Brake levers for bullhorn bars .. ?
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  1. #1
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    Brake levers for bullhorn bars .. ?

    I've been following the thread below relating to the use of Bullhorn bars on fixies which are being used for a lot of climbing.

    I did my first (metric) century on the fixed yesterday to find I had rediscovered a lot of the things already documented by Doug.

    1. I used a 46x18 which I found was quite close to the 42x16 he reported (i.e. 69 and 70 gear inches respectively. With this gear I found that 6500 feet of climbing was hard but possible). I spent a lot of time trying to work out the best gear but this seems pretty good.

    2. Drop bars and hooded levers may not be ideal when heaving on the bars to get the leverage to climb steep grades.

    3. It's a lot of fun and not as hard (as I thought it would be).

    Anyway, today I find that my legs are fine and that my arms and shoulders are really sore and I have blistered my hands.

    I'm going to get some bull horn bars (probably the ones from Chuck's bikes listed below) and I want two brakes on them. Here's the question.

    Can anyone recommend (or not recommend) any bar end brakes. From the ones on Doug's photo I think he is using Cane Creek. Any good? Anyone got any experience with the profile levers? Tektro, Syntace etc.

    Also, I'm assuming that road reverse brake levers (http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&Category=1065) discribes the type of product I need. What does "reverse" mean here?

    Here are my criteria.

    1. Cost not a major factor
    2. They absolutely MUST NOT rattle, even on pretty rough roads
    3. I'd like them to be comfortable for operating for long periods on longer descents. Thus reasonable reach from the bars is important (I have big hands though so that has never been an issue until yesterday (?!))

    Also, while I'm here. I posted a lot a while back about getting chainline set-up correct. I got lots of great feedback but the think I found most useful was a bit of advice to lay a straight edge along the chainring and see how that lines up with the cog out back. I forget who suggested that but it was a top idea - thanks. I now have a great set-up and I'd say my chainline is near perfect.

    Phil Wood Ti BB (105mm)
    Phil Wood wide flange track hubs
    Campy Record Pista crankset
    (Rattling Shimano brake levers)

    Thanks,

    Steve

  2. #2

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    Use the Tektros...

    If you're going to get the bars from Chuck's, get the Tektro levers as well. I just got some a couple of weeks ago, along with the bullhorn bars. The brakes are surprisingly well made, and only cost $12, plus you'll save on shipping. Mine don't rattle so far (I only installed the left lever). If you don't like them, toss 'em. Trust me-I'm the one who suggested the straightedge!

  3. #3

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    brakes

    I'm using a Cane Creek. It works fine. No rattling, no loosening. I have used and still have some DiaCompe brakes, too, but they are harder to tighten, and they don't retain the cable end quite as well; it seems to move out and sideways. The Cane Creek keeps it right where it should be. I think the Cane Creek looks a little better, too.

    The brakes are actually much more ergonomic than regular brakes. Very easy to use on long descents. One finger is plenty to maintain speed, and maybe two to stop quickly, and that's with only a front brake.

    "Reverse" means the cable goes back toward the lever, the opposite of normal brake levers.

    I doubt you'll regret cowhorns. Before I was getting blisters on 70 mile rides; then did the double just fine with the triple wrapped cowhorns.

    Doug



    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Young
    I've been following the thread below relating to the use of Bullhorn bars on fixies which are being used for a lot of climbing.

    I did my first (metric) century on the fixed yesterday to find I had rediscovered a lot of the things already documented by Doug.

    1. I used a 46x18 which I found was quite close to the 42x16 he reported (i.e. 69 and 70 gear inches respectively. With this gear I found that 6500 feet of climbing was hard but possible). I spent a lot of time trying to work out the best gear but this seems pretty good.

    2. Drop bars and hooded levers may not be ideal when heaving on the bars to get the leverage to climb steep grades.

    3. It's a lot of fun and not as hard (as I thought it would be).

    Anyway, today I find that my legs are fine and that my arms and shoulders are really sore and I have blistered my hands.

