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2 vs 4, a brake lever dilemma

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

2 vs 4, a brake lever dilemma

Old 08-05-18, 08:14 AM
  #1  
rosefarts
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2 vs 4, a brake lever dilemma

Today I will be finally taking all the parts I've amassed and the frame I had powdercoated, and turning it into a bike.

I'm happy with what it'll have and hopefully it'll ride well (can't test ride a bare frame).

I've got a pair of interrupted brake levers on the workbench. I didn't pay for them, they were on my wife's bike and she hasn't touched it in at least 3 years. I don't know if I want them or not. A friend rides them and loves them. I've also read that they suck unless commuting in traffic (which this bike won't have to endure). The bike has canti brakes and 42cm low drop "gravel" bars. There is room on the handlebars for the levers but not a ton. I won't be putting a computer or bell or anything on my bars, I much prefer the GPS watch. My current plan is to ride steep unpaved roads. I also have my sights set on a few trails that are considered non technical by mountain bike standards but are still trails, not roads.

So I'm going to go into the garage to finish the wheels I laced earlier this week. I'll check back here once in a while and hopefully I'll have some sage advice before I've gotten to the cable routing part of the assembly.
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Old 08-05-18, 01:28 PM
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I have yet to ride a drop bar bike and want interruptor brakes.
just never found a situation where i wished for them.

a wider stance on the bars makes me more comfortable when riding gravel downhill, so interruptor brakes arent much use there.
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Old 08-05-18, 01:49 PM
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It depends on the cyclist.

I have been riding drop bars since a young kid. I never used to ride from the hoods (vintage brakes), but have recently come to like the hoods on more modern brakes.

No matter where my hands are on the bars, I can reach the brakes almost instantly.

My Tricross came with the interrupters. Even if I am riding on the tops of the bars, I never think to reach for them. The regular brake levers just work for me.

However, the answer may lie in the types of riding you're doing. If you are doing technical riding holding the tops of the bars, then the cross levers may work well.

On the other hand, if you tend to ride on the hoods or drops for technical riding, then the cross levers would do nothing for you.
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Old 08-05-18, 05:26 PM
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rosefarts
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I fiddled with the levers for a while and couldn't find a spot I liked them. I thought they were in the way and it felt like my fingers would get stuck under them. I also thought they were too long, I might have sawed an inch or so off the ends to really like them. It was enough strikes against them that I chose to leave them off. They're still in my pile of stuff if I feel that I need them later.
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Old 08-05-18, 06:03 PM
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One real plus of interrupter brakes is that on really steep descents, you can get your weight further back. If you are going to see steep gravel, that might make them worthwhile. Drawbacks are very few, I have them on one bike set up as a gravel rig. One nice place to use them from is right out at the bend, using two fingers on the end of the lever. That leaves a lot of real estate for additional clamps on either side of the interrupters.

When I am not using them, I am completely unaware of their presence. On the regular levers, I feel no difference at all. (Edit: I set them up so they are hidden behind the bars when I ride. If I cannot see them, they don't slow me down. The well documented corollary to the placebo effect. )

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 08-05-18 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 08-05-18, 06:47 PM
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I like them when I'm on the bar tops and drinking from the water bottle. For some reason, I tend to pull from the bottle when I'm coming to a stop for an intersection. My new bike doesn't have them, so I've learned to drink at a different time.
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Old 08-06-18, 07:46 AM
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Love the ones I have on my fuji road bike. I want to put them on my gravel bike now. Once ya start using them you see the advantage of having them more and more.
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Old 08-06-18, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
One real plus of interrupter brakes is that on really steep descents, you can get your weight further back. If you are going to see steep gravel, that might make them worthwhile. Drawbacks are very few, I have them on one bike set up as a gravel rig.
to each their own, everyone rides different, etc etc.
with those inclusive disclaimers out of the way, I'm surprised interruptor levers are appreciated during steep gravel descents as that places the hands at a relatively narrow width.

for steep gravel descents, I like my hands wide apart for control as it slows down the steering. It's a big reason why flared drop bars are popular on gravel bikes- a wide stance slows and stabilizes steering on sketchy descents.

to each their own though. Clearly there is appreciation for narrow hand positioning on loose rock descents since more than a few in this thread have said they like it.
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Old 08-07-18, 09:44 AM
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I know the near-consensus is they suck and are bad to have. I think some of that comes from ancient road bikes that had suicide levers, good interrupter brakes actually do work, they'll stop the bike when you pull them.

I haven't had these for about 10 years, and haven't missed them. But I used to have a CX bike that had them. And I used them when they were available. Sometimes taking a more upright position makes you more visible in traffic and they were great for that, but I also used the tops more as a hand position because I could reach the brakes more quickly.
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Old 08-07-18, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
to each their own, everyone rides different, etc etc.
with those inclusive disclaimers out of the way, I'm surprised interruptor levers are appreciated during steep gravel descents as that places the hands at a relatively narrow width.

for steep gravel descents, I like my hands wide apart for control as it slows down the steering. It's a big reason why flared drop bars are popular on gravel bikes- a wide stance slows and stabilizes steering on sketchy descents.

to each their own though. Clearly there is appreciation for narrow hand positioning on loose rock descents since more than a few in this thread have said they like it.
I ride one the "shoulders" of the bars with my index and middle fingers on the levers. My hands are nearly as far out as when on the drops (and elbows thrown out wider), I don't do it all the time, but I like having the option.

Ben
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Old 08-07-18, 10:05 AM
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I have 1 bike with Cross, top mounted , interrupter brake levers ,
it's a Cyclocross type bike..
your Gravel competitors seem to like Cyclocross bikes ..

I have 2, that do not, My Road, and Drop bar touring bike..



YMMV

(I changed from a 2 finger to a 4 finger brake lever
on my V brake Folding bike, now the lever is under my fingertips)






...

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-07-18 at 10:11 AM.
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