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Vintage brake hoods question: non-aero vs non-aero suicide levers

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Vintage brake hoods question: non-aero vs non-aero suicide levers

Old 09-09-20, 11:35 AM
  #1  
igz
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Vintage brake hoods question: non-aero vs non-aero suicide levers

Sorry canít quite post pics yet (working my way up to 10 posts), but Iím a bit stuck on a brakes question.

I recently got an Ď85 Miyata 912, and the non-aero Shimano 600 brakes donít have hoods on them. Good condition, and great bar tape, but the previous (1st) owner seems to have put some black electrical tape on the sides. Iíve read around the forums and it seems members like the ďcane creekĒ brand for NOS replica non aero hoods, as they fit these levers well. Before purchasing I just searched a bit more and found shimano NOS ones as well... and not sure which would be better.

So question 1 would be... will I run into problems if I buy from a brand like cane creek, or will they fit well?

2nd question is sparked by me going through the shimano NOS hoods and bumping into non-aero ones that include ďextension cutoutsĒ on the sides. Are these meant for brakes that have the ďsuicide leversĒ?

My girlfriend recently got an Ď80 Peugeot UO9 Super Sport and they have suicide levers (which she aims to keep as it is her first road bike and she feels safer having the added option)... but I had only read that such brakes cannot have rubber hoods due to rubbing/friction of the suicide levers. Are these ďextension cutoutsĒ I bumped into made for those very types of brakes? Because if yes, would love to find some hoods for her bike (they are Weinmann). Or are they for something entirely different?

Hope someone can help - rather lost here. Thanks!
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Old 09-09-20, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by igz View Post
... non-aero ones that include ďextension cutoutsĒ on the sides. Are these meant for brakes that have the ďsuicide leversĒ?
Yes.

Last winter I rid the remaining cane creek hoods from my stable. I replaced them with Rustines real gum hoods. They look so much more appropriate on nice bikes. Save the cane creeks for lower level models.
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Old 09-09-20, 12:09 PM
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I recommend ditching those suicide levers as braking with them is NOT optimal especially in a panic stop. Also, if the suicide lever arm fits between the brake body and the brake lever, it also decreases the amount of lever travel of the main brake lever thus decreasing the amount of braking possible with it. I've seen many such bikes where the main brake lever touches the handlebar under hard braking - not something you want.

iirc, Cane Creek hoods came/come in a variety of colours.

Cheers
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Old 09-09-20, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Yes.

Last winter I rid the remaining cane creek hoods from my stable. I replaced them with Rustines real gum hoods. They look so much more appropriate on nice bikes. Save the cane creeks for lower level models.
Are cane creeks low end? I find I kind of like the finish on them (the tougher rubber on tops and bottom), but really not a fan of the branding on the sides. It may modernize an 80s bike, and I definitely want to stay true to its history/era. Are Rustines the way to go? Would you recommend them over other makes, including NOS shimano ones? I would be looking to buy them in the next few days, but can only order them (which sucks in terms of seeing in person).

*not my pics*






Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I recommend ditching those suicide levers as braking with them is NOT optimal especially in a panic stop. Also, if the suicide lever arm fits between the brake body and the brake lever, it also decreases the amount of lever travel of the main brake lever thus decreasing the amount of braking possible with it. I've seen many such bikes where the main brake lever touches the handlebar under hard braking - not something you want.

iirc, Cane Creek hoods came/come in a variety of colours.

Cheers
This is the big dilemma: my girlfriend REALLY isnít comfortable with being down on the drops. Itís this catch 22 of loving her (first ever) bike, the look, the feel, the 80s frame, the handlebar... while also feeling unsafe without the suicide levers. She doesnít even ride on the hoods yet (still getting there). Iíve read that even taking suicides off and installing additional small regular type breaks (while keeping the handlebar and original brakes) = the same problem in terms of two locations pulling on one brake wire. I donít know how to possibly work around her having that safety, while also avoiding the crappy-ness of a suicide lever setup.

Iím also hoping that if I find hoods for her setup, it will end the nonstop clacking of that suicide lever every time she hits a bump. I canít tighten them to the brake itself (as itís a flat surface when I remove the plastic cap covering)... so it 1) drives us nuts, and 2) makes me wonder how I would even remove them in order to mount a rubber hood. Any input would be helpful.

Thanks guys
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Old 09-09-20, 02:58 PM
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For your GF, there's a new generation of secondary / top-of-the-bar levers. They go by several names -- cheaters, interruptors, etc. They clamp onto the bar up by the top end of the tape, and you cut the cable housing and pass the cable through them. MUCH safer and more effective than the old turkey/suicide levers. Easy to install, since the bands are hinged, no need to unwrap the bar, etc. Oh, and no clacking.
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Old 09-09-20, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by igz View Post
Are cane creeks low end? I find I kind of like the finish on them (the tougher rubber on tops and bottom), but really not a fan of the branding on the sides. It may modernize an 80s bike, and I definitely want to stay true to its history/era. Are Rustines the way to go? Would you recommend them over other makes, including NOS shimano ones? I would be looking to buy them in the next few days, but can only order them (which sucks in terms of seeing in person).

