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Should I use flat-bar or TT brake levers on bullhorn bar?

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Should I use flat-bar or TT brake levers on bullhorn bar?

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Old 01-28-19, 05:29 PM
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TallRider
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Should I use flat-bar or TT brake levers on bullhorn bar?

I'm switching to bullhorn bars on my commuter, and am curious about people's preferences for brake lever type.
My bullhorn bars have a horizontal straight section, so I'll have hand positions equivalent to bar-tops and brake-hoods on a drop bar. I could use interrupter levers on the flats, and/or TT levers to brake from the hands-forward position. Pics below show bullhorn set up with each type of lever.
The bike is a singlespeed, so no interactions with where to place shifters.

I haven't used a bullhorn bar before. I'm used to braking from the hoods while on a drop bar, and braking from the flats on a flat bar with old mtb bar-ends (setup on a prev commuter, and my singlespeed mtb).

I'm mostly curious to hear about people's experiences and preferences with where to place brake levers. And of course I could do both (since I'd be using interrupter levers on the flat part anyway) but that's some extra setup hassle.


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Old 01-28-19, 06:19 PM
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Maybe you should try both. It's a small investment considering the usage you'll get out of the setup.

You get more braking power if you can shift your body weight backwards on the bike, so if you have to choose, maybe you want the levers closer to the saddle. Then again, on fast descents, you want maximum control and don't necessarily need maximum braking, meaning you'd want the levers forward.
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Old 01-29-19, 02:36 AM
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Flat bar with flat bar levers and bar ends.

Brake levers located as lateral as possible on the flat bar. For maximum braking power and steering torque.

Position 2 is my general purpose position. I can move to 1 and 3 easily from here.

Position 3 is for cruising.

Position 1 is for hard braking and turning.

4 and 5 are alternate positions. Seldom used.

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Old 01-29-19, 03:45 AM
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Have you checked which levers fit the bar?

MTB, City bikes, cruisers, three speeds, etc, usually have a 7/8” bar (22.2 mm). Drop bars and other road bike shapes are usually 15/16” (23.8 mm). It's maddening, but there's a long tradition for it.

Anyway, your bullhorn bar is probably 23.8 mm and you probably can't use MTB levers.
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Old 01-29-19, 12:05 PM
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In my experience most casual riders are on the flats most of the time and use the interrupter levers.

I'm not 100% sure about how the TT levers are cabled, but you may be able to use both at the same time if you wanted.
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Old 01-29-19, 12:47 PM
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Looks like the TT levers might give you more control when braking. Personally, I don't like the feeling of having my hands on the tops too close to the stem. And since I'm offerring my personal opinion, both setups are ugly. Sorry.
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Old 01-29-19, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Looks like the TT levers might give you more control when braking. Personally, I don't like the feeling of having my hands on the tops too close to the stem. And since I'm offerring my personal opinion, both setups are ugly. Sorry.
There is a certain appeal to having an ugly commuter bike. Sometimes I want mine to be as ugly as possible.
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Old 01-29-19, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
There is a certain appeal to having an ugly commuter bike. Sometimes I want mine to be as ugly as possible.
Fair enough. I mean, if you and I agreed on everything, we wouldn't have anything to talk about...
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Old 01-29-19, 03:09 PM
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Should you be compelled to do what this forum says .. ?

If the Reverse lever has a housing run under the tape , You can use Both.. '

In Fact You are using the mid bar Brake lever more as intended if running the cable uninterrupted , through the lever

and spreading the 2 sections of housing apart to apply the brake ..
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Old 01-29-19, 05:51 PM
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Interrupter levers (as pictured in my OP) fit on 23.8mm bars, and are what I would put on the flat portion of this bar.
This would allow me to run both brake levers simultaneously if I want.

I'm mostly curious to hear about people's experiences and preferences with where to place brake levers.
If you have experience with bullhorn bars, where do you prefer brake levers, and why?
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Old 01-29-19, 07:25 PM
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Shimano makes a group set called Metrea that includes bullhorn brifters. They don’t market it in the States but you can find it from EU sites. Might be fun to try.
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Old 01-30-19, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by TallRider View Post
Interrupter levers (as pictured in my OP) fit on 23.8mm bars, and are what I would put on the flat portion of this bar.
This would allow me to run both brake levers simultaneously if I want.

I'm mostly curious to hear about people's experiences and preferences with where to place brake levers.
If you have experience with bullhorn bars, where do you prefer brake levers, and why?
I've done both (riding fixed gear)

For my commuter bike, I'm more upright, so I use the interrupter levers. I'm mostly on the horns when accelerating hard from a stop.
For my track bike, I'm more aero, riding faster/harder and riding out on the horns, so I use the TT levers.