    I'm going to get some bull horn bars (probably the ones from Chuck's bikes listed below) and I want two brakes on them. Here's the question.

    Can anyone recommend (or not recommend) any bar end brakes. From the ones on Doug's photo I think he is using Cane Creek. Any good? Anyone got any experience with the profile levers? Tektro, Syntace etc.

    Also, I'm assuming that road reverse brake levers (http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&Category=1065) discribes the type of product I need. What does "reverse" mean here?

    Here are my criteria.

    1. Cost not a major factor
    2. They absolutely MUST NOT rattle, even on pretty rough roads
    3. I'd like them to be comfortable for operating for long periods on longer descents. Thus reasonable reach from the bars is important (I have big hands though so that has never been an issue until yesterday (?!))

    Also, while I'm here. I posted a lot a while back about getting chainline set-up correct. I got lots of great feedback but the think I found most useful was a bit of advice to lay a straight edge along the chainring and see how that lines up with the cog out back. I forget who suggested that but it was a top idea - thanks. I now have a great set-up and I'd say my chainline is near perfect.

    Phil Wood Ti BB (105mm)
    Phil Wood wide flange track hubs
    Campy Record Pista crankset
    (Rattling Shimano brake levers)

    Thanks,

    Steve

  4. #4
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    Thank you!

    Based on the quality of your previous tip I'll go with the recommendation to try the Tektros! If that doesn't do it for me I'll have a go at the Cane Creeks as a second choice! As you say, the price of the Tektros does allow for a relatively expensive test.

    BTW: I assume from the picture on the chuck's bikes web site that it's 12 dollars for 2 of them - it was a bit ambiguous.

    Thanks again for the straightedge tip. I actually delayed doing it because I didn't think it would help that much over everything else I'd already tried (boy was I wrong!). I actually used an old spirit level I had in the garage and solved a problem that had been bugging me for weeks in the course of about 30 minutes (time taken to remove crank, adjust bottom bracket and replace).

    This forum is a consistently superb source of advice and inspiration, thanks everyone. It was JTFerraro posting about his bike buying deliberations that first pursuaded me to get a fixed (Fuji track - one of the purchases I ever made) and Dougs accounts of epic fixed rides in the hills that inspired me to try a (metric) century. Lots of general maintenace, upgrade and repair tips too

    Cheers,

    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Young; 05-17-2004 at 02:07 PM.

  5. #5

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    One more thing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Young
    Based on the quality of your previous tip I'll go with the recommendation to try the Tektros! If that doesn't do it for me I'll have a go at the Cane Creeks as a second choice! As you say, the price of the Tektros does allow for a relatively expensive test.

    BTW: I assume from the picture on the chuck's bikes web site that it's 12 dollars for 2 of them - it was a bit ambiguous.

    Thanks again for the straightedge tip. I actually delayed doing it because I didn't think it would help that much over everything else I'd already tried (boy was I wrong!). I actually used an old spirit level I had in the garage and solved a problem that had been bugging me for weeks in the course of about 30 minutes (time taken to remove crank, adjust bottom bracket and replace).

    This forum is a consistently superb source of advice and inspiration, thanks everyone. It was JTFerraro posting about his bike buying deliberations that first pursuaded me to get a fixed (Fuji track - one of the purchases I ever made) and Dougs accounts of epic fixed rides in the hills that inspired me to try a (metric) century. Lots of general maintenace, upgrade and repair tips too

    Cheers,

    Steve
    Steve-you're right, it's $12 per pair, and you'll need MTB style brake cable ends (the round ones) instead of road style cables (the pear-shaped ones).
    Regarding the straightedge, with all the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth about chainlines, the straightedge is a simple and extremely exact way of getting a dead straight line with minimal effort and no guesswork, especially if you've got a Phil BB. But even if you've got to swap around axle spacers or whatever else to get it straight, it's easy to know when you get it right. Glad it helped. Rod

