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Flat handlebar - Mountain levers - road brake calipers ?(4 posts)

Flat handlebar - Mountain levers - road brake calipers ?zmarke
Nov 25, 2002 11:56 AM
Two-part question:

Part 1:
- Can you use mountain style brake levers (the ones for cantilevers and not V-Brakes) with road calipers?
- Has anyone done this with good results and have a combination they would recommend?

Part 2:
- "Generally", road handlebars are 26.0 in diameter while mountain handlebars are 25.4 in diameter. Since I have a road frame with a threaded fork and must use a stem with a 26.0 clamp diameter and want to use mountain style brake levers (as mentioned in part 1), does anyone know of a 26.0 flat style handlebar? Where can I purchase one?
- Has anyone done this with good results and have a combination they would recommend?

This setup is going on a single speed bike so the gear shifters (sti or downtube) are not an issue.

Thanks in advance!
re: Flat handlebar - Mountain levers - road brake calipers ?LC
Nov 25, 2002 6:06 PM
For the handlebars you could use a shim like from a Coke can to make up the difference.
re: Flat handlebar - Mountain levers - road brake calipers ?the other Tim
Nov 25, 2002 6:20 PM
The brakes should be fine.

You can get quill stems for MTB handlebars.
re: Flat handlebar - Mountain levers - road brake calipers ?Tommy B
Nov 26, 2002 6:23 AM
Part 1:

Yes, you can use mountain style brake levers with road calipers. MTB levers are designed with more leverage to pull more cable than road levers so they will be more than adequate. (The problem comes with the opposite set-up: road levers with v-brakes...that's why they make those pulley do-hickies).

I have a cut-down MTB riser bar on my fixed gear road bike and I use a Paul Formula Love Lever with a Shimano Ultegra Long-Reach front brake. The set-up works great for me but I have to admit there is less modulation than with road levers. I don't use a rear brake (since it's a fixed gear). The thing to keep in mind if you plan on using a rear brake (a must if you're using a freewheel) is that you will probably want to use levers with return springs. Paul's levers don't have return springs. The springs in road calipers are not as strong as in MTB brakes, so if you factor in the extra friction in the longer cable to reach the rear of the bike, the lever won't return with a crisp snap. The front brake lever has no problem since the cable is so short and I'm using teflon cables.

I would think that any of Avid's levers would be a good choice for your single speed. They have return springs, are econimical, durable, well designed and the "speed dial" feature should allow you to adjust them for more modulation. I almost went with a pair of these but I wanted something very minimalist and light weight, and I liked that Paul sells them individually since I only needed the front.

Part 2:

There are shims made by Nitto and Problem Solvers specifically for using a road stem with a mountain bike bar. They change the diameter from 25.4 (MTB) to 26.0 (road). They are made of stainless steel and have a shot-peened finish to prevent slipping. I've heard the Coke can shim suggestion mentioned above before, but I did't want to risk a poor fit since I was using all new components and I'm particular about how things look. I got mine from www.aebike.com but it's impossible to find on their site since you can't do searches and it wasn't with the stems (I just looked). Rivendell sells the same shims here for a little more http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/webalog/handlebars_stems_tape/16095.html

I hope this helps!

Good luck and have fun :^)