Brake lever position

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Rik O'Shea, Feb 6, 2004.

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  1. Rik O'Shea

    Rik O'Shea Guest

    Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake
    levers in an "interesting" position. See the following:

    http://tinyurl.com/23agl

    http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9

    Note in the sprint (which he won and is conducted on an asphalt road) that he positions his hands on
    the tops rather than the drops. Maybe this shows how much bike fit is really an individual choice
    and even the top pros discard the general accepted rules of thumb when reuired
    !
     
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  2. << Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake
    levers in an "interesting" position. See the following:

    http://tinyurl.com/23agl

    http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9

    Note in the sprint (which he won and is conducted on an asphalt road) that he positions his hands on
    the tops rather than the drops. Maybe this shows how much bike fit is really an individual choice
    and even the top pros discard the general accepted rules of thumb when reuired
    ! >><BR><BR>

    See this a lot in the peloton, I think due to not ideal bike fits where they have to rotate the bars
    up to be able to reach the controls. Perhaps to long top tubes or stems...

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  3. Rik O'Shea wrote:
    > http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9
    >
    > Note in the sprint (which he won and is conducted on an asphalt road) that he positions his hands
    > on the tops rather than the drops. Maybe this shows how much bike fit is really an individual
    > choice and even the top pros discard the general accepted rules of thumb when reuired
    > !

    It looks to me that there is a slight incline on the road?? I'm not sure and it's hard to say on a
    picture. If so, that would be enough for me anyways not to go down on the drops.

    --
    Perre

    You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
     
  4. Per Elmsäter wrote:
    > Rik O'Shea wrote:
    >> http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9
    >>
    >> Note in the sprint (which he won and is conducted on an asphalt road) that he positions his hands
    >> on the tops rather than the drops. Maybe this shows how much bike fit is really an individual
    >> choice and even the top pros discard the general accepted rules of thumb when reuired
    >> !
    >
    > It looks to me that there is a slight incline on the road?? I'm not sure and it's hard to say on a
    > picture. If so, that would be enough for me anyways not to go down on the drops.

    I don't know if that came out right. What I mean is that it looks like it's an uphill sprint.
    --
    Perre

    You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
     
  5. > << Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake
    > levers in an "interesting" position. See the following:
    >
    > http://tinyurl.com/23agl
    >
    > http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9
    >
    > Note in the sprint (which he won and is conducted on an asphalt road) that he positions his hands
    > on the tops rather than the drops. Maybe this shows how much bike fit is really an individual
    > choice and even the top pros discard the general accepted rules of thumb when reuired
    > ! >><BR><BR>

    Peter Chisholm

    > See this a lot in the peloton, I think due to not ideal bike fits where they have to rotate the
    > bars up to be able to reach the controls. Perhaps to long top tubes or stems...

    Or too low...

    Handlebar angle/lever position goes through changes in fashion, like many other things.

    The position shown would not have been unusual 40 years ago. It used to be the norm for the ends of
    the bars to point more or less toward the rear hub. This never went out of style in the touring
    world, but racers did popularize the fashion of running the bottoms of the bars level.

    I think some of this has to do with brakes, and specifically older sidepulls. These brakes have poor
    ergonomics when used from atop the hoods, so if you wanted to actually stop, you needed to get down
    on the drops. The braking from the hoods was adeqate for keeping your station in the peloton, or
    slowing down a bit entering a turn, but not for serious stopping.

    Modern "aero" brake levers changed that, partly because of reduced cable friction, and mostly
    because of repositioning of the brake lever pivot farther forward. This change in the internal
    geometry made the brakes truly effective even from the hoods. The move to dual-pivot calipers
    improved the situation even more.

    With good braking now available from the hoods, the rider could spend more time in that position.
    This in turn made a lower, faster bar poition tolerable, since one didn't need to spend so much time
    in the drops.

    The trend toward tilting the bars up/raising the controls does have its limits. If carried to
    excess, it can make the brakes inaccessible from the drops.

    I fooled around with handlebar angle a lot back in the '60s and found another limit... for a while I
    was running with a higher than normal tilt, and it took a while for me to associate this with the
    mysterious bruises I was getting on top of my lower forearms. Turns out, when I would ride in the
    drops, my arms were incontact with the corners of the tops, and road vibration was causing the
    bruising. A slight lowering of the bar angle fixed the problem.

    Sheldon "Multi Position" Brown +--------------------------------------------------------+
    | Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have | legislated out of nothing, "blasphemy" is
    | the most | amazing--with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" | fighting it out for second place.
    | | --Robert A. Heinlein |
    +--------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  6. Ken

    Ken Guest

    [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) wrote in
    news:[email protected]:
    > Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an "interesting"
    > position.

    Look at photos of Lance Armstrong or Tyler Hamilton from the last Tour de France. They also have
    their brake levers near the top of the handlebar bend.

    The current trend among Euro racers is to have a very low handlebar position (relative to the
    saddle), but also higher levers.
     
