Road brake levers



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Paul Westall

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Can anyone suggest good levers to use with a flat bar and regular road bike (Campy) brakes? Will
levers designed for cantilever brakes work? TIA Paul
 
I have a brand new set of lever for canti's .20 $ shipped USA . Changed to V's and didn't use
the levers.

--
J/O Trailblazer At large !!
 
Paul Westall wrote:
> Can anyone suggest good levers to use with a flat bar and regular road bike (Campy) brakes? Will
> levers designed for cantilever brakes work?

Yep. We've got some very nice Ritchey ones, see:

http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brakes.html#leversup

Sheldon "Cables Included" Brown +----------------------------------------------+
| If you wish in the world to advance, | Your merits you're bound to enhance; | You must stir
| it, and stump it, | And blow your own trumpet, | Or, trust me, you haven't a chance! | --W.S.
| Gilbert |
+----------------------------------------------+ 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
 
Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...

I have a road bike with Mafac "Racer" center-pull brakes and the original levers. I would like to
add a pair of the Specialized Extension Levers. http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProduct.jsp?section-
=13188&browselevel=components&JServSessionIdroot=etebitp3ur.j27004 Will I have replace my Mafac
levers with Aero levers first? Or is there another solution. I have a problem using the left [front]
brake lever. My hand is missing fingers and is small. I can brake over the hood, but because I ride
on the top of the drop bars, most of the time and always [it seems] when stopping, seldom do I brake
that way. As a kid, teen and even now, I have always just used the rear brake. Well, I'm riding a
lot and for me, getting some good speed, so I would like the safety of both brakes. It didn't
help/hurt that I read Sheldon's article on braking. It would actually be nice to have the levers for
both brakes, but if installing them is going to be a problem, then I need to look for a different
solution. One thing I was considering, was to install a regular straight bar lever, just on the left
front top bar. I obviously don't have a problem using the right lever, or I wouldn't be here to
write this;-) I'm open to new ideas. I looked at Sheldon's dual brake Peugeot "PX-7", but my tube
where the headset is, looks to be about half as long. Not much room for travel. This should be the
last thing I need to do. The bike goes in Monday to my LBS for a new headset, bottom bracket, and
crank. I bought a set of used 27" wheels [Mavic MA40], on Ebay, so that is now handled. The LBS is
going to check out the wheels, adjust as needed, and install. If I get the front brake figured out,
there will be nothing left to do but ride:-] Not to say, that I haven't been riding, because I have.
Thank you, Jeff

> Paul Westall wrote:
> > Can anyone suggest good levers to use with a flat bar and regular road bike (Campy) brakes? Will
> > levers designed for cantilever brakes work?
>
> Yep. We've got some very nice Ritchey ones, see:
>
> http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brakes.html#leversup
>
> Sheldon "Cables Included" Brown +----------------------------------------------+
> | If you wish in the world to advance, | Your merits you're bound to enhance; | You must stir
> | it, and stump it, | And blow your own trumpet, | Or, trust me, you haven't a chance! |
> | --W.S. Gilbert |
> +----------------------------------------------+ 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
 
Jeff Starr wrote:

> I have a road bike with Mafac "Racer" center-pull brakes and the original levers. I would like to
> add a pair of the Specialized Extension Levers.
> http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProduct.jsp?section=3D13188&browselevel=
=3Dcomponents&JServSessionIdroot=3Detebitp3ur.j27004
> Will I have replace my Mafac levers with Aero levers first?=20

Yes, but this is a Good Thing, because modern brake levers all by=20 themselves will make a huge
improvement in your braking, especially from =

the top of the hoods.

Get the $40 Shimano lever/cable set, one of the great bargains in the=20 biz. These are, by far, the
finest drop-bar brake levers ever made.

