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Stopping power of mechanical disc with cross levers?

Old 09-27-17, 11:53 PM
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spectastic
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Stopping power of mechanical disc with cross levers?

my current commuting setup uses a pair of cross levers as the primary braking lever. the bike uses bull horn handlebars, and I can potentially use bar end levers, but I need the ends for the shifters... it's not a very traditional setup..

anyway, the caliper brakes stop decently well, but they suck at stopping in the wet. I'm wondering if I would see a large improvement if I swap out the frame with a cross frame, and put bb7's on there, with cross levers, and perhaps use that bike as a cross bike on occasion.

my understanding is that mechanical disc brakes have similar brake modulation as rim brakes, but they do stop well in the wet. However, I also understand cross levers don't have a whole lot of leverage. would this be a problem for single track cyclocross?

lastly, with the cross levers, would i need road version of bb7's or would the mountain bike version suffice?
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Old 09-28-17, 12:06 AM
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In theory, cross levers are made to match the pull of traditional drop bar levers.
Meaning canti/caliper brakes.
So the road version BB7 would be the natural choice.
OTOH cross levers arc out a fair bit at the end. They might give enough pull to work with MTB levers even If it isn't intended.
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Old 09-28-17, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
In theory, cross levers are made to match the pull of traditional drop bar levers.
Meaning canti/caliper brakes.
So the road version BB7 would be the natural choice.
OTOH cross levers arc out a fair bit at the end. They might give enough pull to work with MTB levers even If it isn't intended.
in theory cross levers match the pull ratio but in practice they don't work well at all, whether it is calipers or disc
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Old 09-28-17, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
in theory cross levers match the pull ratio but in practice they don't work well at all, whether it is calipers or disc
I run mine with calipers and is quite pleased with their performance.
Maybe a bit softer feel to them.
And I've haven't had to use them in a white-knuckle panic stop yet.
But so far they're just fine for what I use them for.
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Old 09-29-17, 09:40 AM
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Reverse brake levers were made to go in the ends of bull horn bars .. they were intended to use at the end of the cable..

Cross levers Were Not, they go in the middle of the cable and spread the housing.







.....

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-04-17 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 09-30-17, 12:23 PM
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have you considered swapping in a set of WINTER/RAIN type pads....? they wear quicker, but the stopping power increases quite a bit!

KoolStop Salmon pads work wonders for increasing stopping power....

how old are your pads? they might be hardened by now....
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Old 09-30-17, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by maddog34 View Post
.....KoolStop Salmon pads work wonders for increasing stopping power.......
Wet or dry, KoolStop Salmon pads on aluminum rims work great.
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Old 10-04-17, 11:47 AM
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if my commuter had the tire clearance, I'd keep using the rim brakes, but I want a commuter that I can also use as a cross bike/touring bike, that can take 28mm tires.
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Old 10-10-17, 06:35 AM
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I set up a bike with mtb bb7's, with a drop bar and the appropriate road levers (pretty sure they are long pull, to go with the long pull mtn bb7's, road BB7's are short pull) and I also installed some interrupter levers.
Despite the cross levers apparently not being the proper pull ratio for the mtn avids, they do work fine--although these are secondary levers and Im not using them regularly for full on hard stops.

given that you are starting from scratch, I'd look into going the road bb7 route with the proper cable pull for the levers, or if you have the mtn bb7's already, look into the no longer made, but findable, long pull cross levers. When I was mulling the idea about what I did, someone here suggested the long pull ones, cant recall the model name, but last summer they were on ebay sometimes, but it was just easier for me in canada to try some regular inexpensive cross levers bought at a store here, they would have let me return them if they werent working properly, but as I said, in the end the levers worked well enough with spare room of "lever to bars" distance, so I just went with them.

