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Which Side for brakes and SA shifter?

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Which Side for brakes and SA shifter?

Old 01-26-08, 11:28 AM
  #1  
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Which Side for brakes and SA shifter?

I am using the winter months to finally start my Craigs List special Raynal bike refurb project (heck, it is my first bike refurb project ever). I have decided to keep it as original as possible (e.g. I was going to use new cable housing, but decided to keep the original after I put the new ones on!). Something funny I noticed was that the rear brake was on the left hand and the front brake was on the right. I thought that was weird and put them back on the way all my other bikes are. The Sturmey Archer shifter was also on the top of the right hand handle bar. What was weird was it was it appeared to be upside down (the SA logo was upside down - huh, why would they do that??? Oh well, whatever). After playing with the shifter (I have no idea what I am doing with that one yet!), I realized that it is probably supposed to mounted on the left hand grip on the bottom. So should the SA shifter be on the left grip - think the original owner swapped everything?
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Old 01-26-08, 11:39 AM
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most SA shifters I have are on the right hand side. however you can put it where it's comfortable for you. there is no right or wrong side for these things. the previous owner of the bike was probably a motorcycle rider, they tend to switch the brake levers on their bikes. so the front brake is in the same place on both bikes. here's a bike with it on the left side
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Old 01-26-08, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by otterbuff View Post
I am using the winter months to finally start my Craigs List special Raynal bike refurb project (heck, it is my first bike refurb project ever). I have decided to keep it as original as possible (e.g. I was going to use new cable housing, but decided to keep the original after I put the new ones on!). Something funny I noticed was that the rear brake was on the left hand and the front brake was on the right. I thought that was weird and put them back on the way all my other bikes are. The Sturmey Archer shifter was also on the top of the right hand handle bar. What was weird was it was it appeared to be upside down (the SA logo was upside down - huh, why would they do that??? Oh well, whatever). After playing with the shifter (I have no idea what I am doing with that one yet!), I realized that it is probably supposed to mounted on the left hand grip on the bottom. So should the SA shifter be on the left grip - think the original owner swapped everything?
Depends...if you were in England everything would be reversed because you ride on the opposite side of the road...On most of my bikes I have the front brake on the right and the rear brake on the left...if I am legally signaling a turn with my left arm, and I happen to be right handed I want the most powerful brake where I can get to it and be able to use my strongest hand on it. FWIW Sheldon Brown has a treatise on this very subject. FWIW I do run the SA shifter on the right hand side, some of the early ones are "upside down" but the later ones aren't. I suspect it may have had to do with the way the machines were designed that made the stampings.

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Old 01-26-08, 01:19 PM
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Thanks!

Wow, I thought about going to Shelton Brown's site, but didn't - what ISN'T on there??? As I understand the history of Raynal, it was a motorcycle company and that plus the English pedigree suggests the brake placement. FWIW, my SA hub is from 1961. I think I will reverse everything (brakes my way and shifter hanging down on the left). THANKS Again.
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Old 01-26-08, 01:53 PM
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I will agree that there really is no 'right' place on which side the rear and front brake is so long as they are reachable, installed properly and operable. I started cycling with the left/front and right/rear brake routing, and with taking up cyclocross some years back, I decided to switch all my bikes to the right/front and left/rear. For me, it makes sense to have the rear brake on the left side on a cyclocross bike...I just switched all my other bikes to match. The inconsistency drove me nuts for weeks until I did.
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Old 01-26-08, 05:05 PM
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The shifter is printed correctly - you just have it upside down. The label should face forward, right side up. With your hand on the handlebars, the lever is positioned so a flick of your index finger changes gears.

Once you try it, you will see why 3-speeds are so comfy. You don't move your hand to shift. Just 'flick' and there you are.

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Old 01-26-08, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Depends...if you were in England everything would be reversed because you ride on the opposite side of the road...On most of my bikes I have the front brake on the right and the rear brake on the left...if I am legally signaling a turn with my left arm, and I happen to be right handed I want the most powerful brake where I can get to it and be able to use my strongest hand on it.
Of course your logic makes perfect sense and I couldn't agree more. It makes you wonder why the front brake is on the left hand side in North America as standard issue. I run my bikes like this because it is how they have always been and I am just used to it. It may be because most inexperienced riders use the rear more because they are afraid of the front brake (many are, seriously). It's because they don't want to go over the handlebars or something.
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Old 01-26-08, 06:35 PM
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The right-rear U.S. standard is the logical outcome of an unfounded fear of a head-first flip induced by the front brake. The thinking was that most people would grab the right brake handle first and strongest, and that it should therefore apply the rear brake, instead of the front.

