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  1. #1
    King of the Hipsters
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    A different brake discussion

    I have a custom frameset in the works, and the frame-builder has shown me that I cannot have a front brake with the type of fork I want; and so, I must decide between the fork I want and a front brake.

    I have ridden fixed for four going on five years, now, and in the past year I have used my front brake perhaps twice, and not necessarily because I needed to use my front brake but possibly because I had one.

    I ride SPD clipless, and I think I might only need a front brake if I inadvertently unclipped at a bad moment.

    In other words, if I could guarantee that I would never inadvertently unclip, I would go with no front brake without any further thought.

    Now, I can do several things to minimize the probability of unclipping at the worst possible moment.

    First, I can maintain my pedals and keep them perfectly adjusted.

    Secondly, I can continue my practice of not going downhill as fast as I possibly can, but, rather, as fast as I can go with complete control.

    Thirdly (and the reason for this discussion), I can switch to clips and straps.

    I say this, regarding clips and straps, because my son rides his geared bike and his single-speed with clips and straps, and he reports clips and straps as more secure than SPD's (and as functional), but only because he tightens his straps as he rides.

    I don't see any way I could tighten and loosen my straps riding fixed (I did so years ago on my geared bike), which means riding with the straps loose enough to slide my foot in and out.

    This ability to slide my foot in and out would mean I would have to adjust my spin, and, in the end, have a less efficient spin.

    See the issue?

    So, I don't intend this as a brakes or no-brakes debate, but as a discussion of brakes and no-brakes from the perspective of spin and foot-pedal connection.

    I don't expect an answer from the forum, but I think a discussion might help me make my own decision.

    Right now I lean towards no brake, well-maintained SPD pedals, and riding more conservatively.

  2. #2
    Road, MTB and SS Rider spdrcr5's Avatar
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    first things first. Your son is 100% incorrect if he thinks that clips/straps are tighter than a clipless system! lol There is no possible way this could ever be true. Besides that is one of the least safe ways to ride, especially on the street! If he's locking his straps down that tight, how is he getting his foot out to stop even in an emergency? Track standing will only get you so far.
    Larry

  3. #3
    monster
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    I don't see an issue.

    Clipless is a far better system than Clips and Straps.

    Front Brake so you can ride without limiting yourself to speed restrictions downhill.

    Not having to worry about cleat maintenance and un-clipping when you don't want to.

  4. #4
    dsh
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterkidz View Post
    I don't see an issue.
    The issue is that the fork he wants does not support a front brake.

    Maybe a foolish question, but I don't suppose a rear brake is possible (since apparently your fork is all that's preventing you from having a front brake)?

    A rear brake is, after all, exactly as effective as (or more effective than) your feet for stopping you on a fixed gear. Obviously neither is as effective as a front brake, but if all you are worried about is unclipping (and not the increased stopping distance), than a rear brake may help quell your fears.

    This must be weighed against the reality of rear brakes looking way uncool.

  5. #5
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    1) Are you sure you can't use a brake with your fork? You didn't provide any details, so I assume the answer is an absolute no. In case it is not though, there are solutions for difficult brake installations. Perhaps a Keirin brake might work, or a low-clearance brake? Perhaps not.

    2) You might be able to run a rear brake if you don't mind the look of that?

    3) While clipless is more secure than straps, both are more than adequate for brakeless riding. So, I wouldn't let this concern you largely ... the more important question would be, which system are you more comfortable riding with?

    If your question is ... should you ride brakeless with the fork you want or braked with a less desirable fork ... that is a personal question. If you are comfortable riding brakeless, I see no reason from a safety perspective not to ride brakeless.

    How important is the fork to you compared to your braking system? You'll have to answer that question, I suppose, but hopefully the info there helped a bit.

  6. #6
    monster
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsh View Post
    The issue is that the fork he wants does not support a front brake.
    It shouldn't be an issue. Run a brake, Run clipless. PICK A DIFFERENT FORK.

  7. #7
    * adriano's Avatar
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    is reach the problem?

  8. #8
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    clamp-on kierin front brake.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  9. #9
    jpdesjar
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    disc brake or...no brake with the right gearing...what's the terrain like where you ride?

  10. #10
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Ken - if you're getting a custom bike, I'd say that you'd want to be rideable under all circumstances you're likely to face (including terrain, and your physical fitness) - rather than emphasizing the type of fork you want.

    Go for with brakes - versatile under all conditions. What if you get injured a few years down the road? You may want to fit a brake, and you may want to still ride your custom bike that was made for you.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  11. #11
    Ths Hipstr Kills Masheenz cc700's Avatar
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    i completely disagree.

    if you're getting a custom bike, you should get it with no compromises.

    if this is really such a dillema, get two forks.

  12. #12
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    +1 ... if brakes are absolutely not an option with the fork you want, don't be stingy and just get two forks. Then later you can decide ... if you have to make a decision.

  13. #13
    King of the Hipsters
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    Well, if nothing else, this thread has revealed my vanity.

    The fork I want doesn't do anything another fork wouldn't do, it just looks so beautiful to me.

    I think most people call this type of fork design a "segmented fork," and I apologize for not having a link so that everyone can see one.

    I'll keep looking for an example.

    In the meantime, one sees this type of fork most commonly on rigid mountain bikes.

    The frame builder who will make my bike puts the rake in the fork by angling the crown segments of the fork (the horizontal parts) forward in a shallow "V," which allows for the vertical legs of the fork to have the same angle as the head tube, like some motorcycle forks.

    Unhappily, the shallow "V" does not leave enough room for a front brake between the fork legs.

