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Long vs. Short Pull Brake Levers

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Long vs. Short Pull Brake Levers

Old 01-01-12, 11:24 AM
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Long vs. Short Pull Brake Levers

Is there any way to tell whether a brake lever is short or long pull just by looking at it?
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Old 01-01-12, 11:28 AM
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You need more than a picture.
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Old 01-01-12, 11:30 AM
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Look at the center-to-center distance between where the lever pivots and where the cable anchor pivots.

I just pulled a couple levers from the parts bin and they were approximately 40mm and 24mm for long-pull and short-pull, respectively.
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Old 01-01-12, 11:38 AM
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Yup, you need at least to hold them in your hand, and work them
and measure them physically.
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Old 01-01-12, 11:57 AM
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Ok. Thanks.

I ask because I occasionally volunteer in a co-op-esque non-profit. We have a lot of people come in and mix and match spare parts to fix up their bikes. Most have no idea there are long and short pull. I want to be able to ensure they choose a lever with the proper pull before installing it.

Since I am able to measure the levers, having a sense of center-to-center difference between long and short is helpful. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-02-12, 12:37 PM
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If your parts are labeled when you get them, it might not be a bad idea to put this info on the label. Something like "For Cantilever, road caliper" or "For V-brake, linear brake". Etc. Also remember, some levers can operate both.
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Old 01-02-12, 01:06 PM
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I just measured two sets of 10-speed Campy Ergo, a set each of 8-speed and 9-speed Shimano STIs and a Tektro R-200, all road caliper/cantilever levers and their lever pivot to cable anchor distance was ~18 mm center-to-center on all of them.

I also measured a set of Tektro RL-520 V-brake levers and the lever to cable anchor center-to-center distance was 32 mm or almost twice as much.

So, any lever that measures more than say, 25 mm is probably intended for V-brakes.

While we're asking, can anyone give me the c-c pivot distance on the new Shimano 5700/6700/7900 series of levers?
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Old 01-02-12, 03:59 PM
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If you take a close look, a lot of cheaper flat bar levers for both long and short pull are made from the same mold (cast?) and the only difference is where the cable is anchored. A lot of them will have a subtle V or C next to the cable anchor that can be a good indicator.
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Old 01-04-12, 02:10 AM
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I've also measured the distance on several different levers. There was a lot of variability between different levers, but my general conclusion was that the cut-off was at about 30mm - longer than that is for V-brakes (or cable-actuated mountain disc brakes) and shorter than that is for everything else.
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Old 11-08-23, 04:59 AM
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I came a cross an 90's Nishiki road bike which has shimano 60 brake levers and dia-compe center-pull brakes.
I have a hard time adjusting the brakes and realized that the levers and brake might not be compatible...
Does anybody know how much cable pull the levers should produce in order for them to work with centerpull brakes?
Thanks!
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Old 11-08-23, 05:59 AM
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Brake lever pivot to hammer should be under 33mm and ideally more like 22mm.

33mm pivot levers are in the middle so they can be used for both cantilevers and v-brakes.
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Old 11-08-23, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by soyabean
Brake lever pivot to hammer should be under 33mm and ideally more like 22mm.

33mm pivot levers are in the middle so they can be used for both cantilevers and v-brakes.
Sorry, but which part is referred to as hammer? English isnt my mother tongue.

Also, the barke levers are Shimano 600 for drop bars. One zero was missing in my previous post.
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Old 11-08-23, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Skruff
I came a cross an 90's Nishiki road bike which has shimano 60 brake levers and dia-compe center-pull brakes.
I have a hard time adjusting the brakes and realized that the levers and brake might not be compatible...
Does anybody know how much cable pull the levers should produce in order for them to work with centerpull brakes?
Thanks!
Road bike parts are all "short pull".
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Old 11-08-23, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Road bike parts are all "short pull".
Ah, that explains so much, I googled quite much being sure something was off..
So, then I guess it just comes down to my adjustments skills, unwanted flex in the lever and brakes and possible contamination in pads and on rims. Ill try a new pair of pads.

Thank you.
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Old 11-08-23, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Skruff
Ah, that explains so much, I googled quite much being sure something was off..
So, then I guess it just comes down to my adjustments skills, unwanted flex in the lever and brakes and possible contamination in pads and on rims. Ill try a new pair of pads.

Thank you.
"Road pull" (short pull) levers measure about 25mm from the pivot pin in the lever to the center of place the Brake cable puller pivots... usually a pin holding the stirrup to the lever itself.
Cantilever, Side pull, and Center pull brakes are all (typically) Short pull.
Road Disc calipers and "Shorty V-brakes"are also Short pull.

Long pull brakes require about a 35mm Measurement, Pivot to pivot, at the lever.
V-Brakes and MTB Disc brakes use a Long Pull lever.

"Mid pull" levers are about 30mm, measured at the pivot points... and don't work very well for either short or long pull brakes.

there are too many variable factors to measure actual cable pull lengths generated by the levers... just measure the pivot-to-pivot distances of the levers.
@ 25mm is short pull... @ 35mm is long pull.
I have measured HUNDREDS of bike levers in my business... possibly THOUSANDS of them. The specifications i've listed always work.

Last edited by maddog34; 11-08-23 at 04:53 PM.
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