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Old style road bike brake levers?(6 posts)

Old style road bike brake levers?kenyee
Aug 1, 2001 6:33 AM
Out of curiosity, does anyone remember the old road bike brake levers that were parallel to the tops? They tied into the drop brake levers at the hood.

I found them really useful back when I biked 20 yrs ago, but I miss them on the road bikes now. I get nervous when riding on the drops because I worry about not being able to reach the current levers in time. :-)

Anyone know what happened to these old style levers and why they got rid of them? Did they get rid of them because they put the shifters in the levers? I don't suppose anyone makes retrofits for Shimano or Campy brake levers? :-)
re: Chicken levers?Cliff Oates
Aug 1, 2001 6:39 AM
Sheldon Brown, of course, discusses these on his web site:

FWIW, I spend most of my time on the hoods and can get a finger or two on the brakes instantly. I'm usually only on the tops (which I think is what you meant to say) when I'm climbing or just loafing along and braking is not planned. I can reach the brakes better, and get better leverage on them, while in the drops, which is why I am always in the drops when descending.
re: Chicken levers?breezydz
Aug 1, 2001 7:01 AM
I found these levers complicated the mechanism and hurt both stopping power and the ability to modulate speed. I think they died, imho none too soon, a natural death when many of the people who like to ride on the tops started buying mountain bikes and hybrides with flat bars and motorcycle levers.
LOL! "Suicide Levers"? :-)kenyee
Aug 1, 2001 10:42 AM
Thanks for the Sheldon Brown link. I rummaged through his site, but when you don't know what extension levers are called, it's impossible to search for them.

The top mount levers from Cyclocross world look interesting if you ride on the top on the outer edges instead of using the middle section.
Top mount cross levers.Michael Y.
Aug 1, 2001 7:33 AM
The other option would be top mount cross bars. I rode a friends Road Bike that was equiped with them and it worked very well.
I was thinking about them...JL
Aug 1, 2001 1:17 PM
the other day myself. I don't remember what brand my first bike was, but I remember having those levers. I still see them on some really old bikes. That and the drop bars turned "upside down".

I remember how far you had to pull the lever to get it to work. I think you almost went past the bar sometimes. Too funny now, but definitely scary when you needed it.

Looks like the cyclocross idea from the other post is the closest solution you'll find. Just keep practicing riding in the drops and you'll get used to it soon enough. If the bike fits you shouldn't have any problem reaching the brakes in time.

Happy riding.