See: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brakes.html#leversdrop

Sheldon "Aero" Brown +-------------------------------------------------+
| I will be appearing in the Midsummer Revels | Boston Children=92s Museum, June 20 | (I=92ll be
| the front of the Dragon) | http://revels.org |
+-------------------------------------------------+ 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
 
Sheldon, thanks for the info. I have been wanting to thank you, your website info has been
incredibly helpful. It has made me a better rider and helped me make some good choices on
equipment. Had I not read your saddle article, I never would have tried a non gel version of the
Selle Italia Prolink. For me, it has turned out to be an ideal saddle. My speed is up, due to your
shifting article. Well you get the idea. The info is helpful, well written, and much appreciated.
And your appreciation for old French bikes, doesn't hurt either. My '76 "Champion Du Monde" has
been transformed. By the way, for your seat post data base, this bike uses a 1"[25.4mm] post.
Thank you, Jeff

Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> Jeff Starr wrote:
>
> > I have a road bike with Mafac "Racer" center-pull brakes and the original levers. I would like
> > to add a pair of the Specialized Extension Levers.
> > http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProduct.jsp?section=13188&browselevel
> =components&JServSessionIdroot=etebitp3ur.j27004
> > Will I have replace my Mafac levers with Aero levers first?
>
> Yes, but this is a Good Thing, because modern brake levers all by themselves will make a huge
> improvement in your braking, especially from
>
> the top of the hoods.
>
> Get the $40 Shimano lever/cable set, one of the great bargains in the biz. These are, by far, the
> finest drop-bar brake levers ever made.
>
> See: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brakes.html#leversdrop
>
> Sheldon "Aero" Brown +-------------------------------------------------+
> | I will be appearing in the Midsummer Revels | Boston Children s Museum, June 20 | (I ll be the
> | front of the Dragon) | http://revels.org |
> +-------------------------------------------------+ 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
 
[email protected] (Jeff Starr) writes:

>Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote in message
>news:<[email protected]>...

>I have a road bike with Mafac "Racer" center-pull brakes and the original levers. I would like to
>add a pair of the Specialized Extension Levers. http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProduct.jsp?sectio-
>n=13188&browselevel=components&JServSessionIdroot=etebitp3ur.j27004 Will I have replace my Mafac
>levers with Aero levers first? Or is there another solution. I have a problem using the left
>[front] brake lever. My hand is missing fingers and is small. I can brake over the hood, but
>because I ride on the top of the drop bars, most of the time and always [it seems] when stopping,
>seldom do I brake that way. As a kid, teen and even now, I have always just used the rear brake.

One thing you might try first is to exchange the cables between the two levers. The front brake
caliper can provide much more stopping power - something like 2/3 of your stopping power (guess),
because most of your weight is behind the front wheel. The rear brake is more likely to lock up the
rear wheel and then you get almost no stopping power. So the rear brake is severely limited in
stopping power. You can feel the difference easily on a steep downhill run.

A second thing you might do is to get a tandem lever (dual-cabled) for your right hand and then with
proper adjustment, you could operate the entire brake system from one lever.

A third choice is to get old dia-compe levers with "suicide" extension levers for the left brake, or
for both. I know somebody who has a bunch of these, and I have at least one dia-compe lever than can
accept them. These levers should work find with your mafac calipers, or i can sell you the parts to
switch over entirely to a weinmann or dia-compe brake system if you're a purist.

Good luck, and sorry to hear about the missing fingers on your left hand.

Don Gillies - [email protected] http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~gillies
 
Jeff Starr wrote:

>>I have a road bike with Mafac "Racer" center-pull brakes and the original levers. I would like to
>>add a pair of the Specialized Extension Levers. http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProduct.jsp?secti-
>>on=13188&browselevel=components&JServSessionIdroot=etebitp3ur.j27004 Will I have replace my Mafac
>>levers with Aero levers first? Or is there another solution. I have a problem using the left
>>[front] brake lever. My hand is missing fingers and is small. I can brake over the hood, but
>>because I ride on the top of the drop bars, most of the time and always [it seems] when stopping,
>>seldom do I brake that way. As a kid, teen and even now, I have always just used the rear brake.

Donald Gillies

> One thing you might try first is to exchange the cables between the two levers. The front brake
> caliper can provide much more stopping power - something like 2/3 of your stopping power (guess),
> because most of your weight is behind the front wheel. The rear brake is more likely to lock up
> the rear wheel and then you get almost no stopping power. So the rear brake is severely limited in
> stopping power. You can feel the difference easily on a steep downhill run.

That's good advice. See also http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

> A second thing you might do is to get a tandem lever (dual-cabled) for your right hand and then
> with proper adjustment, you could operate the entire brake system from one lever.

That's _not_ good advice, in my opinion. I would consider it much safer to use just the front brake
than to have both brakes hooked together in such a way that you can't modulate them individually.
Don't do it!