*not my pics*








This is the big dilemma: my girlfriend REALLY isnít comfortable with being down on the drops. Itís this catch 22 of loving her (first ever) bike, the look, the feel, the 80s frame, the handlebar... while also feeling unsafe without the suicide levers. She doesnít even ride on the hoods yet (still getting there). Iíve read that even taking suicides off and installing additional small regular type breaks (while keeping the handlebar and original brakes) = the same problem in terms of two locations pulling on one brake wire. I donít know how to possibly work around her having that safety, while also avoiding the crappy-ness of a suicide lever setup.

Iím also hoping that if I find hoods for her setup, it will end the nonstop clacking of that suicide lever every time she hits a bump. I canít tighten them to the brake itself (as itís a flat surface when I remove the plastic cap covering)... so it 1) drives us nuts, and 2) makes me wonder how I would even remove them in order to mount a rubber hood. Any input would be helpful.

Thanks guys
Personally, I would not own a bike without safety levers. I love them, and have no problem with them. Several of my bikes have hooded levers. The hoods that come with an opening for the safety levers make life easier, but it's not difficult to cut a small hole in any hood.

There should be a spring inside that safety lever, behind the screw that holds it in place. You can also space things with washers. Mine never rattle, and hers shouldn't. Pics of her setup would help.
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Old 09-09-20, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
For your GF, there's a new generation of secondary / top-of-the-bar levers. They go by several names -- cheaters, interruptors, etc. They clamp onto the bar up by the top end of the tape, and you cut the cable housing and pass the cable through them. MUCH safer and more effective than the old turkey/suicide levers. Easy to install, since the bands are hinged, no need to unwrap the bar, etc. Oh, and no clacking.
Only hitch with interrupter levers is that you have to use aero type brake levers that route the brake cable under the bar tape. However they are far superior to the extension levers
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Old 09-09-20, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by kross57 View Post
Personally, I would not own a bike without safety levers. I love them, and have no problem with them. Several of my bikes have hooded levers. The hoods that come with an opening for the safety levers make life easier, but it's not difficult to cut a small hole in any hood.

There should be a spring inside that safety lever, behind the screw that holds it in place. You can also space things with washers. Mine never rattle, and hers shouldn't. Pics of her setup would help.
Hereís a pic pre-tape, when we first brought it home.



Iíve been able to take off that little black plastic cap that should be covering a large screw that connects the suicide lever to the main brake lever, only to find underneath was a flat surface (same as you can see on the outside of the brakes, the little circle). I didnít want to mess around with it and remove it... but it does make me wonder how I would remove and reinstall it once hoods are put on.
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Old 09-09-20, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by igz View Post
(...)

This is the big dilemma: my girlfriend REALLY isnít comfortable with being down on the drops. Itís this catch 22 of loving her (first ever) bike, the look, the feel, the 80s frame, the handlebar... while also feeling unsafe without the suicide levers. She doesnít even ride on the hoods yet (still getting there). Iíve read that even taking suicides off and installing additional small regular type breaks (while keeping the handlebar and original brakes) = the same problem in terms of two locations pulling on one brake wire. I donít know how to possibly work around her having that safety, while also avoiding the crappy-ness of a suicide lever setup.
(...)
While I understand the dislike of extension levers, I think calling them suicide levers doesn't do the concept justice.

I faced the same dilemma with my girl when getting her acquainted with drop bars and spent quite a few days trying various sets of levers from Weinmann, Altenburger, Dia-Compe and Shimano. The biggest problem with most of them was not so much the flex, but that they did not line up with the top of the bars, which means squeezing them felt awkward and ineffective.

I finally settled for these Shimano DEL-80 levers. They do line up nicely, have very little play and don't flex at all. Once properly adjusted I was pleasantly surprised by how solid they feel and how well they work when on the tops or ramps. Mrs non-fixie is very happy with them.

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Old 09-09-20, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Once properly adjusted I was pleasantly surprised by how solid they feel and how well they work when on the tops or ramps. Mrs non-fixie is very happy with them.
Yes, those levers get a bad rap, but they can actually be quite good.

I found out for myself when I bought a used bike with them. The first time I squeezed them on the ride home I was really surprised at the stopping power and solid feel they gave. I decided to keep them on for a long time, and I kind of miss them since I changed to an aero setup.
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Old 09-09-20, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by igz View Post
Hereís a pic pre-tape, when we first brought it home.