as primary levers though, going with what is made for what would seem to be the wisest route.
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Old 10-10-17, 09:15 AM
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Modern cross levers are NOT the 'suicide levers' of the 1970's. The cross levers (Cane Creek, Tektro) on four of my bikes are the equal of the levers in the 'normal' place on the bars. On my latest Trek 1.1 the cross levers (Cane Creek) feel 'better' than the Shimano Claris brifters on that bike. The actual stopping is done by the caliper and as noted above, the go to solution for stopping issues is to upgrade the pads to Kool Stop Salmon. Period. End of story. I no longer recommend Avid mechanical disc brakes. They aren't awful, but TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes have a more 'normal' brake action and can be adjusted somewhat easier since you do not have to mentally calculate an asymmetric application of the braking force. You center the rotor in between the pads and you are done. Higher quality pads may give better results, I don't know, the stock pads give me all the speed reduction and stopping that I need.
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Old 10-10-17, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
someone here suggested the long pull ones, cant recall the model name, but last summer they were on ebay sometimes, but it was just easier for me in canada to try some regular inexpensive cross levers bought at a store here,.
The only long pull cross levers I am aware of are by Paul Engineering ($$$). It was about five years ago I was researching this, so my information may be out of date. I wasn't prepared to pay for Paul cross levers, nor did I want to take a beating by replacing nearly brand new BB7 calipers with the road version, so I got Tektro levers (bilingual drop bar levers are more available), Tektro Interrupter Levers, and used a Travel Agent to deal with the mechanical advantage mismatch.
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Old 10-10-17, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
The only long pull cross levers I am aware of are by Paul Engineering ($$$). It was about five years ago I was researching this, so my information may be out of date. I wasn't prepared to pay for Paul cross levers, nor did I want to take a beating by replacing nearly brand new BB7 calipers with the road version, so I got Tektro levers (bilingual drop bar levers are more available), Tektro Interrupter Levers, and used a Travel Agent to deal with the mechanical advantage mismatch.
Tektro RL740 & RL 741 are cross levers for V-brakes.

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-le...clamp/?geoc=US
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-le...clamp/?geoc=US

and ebay.

For some reason Tektro does not offer them in the USA through normal channels.....
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Old 10-10-17, 09:32 AM
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I Have a set of Paul comp cross levers to sell. made in Chico California USA, not Taipei..
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Old 10-10-17, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
Tektro RL740 & RL 741 are cross levers for V-brakes.

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-le...clamp/?geoc=US
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-le...clamp/?geoc=US

and ebay.

For some reason Tektro does not offer them in the USA through normal channels.....
thanks, it was probably you who mentioned these when I was asking about the various pull issues etc etc last year.

In the end, these would have been at least twice as much money to get them into Canada, so thats why I tried some regular ones, but with the advice of the mechanics at the store that they would probably work for my use, and they would take them back if the levers were really coming up against the bars right away--but the clearance was ample and has continued to be so, even with pad wear on my bike (have same pads to this day on the bike and about 3000km touring heavily loaded in a lot of mountains)
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Old 10-10-17, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Modern cross levers are NOT the 'suicide levers' of the 1970's. The cross levers (Cane Creek, Tektro) on four of my bikes are the equal of the levers in the 'normal' place on the bars.
Yep. The only slop that might be incurred is if the additional cuts in the cable housing aren't clean. If you cut the cable house right there is zero braking performance loss with cross levers.
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Old 10-10-17, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Yep. The only slop that might be incurred is if the additional cuts in the cable housing aren't clean. If you cut the cable house right there is zero braking performance loss with cross levers.
I tend to agree, the real issue here is cable pull, and most regular cross levers are short pull, and the Avid Mountain BB7's are made for mountain bike levers which generally are long pull (as for v brakes)

(my example notwithstanding)

this is generally how I understand the whole long/short pull thing. When I got road hoods and levers as part of Gevenalle shifter lever setup, I had to specifically buy the long pull versions, as I had mountain BB7s which are long pull. There are Gevenalle dropbar levers that have a neat inner thing to reposition the brake cable end, and therefore can work for both long and short pull brakes--I specifically wanted 9 speed , and they only came in one or the other. I think it is the 10 speed ones that have the option for both----lots of blah blah that is not connected to the type of levers this guy wants to use, but it illustrates the importance of having the right cable pull levers for your braking system.
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