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Old 05-23-09, 08:43 AM   #1
robmcl
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Better Brake Lever Idea for Trekking Bars

This (scroll down to trekking bar picture) from the Harris Cyclery site may be of interest to those who run or are setting up trekking bars. It looks like they are using road brake levers instead of MTB brake levers. I see two potentially big advantages to this:

1.) It put the brake levers closer to where your hands are most of the time, especially if they were mounted outboard a couple of inches further.

2.) It looks like the hoods provide another position in the all important neutral hand position, the position your wrists are in when you shake hands with someone that puts the least amount of strain on the joint.

Just wondering if anyone has tried this set up.
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Old 05-23-09, 12:57 PM   #2
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I was going to post about lever positioning on trekking bars as I am thinking of swapping my drops for them and thought the sides or front may be better but I can't really see any advantage to using drop levers tbh. Perhaps if you were putting trekking bars on a proper road bike with caliper brakes and had no choice but I think most people with trekking bars have v-brakes (one of the reasons I want to change is to get away from drop levers and cantis). I know you can get drop levers for v brakes but why bother on a trekking bar?

btw re the 'neutral' hand position. Loosely hold a pen in your fist and let your hand and arm hang naturally.Then lift it in front of you. The pen will be at about 30-40 degrees not 90 as in shaking hands.
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Old 05-23-09, 04:08 PM   #3
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All those photos look to me like using the brakes would be rather uncomfortable. How does one activate the lever without a major stretch of the hand?

To me... the best bar not called a "trekking bar" is the Nitto Albatross. Use it with TT reverse brake levers in the ends, and some thumbshifters mounted just inside the top curve. I wrap them with a roll of road bar tape on each side. You get over 12" of free bar space for the hands. I used to have all sorts of wrist pains, now zero.

Use a longer than normal stem.
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Old 05-23-09, 04:41 PM   #4
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That isn't quite reinventing the wheel but it is close They look very similar to the handlebars on my mum's old raleigh 3 speed she had as a girl in the 50's. Interesting to see some of the old original shapes coming back.
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Old 05-23-09, 04:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robmcl View Post
This (scroll down to trekking bar picture) from the Harris Cyclery site may be of interest to those who run or are setting up trekking bars. It looks like they are using road brake levers instead of MTB brake levers. I see two potentially big advantages to this:

1.) It put the brake levers closer to where your hands are most of the time, especially if they were mounted outboard a couple of inches further.

2.) It looks like the hoods provide another position in the all important neutral hand position, the position your wrists are in when you shake hands with someone that puts the least amount of strain on the joint.

Just wondering if anyone has tried this set up.
Hi,
I have installed a trekking bar on my wife bike to get the bar closer.
Now I played with the breaks leaver, and found that the best place is on the top corners.
The problem is that the leavers don't work properly in every place on the bar, because when you squeeze them, they will touch the bar.
I'm not happy with this settings, and I'm going to add a cross top inline levers that I will chain to the drop bar levers.

Cheers,
Kfir
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Old 08-22-09, 06:37 PM   #6
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Tektro reverse brake levers fit my Peugeot porteur bike quite nicely and complement the Tektro brake set. They mounted with no problems at the ends of the Nitto Albatross handlebars.
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Old 09-14-09, 06:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kipibenkipod View Post
Hi,
I have installed a trekking bar on my wife bike to get the bar closer.
Now I played with the breaks leaver, and found that the best place is on the top corners.
The problem is that the leavers don't work properly in every place on the bar, because when you squeeze them, they will touch the bar.
I'm not happy with this settings, and I'm going to add a cross top inline levers that I will chain to the drop bar levers.

Cheers,
Kfir
I might be misinterpreting this here, but are you adding inline brake levers to a trekking bar? Sounds more like you mean the drop bars, but I'm curious anyway.

My actual question was "has anyone put inline levers on a trekking bar"? The inline levers I've found spec's for all seem to have a clamp for a road handlebar diameter, rather than the thinner flat/trekking bar diameter. I'd like to have the brake levers up on the front of the trekking handlebar, like the ones at http://sheldonbrown.com/deakins/handlebars.html, but would also like some brakes back on the straight bits of the bars, where most people seem to have the brakes and gear levers.

Broke myself a bit last year, and if I'd had hands on brake levers (rather than on the bar end shifters) I might have come out a bit better, so... I'd like brake levers easily accessible. I commute, "sportily", on this bike.

I don't know how the cable routing would work, but I expect that something could be worked out.

I've searched with google and got nothing so if anyone has suggestions about using inline levers on a trekking bar... Ta!