> A third choice is to get old dia-compe levers with "suicide" extension levers for the left brake,
> or for both. I know somebody who has a bunch of these, and I have at least one dia-compe lever
> than can accept them. These levers should work find with your mafac calipers, or i can sell you
> the parts to switch over entirely to a weinmann or dia-compe brake system if you're a purist.

That might have been mediocre advice a couple of years ago, but the new generation of "cross" levers
such as the Specialized that Jeff wrote about, and the similar Tektro units we sell are a MUCH, MUCH
better solution.

Sheldon "4 By 2" Brown +-------------------------------------------------+
| I will be appearing in the Midsummer Revels | Boston Children’s Museum, June 20 | (I’ll be the
| front of the Dragon) | This is a FREE show! http://revels.org |
+-------------------------------------------------+ 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
 
Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> writes:

>> A second thing you might do is to get a tandem lever (dual-cabled) for your right hand and then
>> with proper adjustment, you could operate the entire brake system from one lever.

>That's _not_ good advice, in my opinion. I would consider it much safer to use just the front brake
>than to have both brakes hooked together in such a way that you can't modulate them individually.
>Don't do it!

Ok, so i stand corrected. Having never used one of these dual-cabled tandem systems, can you tell me
why they exist, and what is the appropriate use for these levers ?? I believe that one hand brake is
normally used for the rear drum, and the second operates both calipers on a tandem.

I don't think the "suicide lever" extension is a good solution, thats why it was last on my list. it
is merely a possibility. Along those lines, can anyone tell me how the specialized gizmo lever
works, since there is not a picture of how it installs on the web site? Does the extra lever go
inline with the brake cable farther up the handlebar or something?? Thanx.

- Don Gillies San Diego
 
Donald Gillies wrote:
> Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> writes:
>
>
>
>>That's _not_ good advice, in my opinion. I would consider it much safer to use just the front
>>brake than to have both brakes hooked together in such a way that you can't modulate them
>>individually. Don't do it!
>
>
> Ok, so i stand corrected. Having never used one of these dual-cabled tandem systems, can you tell
> me why they exist, and what is the appropriate use for these levers ?? I believe that one hand
> brake is normally used for the rear drum, and the second operates both calipers on a tandem.

Yes, they are a desperate attempt to cope with the problem of 2 hands and 3 brakes. On a road tandem
with competent adjustment they seem to work acceptably well for many people, but I think most would
agree that a separate friction control (eg down-tube shifter) for the drum brake is generally
better. Note that a tandem has both more rear wheel braking potential and also extra cable stretch
to the rear end, when compared to a single bike. On a single bike the problem of skidding the rear
wheel through the dual-cabled system must be much greater.

James
 
"Donald Gillies" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> [email protected] (Jeff Starr) writes:
>
> >Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
>
> >I have a road bike with Mafac "Racer" center-pull brakes and the original levers. I would like to
> >add a pair of the Specialized Extension Levers.
>
>http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProduct.jsp?section=13188&browselevel=compo
nents&JServSessionIdroot=etebitp3ur.j27004
> >Will I have replace my Mafac levers with Aero levers first? Or is there another solution. I have
> >a problem using the left [front] brake lever. My hand is missing fingers and is small. I can
> >brake over the hood, but because I ride on the top of the drop bars, most of the time and always
> >[it seems] when stopping, seldom do I brake that way. As a kid, teen and even now, I have always
> >just used the rear brake.
>
> One thing you might try first is to exchange the cables between the two levers. The front brake
> caliper can provide much more stopping power - something like 2/3 of your stopping power (guess),
> because most of your weight is behind the front wheel. The rear brake is more likely to lock up
> the rear wheel and then you get almost no stopping power. So the rear brake is severely limited in
> stopping power. You can feel the difference easily on a steep downhill run.
>
> A second thing you might do is to get a tandem lever (dual-cabled) for your right hand and then
> with proper adjustment, you could operate the entire brake system from one lever.
>
> A third choice is to get old dia-compe levers with "suicide" extension levers for the left brake,
> or for both. I know somebody who has a bunch of these, and I have at least one dia-compe lever
> than can accept them. These levers should work find with your mafac calipers, or i can sell you
> the parts to switch over entirely to a weinmann or dia-compe brake system if you're a purist.

