recommended brake levers

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Davek, May 3, 2004.

  1. Davek

    Davek Guest

    So, are the Shimano R600s that much better than the R400s
    that it's worth paying £35 instead of £20? Or are the
    cheaper alternatives (eg Shimano Exage 300EX £10, Dia Compe
    BL-07 £9) just as good as either?

    Or, considering I'm eventually planning to upgrade to STIs,
    should I just go for the Tiagra levers instead?

    In any case, I'm upgrading from old non-aero levers so I
    would expect a performance improvement whichever ones I go
    for - it's just a question of how much extra performance the
    more expensive options give. I'll also be replacing the
    cables at the same time, which should help.

    d.
     
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  2. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    davek wrote:
    > So, are the Shimano R600s that much better than the R400s
    > that it's worth paying £35 instead of £20? Or are the
    > cheaper alternatives (eg Shimano Exage 300EX £10, Dia
    > Compe BL-07 £9) just as good as either?

    I've not got experience of those models but I would expect
    actual braking performance to be similar with all of them.
    Shapes and weights will vary. It's important to choose
    comfortable levers - good shape hoods and lever blades for
    your hands/preference. Note how some have more pointy
    "spikes" or bumps (or whatever you call them) than others. I
    personally prefer more rounded ones.

    I have for sale: Converted Campagnolo Mirage 2003 Ergopower
    levers (all gear shifter levers & parts removed, slots
    partially filled with spacers). Requires new hoods. £11 inc
    post. Price will be increased a bit if I get replacement
    hoods for it. These brake levers, bodies and hoods are the
    same shape as the Record model used by the pros. The
    "plastic" levers are just as stiff as the alloy and carbon
    versions (good stuff and made nice and thick). Email:
    p[at]biggs[dot]tc

    > Or, considering I'm eventually planning to upgrade to
    > STIs, should I just go for the Tiagra levers instead?

    Question to STI users: Do the gear levers rattle if no gear
    cables attached?

    ~PB
     
  3. Jon Senior

    Jon Senior Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    pclemantine {remove_fruit}@biggs.tc says...

    > Question to STI users: Do the gear levers rattle if no
    > gear cables attached?

    I've never ridden them without cables, but given both levers
    are sprung, I doubt it very much.

    Jon
     
  4. Mseries

    Mseries Guest

    Pete Biggs wrote:

    >
    > Question to STI users: Do the gear levers rattle if no
    > gear cables attached?

    My Ultegra ones rattle even with the cables attached !
     
  5. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    MSeries wrote:
    > Pete Biggs wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> Question to STI users: Do the gear levers rattle if no
    >> gear cables attached?
    >
    > My Ultegra ones rattle even with the cables attached !

    So do mine

    Tony
     
  6. MSeries wrote:

    > My Ultegra ones rattle even with the cables attached !

    As do my 105s.
     
  7. Jon Senior

    Jon Senior Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected]
    says...
    > MSeries wrote:
    >
    > > My Ultegra ones rattle even with the cables attached !
    >
    > As do my 105s.

    Mine don't. Or I can't hear them over the rattling of my
    teeth when hitting rough surfaces.

    Jon
     
  8. Zog The Undeniable wrote:
    > MSeries wrote:
    >
    >> My Ultegra ones rattle even with the cables attached !
    >
    >
    > As do my 105s.

    Not mine. After years of rattle I found that it was the 2
    gear cables rattling wear they cross at the front of the
    bike. Tied them together with a cable tie and my bike is
    rattle free. If I had my time again the bike would have
    campag like my other bikes.

    --chris
     
  9. Davek

    Davek Guest

    > I've not got experience of those models but I would expect
    > actual braking performance to be similar with all of them.

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking. After all, a brake lever
    is a brake lever is a brake lever, right?

    > Shapes and weights will vary. It's important to choose
    > comfortable levers - good shape hoods and lever blades
    > for your hands/preference.