Cheers, A.
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Old 09-15-09, 03:19 PM   #8
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I have a set of trekking bars, and could only get the mtb brake levers to fit on the part of the bars that would be closest to you (in the Sheldon Brown pictures). So, this led me to think of using a set of road brake levers which are compatible with V-brakes (Cane Creek, Tektro, and Dia Compe all have some). As mentioned above, the difference in diameter poses a problem.

Wouldn't a shim of some sort work? I know that MTB levers and shifter clamps won't work on road bars, but I don't know why road brakes or shifters wouldn't work on the smaller MTB compatible bars. Isn't it only 1/16" (7/8 vs. 15/16)?? I've seen pictures of aero bars clamped to MTB flat bars, so I'm sure they used a shim of some sort.

That being said, I would attempt to mount them on the outside portion of the bars. That is where I would be holding the bars most of the time. Thus, making the brakes more readily available.

As far as using an inline brake . . . one question: are any of them compatible with V-brakes?? I'm not aware of any, but that doesn't mean that there are none available.
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Old 09-15-09, 03:53 PM   #9
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I have a set of trekking bars, and could only get the mtb brake levers to fit on the part of the bars that would be closest to you (in the Sheldon Brown pictures).
Was this fit problem a matter of getting the clamp around the curve in the bar? Or a matter of positioning for usability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob_in_Midland View Post
So, this led me to think of using a set of road brake levers which are compatible with V-brakes (Cane Creek, Tektro, and Dia Compe all have some). As mentioned above, the difference in diameter poses a problem.
Sorry, I'm not sure why you then wanted to use road levers, could you please explain? Is it because the larger clamp diameter allows them around the trekking bar's bends?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob_in_Midland View Post
Wouldn't a shim of some sort work? I know that MTB levers and shifter clamps won't work on road bars, but I don't know why road brakes or shifters wouldn't work on the smaller MTB compatible bars. Isn't it only 1/16" (7/8 vs. 15/16)?? I've seen pictures of aero bars clamped to MTB flat bars, so I'm sure they used a shim of some sort.
I am a bit hesitant to use a shim, I'm not sure how solid it would all turn out. It may well be perfectly fine, perhaps I'll try it out and see for myself. It's not a downhill race bike, afterall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob_in_Midland View Post
As far as using an inline brake . . . one question: are any of them compatible with V-brakes?? I'm not aware of any, but that doesn't mean that there are none available.
I have the stock Tektro Oryx cantilever brakes which come on the LHT-Complete, so it's more a concern for me to find flat-bar compatible canti' brake levers, but as you say, shims might be a solution. I suspect that it will be easier to use canti' brakes if I want the inline levers too, rather than v-brake compatible inline levers.

Thanks for your input! Cheers, A.
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Old 09-15-09, 04:20 PM   #10
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I experimented with a four-lever setup on my trekking bars: mountain bike levers on the closer, flat portion of the bar, and old style (non aero) road levers on the front, curved section. The non-aero levers can be set up as inline levers, since cable housing is about the same diameter as the cable end for road brakes, and these older levers point the end of the cable out behind the levers, instead of straight ahead, through the levers.

This made the cable run from the mountain lever, to the top (inboard, in this orientation) of the road lever, then from the bottom (outboard) of the road lever down to the brake.

The setup worked fine, but I didn't like the ergonomics, because both of those positions were too much like a flat bar, which tend to hurt my wrists. The position given by the hoods was too narrow for me. I've since switched to Albatross bars, with the same mountain levers. I considered using inverse (TT) levers, but heard that the ring and pinky fingers, while lacking the dexterity of your other fingers, have the strongest grip, and so should be given the most leverage for maximum braking force.

EDIT: the clamps on road levers are much less finicky about bar diameter than most mountain levers, so I didn't have a problem clamping them to the 22.2mm bar. Most inline levers, however, won't get that small without a shim.