  7. Rik O'Shea wrote:

    > Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an "interesting"
    > position. See the following:

    Looking at the ends of the bars, I think it's the whole bar that has been rotated into an odd
    position. The brake levers are conventionally places relative to the straight sections at the end
    of the bar.

    But I remember the 1970s, when it was popular to have your dropped bars upside down so you had to
    *push* the brake levers!
     
  8. Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:

    > With good braking now available from the hoods, the rider could spend more time in that position.
    > This in turn made a lower, faster bar poition tolerable, since one didn't need to spend so much
    > time in the drops.

    It seems that most hobbyists today ride 80% of the time on the hoods. I don't know how this was 20-
    30 years ago, because I wasn't born yet.

    Personally, I have also set the bar so low that I'm not very comfortable pedaling from the drops.
    I'm quite short (169 cm, 5'6") and not very flexible, and the bar is about 2.5 inches below the
    saddle. I used to have the bar higher than that, but it felt awkward when riding out of the saddle.
    Because this is something I do often due to the local terrain (many short hills), I now have the
    handlebar "too low". It seems to work for me just fine.

    -as
     
  9. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Peter Chisholm writes:

    >> Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an "interesting"
    >> position. See the following:

    > http://tinyurl.com/23agl

    > http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9

    > Note in the sprint (which he won and is conducted on an asphalt road) that he positions his hands
    > on the tops rather than the drops. Maybe this shows how much bike fit is really an individual
    > choice and even the top pros discard the general accepted rules of thumb when required!

    I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened. For instance, if the bar was flattened by
    excessive clamping, then the rotated position would be more stable than the preferred one. I believe
    this is what happened because the drops are inaccessible in that orientation and I have never seen a
    rider have bars tilted such that the drops fell off at 45 degrees and the hooks were inaccessible
    due to wrist-bar interference.

    > See this a lot in the peloton, I think due to not ideal bike fits where they have to rotate the
    > bars up to be able to reach the controls. Perhaps to long top tubes or stems...

    I've see a lot of riding and have not seen this bar position. This is an extreme rotation in the
    stem. Besides, why would a champion rider have a poorly fit bicycle and enter a major event with it?

    Jobst Brandt [email protected]
     
  10. Zog The Undeniable <[email protected]> wrote:
    : But I remember the 1970s, when it was popular to have your dropped bars upside down so you had to
    : *push* the brake levers!

    that's still not unpopular, actually. mostly on muffys.

    did you mean with racers? :) i can't recall any photos of eddy crossing the line with bars set up
    this way. but, please.. i would dearly treasure any photos proving me wrong.

    obree doesn't count.
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
  11. Harris

    Harris Guest

    David Reuteler <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Zog The Undeniable <[email protected]> wrote:
    > : But I remember the 1970s, when it was popular to have your dropped bars upside down so you had
    > : to *push* the brake levers!

    > that's still not unpopular, actually. mostly on muffys.

    I don't see that much any more. It was a very dangerous practice. Under hard braking, your weight
    would shift forward increasing the pressure on the brake levers until you went over the bars.

    Art Harris
     
  12. Carl Fogel

    Carl Fogel Guest

    [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an "interesting"
    > position. See the following:
    >
    > http://tinyurl.com/23agl
    >
    > http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9
    >
    > Note in the sprint (which he won and is conducted on an asphalt road) that he positions his hands
    > on the tops rather than the drops. Maybe this shows how much bike fit is really an individual
    > choice and even the top pros discard the general accepted rules of thumb when reuired
    > !

    Dear Rik,

    I like the position of the third rider in that pavement finish-line picture, the one in the
    background riding upright with no hands.

    Another mile and he obviously would have overtaken both sprinters.

    Carl Fogel
     
  13. <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Peter Chisholm writes:
    >>>Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an "interesting"
    >>>position. See the following:
    >>http://tinyurl.com/23agl http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9
    >I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    >rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened.

    I don't think that can be the case, because his bar tape is red in one shot and blue in another - if
    this was unintentional it would have to have happened twice, once after his mechanic was aware of
    the previous failure and would presumably have tightened up the stem more, since these shots are
    hence not from the same race.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  14. Bw

    Bw Guest

    > >I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    > >rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened.

    Photos throughout the cross season show Welens and other Belgique crossers using this exagerated
    "bar tilt"consistently. May have more to do with the predominance of time spent on the uppers and
    how the drop serves as a hand hold during running.
     
  15. Harris <[email protected]> wrote:
    : I don't see that much any more.

    i saw it almost every day when i lived in areas more urban than idaho. here i'm lucky to see a
    cyclist a day in the winter. i have yet to see a lycra clad roadie doing it ever, tho.

    : It was a very dangerous practice. Under hard braking, your weight would shift forward increasing
    : the pressure on the brake levers until you went over the bars.

    dunno. never tried it. sure sounds like a bad idea.
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
  16. "BW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:060220041302593871%[email protected]...
    >
    > > >I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    > > >rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened.
    >
    > Photos throughout the cross season show Welens and other Belgique crossers using this exagerated
    > "bar tilt"consistently. May have more to do with the predominance of time spent on the uppers and
    > how the drop serves as a hand hold during running.