    I'll have to see what my LBS has on their stock bikes -
    chances are it won't be what I want so I'll end up just
    having to take a chance. If I start with the cheaper ones
    and find I don't like them, I can always upgrade.

    > I have for sale: Converted Campagnolo Mirage 2003
    > Ergopower levers (all gear shifter levers & parts removed,
    > slots partially filled with spacers).

    I'm tempted but for now I think I'll just stick with the
    cheapo Exage which come complete with hoods for a tenner.

    > Question to STI users: Do the gear levers rattle if no
    > gear cables attached?

    That's what I was wondering, and why I asked about the
    Tiagras - judging by the responses, I reckon I might stick
    to the non-STIs until I actually get around to doing the
    upgrade. And I can postpone choosing between Campag and
    Shimano until I have a better idea what I want.

    cheers for the response,

    d.
     
  10. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    davek wrote:
    >> I've not got experience of those models but I would
    >> expect actual braking performance to be similar with all
    >> of them.
    >
    > Yeah, that's what I was thinking. After all, a brake lever
    > is a brake lever is a brake lever, right?

    Probaby, as far as the modern ones go. Older, non-aero
    levers were rubbish. With aero levers, cable is pulled in a
    straight line, in the correct direction.

    ~PB
     
  11. Davek

    Davek Guest

    Pete Biggs:
    > Probaby, as far as the modern ones go. Older, non-aero
    > levers were rubbish. With aero levers, cable is pulled in
    > a straight line, in the correct direction.

    Indeed. I had been thinking along the lines of upgrading my
    old Weinmann centre-pull calipers but a) it's hard to find
    decent calipers with a long enough reach (the Alhongas look
    good but not necessarily that much better than what I've
    got), and b) having read the inestimable Mr Brown's comments
    on braking, plus what people said in this forum when I asked
    before, I realised that I'd be much better off upgrading
    other aspects of the braking system first.

    Cheers,

    d.
     
  12. Jon Senior

    Jon Senior Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...
    > Indeed. I had been thinking along the lines of upgrading
    > my old Weinmann centre-pull calipers but a) it's hard to
    > find decent calipers with a long enough reach (the
    > Alhongas look good but not necessarily that much better
    > than what I've got), and b) having read the inestimable
    > Mr Brown's comments on braking, plus what people said in
    > this forum when I asked before, I realised that I'd be
    > much better off upgrading other aspects of the braking
    > system first.

    As a lover of Weinmann centre pulls, I can safely say that
    the long reach Alhongas are superiour. Although there is a
    little play in them (I could actually have got away with the
    slightly shorter reach version), they definately feel better
    than the centrepulls. The action is smoother and lighter,
    and you can get more power out of them.

    If anyone has a particular love of Weinmann centre pulls, I
    currently have two pairs of them which are surplus to
    requirements.

    Jon
     
  13. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Jon Senior wrote:
    > As a lover of Weinmann centre pulls, I can safely say that
    > the long reach Alhongas are superiour.

    I agree - at least at the front. I made the same upgrade.

    But it is fair enough to upgrade peacemeal. ...New levers
    first, then replace front caliper if desired, then maybe the
    rear caliper.

    > Although there is a little play in them (I could actually
    > have got away with the slightly shorter reach version),

    Play or flex? Any play in the pivots can be adjusted out.
    Yes the arms could be stiffer, though.

    Also, I could do with the spring in the rear caliper being
    stronger to better overcome cable friction. I'm not a fan of
    using dual-pivot REAR brakes in general anyway. It's
    difficult to get enough rim clearance* with them without
    having excessive lever travel.

    * More is required at rear to cope with greater rim flex.

    ~PB
     
  14. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Jon Senior wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > [email protected] says...
    >> Indeed. I had been thinking along the lines of upgrading
    >> my old Weinmann centre-pull calipers but a) it's hard to
    >> find decent calipers with a long enough reach (the
    >> Alhongas look good but not necessarily that much better
    >> than what I've got), and b) having read the inestimable
    >> Mr Brown's comments on braking, plus what people said in
    >> this forum when I asked before, I realised that I'd be
    >> much better off upgrading other aspects of the braking
    >> system first.
    >
    > As a lover of Weinmann centre pulls, I can safely say that
    > the long reach Alhongas are superiour.

