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Location of Brake levers, not comfy

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Location of Brake levers, not comfy

Old 12-03-14, 01:07 PM
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thehammerdog
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Location of Brake levers, not comfy

I am trying to get my bike to fit well but the old school brake hoods/levers just will not cooperate. I am having an issue with trying to recreate my modern set up with the hood location but find I cannot reach the levers. Is it the style thats the issue?
I usually ride the hoods and use 1-2 fingers to brake. I need to grab a handful of these bad boys to slow me down and it is not easy getting the set up correct.
Is it simple the way it is?
Thanks.
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Old 12-03-14, 01:27 PM
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Pics? Maybe the brake lever isn't the problem. You can try turning the handlebars slightly more upwards or use a stem with a 30 degree rise (if you're not already using one). Worst case scenario you can undo the bar tape and move the levers to a position more suitable for you. Style could be an issue if you're using a vintage handlebar with suicide levers. Drops were a fashion statement back then, nobody actually tried to ride on the hoods.
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Old 12-03-14, 01:42 PM
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"Old school" brake levers (those with the cable coming out the top) have much less mechanical advantage compared to newer levers (cable under bar tape).

I set up levers on dropped bars such that the brake lever tip just touches, or is a finger-width above a straight edge held under the drops.
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Old 12-03-14, 05:08 PM
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Yep. Back in the day, those levers were positioned almost halfway down the hooks so they were easy to reach from the drops. Riders still rode on the hoods, but they reached around the hooks for the hoods, a much lower torso position with the same bar position, and not nearly as comfortable. We did it, though. Need tough wrists and a callused web. Old school is for toughies. You wanna show it, you gotta ride it. Style = pain.
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Old 12-03-14, 06:24 PM
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I too, use a straight edge held under the straight bottom end of the Bar .. the lever tip touches the straight edge , or Maybe a CM above .

My preference is the bottom-open end points angled back towards the back hub ... the top curve to ramp to brake Hood almost level ..
because that is where my Hands are mostly on the tops, sliding forward to brake from the Hoods.


IDK how yours are ....show Me.
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Old 12-04-14, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
I am having an issue with trying to recreate my modern set up with the hood location but find I cannot reach the levers.
I'm trying to understand this. I thought one of the differences between 30 to 40 year old road bikes and road bikes in the last 10 years is that the modern bike has the handlebar tops and hoods roughly (very roughly) where the old school drops were (relative to saddle height). The idea being that old school bikes were ridden in the drops more (for which the brake levers were designed) and new school bikes are ridden more on the hoods until one wants to race or make aero gains in the drops. So, the old brake levers wouldn't really work well for riding on the hoods and weren't designed for it? Dunno... just seems like the old levers don't do a modern setup particularly well.

Of course, my bikes as a teenager had the brake lever extensions that allowed one to do a bit of braking from the tops but that were not particularly effective at braking.
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Old 12-04-14, 10:39 AM
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A trick for set-up: Get the levers placed best you can. Don't tape teh handlebars. Do put tape around the brake and derailleur housings. perhpas with an end folded back so removing and replacing that piece of tape is easy. Put the wrench for the brake lever clamp (probably a 5mm hex), wrenches for your stem, both for the HB faceplate or clamp and the steerer/quill and a 6" ruler (or any other straight edge) in your pocket. Go for a ride.

Stop and play with the lever position, handlebar tilt and even stem height until it feels perfect. Might take more than one ride. There is no way you can get that information in your shop and the work of untaping, moving stuff and retaping is enough that you will probably stop long before you exactly dialed in. But doing this with naked bars means that even if you lower everything and trim your cables and housings down to perfect, then decide to go back, no big deal. Costs you some cable and housing but not a whole lot of work. It's those taped bars that are a hassle to start cables on and changing housings is real work, enough that you probably won't do it (and it may well cost you the HB tape or a good finished look).

And it you cannot get those levers to work? Changing them out on naked bars is easy!

Ben
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Old 12-04-14, 01:22 PM
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This is what it's supposed to look like:


https://bertinclassiccycles.files.wo...-de-france.jpg
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Old 12-09-14, 12:33 PM
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YMMV... Not Me .. I have the levers up a lot higher on the curve than that as I said above.. ^5^
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Old 12-09-14, 12:47 PM
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^Mine are a lot higher on my modern bikes, too. But they were just like this on my '61 Legnano. Universal centerpull. That bike was set up exactly like the photos of the above TdF bike. Any higher and you can't reach the levers. That's very easy to see. They're designed to be mounted like this. Trad bikes were really different. Note the large frame - hardly any seatpost showing. This way the drops are right about where modern hoods are. I rode in the drops most of the time. Thus the uncomfortable hoods mounting wasn't that big a deal anyway. The hoods weren't shaped to be ridden on the way they are today. Quite uncomfortable. However, I used to ride the hoods when I wanted to be a little higher for better visibility and just to change up the pressure points on my hands. It worked OK after you got used to it and developed the calluses.
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Old 12-09-14, 02:17 PM
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I can , maybe You fingers are stubby. the Older Mafac Levers were flat on the top But had a D shaped rubber piece that went on the top of the flat bit. .
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