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American / European brake lever standards(7 posts)

American / European brake lever standardsHovis
Aug 28, 2003 7:30 AM
I have an '02 Specialized Allez Elite. I live in the UK, so my left hand brake lever operates the back brake, the right hand the front.

The front brake cable entry on the caliper is on the right hand side so the front brake cable has to double back on itself quite severely to go from just to the right of my stem to the brake itself.

Likewise, the rear brake cable guide on the frame and the cable stop on the caliper is on the left, so the rear brake cable also doubles back on itself.

The brakes work fine, and I don't notice any friction. However, it seems to me that the brake cable paths would be much cleaner if I swapped over to the US brake lever standard of having the left lever operate the front brake, and similar for the front.

It seems to me that both the brake calipers themselves, and the frame are designed for the American brake lever orientation.

Anyone come across frames / brakes which are European biassed?
re: American / European brake lever standardsRusty Coggs
Aug 28, 2003 8:15 AM
Maybe someone just messed up on the build?
re: American / European brake lever standardsHovis
Aug 29, 2003 4:27 AM
Nah, every bike here in the UK has left hand lever, rear brake, right hand lever, front brake.

From the rest of the replies, it's just a case of we British doing it differently again because we can!
re: American / European brake lever standardsRusty Coggs
Aug 30, 2003 5:47 AM
Redo it the right way,unless that gets you in trouble with the police,and liability if you have an accident.Which, would not surprise me,as I hear self defense is illegal there too.
re: American / European brake lever standardsbiggearlover
Aug 28, 2003 8:32 AM
What you have on your bike, is not European standard, but English/British standard. The European/continental way is the same as the american way. Ain't it great!
I think you should run the cables as natural as possible, which means in the case of the modern brake caliper, right is rear, left is front.
Or get some centerpull brakes!
switch hitteroff roadie
Aug 28, 2003 1:51 PM
Yeah, My specialized MTB is US biased- there's only one way to route the derialuer cables, and the back brake cable HAS to be on the left side of the bike to work properly. This obviously looks nicer with the brake lever on the right.

I run that bike UK style but my back brake is hydraulic, and the line is held to the monocoque frame with big loops of electrical tape. Ugly as sin, but the routing is exactly where it works best.

This is also called "moto style" in US mountian bike circles, and "mofo style" by my mechanic when he jams his hand on the spinning rear wheel after he thought he was stopping it with the brake. Why I like it better this way, I can't say. I just know I do. It seems like it takes more thought, but in a panic situation, I always do just the right ting with thios setup, and wiff with it otherwise.

My road bike has a "US" setup as well. The D-cables are on the downb tube, and the rear brake cable is on the left of the top tube. It would be an ugly setup using the left lever for the rear on that bike, and I'm comfortable enough either way, so I left it as is. I guess that makes me a "swithc hitter", but obviously there's a bigg diffrence between riding road and dirt. A motorcycle buff told me that dirt bike and roadbike motorcycle racers actually use almost opposite braking techniques, so maybe using oposite brake setups make some sense.
re: American / European brake lever standardsHiggins
Sep 2, 2003 9:40 AM
I think it's all to do with which side of the road we drive on, and making hand signals to other road users. To make a right turn in the UK we obviously have to move to the centre of the road and signal with our right hand. While we are doing this we are likely to be braking too. Now, most people will brake using their rear brake, so in this case they'll be using their left hand which is still on the bars. Arguably, making a left turn on UK roads is not such a hazardous manoeuvre as making a right turn in the middle of the road, so you are more likely to just signal, and then brake once you've got your hands back on the bars. It's more important when in the middle of the road to be making the signal.

Is this making sense? Because it isn't to me! And I am more thank likely completely wrong!

I think you know what I'm getting at though. Obviously, if you're in a country where they drive on the right hand side this is reversed, hence the thing with the brake levers being the other way round.

By the way, my Ciocc (Italian) is setup with the right hand lever braking the rear brake, and I don't have a problem with this.