That's all technically possible but dual-command should be avoided IMHO if possible in favor of
reversing the cables you suggested first. Moreover, DiaCompe/Weinmann levers with MAfac brake
calipers is a classic cable-pulll error. The lever will bottom easily before much braking. Not as
dramatic as cantilever levers with linear brakes, but awful and to be avoided.

--
Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
 
Well, now you have me wondering, I was totally psyched to go with the Shimano Aero brake levers and
either the Specialized or if available the Tektro RX2.0 brake lever extensions. Then I saw this:
> This may not be an option for short folks who ride small frames, due to clearance issues.
I recently found my original receipt from 1976, it lists my frame size as 23. My head tube is
shorter than the one on the Rambouillet. So, will it work?

Another question, if I want to switch the brake cables so that the front is on the right, can that
be done at the lever, without having to either physically switch the sides of the lever [retaping]
or must the cables be disconnected at the brake itself, removed and then rerun. I'd like to switch
the front and back, for now, until I can make arrangements to have the new levers installed. That is
after finding out if my LBS can get/has the parts, or I need to order them. I also want to get a set
of the Kool Stops.

And a final question, is the Shimano Tiagro levers, the same as the R400?

The bike goes in Monday, so I'll talk to my favored mechanic about doing the eventual install.

Thanks again for all the help. Jeff

Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> A usually reliable source wrote:
>
> > DiaCompe/Weinmann levers with MAfac brake calipers is a classic
> > cable-pulll error. The lever will bottom easily before much braking. Not as dramatic as
> > cantilever levers with linear brakes, but awful and to be avoided.
>
> That depends on how you set the Mafac up. If you run a long transverse cable (or one of the
> special wide yokes) you can adjust the Mafac's mechanical advantage to work fine with any
> conventional brake lever.
>
> I'm running a Mafac on the front of my Rambouillet with Shimano Tiagra lever, works great (Kool
> Stop Eagle 2 salmon pads.)
>
> http://sheldonbrown.org/rambouillet
>
> This may not be an option for short folks who ride small frames, due to clearance issues.
>
> Sheldon "Tall Enough" Brown +-----------------------------------------------------------+
> | Always listen to the experts. | They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. | Then do
> | it. --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
 
[email protected] (Jeff Starr) wrote in message

> I have a problem using the left [front] brake lever.

> One thing I was considering, was to install a regular straight bar lever, just on the left
> front top bar

Have you considered cross levers? i think the tektro variety woudl be ideal for you for a number of
reasons. they are cheap (18 dollars a pair at one LBS, recently). they are light, perfectly
functional, strong, look good. they do not require you to unwrap your bars and dissassemble
everything like the Paul levers. all it takes to install is unwrap a few inches of your bar tape.
pull the inner cable out. snip it where the cross lever will go, install lever, run the cable back
through. hey presto! a road-caliper-compatible powerful brake on the tops of your bars, like you
wanted, without sacrifising braking ability from the drops or the hoods. this, combined with modern
aero levers, is my favorite setup. shimano aero levers and a left hand cross lever.

cheers,

anthony
 
Jeff Starr wrote:
> Well, now you have me wondering, I was totally psyched to go with the Shimano Aero brake
> levers and either the Specialized or if available the Tektro RX2.0 brake lever extensions.
> Then I saw this:
>
>>This may not be an option for short folks who ride small frames, due to clearance issues.
>
> I recently found my original receipt from 1976, it lists my frame size as 23. My head tube is
> shorter than the one on the Rambouillet. So, will it work?

Yes, 23 inch is a medium/large size, plenty of room.

> Another question, if I want to switch the brake cables so that the front is on the right, can that
> be done at the lever, without having to either physically switch the sides of the lever [retaping]
> or must the cables be disconnected at the brake itself, removed and then rerun. I'd like to switch
> the front and back, for now, until I can make arrangements to have the new levers installed.

For old-style levers, there's no need to mess with the tape. For "aero" levers, where the cables run
under the handlebar tape, you do have to retape.

If memory serves you've got Mafac brake levers. For those you will need to unbolt the bottom ends
of the cables from the anchor bolts in the yokes, then re-adjust the brakes once everything's back
to gether.

Most older drop bar levers don't even require this much disassembly, and permit you to swap sides
with no tools at all.

