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Are brake levers with turkey levers the same geometry as ones without?

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Are brake levers with turkey levers the same geometry as ones without?

Old 01-30-15, 08:26 PM
  #1  
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Are brake levers with turkey levers the same geometry as ones without?

I know it's possible to remove the turkey levers on brake levers from low end bikes. I did it recently on a set of Weinmanns or Diacompes, then cut and filed the post down. Now the brake lever extends out further since it is missing that chunk of material on the extension lever that fit between the brake lever and body. I have smaller hands and now there seems like too much brake reach when in the drops.

My question is, are the older low-end brake levers designed differently when they have safety levers as opposed to the ones without? If I were to buy a set of Diacompes or Weinmanns from the same era that never had safety levers would they have shorter reach or are they really the same lever?
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Old 01-30-15, 08:33 PM
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.
...IME they are the same design, same curve to the levers, similar reach.

This was the rationale for removing the top bar handles, because they cut down on travel and throw at the lever,
thus reducing the amount of available emergency braking power. I think maybe if you brake from the hoods, rather than
reaching out from behind the bar, you might be more successful with smaller hands, but I never had especially small hands.
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Old 01-30-15, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by lotekmod View Post
My question is, are the older low-end brake levers designed differently when they have safety levers as opposed to the ones without? If I were to buy a set of Diacompes or Weinmanns from the same era that never had safety levers would they have shorter reach or are they really the same lever?
I just did a quick comparison of DiaCompe w/turkey levers to similar levers without and to similar Weinmanns without. I believe the DiaCompes were the same, so yes the levers do extend a bit further forward, perhaps 1/2 inch. The Weinmanns had a QR button between the body and the lever, so it took up about as much space as the turkey lever did.

@3alarmer said:
I think maybe if you brake from the hoods, rather than
reaching out from behind the bar, you might be more successful with smaller hands
+1 what he said. FWIW, I never brake from the drops, always by flexing the wrist from the hoods, not by squeezing the levers with my fingers.
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Old 01-30-15, 09:00 PM
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i don't know how to answer the op's question.

i do know that not all non-aero levers are created equally. some require more hand force to stop than others.

my least favorite levers are the weinmanns on my '80 moto. their unique curve seems more for a certain look than for pure purpose. my favorites were the mafacs on my '80 pkn10. that was my favorite brakeset ever. but mafac pads are big too, which aids with the hand force required.

all the aero levers i've had require even less force ... almost to a fault. kinda takes the fun out of it.
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Old 01-31-15, 06:19 AM
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OK, you have answered my question, thanks! I won't bother buying another set of levers since the consensus seems to be they will be pretty much the same. I just wasn't sure if manufacturers actually redesigned the lever or housing to accommodate the safety lever but it seems like they really were an add on.
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Old 01-31-15, 06:28 AM
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they brake better with that lititle extra bit travel. Sometimes it makes the difference between stopping and speed modulation.
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Old 01-31-15, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...IME they are the same design, same curve to the levers, similar reach.

This was the rationale for removing the top bar handles, because they cut down on travel and throw at the lever,
thus reducing the amount of available emergency braking power.
Yep, to that. I've generally kept the turkey levers on bikes that originally had them, though. Both of my current rides have them. The parts are often interchangeable, the diameter of the pivot pins being the critical thing, and you can often omit the turkey levers and replace the pins from an old scarred-up set to keep from having to saw off the ends or add a bunch of washers.
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Old 01-31-15, 06:52 AM
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Since I use all major hand positions afforded by drop bars, I need to be able to grab the brake levers rapidly and securely from either above or below. Obviously, and as others have mentioned, hand size and brake lever reach are the key parameters here. With small-medium hands (glove size 8, octave+1, maybe +2, span on a piano keyboard), I find that the traditional ca. 1960 Weinmann/Diacompe designs fit me perfectly, and I can securely panic stop from either position. I put ca. 1990 aero Shimanos on the Bianchi, instead of keeping it all-Italian, and these also serve me well. I can handle traditional European brake levers (MAFAC, Campagnolo, Modolo) from the tops, but the reach from the bottom is just a bit too long for me in a panic stop situation, so I stick with Japanese and Weinmann.

If you need more braking force, the best ways to obtain it are KoolStop brake pads and aero levers, since the latter provide about 10% more leverage (at the price, of course, of 10% more travel) than older designs.
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Old 01-31-15, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jj1091 View Post
Yep, to that. I've generally kept the turkey levers on bikes that originally had them, though. Both of my current rides have them. The parts are often interchangeable, the diameter of the pivot pins being the critical thing, and you can often omit the turkey levers and replace the pins from an old scarred-up set to keep from having to saw off the ends or add a bunch of washers.

BITD I used to adjust my pad position very tight on the rims to maximize the brake force I could apply. It worked ok, but I had to true rims a lot. Getting a bike with Weinemann side pulls and no turkeys was a relief.
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Old 01-31-15, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by lotekmod View Post
OK, you have answered my question, thanks! I won't bother buying another set of levers since the consensus seems to be they will be pretty much the same. I just wasn't sure if manufacturers actually redesigned the lever or housing to accommodate the safety lever but it seems like they really were an add on.
Some of the later-model levers with "wings" actually had been factory-altered with the front of the lever body trimmed upward several millimeters to accommodate the thickness of the turkey wing lever's "catch".

I've done this mod myself to older levers, 3-4mm, in order to increase the throw of the "wing" levers. It's easiest to do with a hacksaw blade and with the hood removed, then massage it with a small file to finish it off.

Later Weinmann levers with wing extensions didn't need the modification because they plugged a cast-in peg on the turkey lever into a hole in the side of the main lever. They also started riveting the attachment so there was no threaded screw to come loose and perhaps to discourage removal of the wing levers. The swaging or rivet or whatever had a small round plastic cap with the weinmann logo, circa 1978 or so.
Shimano and DiaCome offered turkey levers that plugged into the side of the main lever as well, aero versions even! Good stuff!
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Old 02-01-15, 06:29 AM
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Back when I bought my Fuji S-10S brand new in '76, I had the bike shop add 'safety levers' to it. Brakes then and now are the same DiaCompe centerpulls. Same levers, but IIRC they used a different pivot pin to accommodate the safety lever screw. The 'turkey levers' were removed a year or so later.

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