    Just remembered, I actually replaced the front caliper
    before the levers. Braking was better with a Campag DP than
    it ever was with the Weinmann CP. I later replaced the
    Campag front with Alhonga front to get proper mudguard
    clearance and make block ajustment easier.

    ~PB
     
  15. Jon Senior

    Jon Senior Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    pclemantine {remove_fruit}@biggs.tc says...
    > Jon Senior wrote:
    > > As a lover of Weinmann centre pulls, I can safely say
    > > that the long reach Alhongas are superiour.
    >
    > I agree - at least at the front. I made the same upgrade.

    I only have the front fitted. As discussed elsewhere in this
    NG, I don't use the rear brake on the fixer.

    > But it is fair enough to upgrade peacemeal. ...New levers
    > first, then replace front caliper if desired, then maybe
    > the rear caliper.

    I always thought that replacing the brake itself would have
    the most marked effect (Assuming compatibility), with other
    upgrades taking place later for comfort.

    > > Although there is a little play in them (I could
    > > actually have got away with the slightly shorter reach
    > > version),
    >
    > Play or flex? Any play in the pivots can be adjusted out.
    > Yes the arms could be stiffer, though.

    Sorry. Flex on the arms seems to be the problem, although we
    are talking about a small amount. I got more movement from
    the centre-pulls.

    > Also, I could do with the spring in the rear caliper being
    > stronger to better overcome cable friction. I'm not a fan
    > of using dual-pivot REAR brakes in general anyway. It's
    > difficult to get enough rim clearance* with them without
    > having excessive lever travel.
    >
    > * More is required at rear to cope with greater rim flex.

    Not something that I've encountered on the Giant to be
    honest. The only problems I had when when the rear wheel was
    out of true. But I agree that they seem to pull a lot of
    cable for little movement. I guess that's where the power
    comes from.

    Jon
     
  16. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Jon Senior wrote:
    > I always thought that replacing the brake itself would
    > have the most marked effect (Assuming compatibility), with
    > other upgrades taking place later for comfort.

    I think it's about 50/50; Sheldon Brown disagrees with
    both of us.

    ~PB
     
  17. Andymorris

    Andymorris Guest

    Pete Biggs wrote:
    > Jon Senior wrote:
    >> I always thought that replacing the brake itself would
    >> have the most marked effect (Assuming compatibility),
    >> with other upgrades taking place later for comfort.
    >
    > I think it's about 50/50; Sheldon Brown disagrees with
    > both of us.
    >
    > ~PB

    I'd say change brake blocks to kool stop, and check the
    cables are smooth running, kink free and have no slop. Then
    worry about levers and calipers.

    --
    Andy Morris

    AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK

    Love this:
    Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
    http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/oe-quotefix/
     
  18. Davek

    Davek Guest

    > I'd say change brake blocks to kool stop

    It's already on my list of things to do. :)

    > and check the cables are smooth running, kink free and
    > have no slop.

    I've already got shiny new stainless cables and teflon-
    coated outers on order.

    >Then worry about levers and calipers.

    I remembered why I was bothered about brake calipers in the
    first place - it's because I wanted to swap my clunky fat
    old 27" wheels for narrow 700C wheels. But then I found out
    that it decent new wheels are bloody expensive. If I got
    700C wheels I would definitely have to replace my rear brake
    because it's a huge drop. I could get away with it on the
    front as far as the drop is concerned, although there could
    still be a problem with the cable running smoothly round the
    corner into the little 'hanger' thing at the top of the head
    tube, which you need to make the centre-pull brakes work, so
    I probably do need to replace my front brake with a dual
    pivot too...

    It's all unnecessarily complicated and I'm going to end up
    spending so much money on 'upgrading' this bike that I'd
    probably be better off buying a proper road bike second-
    hand off ebay.

    d.
     
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