Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Pros and cons of double brake levers

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Pros and cons of double brake levers

Old 11-19-08, 12:12 PM
  #1  
daoswald
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, UT (Formerly Los Angeles, CA)
Posts: 1,025

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale Synapse -- 2014 Cannondale Quick CX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 175 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 26 Times in 14 Posts
Pros and cons of double brake levers

My Cannondale came with both brifters and top-bar brake levers (like cyclocross style). After 1800 miles on the bike, I'm still not so sure why I keep them. ...momentum I guess.

Here are some pros and cons I see:

Pros:
  • Conenience in traffic. If you're making a lot of starts and stops they come in handy.
  • Comfort on long rides, again in traffic. Relax on the tops for a few minutes, and don't force a hand position change just because the light turned red.

Cons:
  • Ugly.
  • Weight.
  • Discomfort: They make the bar tops effectively smaller, reducing available hand positions.
  • More difficult cable routing.

Ok, so that's my list. Let's hear yours if you have an opinion on the matter. Should I just get rid of them?

My riding: Three nights a week I do a 25 mile run over and back in the hills of the Sepulveda Pass (Los Angeles). Once a week I do a 40-80 mile fun ride.
daoswald is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 12:22 PM
  #2  
Creakyknees
ride lots be safe
 
Creakyknees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I put some on my cx bike a couple years back. Then after a while I realized that the only time I ever used them was on slow / easy rides with the kiddo's, just goofing around. So next tape/cable change I took 'em off.
Creakyknees is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 02:22 PM
  #3  
Brian Ratliff
Senior Member
 
Brian Ratliff's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Near Portland, OR
Posts: 10,113

Bikes: Three road bikes. Two track bikes.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Don't need them ever. Not for traffic. Not for commuting. Not for cyclocross.

IMO, the only time you might want them are in cyclocross, and that's if you come from a MTB background and use your bar tops a lot in technical sections.
__________________
Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
"If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter
Brian Ratliff is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 02:36 PM
  #4  
Pedaleur
Je pose, donc je suis.
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Back. Here.
Posts: 2,898
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
[*]Conenience in traffic. If you're making a lot of starts and stops they come in handy.
I have them on my commuter/tourer (Surly Cross Check). I don't _need_ them, of course, but like you say, they're convenient.

But I wouldn't put them on my "regular" road bikes. Maybe a good rule of thumb would be: If you don't have fenders, you "can't" use them.
Pedaleur is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 03:21 PM
  #5  
Raerfani
Obsessed
 
Raerfani's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: KY
Posts: 281

Bikes: 08 Giant OCR 1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
That's a good question. When reading these responses, just keep in mind that most of us are to a certain extent weight weenies/cyclists who care about appearance/speed demons. Because of this, 9/10 people are going to discourage its use. I however, even though I don't have them, wish that I had a pair on my bike. They aren't a necessity right now, so I wouldn't get them. But since their on, I would definitely keep them. Good luck in your decision.
Raerfani is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 03:26 PM
  #6  
liquefied
Senior Member
 
liquefied's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,335

Bikes: 1989 Team Miyata, 1989 Miyata 1400, 1989 Miyata 1400, 1986 Miyata 610, 2007 Specialized Stumpjumper Hardtail

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
They came on my Felt Z70 (my commute bike). I use them once or twice per ride maybe but they do come in handy at those times. I especially like them when I'm stopped on a hill (pretty often in SF) and I can use them to hold the bike still while in a comfortable standing position. I see no reason to remove them because losing the extra weight isn't going to make me any faster.
liquefied is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 04:27 PM
  #7  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,854

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
Here are some pros and cons I see:

Pros:
  • Conenience in traffic. If you're making a lot of starts and stops they come in handy.
  • Comfort on long rides, again in traffic. Relax on the tops for a few minutes, and don't force a hand position change just because the light turned red.

Cons:
  • Ugly.
  • Weight.
  • Discomfort: They make the bar tops effectively smaller, reducing available hand positions.
  • More difficult cable routing.

Ok, so that's my list. Let's hear yours if you have an opinion on the matter. Should I just get rid of them?
I'm all about your Pros, and disregard almost all of your Cons. I have just one 'cross lever for the front brake on my CAAD8, and decided to add it after getting another bike with both levers. I ride a lot in the city, whether to work or to head out on longer rides for fun. I like being able to ride higher or stand at intersections and have easy access to the brakes. What actually prompted me to add a lever to the -8 was riding on the boardwalk in Ocean City -- leaning forward to the hoods at 5 mph got old after a while.

The difficulty in cable routing made it awkward for me to switch to bars with a shorter reach; either I live with an extra curve in the brake cable housing or I trim it down to fit (which would mean another new housing if I go back to a longer reach).