As for placement of the S-A trigger control, when I had a 12-speed hybrid (4-speed cogset on a 3-speed AW hub), I tucked the trigger below and inside the left brake handle, to facilitate simultaneous shifting of the derailleur, which had a standard right-side downtube lever, and the internal gearing.
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Old 01-27-08, 12:34 PM
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I agree with sciencemonster about the S-A trigger. That's how I've always remember them. As for the correct side for the brakes, no doubt on a British bike this old, out of the factory the front brake would have been on the right, where God intended. I learned to ride in the UK in the early 1950s and remember front brakes being on the right, which is how I still have mine, because it's instinctive to me. When I resumed cycling in Canada in the late 1970s, I found bikes were sold with the front brake on the left. I presumed this was a Japanese convention (but that didn't make much sense, because they drive on the left, the same as the Brits.) Turns out the U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION decrees this, probably because 50 years ago everybody here started riding on coaster brake bikes with only a rear brake, which was seen as the primary brake and should be actuated by the right hand. However, the CPSC does allow shops to install brakes whichever way the customer wants.

I've been obsessed by which side the brakes should be for a long time. I did an Internet search for pictures of old roadsters with roller-lever stirrup brakes (which are still common in the Third World) and found that almost invariably the front brakes were on the right, and that's not something that can be switched without major surgery. Maybe the reason is that many years ago the predecessors of these bikes came from England.

So, yes, if you want your Raynal to be historically correct, the front brake should stay on the right side. However, if this is going to be a rider and you're uncomfortable with that arrangement, switch them around by all means.
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Old 01-27-08, 02:15 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by otterbuff View Post
I am using the winter months to finally start my Craigs List special Raynal bike refurb project (heck, it is my first bike refurb project ever). I have decided to keep it as original as possible (e.g. I was going to use new cable housing, but decided to keep the original after I put the new ones on!). Something funny I noticed was that the rear brake was on the left hand and the front brake was on the right. I thought that was weird and put them back on the way all my other bikes are. The Sturmey Archer shifter was also on the top of the right hand handle bar. What was weird was it was it appeared to be upside down (the SA logo was upside down - huh, why would they do that??? Oh well, whatever). After playing with the shifter (I have no idea what I am doing with that one yet!), I realized that it is probably supposed to mounted on the left hand grip on the bottom. So should the SA shifter be on the left grip - think the original owner swapped everything?
Things change, and some folks do not. The old SA trigger shifters logo required them to be mounted under the bar on the left (if which way the logo read was important) which I believe was the way they were originally intended to be used, but most post WWII bikes had it mounted on top of the left bar although the logo was upside down on them. At some point SA change the lettering so the logo (and numbers) were right side up in that position.

The convention was for the rear brake handle to be on the curb side of the bike in whatever country you were in. Most folks do not even know the proper hand signals any longer. In the USA they are all done with the left arm. Arm up signals a right turn, arm straight out a left turn and arm down slowing. If you drive, or ride, on the left side of the road you of course use your right arm. That allowed you to use your rear brake to slow for your turn, the rear brake is not as powerful but it does give you a bit more control over your bike and you are not braking hard in such situations so it is considered the primary brake. The old timers were not as stupid as the kids think.
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Old 01-27-08, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Depends...if you were in England everything would be reversed because you ride on the opposite side of the road...On most of my bikes I have the front brake on the right and the rear brake on the left...if I am legally signaling a turn with my left arm, and I happen to be right handed I want the most powerful brake where I can get to it and be able to use my strongest hand on it. FWIW Sheldon Brown has a treatise on this very subject. FWIW I do run the SA shifter on the right hand side, some of the early ones are "upside down" but the later ones aren't. I suspect it may have had to do with the way the machines were designed that made the stampings.