  6. #6

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    Tektro Pooh

    As much as you want to trust the guy that gave you the "straighline" advice, I would suggest not getting the levers from Chucks. I did and they suck, you get what you pay for. I have the bullhorns from Chucks and love them, but the levers are not spring loaded, don't maintain cable tension and are made by Tektro, how well made could they be for $12 bucks.
    Bars good.
    Levers bad.
    That's my two cents.
    Last edited by Sketchy One; 05-20-2004 at 01:25 AM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sketchy One
    As much as you want to trust the guy that gave you the "straighline" advice, I would suggest not getting the levers from Chucks. I did and they suck, you get what you pay for. I have the bullhorns from Chucks and love them, but the levers are not spring loaded, don't maintain cable tension and are made by Tektro, how well made could they be for $12 bucks.
    Bars good.
    Levers bad.
    That's my two cents.
    If you love the bars which are $10, then why can't the brake levers be good for $12? If you try to run non spring loaded levers with brakes that are designed with weaker caliper springs for use with spring loaded levers, of course they won't work right. If you run the levers with brakes that are designed for levers with no springs (as most of the older sidepulls are) they work great. The levers have SS hardware, brass bushings, and are as well made as most. For $12 they're a great deal.

  8. #8

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    What is the alternative?

    I have Dia-Compe levers that I got from Excel a couple years ago. IIRC, I paid twice as much and they aren't spring loaded either. Are there any levers like this that are?

    BTW, they still work fine.

  9. #9
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    Springy ..

    Quote Originally Posted by rcmann
    If you try to run non spring loaded levers with brakes that are designed with weaker caliper springs for use with spring loaded levers, of course they won't work right.
    Does anyone have any idea if the springs on the Tiagra sidepulls (less than a year old) are likely to cause me any problems. i.e. are they likely to be too weakly sprung.

    I'm going to get the Tektros and do the experiment for 12 bucks anyway - just wondering ahead of time if I should anticipate any problems.

    Thanks,

    Steve

  10. #10

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    springs / cables?

    I'm not aware of any reverse pull levers that have return springs. With all the calipers I've seen, if you have smoothly operating cables, which could be the problem, they return just fine. Ensure there is sufficent cable tension, though. Someone having trouble with the levers fully returning might try replacing, lubing, or re-routing the cables. Could have too much friction somewhere.

    Doug

    Quote Originally Posted by czardonic
    I have Dia-Compe levers that I got from Excel a couple years ago. IIRC, I paid twice as much and they aren't spring loaded either. Are there any levers like this that are?

    BTW, they still work fine.

  11. #11

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    If they are at least as strong as Sora. . .

    When I put my fixed together, it was a strictly low-budget project and Sora calipers fit the bill. I have run these with un-sprung Dia-Compe levers and had no problems.

  12. #12
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    Too slow ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Young
    Does anyone have any idea if the springs on the Tiagra sidepulls (less than a year old) are likely to cause me any problems. i.e. are they likely to be too weakly sprung.

    I'm going to get the Tektros and do the experiment for 12 bucks anyway - just wondering ahead of time if I should anticipate any problems.

    Thanks,

    Steve
    I finally got around to ordering a set of the Tsunami bars and a set of Tektro levers from Chucksbikes. The bars are on their way but I just got an email to the effect that they sold out of the Tektros levers some time ago so I guess I'm going to go with the Cane Creeks after all.

    I've compensated for the disappointment by ordering a set of the MKS chain tugs - when everything arrives I think my Fuji Track is going to be in pretty good shape.

    Steve

  13. #13
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    Profile QS-2's are well made and have a return spring...

    I tried some Diacompe 188's, but had the same problems as Doug, as the expansion plug is poorly designed and the cable is routed outside the bar. Just picked up a set of the Profiles today, they are heavier but better quality, do have a return spring, route the cable inside the bar, and have an expander like an old quill stem (which should be secure and trouble free)., The old Shimano 105 SLR caliper I'm using DID work fine w/o a lever return spring, but should be even better with one. There is a photo and some info on the Profile QS-2's at http://www.tri-zone.com/Catalog/BigPFQBS.html

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