread in the future may be, and for them the Cane Creek dummy hood may be a good option. As I noted earlier in the thread, I find that the Cane Creek (made by Tektro) levers don't offer as positive/secure of a grip for torquing out-of-the-saddle with hands on the brake hoods, as do the Shimano levers. But I find the Tektro levers a bit more comfortable, though. I have really big hands so your mileage may vary on this issue.

I want to keep the lever functional even if I don't run a rear brake, in case I use the lever on a normal bike eventually, or want to add a rear brake, so no JB Weld for me. But that would be a good option for some.

Finally, I probably wouldn't be doing much backpedal-braking anyway, so a rear brake won't feel weird to me on that count. But for people who like backpedaling it's an issue to consider.
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Old 02-20-08, 02:34 PM   #23
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Put the brake on and ride the hoods.
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Old 02-21-08, 02:10 AM   #24
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It's interesting that some people will "destroy" the right brake lever just to have a purist looking FG bike.

I agree with the OP's decision to run a rear brake. More stopping power is always good. If you choose not to use it, disregard the right lever. As for weight penalty, lots of people here are running 20lbs entry level FG steel bikes, so unless you have a 13lbs bike, I don't see brake calipers as being a weight penalty.
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Old 02-21-08, 03:33 AM   #25
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Why the hell are the dummy levers more expensive than the real thing?
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