Last edited by Josef Taylor; 09-15-09 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 09-15-09, 04:25 PM   #11
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I started commuting on a mountain bike, and added the trekking bars to get a more stretched out feel. This meant that I needed the levers out at the front. I was able to get a regular set of alivio trigger shifters/brake levers around the corners by using lots of grease and some effort. Some paint came off the bars (it was apparent in the grease), but the bars were not scratched - it didn't rub through the paint in any places. Just remember when you start to put them on backward, so they are oriented correctly when you get to the front. Also, you can cut the ends off of mtb grips and slide them to the front for a nice cushioned grip. I tried mounting them where I could reach them on the sides (neutral hand position), but I didn't like it much.
I think where you mount the levers depends on where you spend most of the time. I was trying to stretch out for some commuting speed, and so it was more important to have the levers where you can reach them at speed. I used the closer portions of the bars much like the top bars of a road bike, when going slow uphill or for whatever reason, and you have plenty of time to get to the brakes.
Sorry no pics anymore.
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Old 09-15-09, 04:27 PM   #12
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Most road levers have a removable band to clamp the bars. You can pick up different sizes of the bands for different size bars.
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Old 09-15-09, 07:51 PM   #13
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Some links for cross/interrupter levers that might be useful:

Sheldon Brown

Paul Cross Lever (V-brake or Road)

Tektro V-brake levers - Rivendell

Interrupter levers (Road) - Rivendell

Salsa Cross Lever (Road)
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Old 09-15-09, 07:52 PM   #14
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I use mountain bike levers mounted on the forward portion of the trekking bars. I also mount my bar end shifters there with a set of Paul's Thumbies. I'm very happy with the setup. Reaching slightly forward to access the brakes is very natural and easy to modulate.

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Old 09-15-09, 08:33 PM   #15
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I use mountain bike levers mounted on the forward portion of the trekking bars. I also mount my bar end shifters there with a set of Paul's Thumbies. I'm very happy with the setup. Reaching slightly forward to access the brakes is very natural and easy to modulate.

Ok out of curiosity, do you actually use the Aerobars? Do you use them for extra hand positions or do you actually get into the aero postion? How do you do that with the handle bar bag?
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Old 09-15-09, 08:47 PM   #16
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Ok out of curiosity, do you actually use the Aerobars? Do you use them for extra hand positions or do you actually get into the aero postion? How do you do that with the handle bar bag?
I do use the aero bars, but not very much. The only trip I've made with this exact setup (I change things all the time) was my tour around Lake Ontario in June. I'd estimate I used the aero bars for a maximum of 1% - 2% of the time, mainly when grinding into the wind on flat roads with little or no traffic. Sometimes I would drop down onto the aero bars for only 5 minutes in order to give my hands or wrists a rest with no weight on them.

I purposely didn't mount the forearm rests for the aero bars. The flat portion Ergon grips are in the exact position I need to support my forearms when I'm on the aero bars. The bag is triangular and my arms run right along the sides. It doesn't get in the way at all.

Even though I don't use the aero bars much for a hand position, I'm keeping them anyway. It's a killer place to mount my bike computer and my map holder (velcro straps).
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Old 09-15-09, 09:31 PM   #17
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Hey xyzzy834, I saw that picture of yours in another thread. Sweet! Pretty much exactly what I am aiming for, except that I want an extra set of brake levers at the close (rear, straight) part of the bars. And no aero bars either.

Thanks for the links, mylesau.
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Old 09-16-09, 08:46 PM   #18
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Aggri1,

Regarding the questions you wrote in response to my post above: Yes, I was afraid that I would not be able to get my current set of brifters around that first bend. There was another member, in another thread, who had gotten a couple of bar ends up to those top corners in order to attach mirrors to them, so I tried it. I had a dickens of a time getting those around the bends. Getting my brake/lever set was going to be even more trouble, I'm sure. So, yes, I figured that using road levers around the bends would be easier. I never tried it, but that was where I was going if I continued with those bars.

If you took a look at the article on the Harris Cyclery site with deals with setting up touring bars, you'll see that they have some road levers on the top portion of the trekking bars. So, from this, I was assuming that there is a way to attach road levers to a 22.2 bar.
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Old 09-16-09, 08:49 PM   #19
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xyzzy834,

How did you attach those aero bars to the trekking bars???? Curious minds want to know.

AND, how did you get those MTB brake levers around the bends????

Last edited by Bob_in_Midland; 09-16-09 at 08:50 PM. Reason: added second question
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Old 09-16-09, 10:07 PM   #20
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xyzzy834,

How did you attach those aero bars to the trekking bars???? Curious minds want to know.

AND, how did you get those MTB brake levers around the bends????
The aero bars are inexpensive ones from performancebike.com. They bolt on using clamps on either side of the stem. I don't seem to have a picture online without the bag. Maybe I can shoot a quick picture in the next few days. They come with elbow rests, but I didn't attach them for reasons I described above.

The brake lever clamps are just aluminum. I put a very large screwdriver in the gap (with the bolt removed) and spread them to be much larger. After I snaked them around the bends, I used a large set of pliers with padded teeth to squeeze them back together enough to get the bolt started.
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