On both bikes, the levers are so far inboard that they don't affect my hand positions at all. "Ugly" partly depends on the lever itself and is just personal taste anyway. And, only weight weenies would complain about the perceived weight.

IMO, the only practical strike against these levers is cable routing. Everything else is just opinion.

Last edited by BarracksSi; 11-19-08 at 04:44 PM.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 04:30 PM
  #8  
TarmacAG
Senior Member
 
TarmacAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 184

Bikes: Student

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I didn't know there were pros.
TarmacAG is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 04:43 PM
  #9  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,854

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Obviously, then, only "serious cyclists" who drive their bikes to the outskirts of town and ride on uninterrupted highways have no use for extra brake levers.


BarracksSi is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 04:43 PM
  #10  
sfcrossrider
Senior Member
 
sfcrossrider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 2,760

Bikes: Steelman eurocross, Surly CrossCheck, IRO Rob Roy...

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've raced cross for years and never had them. The one time I tried them I felt less safe, and secure as opposed to more.

Lesson... sporks aren't better than pencils for screwing in nails.
sfcrossrider is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 04:47 PM
  #11  
streetlightpoet
Banned.
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 668

Bikes: Masi Speciale Fixed, Surly 1x1, 2 70's Bianchi folders, Swingbike, Columbia Cruiser 3 spd, Specialized Big Hit and P.2, Cove G-Spot, Xtracycled Bianchi San Jose.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I love having a single one on the fixed gear so I don't need to use traditional levers, but I've never found myself wanting them on any of the road bikes.
streetlightpoet is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 04:50 PM
  #12  
Treespeed
Warning:Mild Peril
 
Treespeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Seattle Refugee in Los Angeles
Posts: 3,171

Bikes: Cilo, Surly Pacer, Kona Fire Mountain w/Bob Trailer, Scattante

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Very nice for commuting in traffic and not much of a con when you're already riding a heavy steel commuting bike.
__________________
Non semper erit aestas.
Treespeed is offline  
Old 11-19-08, 05:17 PM
  #13  
buggg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i love mine, in traffic its great to be able to ride the tops for a more upright position and still be able to grab the brake immediately. for non commuting/traffic situations they are useless on a road bike.

my love for them could also be that my old bike i started riding on had those old style levers that curved from the drop levers around on the inside of the bar. people may hate those but you can grab the brake no matter where your hand is on the bar.
buggg is offline  
Old 11-22-08, 12:52 AM
  #14  
daoswald
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, UT (Formerly Los Angeles, CA)
Posts: 1,025

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale Synapse -- 2014 Cannondale Quick CX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 175 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 26 Times in 14 Posts
I probably didn't adequately describe my biggest complaint with having them. when climbing, I sometimes prefer taking a narrow grasp on the tops of the bars, but if I try to grasp the bars close to the stem on a climb, I have to wrap my fingers around the brakes too, and that's uncomfortable. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't even consider removing them, because they are convenient.

As for another 'pro', when stopped at lights I can keep a light grip on the brake so the bike's more stable. No biggie, but convenient.
daoswald is offline  
Old 11-22-08, 02:09 AM
  #15  
Val23708
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NorCal
Posts: 2,457

Bikes: Cervelo R3 (Force)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
wont you lose braking power?
Val23708 is offline  
Old 11-22-08, 02:13 AM
  #16  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,854

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
I probably didn't adequately describe my biggest complaint with having them. when climbing, I sometimes prefer taking a narrow grasp on the tops of the bars, but if I try to grasp the bars close to the stem on a climb, I have to wrap my fingers around the brakes too, and that's uncomfortable. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't even consider removing them, because they are convenient.
Either your levers are farther from the stem than mine, or you like a really narrow hand position..

Originally Posted by Val23708 View Post
wont you lose braking power?
Nope. Can't imagine why, either.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 11-22-08, 03:25 AM
  #17  
fatallightning
Cat 666
 
fatallightning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: nyack, ny (yes, that one)
Posts: 1,462
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the only time im on the tops is huffing up a long climb. not much braking going on there.
fatallightning is offline  
Old 11-22-08, 03:58 AM
  #18  
coldass
Just for fun...
 
coldass's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 149

Bikes: Cinelli Pro Estrada, Serotta Ti, De Rosa Neo Primato, Turner Flux and Spot, Baum Espresso, Yeti ARC-X

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Useless unless your a punter...
coldass is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Carbon Unit
Bicycle Mechanics
20
05-20-12 10:03 AM
Hamrat
Classic & Vintage
4
07-17-11 07:36 AM
jsigone
Southern California
23
12-07-07 12:05 AM
fbisaint21
Road Cycling
4
11-20-07 05:16 PM
Beldar77
Road Cycling
7
07-14-06 11:53 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.