Re: [CR]Hinged or easy off brake levers, Brits... help please.

(Example: Framebuilders:Richard Moon)

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Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 15:37:01 -0400
To: Harry Schwartzman <>, Classic Rendezvous <>
From: "Sheldon Brown" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Hinged or easy off brake levers, Brits... help please.

At 11:35 AM -0700 6/18/07, Harry Schwartzman wrote:
>I have read accounts of British racers who would ride their track
>bikes to the track with a front brake. They would then remove the
>brake to race. The brake just screws off from the rear nut but the
>levers? Presumably, their bars were taped.
>I'm currently trying to put a front brake on my 50's Frejus track
>and would like to put an older brake lever on the Ambrosio bars and
>am searching for a period correct or slightly later hinged brake
>lever or some other sort of easy-off lever. Does anyone have any
>ideas (perhaps a known easy to remove clamp?). I tried a hinged BMX
>lever and the diameter is all wrong. I could file it more open but
>my time is limited. I tried an old Royal Grand Compe lever (pretty!)
>but I couldn't get the clamp around the bar without unwrapping the
>tape. I would rather not use today's in-line 'suicide' levers
>(although they would work and I'll do it if I have to)

That would be the best solution, though I don't agree with your 'suicide' characterization--that's more appropriate to the bolt-on extensions common on low-end '70s bikes.
>and would prefer a non-aero brake lever. I'd like to get to Kissena
>velodrome in one piece... if not me, then at least the bike.
> I've heard of using a centerpull caliper and a toe strap. The toe strap goes through the transverse cable and over the middle of the handlebar. To operate it, you hook your thumb behind the handlebar stem and pull the front of the strap with your fingers. This is more appropriate if you have a fairly long reach stem.

I set my old Paramount up this way, but haven't been able to actually try it out due to health problems.

Old British track bikes mostly had steel handlebars, and steel handlebars generally used the 7/8" (22.2 mm) diameter as with upright bars.

Old Raleigh 3-speed levers were commonly used on drop bars back in the day. It's not generally known, but those levers have two sets of holes for the lever pivot bolt, one for use on drops, the other for use on upright bars. Even if you use the drop bar position, the ergonomics are not great, since the lever curves in the wrong direction.

Sheldon "Stop!" Brown
Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
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