Sheldon "Weinmanns Had Their Good Points" Brown Newtonville, Massachusetts
+---------------------------------------------+
| LEARN AND MAKE BIG MONY LIKE THE PROS |
| THIRD ANNUAL NIGERIAN EMAIL CONFERENCE: |
| http://j-walk.com/blog/docs/conference.htm |
+---------------------------------------------+ 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
 
> Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> writes:
>
> >> A second thing you might do is to get a tandem lever (dual-cabled) for your right hand and then
> >> with proper adjustment, you could operate the entire brake system from one lever.
>
> >That's _not_ good advice, in my opinion. I would consider it much safer to use just the front
> >brake than to have both brakes hooked together in such a way that you can't modulate them
> >individually. Don't do it!

"Donald Gillies" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> Ok, so i stand corrected. Having never used one of these dual-cabled tandem systems, can you tell
> me why they exist, and what is the appropriate use for these levers ?? I believe that one hand
> brake is normally used for the rear drum, and the second operates both calipers on a tandem.

> I don't think the "suicide lever" extension is a good solution, thats why it was last on my list.
> it is merely a possibility. Along those lines, can anyone tell me how the specialized gizmo lever
> works, since there is not a picture of how it installs on the web site? Does the extra lever go
> inline with the brake cable farther up the handlebar or something??

A big clear photo of those levers is halfway down the page here:
http://www.yellowjersey.org/rlcross.html

Yes, the lever fits into an existing brake cable similarly to the small add-on lever triathletes add
with aero bars.

Since a rear cantilever on a tandem isn't doing much you can set up a tandem that way. A better idea
is a handlebar control lever for the drum which can be set as a drag brake during a long descent.
That leaves the captain in full control of both cantilevers so s/he can get maximum effect without
skiding the rear wheel. With dual-command levers, the rear gets adjusted so as to be pointless.
--
Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
 
Ok, I have to loosen the cable at the brake itself, now how do I get it out of the lever? I took a
look yesterday, before my first post and I don't see a slot, like I used to have on my Schwinn
Varsity brakes, as I recall, it has been 35 years. I need to know how to disconnect and reinstall
the cables, at the lever. And yes, they are Mafac levers, circa '76. I've decided that I would like
to do this first, so that when I have the Shimano Aero levers and lever extensions installed, I will
know for sure which one I want to the front, right or the left. Thank you, Jeff

Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> Jeff Starr wrote:
> > Well, now you have me wondering, I was totally psyched to go with the Shimano Aero brake
> > levers and either the Specialized or if available the Tektro RX2.0 brake lever extensions.
> > Then I saw this:
> >
> >>This may not be an option for short folks who ride small frames, due to clearance issues.
> >
> > I recently found my original receipt from 1976, it lists my frame size as 23. My head tube is
> > shorter than the one on the Rambouillet. So, will it work?
>
> Yes, 23 inch is a medium/large size, plenty of room.
>
> > Another question, if I want to switch the brake cables so that the front is on the right, can
> > that be done at the lever, without having to either physically switch the sides of the lever
> > [retaping] or must the cables be disconnected at the brake itself, removed and then rerun. I'd
> > like to switch the front and back, for now, until I can make arrangements to have the new levers
> > installed.
>
> For old-style levers, there's no need to mess with the tape. For "aero" levers, where the cables
> run under the handlebar tape, you do have to retape.
>
> If memory serves you've got Mafac brake levers. For those you will need to unbolt the bottom ends
> of the cables from the anchor bolts in the yokes, then re-adjust the brakes once everything's back
> to gether.
>
> Most older drop bar levers don't even require this much disassembly, and permit you to swap sides
> with no tools at all.
>
> Sheldon "Weinmanns Had Their Good Points" Brown Newtonville, Massachusetts
> +---------------------------------------------+
> | LEARN AND MAKE BIG MONY LIKE THE PROS |
> | THIRD ANNUAL NIGERIAN EMAIL CONFERENCE: |
> | http://j-walk.com/blog/docs/conference.htm |
> +---------------------------------------------+ 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
 
Anthony, the Specialized brake lever extensions are very similar to the Tektro RX2.0 levers and this
style of braking system is my first choice. I wasn't aware of the Tektro model until it was
mentioned in one of the earlier posts, in this thread. Thanks for the input, Jeff

