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Racks/Bags and Interrupter Levers

Old 02-28-21, 11:13 PM
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Racks/Bags and Interrupter Levers

Just got a Surly LHT (2020) and am working through a few mods. Just added VO 45 degree stem to shorten reach. I'm now adding in-line/interruptor levers on the flats. Eventually, I expect to mess around with different bars. Here's my question, which I may have answered myself but also may have missed something since I'm a noob: Would you look at handlebar bags at all or just plan on a front platform rack. Basically, is there enough room for the interrupter levers to work with a bag resting anywhere other than a platform?

Apologies if I missed a prior thread!
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Old 03-01-21, 12:24 AM
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One solution is to mount the HB bag on a second stem, sometimes known as an accessory stem. If it's steeply angled downward the HB bag will clear the flats where the interuptors are mounted.

Another member has a better picture of their set up but this roughly shows it. I had to cut part of my stem off because my steerer tube is too short.

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Old 03-01-21, 12:28 AM
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Interrupter levers work well with my Ortlieb bar bag. I put them on my CX bike when I was rehabbing from shoulder surgery about 5 years ago to take some of the pressure off my shoulder. I liked them so much I put them on both of my touring bikes, a LHT and a Cannondale. I like my levers positioned so my wrist is not bent with my hands on the bars. I'm glad I put them on my bikes because I'm just into rehab for surgery on my other shoulder right now. I think my surgeon is going to release me to ride on the road next week.


This is my CX bike that I also use for touring.



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Old 03-01-21, 06:46 AM
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I have been using a second stem system for years, handlebar bracket is lower that way, that was the primary reason that I used that. I have that on several bikes. And have the interrupter levers on the regular bars.

If however you have a smaller sized frame or your bars are much lower, this could put your bag too close to the tire or fender, so might have to do some measuring first if that might be an issue. My frame sizes in the photos range from 58 to 61cm effective seattube length, that is tall enough that on some bikes I have room for a headlamp below the bar bag.

On one of these bikes, I initially had a short piece of PVC pipe in the second stem. That pipe broke and fortunately I was close to home when it did. I now would only recommend a piece of handlebar that was cut for the purpose, or a solid piece of metal.

I did not originate this idea, saw a photo of a bike setup this way over a decade ago, but since then I have mentioned this over a dozen times on this forum.

I like my interrupter brake levers angled downwards like in the photos, if you like your levers angled more forward, that would mean your second stem would have to be a bit longer. I prefer my bar bag to be as close to the steering axis as possible for weight reasons, the further forward the weight is the more that weight in the bar bag can impair handling. So, I try to have just enough room for my fingers (which might have thick gloves in cold weather) between the brake levers and the bag.

On the bike below I used an adjustable stem to get the bag lower. Side note: Notice my parking brake, use an elastic on the brake lever. That is an extra thick hair band.



The bike below has 26 inch wheels, thus more room below the bar bag, I even have a tiny rack mounted on the canti brake posts.





Thorn makes an accessory T bar, but shipping from the UK is pretty expensive these days. Nice thing about that is that it only consumes about an inch of steerer tube, much less than most second stems. But the Thorn one does not angle down like the one that Happy Feet made. They come in two lengths, I have the 55mm.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/accessor...n-222-mm-0-deg

Bike below has that T bar, this bike has 26 inch wheels, thus more room below the bar bag.



By using the second stem for the bar bag, that means I have a bit more real estate on the handlebar available for other stuff like a bell and a GPS unit.


Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 02-19-23 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 03-01-21, 08:51 AM
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like post #3 from Doug, I too am able to use them with an Ortlieb handlebar bag. Angling the levers downwards slightly is the natural position that I have all my brake levers positioned anyway on my flat bar bikes , it's simply a more natural position for my fingers to rest on and get to the levers ---so the added bonus here is that you generally should have room to have them on dropbars while using a barbag (not a roll bag obviously).

the great thing here is that its easy to try out, simply angle them down and see.
I won't look for my photos, as the setup looks just like Dougs, but while its a tiny bit tight, I can and do use my interrupter levers when riding with my hbag on.

hope it works out for you. Perhaps if you have giant stonemason hands it might be trickier, but only way to know is to try.
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Old 03-01-21, 11:28 AM
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What David (djb) didn't tell you is the reason our brake lever setups are similar. He was the guy who gave me advice and recommendations on setting up my first pair of cross brakes. It was appreciated.

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Old 03-01-21, 04:52 PM
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Ok - my assumptions were rapidly trampled by all the great advice! I already tend to angle the levers down to keep my wrists neutral and my hands are smaller than the average giantís, so clearly Iíve got options. I almost wish yíall had come back and said nope, not possible: having so much choice means I take longer to dial things in. Iíll appreciate the flexibility later Iím sure.

thanks also for the other tidbits like parking brakes, second stems for clearing real estate, and seeing bags both above and below/forward of the levers.
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Old 03-02-21, 08:21 AM
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you may find that with a handlebar bag that its a bit slower to get to the interrupter levers from the hoods lets say, compared to if a bag isnt there, a bit awkward.
I still have found it useful having them though when following someone and being on the tops already. just nice to be able to do a little braking here and there without having to move my hands from the tops.
I ride two dropbar bikes regularly, and both have these, so I've very much become used to having them and would miss them riding around with other riders, where I tend not to do really hard braking but "keeping a safe distance" sort of thing when taking it easy on the tops.
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Old 03-02-21, 10:35 AM
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As you saw in my photos above, I have interrupter brake levers on most of my bikes. About a decade ago i was getting frustrated with my folding bike that lacked them so I added them. Then about three years ago bought a new road bike which did not have them, and I find that I do not use them as much as I used to. I was sure that I would need to add them to my road bike, but have not done so and do not really miss them.

So, apparently my riding style has changed, I just do not use them as much as I used to. And I had not noticed that until I had a bike that lacked them.

But, I usually use the cable adjusters on the interrupter levers, so if I remove them from any bikes I will need to buy some inline cable adjusters.
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Old 03-03-21, 10:30 PM
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thanks - I find I really need that option to hang out on the flats, but it's good to know it might not be the same experience with a bag in front.
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Old 03-03-21, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
As you saw in my photos above, I have interrupter brake levers on most of my bikes. About a decade ago i was getting frustrated with my folding bike that lacked them so I added them. Then about three years ago bought a new road bike which did not have them, and I find that I do not use them as much as I used to. I was sure that I would need to add them to my road bike, but have not done so and do not really miss them.

So, apparently my riding style has changed, I just do not use them as much as I used to. And I had not noticed that until I had a bike that lacked them.

But, I usually use the cable adjusters on the interrupter levers, so if I remove them from any bikes I will need to buy some inline cable adjusters.
That's interesting - I would have expected to gravitate up rather than forward. Maybe I'll gravitate more forward in the future.
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Old 03-04-21, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Pacme74
That's interesting - I would have expected to gravitate up rather than forward. Maybe I'll gravitate more forward in the future.
I used to want to sit more upright and really avoided using the drops on drop bars. But after I lost about 15 percent of my body weight, most of that in the mid-section, I find it much easier to lean forwards more and often use the drops when pedaling into headwinds.
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