    People don't ride the drops anymore because almost all of those miserable "anatomic" handlebars that
    are the rage these days SUCK. As for the lever tilt, here's my theory. If you run a stem long enough
    to get a reasonable distance to the hooks on those things when you bend down (and therefore forward)
    to get "aero", when you sit up the levers are too far away in what was the "normal" position. So
    they rotate 'em up and back.
     
  17. David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote:
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >Peter Chisholm writes:
    > >>>Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an
    > >>>"interesting" position. See the following:
    > >>http://tinyurl.com/23agl http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9
    > >I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    > >rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened.

    > I don't think that can be the case, because his bar tape is red in one shot and blue in another -
    > if this was unintentional it would have to have happened twice, once after his mechanic was aware
    > of the previous failure and would presumably have tightened up the stem more, since these shots
    > are hence not from the same race.

    They are certainly from the same race. They're just two different bikes. High-level cyclocross
    racers frequently change bikes during the race - as often as once or twice per lap if it's really
    muddy, which this race doesn't appear to have been. It's possible that his mechanic set them up with
    two different colors of tape so he knows which bike is which.

    But you're right that it demonstrates the bar position is deliberate, rather than a slippage. IME,
    when bars slip and rotate in the stem, they always rotate the levers down.

    Also of note, this is a cyclocross race and riding cross frequently demands a different bar and
    brake position from riding on the road, higher and somewhat less reach.
     
  18. Richard Chan

    Richard Chan Guest

    David Damerell <[email protected]uk> wrote in message news:<-Yi*[email protected]>...
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    > >rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened.
    >
    > I don't think that can be the case, because his bar tape is red in one shot and blue in another -
    > if this was unintentional it would have to have happened twice, once after his mechanic was aware
    > of the previous failure and would presumably have tightened up the stem more, since these shots
    > are hence not from the same race.

    I agree with David. I think the bar's position is intentional. I read from the race report
    (cyclingnews.com and other sites) that Wellens changed bikes (don't quote me on this because I don't
    follow cross races that closely) most likely due to mud build up or mechanical and if his bar has
    rotated, he would have changed it and not finished the race like that. I don't believe that course
    dictated any bike hopping (likely cause?). Also, Wellens is very picky on setup. He didn't ride his
    all new, carbon frame bike and used his good old reliable AL (for this most important race).

    I guess my point is, what ever works for you (don't follow the norm).
     
  19. Carl Fogel

    Carl Fogel Guest

    David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<-Yi*[email protected]>...
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >Peter Chisholm writes:
    > >>>Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an
    > >>>"interesting" position. See the following:
    > >>http://tinyurl.com/23agl http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9
    > >I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    > >rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened.
    >
    > I don't think that can be the case, because his bar tape is red in one shot and blue in another -
    > if this was unintentional it would have to have happened twice, once after his mechanic was aware
    > of the previous failure and would presumably have tightened up the stem more, since these shots
    > are hence not from the same race.

    Dear David,

    Nicely put and quite a convincing observation.

    Saves me from wondering how a reasonably clamped handlebar could distort so that it had a different
    preferred position.

    Thanks,

    Carl Fogel
     
  20. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Benjamin Weiner writes:

    >>>>> Bart Wellens who just became World cyclo-cross champion has his brake levers in an
    >>>>> "interesting" position. See the following:

    http://tinyurl.com/23agl http://tinyurl.com/2e8j9

    >>> I believe that the bar position in the stem may have slipped and had a preferred direction of
    >>> rotation so that it could not be reasonably straightened.

    >> I don't think that can be the case, because his bar tape is red in one shot and blue in another -
    >> if this was unintentional it would have to have happened twice, once after his mechanic was aware
    >> of the previous failure and would presumably have tightened up the stem more, since these shots
    >> are hence not from the same race.

    Well they are different bicycles although this is a three day event. The front wheels are different
    as well as the bar tape but they both fit him equally well.

    > They are certainly from the same race. They're just two different bikes. High-level cyclocross
    > racers frequently change bikes during the race - as often as once or twice per lap if it's really
    > muddy, which this race doesn't appear to have been. It's possible that his mechanic set them up
    > with two different colors of tape so he knows which bike is which.

    > But you're right that it demonstrates the bar position is deliberate, rather than a slippage. IME,
    > when bars slip and rotate in the stem, they always rotate the levers down.

    As was mentioned, riding on the drops is not a major part of cyclo-cross racing so the hand hold for
    carrying the bike on a steeply descending bar may be an advantage. The bar tops look just fine.

    > Also of note, this is a cyclocross race and riding cross frequently demands a different bar and
    > brake position from riding on the road, higher and somewhat less reach.

    Riding on the 'hoods' makes braking on an upward angled brake lever boss preferable.

    Jobst Brandt [email protected]
     
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