[email protected] (ant) wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> [email protected] (Jeff Starr) wrote in message
>
> > I have a problem using the left [front] brake lever.
>
> > One thing I was considering, was to install a regular straight bar lever, just on the left front
> > top bar
>
> Have you considered cross levers? i think the tektro variety woudl be ideal for you for a number
> of reasons. they are cheap (18 dollars a pair at one LBS, recently). they are light, perfectly
> functional, strong, look good. they do not require you to unwrap your bars and dissassemble
> everything like the Paul levers. all it takes to install is unwrap a few inches of your bar tape.
> pull the inner cable out. snip it where the cross lever will go, install lever, run the cable back
> through. hey presto! a road-caliper-compatible powerful brake on the tops of your bars, like you
> wanted, without sacrifising braking ability from the drops or the hoods. this, combined with
> modern aero levers, is my favorite setup. shimano aero levers and a left hand cross lever.
>
> cheers,
>
> anthony
 
Jeff Starr top posted:

> Ok, I have to loosen the cable at the brake itself, now how do I get it out of the lever? I took a
> look yesterday, before my first post and I don't see a slot, like I used to have on my Schwinn
> Varsity brakes, as I recall, it has been 35 years.

Right, that's what was referring to in the response below.

> I need to know how to disconnect and reinstall the cables, at the lever. And yes, they are Mafac
> levers, circa '76.

You have to completely unthread them, pulling the inner cable all of the way down and out from the
bottom of the lever.

>>>Another question, if I want to switch the brake cables so that the front is on the right, can
>>>that be done at the lever, without having to either physically switch the sides of the lever
>>>[retaping] or must the cables be disconnected at the brake itself, removed and then rerun. I'd
>>>like to switch the front and back, for now, until I can make arrangements to have the new levers
>>>installed.
>>
>>For old-style levers, there's no need to mess with the tape. For "aero" levers, where the cables
>>run under the handlebar tape, you do have to retape.
>>
>>If memory serves you've got Mafac brake levers. For those you will need to unbolt the bottom ends
>>of the cables from the anchor bolts in the yokes, then re-adjust the brakes once everything's back
>>to gether.
>>
>>Most older drop bar levers don't even require this much disassembly, and permit you to swap sides
>>with no tools at all.

Sheldon "Mafac" Brown +--------------------------------------------------------------+
| A: Because it disrupts the natural flow of conversation. |
| Q: Why is top-posting frowned-upon? |
+--------------------------------------------------------------+ 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
 
Someone suggested:

>>>>A second thing you might do is to get a tandem lever (dual-cabled) for your right hand and then
>>>>with proper adjustment, you could operate the entire brake system from one lever.

I disagreed:

>>>That's _not_ good advice, in my opinion. I would consider it much safer to use just the front
>>>brake than to have both brakes hooked together in such a way that you can't modulate them
>>>individually. Don't do it!

Donald Gillie asked:

>>Ok, so i stand corrected. Having never used one of these dual-cabled tandem systems, can you tell
>>me why they exist, and what is the appropriate use for these levers ?? I believe that one hand
>>brake is normally used for the rear drum, and the second operates both calipers on a tandem.

They exist because not everybody agrees with me. Same for BMX bikes with only a rear handbrake, or
cruisers with only a coaster brake, or fixed gear bikes on the street with no brakes at all.

None of these are safe, in my opinion, but my campaign to be made Emperor of the World has not yet
met with the success I had hoped for...

Andy Muzi wrote:

> Since a rear cantilever on a tandem isn't doing much you can set up a tandem that way. A better
> idea is a handlebar control lever for the drum which can be set as a drag brake during a long
> descent. That leaves the captain in full control of both cantilevers so s/he can get maximum
> effect without skiding the rear wheel. With dual-command levers, the rear gets adjusted so as to
> be pointless.

The fly in this ointment is that sometimes people ride tandems without a stoker. In this situation,
there's so little weight on the rear wheel that it takes very little braking to lock it up. This
creates an unusually high risk of fishtailing in the event serious braking is needed. The situation
is worse with a stokerless tandem, because the rider has very little feel for what's happening out
back, and the rear can be well into sideslip before the rider realizes it.

The Tandem email list has recounted some very grisly accidents caused by two-wheel braking on
stokerless tandems.