It all depends where your hands are going to spend most of their time.
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Old 01-30-19, 11:17 AM
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I don't use your chosen bull horn* bar, but I did get 23.8 clamp levers to fit on my C X bikes drop bars ,
there they shoulder up against the center sleeve of Nitto made bars..

I did use a bullhorn aero bar combination, a bent single tube type , 30+ years ago, but only had the reverse levers in the ends..
interrupter levers did not exist, back then..

So, used both , but not on the same bike ..
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Old 01-30-19, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I've done both (riding fixed gear)
For my commuter bike, I'm more upright, so I use the interrupter levers. I'm mostly on the horns when accelerating hard from a stop.
For my track bike, I'm more aero, riding faster/harder and riding out on the horns, so I use the TT levers.
It all depends where your hands are going to spend most of their time.
Thanks - that's the kind of comment I was looking for when I posted. Maybe I'd find more people with opinions-from-experience in the SS/fixed-gear forum.
I'll probably put interrupter levers on first and ride for a couple weeks without wrapping the bars with tape (it's gloves season anyway) and see if I find myself wanting the levers for hands in the forward position.
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Old 01-31-19, 09:22 PM
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I converted a MTB bike to bulhorns so used a 22.2mm bar to fit the stem and brakes (wanted cheap so saved on new levers). I used the flat bar brakes positioned on the horns. They may not look great but they work just fine (I don't like the idea of having them by the stem...would feel weird). I'm tempted to upgrade but haven't seen a reason to.
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Old 01-31-19, 10:03 PM
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I rode bullhorn bars for a few years, and always preferred the TT levers (I did not use interrupters), as in the second picture. Having come from drop bars, I found that the most comfortable hand position was forward; I never really used the flat part of the bar.
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Old 02-03-19, 02:44 PM
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Interruptor alone is insufficient!

Imagine your in forward pos...a car dash in front of u...u need to grab brake pronto...moving yurhand backward is awkward motion...slow. you need to have your lever in front of your hand, not behind.

Much easier to reach forward...u just drop your weight and bam! Your hand in pos.
..
​​​

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Old 02-03-19, 06:41 PM
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I've had both on my daily commuter. I started with regular Origin 8 bullhorns, with a rack on the rear of the bike, then I ditched the rack for aesthetic reasons, and also switched out the regular bulls to Origin 8 pursuit bars - similar, but different.
My bullhorns had TT bar-end levers, and the pursuit bars had the flat-bar style breaks.
To be perfectly honest, neither was perfect.
On my bullhorns, when I needed to break I had to lean forward a lot more - and this was uncomfortable sometimes when slowing for an intersection - and was harder for immediacy. I liked to ride on the forward bend, or between that and the end of the horn.
On the pursuit bards, I liked to ride about the same positions - but the brakes were too close to the stem, making it hard to hang on when track standing at a light or stop sign - and getting going again was awkward because the grip stances was so narrow (I think someone mentioned that already.

Anyway, I think my TT bar-end levers would have worked better if I had found a better set of bullhorns that weren't as long. The Origin8 ones had a long reach - but they were all I could find/afford at the time. I enjoyed them though, and they looked good. I now have regular drop bars & brake hoods/levers on it now. I find it suits my needs just right.

Here's some pics of the iterations:











Current setup:
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Old 02-04-19, 10:03 AM
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There is also the guidot levers (spelling?). I might give it atry if I want to try bullhorn again.
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Old 02-04-19, 12:25 PM
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I'm very tempted to give bullhorns a shot just for something different.
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Old 02-05-19, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I'm very tempted to give bullhorns a shot just for something different.
I've had them and liked them a lot. I like variation in reach but don't need variation in drop, as bending down is hard for me. I'm even tempted to put them on my road racing bike, which might make it ugly but comfortable.
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Old 02-05-19, 03:19 PM
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Maybe becuz I don't wear glove or I use cheap tape...but I always have this feeling of insecurity with BH. It's like if I brake hard...I feel like my hands are going to slide forward and me superman'ing over the bar.

I think it becuz the only thing keeping your momentum from throwing you forward ...is the friction of your hand/glove.

On smooth flat course, BH's probably fine. But when I hit some debrie on the road that I didn't see, I am instantly reminded of the problem with BH.
If there're big mountains here for me to descent, I would imagine BH would be very skary.

For maximo control, DB is the way to go. For cruising around, BH would be fine probably. I am really ambivalent about BH, but for cruising around, it's very comfortable for my small size hands.

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Old 02-07-19, 05:40 PM
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I am biased towards flat bar style shifters, mainly because I like the integrated brake/shifter combo and long pull leverage. My hand position is near the elbows and I brake with my middle,index, and pinky fingers from the underside of the bars. I tried the tektro reverse brake levers, but didn't like them as much and the reach was a little too far for me.
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