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Brake levers, I don't know what to call them

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Brake levers, I don't know what to call them

Old 04-28-11, 02:20 PM
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YokeyDokey
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Brake levers, I don't know what to call them

My old Schwinn has dual brake levers -vertical and horizontal. I almost always use the horizontal lever because my hands are on the horizontal portion of the bars. So I bought a new bike; it only has the vertical levers and I want the horizontal ones too. Is this a typical add-on? What is this called? I'm new to this level of bicycles. If it was a sailboat I could tell you anything. Snatchblocks? What do you want to know about them?

My new bike has SRAM Carbon double-tap levers.
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Old 04-28-11, 02:32 PM
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The levers you are referring to are "extension" levers, introduced during the bike boom, as people were buying bikes, but then they found out riding in the drops was uncomfortable for them. So they rode on top of the bars, and had trouble reaching the brakes in emergencies. Check sheldons site for more info. You can't get them anymore, but you can get interrupt levers that would address what you want.
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Old 04-28-11, 02:48 PM
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Thanks, JReade - I'm educated. They also call them "cross" or "crosstop" levers. I wonder why they were discontinued - they work great on my old Schwinn. Learned something interesting (to me, anyway) in the process: The SRAM levers alone on my new Fuji retail for over $360 - but I got the whole bike for under $900. Splain?
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Old 04-28-11, 02:53 PM
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A lot of my riding is done in the style known as "riding the hoods" where my hands are holding on while wrapped around the mount of the road style brake levers. My fingers then lay down along the side of the brake lever and I can apply them with a sort of sideways pull of my fingers. I seldom ride with my hands on the cross piece, also known as the "top" of the bars. Now I'd be lying like a rug if I said I never ride on the tops since I do it a fair amount. But at the first signs of any need for braking and better steering control my hands go back to the hoods where I can both apply the brakes and have a lot better control over any steering that is needed. Yeah, sure, I could install interrupter levers. But the control over steering when the hands are in close to the stem is greatly reduced. So I don't have interrupter levers and won't ever have them for these reasons. Obviously enough people disagree with me to the extent that there's a wide array of these levers available. But it's something to think about for yourself and decide on how you want to ride.

Here's a video of the three main hand positions on drop bars along with a bit for flat bars.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3X7dRiggpg

And here's a good video showing how to use the brake levers while riding on the hoods.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9m-_...1&feature=fvwp
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Old 04-28-11, 03:01 PM
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the other term, suicide levers.. just didnt do much above walking speeds.

The OP got a Brifter bike, they need the current interrupter levers ,
Cyclocross racing brought them back in a better functioning form ,
they Spread the housing, right where the brake cables exit from under the tape.

spreading the housing functions, Isaac Newton Fans, like pulling the cable..

5 shown here https://cyclocrossworld.stores.yahoo....untlevers.html

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-28-11 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 04-28-11, 03:17 PM
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Cross levers do what you want, but modern levers are designed to be comfortable riding on the brake hoods - a feature old ones unfortunately lacked. Your best bet would be ensure your bike is properly fit and try to get used to riding with your hands on the brake hoods. This gives you immediate access to braking and shifting. If you are uncomfortable doing this, it could be that your reach is too long or the levers are not positioned properly.

The old-style "suicide levers" were discontinued because they were dangerous - you simply could not apply as much braking force from them.
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Old 04-28-11, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by YokeyDokey View Post
The SRAM levers alone on my new Fuji retail for over $360 - but I got the whole bike for under $900. Splain?

Because they are "Brifters" (brakes and shifters) combined. I guess the extra technology costs a premium . Also that is retail price for us, the bike companies don't pay anywhere near $360.
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Old 04-28-11, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
the other term, suicide levers.. just didnt do much above walking speeds.
People say stuff like that but I rode that way for years when I was a kid and they stopped just fine, thanks.
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Old 04-28-11, 06:27 PM
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The levers described in the original post can often be found sold as parts on eBay, Craigslist and on older bikes sold on both places. I bought two "vintage" bikes at a local swap meet just to get the brakes levers for a couple friends. Took the levers off and immediately resold the bikes for what I paid for them. You just have to look around.
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Old 04-28-11, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by YokeyDokey View Post
My old Schwinn has dual brake levers -vertical and horizontal. I almost always use the horizontal lever because my hands are on the horizontal portion of the bars. So I bought a new bike; it only has the vertical levers and I want the horizontal ones too. Is this a typical add-on? What is this called? I'm new to this level of bicycles. If it was a sailboat I could tell you anything. Snatchblocks? What do you want to know about them?

My new bike has SRAM Carbon double-tap levers.
Explain to me how I can rig a boom vang and cunningham on my Trek 1200? ;-) BTW, I am referring to the mast head rig 1200 not the fractional rig.
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Old 04-28-11, 08:57 PM
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If you notice, those sorts of levers were only supplied with bikes intended for the "casual" market. Serious roadsters of the period had properly-padded brake levers since serious cyclists spend most of their time riding "on the hoods". That's the normal riding position for a properly-set-up roadster.
The old Schwinns and such that had the suicide levers didn't even have pads for the brake levers.
The general thought is that the top-of-the-bar hand position is used primarily for climbing, and who needs to be able to brake quickly when climbing? Modern road brakes are capable of wheel-locking pressure from the normal hoods position or from the drops.
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Old 04-29-11, 10:16 AM
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jsharr, forget the boom tackle, rig carbon struts on the downtube for your running backs... oh, and you might want to move the seat aft if your plan to pop the chute.

