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Thread: Brakes Question

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    Hi. I'm in Delaware. Robbykills's Avatar
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    Brakes Question

    Hey guys, do any of you have experience running cyclocross inline (bar top) levers with road levers and cantilever brakes? Do I need any sort of extra parts to make this set up work?

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    accidental tourist
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    Hi,

    I put a pair of Crane Creek cyclocross levers on my bike which has Ritchey Biomax bars and Shimano 105 brake levers on the drops. I am delighted with this set-up.

    You need new cables and have plenty of good quality brake housing on hand. You need the best stuff to avoid mushyness. You may need extra. It took me a couple of tries before I got the length between the two brakes just right, and you want it perfect before wrapping. Test it out before wrapping. Even tilting the levers may require changing that cable housing. The housing between the hoods and the top cyclocross lever should have to be almost forced into the brake cable groove in the bars. Like you have to put pressure on the housing just a bit to get it to lie in place, and tape to hold it there. You need a cable cutter, and I like to clean up any burrs at the housing end with a Dremel. I do not use metal end ferrules. I usually pick up a dozen or so of those little alloy cable ends, can't have enough of those. I use regular black electrical tape to position everything. And finally, you may want to have new bar wraps too.

    Check out your clearance with your bar bag, if you use one. Using the brakes my fingers are rubbing against my Ortlieb just a bit, with the levers tilted slightly downward. It's not a problem though. Ortlieb now offers an extender for their mount that moves the bag further out.

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    garbage picker the homealien's Avatar
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    Spokewrench gave some great directions. I have the exact setup you're talking about, Robby (Dia-Compe road levers, Nashbar interrupter levers, and Avid Shorty cantilevers) and although it's a pain to set up, it works great in the end. There's a little bit more mushiness cause of the added complexity but nothing to worry about.

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    www.Click-Stand.com tomn's Avatar
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    Spokewrench,
    Tell me more about not using metal housing ferrules. I just put on a set of Pauls interupter brakes & put ferrules going in & out of the brakes. Was this a mistake? I think I need to reposition the levers sometime, so when I do it again I would like to do it right.

    Thanks,
    Tom

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    accidental tourist
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    <<<Tell me more about not using metal housing ferrules.>>>>

    I probably should use them. At first I thought they were only cosmetic, but they may serve an actual purpose. Maybe keep the coils in the housing from bunching up at the end, I dunno. But I have also seen where the cable has cut notches in their closed end, and they have rubbed away at the cable while this happened.
    The Shimano shifter cables that came with the bar cons have a plastic like ferrule that looks like it helps seal the ends of the cable. I leave those alone and they have never been an issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbykills
    Hey guys, do any of you have experience running cyclocross inline (bar top) levers with road levers and cantilever brakes? Do I need any sort of extra parts to make this set up work?
    You'll have to ask all of those cyclists named Fred.

    If you can't use regular brake levers you probably ought not to be on a bicycle.

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    Those cyclocrosser B-levers are fantastic in busy city traffic. A great way to stay in a relaxed headsup position and still be within a nanosecond of hitting the brakes no matter where your hands are.

    I'll be looking to add them to whatever the next roadbike will be to keep my cyclocrosser company.
    If only they could make it work

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    Senior Member garagegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3chordwonder
    Those cyclocrosser B-levers are fantastic in busy city traffic. A great way to stay in a relaxed headsup position and still be within a nanosecond of hitting the brakes no matter where your hands are.

    I'll be looking to add them to whatever the next roadbike will be to keep my cyclocrosser company.
    +1
    The drivers in my area are nuts. I'm perfectly competent using my aero levers, but I've had enough close calls that I finally ordered myself a pair and am going to put them on today. You can never take too many safety measures.

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    "A great way to stay in a relaxed headsup position and still be within a nanosecond of hitting the brakes no matter where your hands are."

    The only thing about that is if you're not comfortable on the hoods a better option is raising the bars till they are comfortable. There seems to be some myth that the point to drops is that they allow you to ride in marginal positions. The advantage to the hoods in trafic is that they have more control (wider position with more delta) than up top. Or alternatively flat bars get that upright positon with good control. I do use the tops if I'm just grooving along with the wind at my back, or on slow hills.

    Just my opinion, I'm happy if it works for you.

    My prefered zany is a two finger brake on top connected to a third brake. That sounds like a real improvement.
    Last edited by NoReg; 09-30-06 at 04:23 PM.

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    You'll have to ask all of those cyclists named Fred.

    If you can't use regular brake levers you probably ought not to be on a bicycle.
    Stuff and nonsense. This kind of attitude is harmful to cyclists and cycling in general, and is particularly out-of-place in the touring forum, of all places. There are plenty of good reasons to put inline brake levers on your drops. Few of them have anything to do with not being able to use standard road levers. This kind of snobbery and hostility does no one any good, you least of all (seeing as it makes you look like a jerk). "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," - this thread wasn't asking for opinions on inline levers themselves, just for experience and advice on proper set up. So keep the elitism out of here, please.