Iíve been able to take off that little black plastic cap that should be covering a large screw that connects the suicide lever to the main brake lever, only to find underneath was a flat surface (same as you can see on the outside of the brakes, the little circle). I didnít want to mess around with it and remove it... but it does make me wonder how I would remove and reinstall it once hoods are put on.
Ah, your girlfriend's bike "safety Levers" mount DIRECTLY to the brake body NOT between the brake body and the brake lever. that makes them somewhat better.

I have a pair of gum rubber Dia-Compe non-aero brake lever hoods here that I haven't used yet. They have a disc on each side. That disc can be removed from one side so that the mounting bolt for a "Safety Brake Lever" can pass through the hood. I've see other brands with similar discs that can be removed or where the hole is already present.

Cheers
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Old 09-09-20, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by igz View Post
Hereís a pic pre-tape, when we first brought it home.



Iíve been able to take off that little black plastic cap that should be covering a large screw that connects the suicide lever to the main brake lever, only to find underneath was a flat surface (same as you can see on the outside of the brakes, the little circle). I didnít want to mess around with it and remove it... but it does make me wonder how I would remove and reinstall it once hoods are put on.
I would go to another style of lever. Very easy to change with the bars unwrapped. Loosen the brake cables. Disengage the cable from the lever. Loosen the lever retaining screw. Remove from bars. Reinstall new levers. The Shimanos posted above look nice. I'm happy with good old DiaCompe levers.
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Old 09-10-20, 08:27 AM
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Two things w.r.t. your girlfriendís bike:

1) if she doesnít ride the hoods position much, you can just tape nicely around the levers, especially with some nice cotton bar tape and it will look ok and be usable for some who doesnít use that position a lot.

2) if the bars are rotated down until the drop part is only angled up a few degrees, perhaps around seven degrees, that will bring the drops back and up and make them an easier reach.

Otto
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Old 09-10-20, 07:42 PM
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If she is set on keeping the levers, Please change out the cables and housings to some new lined housings and die drawn stainless cables, you MUST also change out the brake pads to some new Kool Stop salmon pads. With the brakes adjusted properly it will stop pretty well. With the old pads and unlined housings there is no chance for any sort of decent braking. Aluminum rims will really improve things also. But the cables, housings and pads are the minimum!
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Old 09-10-20, 08:35 PM
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Go Aero levers- add inline top of the bar levers as often used by cyclocross racers.
i did this for my son.
effective braking and does not look...

cant help if she then asks for stem shifters...
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Old 09-11-20, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by igz View Post
Are cane creeks low end? I find I kind of like the finish on them (the tougher rubber on tops and bottom), but really not a fan of the branding on the sides. It may modernize an 80s bike, and I definitely want to stay true to its history/era. Are Rustines the way to go? Would you recommend them over other makes, including NOS shimano ones? I would be looking to buy them in the next few days, but can only order them (which sucks in terms of seeing in person).
I'm not a fan of the Cane Creek branding or the feel really. Rustines are nice, BUT they don't hold up well (dry out and start cracking too quickly) IMO. Check out the Soma "Campy" hoods. I have those on a few of my Gran Compe levers. They look/feel great and have outlasted my Rustines by a long shot.

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Old 09-11-20, 03:36 PM
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Thanks squarenoise for the tips on the Soma and Cane Creek hoods.

For the OP's rattling levers, this is caused by the auxiliary lever being loosely pegged into the side of the main lever, instead of having a front "hook" held rigidly by the lever's return spring.
So the "pegged" style of aux levers aren't really an improvement (especially since with the "hooked" aux levers you can simply cut away 3-4mm from the body's front edge to restore any needed amount of lever travel and reach).

To install hoods with the OP's "pegged" aux levers, the mounting bolt needs to be removed and the aux lever with pivot pin slid out from the body while the hoods are installed.
But also there may not be sufficient clearance to accomodate the thickness of the hoods, something that should be checked before pulling the existing assembly apart. The last thing you want would be to introduce binding friction to the brake lever's movement!

The real fun started when I decided to fit hoods over the early "Dura-Ace" brake levers having integral (with the pivot shaft) auxiliary levers. It got even more interesting as I disassembled the thing, finding that the aux levers internallally acted as the main levers, and the normal "front" levers acted as the auxiliary levers by actuating the main lever only secondarily.
Noting here that the huge pivot screw head rotates with lever movement, requiring this huge cutout to eliminate friction. The braking action of these early Shimano Aux levers is beyond first-rate, they are the very best. Also there is no rattling, no flex (and there is plenty of clearance on the aux lever side for the hood thickness).
Moral of this story is to be prepared to test and tinker!

Last edited by dddd; 09-11-20 at 03:42 PM.
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