    I have just started to consider the possibility of putting the brake behind the steerer tube, but I haven't really examined this possibility.

    =====

    Quote Originally Posted by spdrcr5
    If he's locking his straps down that tight, how is he getting his foot out to stop even in an emergency? Track standing will only get you so far.
    My son rides a geared bike and a single-speed, which allows him to coast and reach down with his hand to tighten and untighten his straps.

    He recognizes the greater safety of clip-outs; however, he doesn't perceive the straps as dangerous, but as only less-safe, or not-quite-as-safe.

    He makes this compromise because he trains both by running and biking, and he wants to ride in the same shoes as those he uses for running.

    =====

    So, bottom line: vanity.

    I love the look of these forks because of their simplicity; because my frame-builder can fabricate them from scratch; and because they make it possible for the fork angle to match the head tube angle.

    I need to find either another justification for these forks, beyond vanity, or find a way of putting the brake behind the steerer tube.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Are you describing a fork like this?





    But the horizontal tubes angle forward, so much so that a brake hole on the steerer would be useless due to space, right?

    Have you considered cantilever mounts? Not the most "track" style thing, but it might work.

    Or, as other's said, have this fork, and a random carbon fork with a brake set-up for when you want the brake.
    Last edited by rudetay; 06-16-09 at 11:55 AM.

  15. #15
    spin The LT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
    Well, if nothing else, this thread has revealed my vanity.

    The fork I want doesn't do anything another fork wouldn't do, it just looks so beautiful to me.

    I think most people call this type of fork design a "segmented fork," and I apologize for not having a link so that everyone can see one.

    I'll keep looking for an example.

    In the meantime, one sees this type of fork most commonly on rigid mountain bikes.

    The frame builder who will make my bike puts the rake in the fork by angling the crown segments of the fork (the horizontal parts) forward in a shallow "V," which allows for the vertical legs of the fork to have the same angle as the head tube, like some motorcycle forks.

    Unhappily, the shallow "V" does not leave enough room for a front brake between the fork legs.

    I have just started to consider the possibility of putting the brake behind the steerer tube, but I haven't really examined this possibility.

    =====



    My son rides a geared bike and a single-speed, which allows him to coast and reach down with his hand to tighten and untighten his straps.

    He recognizes the greater safety of clip-outs; however, he doesn't perceive the straps as dangerous, but as only less-safe, or not-quite-as-safe.

    He makes this compromise because he trains both by running and biking, and he wants to ride in the same shoes as those he uses for running.

    =====

    So, bottom line: vanity.

    I love the look of these forks because of their simplicity; because my frame-builder can fabricate them from scratch; and because they make it possible for the fork angle to match the head tube angle.

    I need to find either another justification for these forks, beyond vanity, or find a way of putting the brake behind the steerer tube.
    Aherane, groovycycles, and retrotec all do these types of forks if it is what I am thinking so maybe if you check out their stuff you might find something that would work and that you like.

    I would get a disc brake on the front or how about a drum brake front

  16. #16
    * adriano's Avatar
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    i can pm you a behind the fork brake.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Drum brake is a good idea, you could have him include a braze-on for the brake arm too.

  18. #18
    dsh
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    I notice the OP didn't address the possibility of a rear brake.

  19. #19
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    I suggested the rear brake option as well, but I think we can assume if he is worried about the aesthetics of his fork (nothing wrong with that imo) he probably would prefer not to have a rear brake.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
    My son rides a geared bike and a single-speed, which allows him to coast and reach down with his hand to tighten and untighten his straps.

    He recognizes the greater safety of clip-outs; however, he doesn't perceive the straps as dangerous, but as only less-safe, or not-quite-as-safe.

    He makes this compromise because he trains both by running and biking, and he wants to ride in the same shoes as those he uses for running.

    =====
    I wanted to address this. I ride fixed, with clips and straps, and I am fast and confident at reaching down and tightening/tucking or loosening my straps, at low-ish speeds. I wouldn't do this in the middle of an intersection, of course, but immediately after...I'm not saying that clips/straps is a good option for brakeless riding, I'm just saying it can be as secure as your son's set up, with a little practice.

    I guess your environment is different, but if I wanted to cruise around the OSU campus, I would definitely have hit someone a couple times had I not had a front brake. People quite literally jump out of the bushes at you... And I'm not sure how you can trust drivers in your area not to make a sudden move without signaling...or to crash in front of you...

    For your wide-open road, adrenaline pumping rides, go for your brakeless fork, but pick up a $60 nashbar carbon fork with a brake for every other time you want to ride...

    I think the rear-brake idea is mute-point. If there's a secure retention system (aren't there more secure ones than spd's? nice eggbeaters?), there's nothing a brake can do that your legs can't.

  21. #21
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    Moot point. *

    And one thing the rear brake can do better than your legs is stop faster.

  22. #22
    dsh
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    The rear brake is not a moot point because the entire reason for the OP making this thread is that he wants a back-up braking system in case his feet come un-clipped and he can't use them to stop.

    The (debatable) fact that a rear brake is (arguably) no more effective than FG feet is the moot point here.

  23. #23
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    Wait, but wouldn't the rear brake still be considered a back-up system then? If his feet come unclipped then he would still have the brake. As opposed to having to stop foot-on-wheel.

  24. #24
    dsh
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    Yeah, that's what I said. A rear brake is not irrelevant, because it would (very effectively) satisfy the primary question of this thread.

  25. #25
    jpdesjar
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    in case of emergency use ted shred method of braking
    you could reinforce some sneakers for extra wear

    i saw a really pretty fixed gear bike with a disc brake on fixed gear gallery...the set up looked sharp

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