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    " this thread wasn't asking for opinions on inline levers themselves"

    Right, but maybe it needs them anyway. If they are dangerous shouldn't someone mention it. I'm guessing they aren't that big a danger. Still I do recall some places where they have re-ashphalted with this great looking black stuff, only problem is the edge where we ride is really soft and one can't always tell where it begins or ends. Get caught ridding into that stuff with a narrow bar stance and you are asking for trouble. Does make me wonder why all the CX guys are nutty for these levers.

    It's funny it used to be the defining characteristic of the duffer cyclist that he had those bar on his brake levers that allowed the regular road brakes to be activated from the tops. Part of the problem there was that unlike the inline levers the bars often didn't work. Stiil the other part of the distain was that it was obvious that anyone who wanted brakes on the top was a punter. Times change even Rivendell has the inlines on top.

  12. #12
    Senior Member badger_biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby
    Stuff and nonsense. This kind of attitude is harmful to cyclists and cycling in general, and is particularly out-of-place in the touring forum, of all places. There are plenty of good reasons to put inline brake levers on your drops. Few of them have anything to do with not being able to use standard road levers. This kind of snobbery and hostility does no one any good, you least of all (seeing as it makes you look like a jerk). "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," - this thread wasn't asking for opinions on inline levers themselves, just for experience and advice on proper set up. So keep the elitism out of here, please.
    +1 - Great reply! These levers work very well and add very little weight. I don't understand why people think that just because someone has the extra levers they are always going to ride with hands in that position and be in danger. If conditions call for more control, anyone but an idiot will move to the outside for more control. I rate them right up there near the helmet as a great safety invention. They are invaluable in traffic where you want your head up to see things and not crouched down on the drops so you can get the best stopping leverage on your standard levers. You can be up and enjoy more of the scenery on a tour and still feel confident you can stop if needed.

    BTW - in regard to the original post - I added a pair of Specialized levers to my tourer with Dia Compe levers and cantilevers. It worked well and I second Spokewrench's comments on stuffing the housing in between the levers.

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    " this thread wasn't asking for opinions on inline levers themselves"

    Right, but maybe it needs them anyway. If they are dangerous shouldn't someone mention it. I'm guessing they aren't that big a danger. Still I do recall some places where they have re-ashphalted with this great looking black stuff, only problem is the edge where we ride is really soft and one can't always tell where it begins or ends. Get caught ridding into that stuff with a narrow bar stance and you are asking for trouble. Does make me wonder why all the CX guys are nutty for these levers.

    It's funny it used to be the defining characteristic of the duffer cyclist that he had those bar on his brake levers that allowed the regular road brakes to be activated from the tops. Part of the problem there was that unlike the inline levers the bars often didn't work. Stiil the other part of the distain was that it was obvious that anyone who wanted brakes on the top was a punter. Times change even Rivendell has the inlines on top.
    Well, the point is that they aren't dangerous. The old levers certainly weren't much good, for a number of reasons. One of the biggest was that they worked by indirectly applying the main lever, and couldn't do so with much force to speak of. Braking was pitiful, and lots of people who bought these bikes never used the main levers. When they got into a situation where serius stopping power was needed, it just wasn't there. Fortunately, this didn't happen often, but these levers really sucked. The position of the levers below the bar and the way it moved was also problematic. So there may indeed have been cause for disdain for that reason. Nowadays, most recreational cyclists are being steered toward friendlier, hybrid-style bikes, eliminating the need for providing bar-top levers to comfort riders unfamiliar with riding drops.

    The new levers, on the other hand, work well and are able to be positioned far better on the bar. Modern handlebars tend to be wider, too, which also helps (I went to a 44cm Nitto Noodle on my new touring bike, and it is AMAZING!). Any surviving disdain for those who use inline levers makes little sense, as they are seldom seen on entry-level road bikes. They show up mostly on cyclocross, touring and commuting bikes, usually because a discerning rider was aware of the benefits of having them there and installed them as an upgrade. They also show up as front brake levers on fixies from time to time.

    Of course, disdain for those who don't take cycling as "seriously" is ill-mannered and harmful (and pointless) anyway, but the elitism makes even less sense than usual in this case.

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    Set up tips for in-line brake levers.

    1. Use Dura Ace quality brake housing (the grey stuff) or at least the top of line Avid. good housing is number one as Spokewrench already brought up.

    2. Grind or file all the cable ends flat and use a dental pick to open up any end that may have gotten crimped while cutting. I use ferrels but I don't crimp then at all.

    3. Cut the cables as short as possible.

    4. Tape the cables down to the bars every well. Don't let the cables move when you pull the brake levers.

    5. Use a 4th hand tool to pull the cables as tight as you can get them. I pull the cable tight until the brake pads lock up the rim and tighen the cable pinch bolt. Then start pumping the brake lever, 10 or 12 times. Most of the time, this will cause the housing to seat or compress and the brake pads will be a little off the rim. Retighten the cable and you're done.

    Sorry about the messed up directions. PM if you have trouble.

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