I have a separate article on Tandem Brakes:

http://sheldonbrown.com/tandem-brakes.html

Sheldon "One Wheel, One Hand" Brown +--------------------------------------------+
| Most people would sooner die than think; | in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell |
+--------------------------------------------+ 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
 
> > Jeff Starr wrote:
> > > Well, now you have me wondering, I was totally psyched to go with the Shimano Aero brake
> > > levers and either the Specialized or if available the Tektro RX2.0 brake lever extensions.
> > > Then I saw this:
> > >>This may not be an option for short folks who ride small frames, due
to
> > >>clearance issues.
> > > I recently found my original receipt from 1976, it lists my frame size as 23. My head tube is
> > > shorter than the one on the Rambouillet. So, will it work?

> Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> thorough and helpful as always,
wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> > Yes, 23 inch is a medium/large size, plenty of room.

(JS)> > > Another question, if I want to switch the brake cables so that the
> > > front is on the right, can that be done at the lever, without having to either physically
> > > switch the sides of the lever [retaping] or must the cables be disconnected at the brake
> > > itself, removed and then rerun. I'd like to switch the front and back, for now, until I can
> > > make arrangements to have the new levers installed.

(Sheldon, further)> > For old-style levers, there's no need to mess with the tape. For "aero"
> > levers, where the cables run under the handlebar tape, you do have to retape.
> >
> > If memory serves you've got Mafac brake levers. For those you will need to unbolt the bottom
> > ends of the cables from the anchor bolts in the yokes, then re-adjust the brakes once
> > everything's back to gether.
> >
> > Most older drop bar levers don't even require this much disassembly, and permit you to swap
> > sides with no tools at all.

"Jeff Starr" <[email protected]> wrote at the top but I moved it in message
news:[email protected]...
> Ok, I have to loosen the cable at the brake itself, now how do I get it out of the lever? I took a
> look yesterday, before my first post and I don't see a slot, like I used to have on my Schwinn
> Varsity brakes, as I recall, it has been 35 years. I need to know how to disconnect and reinstall
> the cables, at the lever. And yes, they are Mafac levers, circa '76. I've decided that I would
> like to do this first, so that when I have the Shimano Aero levers and lever extensions installed,
> I will know for sure which one I want to the front, right or the left.

Mafac levers are not slotted for the brake wire. You need to withdraw the wire completely through
the lever and out the bottom. As Sheldon's instructions above: ". . . you will need to unbolt the
bottom ends of the cables from the anchor bolts in the yokes, then re-adjust the brakes once
everything's back together."

As you undo the cables, use two 9mm wrenches and don't let the anchor bolt twist as that will fray
the wire. Grease or oil the anchor bolt threads before reassembly. If you use a 9mm socket, touch it
to a grinder to remove the bevel because the Mafac bolt heads are quite thin. When you have the wire
out, take a moment to clean up the adjuster. The bottom (male ) half should engage a six-sided
aperture in a steel strip that's molded into the rubber hood to keep the adjuster base from
spinning. The back end of that same strip clips under the top of the lever body at the handlebar to
keep the rubber hood from wandering. These are frequently bent beyond usefulness but can be reshaped
with pliers. The top ( female) half needs a drop of oil or a smear of grease so they turn nicely.
Often the bottom half is cracked where its bronze end goes through the lever. Replacements are
available.

Mafac lever clamps need a drop of oil on the threads.

Another Mafac foible relates to the front cable hanger. If you have an original stainless model,
there is a small keyhole shaped hole for the ferrule. After setting up and adjusting the system,
pinch that so the ferrule cannot come out of the hanger should there be cable damage. A kinked or
damaged casing can allow the ferrule to lift and fall out after releasing the lever. That's a very
dangerous condition as the transverse wire can catch on the tire and cause serious injury to the
rider. This is an infamous and once-common catastrophe.

I wrote earlier that Mafac brakes do not work well with Wienmann/DiaCompe levers. Sheldon correctly
noted that Mafacs have adjustable length transverse wires so they may indeed be set to work properly
with levers having less cable travel than the originals. Your 23 inch frame should have ample room
for that higher cable carrier setting.

If you are enamored of the original Mafac brake shoe holders (they can be polished to mirror
bright!) , classic Campagnolo blocks fit them, which means you can get the excellent Kool Stop
Campagnolo inserts. If that seems a bit much, any Kool Stop unthreaded unitized brake shoe,
including the Salmon color Eagle II, would be a big improvement over Mafac's fiber-impregnated
rubber ones.
--
Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
 
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