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Single (left) handed operation of disk brakes

Old 09-16-23, 10:34 AM
  #1  
FamilyMan007
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Single (left) handed operation of disk brakes

Background:

My son only has use of his left hand. His current FX-3 came with cable operated rim brakes, and was set up with a splitter to operate both front & rear brakes using a single lever. This has worked well (especially after we replaced the stock pads with Koolstop ones – see V-brake on Trek 7.3FX (2010 model) )

My son continues to like his cycling and is doing longer trips – I would like to upgrade his bike. The good news is that many bikes now come with a 1x front chain ring which eliminates one complication. Fine so far, but manufacturers have by and large changed to hydraulic disk brakes for such models (eg Trek FX 5/6 – uses mainly shimano components). So we need to rethink how to proceed.

Options:

There are several ways to proceed: (1) retain hydraulic operation OR move to a mechanical (cable) operated system; and (2) use a single brake lever to operate both front/rear OR have two levers

Examples include:

Hydraulic https://bikerumor.com/hope-tech-3-du...-uno-does-too/ provide both single and dual lever versions

Mechanical

Caliper: https://www.paulcomp.com/shop/compon...mount-klamper/

Brake operation: Interestingly this firm offer a Single lever directly operating two cables: https://www.paulcomp.com/shop/compon.../duplex-lever/

(Alternatively, I could go with an updated version of current set-up, namely single lever/ cable and then install a ‘splitter’ to operate separate cables to front/rear brakes)

Seeking input on how I am thinking of proceeding to provide single (left) handed operation of disk brakes:

I am tending to favour Paul’s mechanical set up using the single lever directly operating two cables:

~ it seems likely to be relatively ‘hassle-free’ long term;
~ I hope that having two separate cables right from the brake lever will facilitate setting up the brakes to operate appropriately;

~ I recognise I am not choosing the lowest cost approach, but the new bike is to celebrate a significant milestone and I want him to enjoy it long term.

Last edited by FamilyMan007; 09-16-23 at 10:37 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 09-18-23, 06:05 AM
  #2  
gixer
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Been using the Hope Duo for a few years, 100% i would buy again if my bike was stolen



I haven't tried the Pauls lever, but i have tried merging cables into a single lever
For me on MTB's this is not a good solution, as it doesn't allow you to adjust how much brake goes to each wheel

I had a few crashes using a single lever as depending on my weight bias on the bike it would lock up either the front or the rear wheels
I'd adjust the bias, but it's so terrain and weight location specific that i would not use a single lever again

With 2 levers, i can gauge how much brake pressure to put on a certain wheel

For road biking a single lever might be a workable solution, for off-road cycling though i have found from m,y experience 2 levers = better


Cheers
Mark
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Old 09-18-23, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by gixer
Been using the Hope Duo for a few years, 100% i would buy again if my bike was stolen
.....
For road biking a single lever might be a workable solution, for off-road cycling though i have found from m,y experience 2 levers = better
Thanks so much for your input - never having tried MTB I was not aware of the critical aspect of modulating brake operation according to specific situation.

As regards the Hope Duo - I would welcome any advice as to:
(1) any special maintenance / adjustment aspects?
(2) confirming the X2 calipers would be best option for my son (currently mainly gravel/paved bike paths + road) ?
(3) would you also replace the rotors/pads to have the complete 'Hope' system?
(4) did you find it easy to source (I live in Canada)?
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Old 09-18-23, 12:38 PM
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I seldom use my front brake as the rear brake alone is more than adequate and if locked up the bike is far more stable than locking up the front wheel. I would have the front lever control the rear brake and forget about the front brake entirely. With newbies it was common practice to adjust the front brake so the rider could not lock up the wheel and be sent over the handlebars.

You can verify this for yourself by riding a bike and at 15 mph seeing how long it takes to get the bike to a complete stop using only the rear brake.
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Old 09-18-23, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by FamilyMan007
Thanks so much for your input - never having tried MTB I was not aware of the critical aspect of modulating brake operation according to specific situation.

As regards the Hope Duo - I would welcome any advice as to:
(1) any special maintenance / adjustment aspects?
(2) confirming the X2 calipers would be best option for my son (currently mainly gravel/paved bike paths + road) ?
(3) would you also replace the rotors/pads to have the complete 'Hope' system?
(4) did you find it easy to source (I live in Canada)?

Nope i bolted them on and not touched the since
Discs are my old Avid discs, so they do not need to be Hope specific

For on-road and mild off-road use, he might be find with a single lever.
As i say, for me and the terrain i ride it wasn't a good solution

I have experimented a LOT though over the years, with so many different brakes and shifters, so it might be better to try and set something up yourself cheap and see how it goes

On my road bike, i use 2 x V-brake levers
It was 0 as i just used the same brake levers i had laying round the garage
Not pretty, but it works.

I ground off 1 knob off both levers so they sat closer together



So it might be worth experimenting with what you've got in your garage before spending your hard earned


Cheers
Mark
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