Aaron
I disagree with both you and Sheldon, If you need to brake hard both hands should be on the bars. Braking lightly as for a turn the rear brake is safer if you should hit an oily wet patch or something. I do have my front on the right, but that is because I rode motorcycles for a long while and tend to use it that way without thinking. However, remember that the rear brake on a motorcycle is a foot brake (once again considered the primary). If you have a coaster brake rather than a hand brake on the rear, it does make sense to put the front brake on the right if you are right handed.
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Old 01-27-08, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sciencemonster View Post
The shifter is printed correctly - you just have it upside down. The label should face forward, right side up. With your hand on the handlebars, the lever is positioned so a flick of your index finger changes gears.

Once you try it, you will see why 3-speeds are so comfy. You don't move your hand to shift. Just 'flick' and there you are.

I love it! You show one of the old shifters there so the logo is upside down as mounted . Also on a real North Road bar the straight section is too short to mount it like in your photo. I believe the best advice is for the rider to mount it however he finds it to be most convenient.

A bit of history, the original SA shifter was a lever mounted on the top tube (they revived it in an exaggerated way with the Stingray Stick Shifter). When they came out with the trigger shifter it was apparently intended to be mounted under the left side of the handle bar, but many found it more convenient on top of the right hand side, or maybe that was just the American way of doing it. Sometime in the sixties they redesigned the logo for that position, or maybe since it then was on a clear plastic plate they just used different plates for different countries (Does anyone know about that?).
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Old 01-27-08, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by graywolf View Post
The convention was for the rear brake handle to be on the curb side of the bike in whatever country you were in. Most folks do not even know the proper hand signals any longer. In the USA they are all done with the left arm. Arm up signals a right turn, arm straight out a left turn and arm down slowing. If you drive, or ride, on the left side of the road you of course use your right arm. That allowed you to use your rear brake to slow for your turn, the rear brake is not as powerful but it does give you a bit more control over your bike and you are not braking hard in such situations so it is considered the primary brake. The old timers were not as stupid as the kids think.
Where did you find this "convention"? My front brake is my primary brake, the one I depend on. For gradual slowing I use both, or just my legs when riding a fixed wheel. If you depended on your rear brake (right hand) alone while signalling with your left, you'd be SOL of you had to stop suddenly. When I learned to drive I had to learn hand signals and of course you could not signal out of the passenger side window. Don't they teach that anymore? I still use hand signals if I don't know my signal lights, or those of a trailer are working.

Maybe the brake convention started with horses; have to think about that... Funny thing, they mount horses from the left, no matter what country you're in. A cowboy mounting his horse would be standing out in the road and could get hit by a Redneck in a Hummer. Maybe that's why they have angle parking in front of saloons in the Old West.
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Old 01-27-08, 03:49 PM
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you guys are hilarious. "historically correct" Ha! people have been customizing their riding and control positions since bikes were made. unless you have direct information on who originally bought the bike, what country they lived in and how they liked their bike set-up then "historically correct" is impossible. Adjusting the bike to fit the rider is part of bike set-up and just because it changes from rider to rider makes it no less accurate than they way bikes came from the factory.
I use my rear brake primarily on the street. Some of my bikes, like the one pictured above, don't even have front brakes. I while it doesn't slow me down as fast I do like having steering capability. Try landing on your front brake suddenly and trying to turn to avoid something, good luck!
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Old 01-27-08, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by OLDYELLR View Post
Funny thing, they mount horses from the left, no matter what country you're in. A cowboy mounting his horse would be standing out in the road and could get hit by a Redneck in a Hummer. Maybe that's why they have angle parking in front of saloons in the Old West.
There are lots of theories about this, but the one that I find most plausible has to do with swords.

A right-handed swordsman wears his sword on the left. If he tried to mount a horse (or a bicycle) from the right, the scabbard could get tangled up with his left leg.

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Old 01-27-08, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by OLDYELLR View Post
... they mount horses from the left, no matter what country you're in. ...
All I know is what I see in old western movies, but I have heard and read that American Indians mounted their horses from the right side -- this is how trackers figured out whether cowboys or Indians had just left a particular spot.
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Old 01-27-08, 06:57 PM
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For routine stops on dry pavement, I use just the front brake. For speed control on a long descent, I use just the rear brake, to avoid a front tire thermal blowout. For downhill or hard braking, I use both brakes.
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