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Usefulness of top mount levers(18 posts)

Usefulness of top mount leversBipedZed
Sep 26, 2002 11:20 AM
I've had a pair of Frogleggs on my bike since middle of last season. They are very cool in a gadgety sense but I wonder how useful people find them. The only time I find myself using them is for hopping barriers (low ones) and curbs as I like to hop from the tops and have brakes available to control my speed. Anytime things get super technical, I find myself in the drops. Maybe I'm just too much of a roadie these days. FWIW I have them mounted on wide 44c-c bars and have always been a good descender on my MTB. Probably I'm so used to getting in the drops on my road bike anytime things get fast and/or hairy in a race so it's my instinctual "danger" position.

What are your experiences? Not that I'd take them off, but in all honesty I rarely use them.
Agreed. . .Jakob
Sep 26, 2002 11:48 AM
I thought I might want the extra hand position, especially because I heard so many people vouching for them. Really, though, I barely use them. I put them on my race bike a couple of weeks ago and I'm just not that impressed. I, too, tend to descend in the drops. One friend of mine kept bending handlebars while descending in the drops on singletrack. He put on top mount levers and has never been happier. Personally, I think they might end up on my adventure/#2 bike by the end of the season.
Sep 26, 2002 1:40 PM
Although I don't personally have a set, I figure top-mounts would be handy on very long descents on singletrack rides, i.e. the 3-mile descent from Heil Ranch I did last weekend. My hamstrings and lower back get really thrashed on that descent, and there are extended moderate sections where I don't actually need to be down in the drops, but it is nice to keep the speed modulated... Perhaps this is simply an outgrowth of my preferred roadie-sprinter's handlebar position which tends to be rather extreme (low and forward) even on the 'cross bike.

From a pure racing sense, and this would be course-dependent, I don't know if top-mounts would be critical for me, simply because I feel safer descending on the drops while going full-on aggro on short treacherous stuff. I actually know someone who had their grip slip off the hoods in this type of situation, which resulted in him breaking several bones in his hand from doing a "superman" over the bars.

Drop me an e-mail to ; I will attempt to trick you into coming along on my Bataan Death Cruise 'cross route (4-5 hours and none of it sucks), plus I have a new Colnago on the way!
re: Usefulness of top mount levershutchtrickstar
Sep 26, 2002 3:38 PM
I've been thinking of getting these all summer. However, during my practices over the weekend, I realized that I never come out of the drops. I also feel very comfortable in the drops, even on fast downhills, jumping, and bunnyhopping(some day I'll clear a barrier). So I decided not to get them.
re: Thomas Frischknecht used straight bars onlypeter in NVA
Sep 26, 2002 4:43 PM
Think it was about 6 years ago when he experimented with top mount levels on straight bars. I watched it on video where the commentator said he was at a disadvantage climbing without drop bars - can't remember if he won. He seemed to like the extra control on technical sections.

I always ride the hoods (even though I sometimes lose contact) since the drops hurt my back on long descents off road, though on my road bike it feels natural to use them for some reason.
re: Thomas Frischknecht used straight bars onlyatpjunkie
Sep 26, 2002 7:45 PM
descend in my drops as well. Putting top mounts on and have a couple sections I think may be advantageous. I'll let ya know next week.
re: Usefulness of top mount leversdjkellycx
Sep 26, 2002 9:01 PM
I have some pauls and found them to be so useful that i'm gonna throw a pair on my #2 road bike(the one i ride in bad weather). Going down a fast but off camber turn at a race last week I felt more in control. I used more body english to get thru the turn and control speed, then got back in the drops to get back to speed. This is also my 1st time with drop handlebars on my cross bike so maybe I'm just not used to desending in the drops, though I wouldn't trade back to a flat bar if you paid me.
re: Usefulness of top mount leversOffRoadTourer
Sep 27, 2002 6:18 AM
I also have Pauls and anyone who tried to remove them from my bike would be risking their life. I come from a MTB background and like to unweight or lift my front wheel a little through technical terrain and this is much easier from the flats. The only reason ppl descend in the drops is cause they get more leverage than on the hoods, but what if your Paul top mount levers had even more power than your conventional levers? Well they do. So I can now ride safely on the flats and have better brakes than anywhere else on my bars.
I wont mention the time some dimwit hit the brakes for no reason in front of me and I just happened to be on the flats and just happened to stop in time thanks to my Paul Cross levers, or will I?
Overall riding confindence boostJan Gerrit Klok
Sep 27, 2002 11:45 AM
I love them for training rides, I ride the flats there a lot, as the bike the topmount levers are on, is my CX race bike, quite agressively setup. I don't even have to take the hands off the flats, unless I really want to get up to speed. Braking IS better with topmount levers, easily noticed with my carbon rims that normally don't generate any decelleration to mention.