Hey everyone, thanks so much for the great feedback - this is a great site. I rode the new, crosstop-less bike 21 miles in the hills last night and I'm getting used to riding the hoods. I'll need to take some of the throw out of the levers to accomodate my stubby fingers, but it's good and I think it'll do mostly as it shipped.
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Old 04-29-11, 02:12 PM
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They where sold as "saftey" levers, but soon became known as "suicide" levers. Why? Becuase the lever would hit the bar before the brakes where fully applied. This made for some loooooong stopping distance. Unless the brakes where adjusted very close to the rim, and the rim was very true, most didn't work too good. Most casual riders didn't/couldn't adjust the brakes. Throw in pad wear and steel riims into the mix, and you might as well not have had brakes at all.
The good old days.
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Old 04-29-11, 02:22 PM
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They work very well on my old Schwinn. What a great old bike. if it was only 8cm shorter and 10# lighter.
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Old 04-29-11, 08:52 PM
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There's also "guidonnet levers":



These have been used on city bikes for well over half a century and do not suffer the limitations of the so-called "suicide" brake lever extensions found on many 70s and 80s vintage bikes.
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Old 04-30-11, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
If you notice, those sorts of levers were only supplied with bikes intended for the "casual" market. Serious roadsters of the period had properly-padded brake levers since serious cyclists spend most of their time riding "on the hoods". That's the normal riding position for a properly-set-up roadster.
The old Schwinns and such that had the suicide levers didn't even have pads for the brake levers.
The general thought is that the top-of-the-bar hand position is used primarily for climbing, and who needs to be able to brake quickly when climbing? Modern road brakes are capable of wheel-locking pressure from the normal hoods position or from the drops.
From Paris-Roubaix this year....darn casual riders



For the OP,they're called interrupter levers. A lot of cross bikes have them, including mine.
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Old 04-30-11, 06:28 AM
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My question is, did you get properly fitted for the new bike? Perhaps your stem has too long of an extension? If the bike is the right size, and the stem is the right length, riding on the hoods should be comfortable.

Just something else to consider.
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Old 04-30-11, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by simonaway427 View Post
From Paris-Roubaix this year....darn casual riders



For the OP,they're called interrupter levers. A lot of cross bikes have them, including mine.
Maybe I'm going blind, but I'm pretty sure I see CROSS levers in that picture, not suicide levers. I seriously doubt you find many pictures of pros using those.
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Old 04-30-11, 01:07 PM
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Hi Yokey Dokey, have you considered converting to a riser bar and fitting a set of straight bar levers for a road brake. They start from about 15 ($25??). If your preferred riding position is more upright then there is no reason for you to have to shift your riding position forward to the hoods. A person should not adapt to the bike, it should be the other way round. Drop bar levers are designed for a much more aerodynamic (and less uncomfortable) riding position, purely for speed. If it wasn't uncomfortable then you wouldn't see professional immediately moving to the top of the bars or sitting up straight at the end of a race.
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Old 04-30-11, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ogreville View Post
Hi Yokey Dokey, have you considered converting to a riser bar and fitting a set of straight bar levers for a road brake. They start from about 15 ($25??). If your preferred riding position is more upright then there is no reason for you to have to shift your riding position forward to the hoods. A person should not adapt to the bike, it should be the other way round. Drop bar levers are designed for a much more aerodynamic (and less uncomfortable) riding position, purely for speed. If it wasn't uncomfortable then you wouldn't see professional immediately moving to the top of the bars or sitting up straight at the end of a race.
If it is uncomfortable, your bike is not fit properly. And as for your statement about adapting - that's just silly. Different types of bikes have different riding positions. Trying to change it into another type of bike is a sign you didn't buy the right bike.
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Old 05-01-11, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Nerull View Post
Maybe I'm going blind, but I'm pretty sure I see CROSS levers in that picture, not suicide levers. I seriously doubt you find many pictures of pros using those.
But the OP asked for some bar top levels that will augment his SRAM group - unless I'm missing something, his only option is a cross lever setup. Even if these "suicide" setups were still around, I think he'd be hard pressed to find anything compatible with SRAM brifters.
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Old 05-01-11, 05:45 AM
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I have heard these called, " Safety, extension,suicide levers. Yes, they are still available.

https://cgi.ebay.com/NOS-VINTAGE-DIA-...item588dc1067d
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Old 05-01-11, 05:59 AM
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He could use a set of friction shifters - either mountain style on the top of the bar or use bar end shifter like some touring bikes (and tri), but that seems like a step in the wrong direction.
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Old 05-04-11, 12:48 PM
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A short stem will change everything for me. The stem it shipped with is 110mm. A little short stubby one that also rotates looks like the bomb for me. I'm all about multi-purpose. I got pedals with a clip on one side and a platform on the other. Poor folks have poor ways...
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Old 05-04-11, 01:07 PM
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A short stem will change everything for me. The stem it shipped with is 110mm. A little short stubby one that also rotates looks like the bomb for me.
re installing your SRAM brifters higher on the front curve of the bar, adding interrupter levers ,
getting the bars re-taped, adding some gel pillow padding beneath, and substituting a shorter reach stem
are a good combination to make your new bike more comfortable, so you will ride it a Lot.
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