Friday, December 19, 2008

Linear pull brakes with drop bar levers

Saw this setup on a Specialized Tricross Singlecross and did a double take. Where was the Travel Agent? Could drop bar brake lever (which is usually short-pull) work a set of linear pull brakes (which are long-pull) without a travel doubling pulley? According to the Specialized web site, the bike comes with "Aero brake levers for linear pull brakes". Did such a thing exist? If so, why are all those cyclocrossers running 1x9's (or 1x10's) still using cantilever brakes on the front end and suffering the unavoidable brake chatter (1)? They could be using nice, strong, chatter free linear pull brakes and these levers. I did some research. BAM! It's true! Aero levers for linear pull brakes exist, and Tektro is not doing nearly enough to market them. Here they are:

photo from
And, they have that sweet little brake cable quick release pin. That could be a godsend in fast and frantic wheel pit changes. Spread the word folks, you heard it here.

Why not just use your shifter/levers with a pulley? Because that pulley gets gunked up with dirt and becomes absolutely useless really fast. Kind of defeats the purpose of putting brake bosses on a cyclocross bike in order to use mud resistant brakes.

The owner of the Specialized seemed to like the way they worked. Any one else have any experience?

1 A good explanation of the symptoms and causes of front brake chatter can be found here.


Mr. Beattie said...

Diacompe used to market these as the 287 V aero levers. They had a 287 C as well that matched low profile cantilevers very well, pretty close to what modern Campy Ergo levers pull. Shimano STI's levers have never seemed to match the lever pull quite as well. The World Class V-Adapter was less complex than the QBP Travel Agent as far as pulley adapters go. Alex Wetmore has some photos of different configurations on his page:

There was another company that made something for tandems that didn't use a pulley system:

There are photos on the page above. The "Strange Brakes" were probably the best idea, made to work with SLR Shimano Aero levers, sadly they were discontinued.

-p said...

Wow. Great info. I think that as far as the future goes, mechanical disc brakes will be the great equalizer. Very modular, work with drop or flat bars, give great breaking power on road bikes, mountain bikes, cross or tandem.