On a training crit, on that same CX racer but with road tires, I was at one slow point in the race riding the tops, stretching the back and all. Down to the ground goes most off the pack, and I was right there to brake, evade and ride the grass safely while bikes flew all around me.

It's almost like when I entered the 2001 Elite National on my VooDoo 26" bike, fitted with cross wheels and a 50,0cm flat bar and V-brakes. In terms of control, I was up there with the very best Pro's, even despite the stupid high BB I ran. The flat bar allowed me to keep up with those skinny pro's over the slippiest of mud just by riding the wider flats that were so close to what I always ride in XC.

On my spare CX bike without the extra levers (till I mount them), I feel like I'm riding an outdated design, I really miss something. I have to chance position to brake.

I never ride the drops on descends. Although it may work for others, I don't see the point. If the drops are so good for all purposes, why is no-one just riding bullhorn bars in races?
re: Usefulness of top mount leversflyweight
Sep 27, 2002 7:49 AM
I have a pair on one of my cross bikes while the other bikes lack them. I find them most useful when cross an off camber surface and on rolling terrain where I'll go down a short descent, make a turn and then have to start going up again.

Our shop has actually been selling a lot of them for people to put on their road bikes. People find them handy for riding around in San Francisco traffic.
re: Usefulness of top mount leverstriangleforge
Sep 27, 2002 12:50 PM
I've had them only a week, so possibly it'll take me a little while to reflexively remember they're there.

Sure do like 'em cruising through downtown traffic, though!!!

Re-inventing the mountain bikepeter in NVA
Sep 27, 2002 3:17 PM
No doubt top mounts give more control, that's why mtbs started using them. For me, though, part of the fun is using a bike as close to a road bike as I can. Surprised the euros, who are more purists, didn't ban them.
Re-inventing the mountain bikeJan Gerrit Klok
Sep 27, 2002 11:39 PM
Increased safety during races would have won it even if they treid to ban them. It's just a fact, less chance of accidents. Well, as long as riders don't speed up too much because of them.
See any disc brake cross over there?peter in NVA
Sep 28, 2002 8:07 AM
You seem very technically observant. My next bike will be custom with disc brakes, but I've never heard of anyone using them. Any move or interest in them? I'm sure pure racers wouldn't want a gram more of weight, but mountain bikers sure rave about them. Pros or cons?
See any disc brake cross over there?flyweight
Oct 1, 2002 10:03 AM
Stella Carey, SF cross racing queen and former single speed world champion, has been tooling around on a custom Kelly built with Avids. Pretty sweet set-up.

Whether they're worth the weight and cost I think is entirely dependent on where you live. In relatively dry climates I don't think they're worth it. Yes, they have way more stopping power but then again cantilevers have more than enough stopping power to overwhelm the relatively small traction capacity of a typical skinny cross tire. They work better on MTBs because MTB tires have nearly double the contact patch with the ground. In wet weather I think they'd be a great idea and well worth the extra grams.
Saw a picture of the Kellypeter in NVA
Oct 1, 2002 1:23 PM
about a year ago. Didn't know anyone actually had one. Thought the discs made the bike looked really *clean*. In dry conditions, I agree even Canti's can be overkill. You wouldn't believe the mud here in Virginia. Its clay mixed with iron- you couldn't find a better grinding compound. I basically have put my two mountain bikes and road bikes away and only ride the cross because its so much fun, and no *real* climbs around here like CA. But my rims are really ground away (last about a year). Its an experience riding through a stream in Jan and come out with ice coating your rims - zero braking!
Rarely used them off-roadRay Sachs
Sep 30, 2002 7:42 AM
I find myself in the drops when things get at all hairy (not because of braking power - I'm just more comfortable there with my weight distributed better) and on the hoods most of the rest of the time. When the levers were on my cross bike, I almost never used them - just occasionally on long flat sections of trail, but how often do you brake in those conditions anyway?

I swapped them over to my commute bike and use the ALL the time there. I can sit up to see in traffic and ride it like it has flat bars, but still have the drops for those really tough headwind commutes in the afternoon. I use 'em daily, just not for the purpose I intended when I bought them.

re: Usefulness of top mount leversmorati
Oct 9, 2002 6:31 PM
On a 'cross bike, you are supposed to descend on the drops, aren't you? The top mount levers are only for scrubbing off speed when you are dismounting. I have also been using them for a year and that is the only time that I use them. Might even take them off after the 'cross season as they create a little more cable friction in the braking department.