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N. Hollywood, CA
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
seems like there's been a lot of talk about classic (at least 1980's classic) bicycle technology lately. and perhaps a growing appreciation for versatility. or maybe that's just my own evolution in thought from my earlier roadie/racing days (ignorance died a long, slow death).

anyway, lots of vendors are making/selling practical frames and parts for vintage, fixed, porteur etc. enthusiasts. any idea if any manufacturer is brave enough to revive the non-aero option for brake levers on drop bars? perhaps Nashbar! of course the old ones are always selling on e-bay, but i assume they aren't likely to have the return spring...
 

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ispoke said:
anyway, lots of vendors are making/selling practical frames and parts for vintage, fixed, porteur etc. enthusiasts. any idea if any manufacturer is brave enough to revive the non-aero option for brake levers on drop bars? perhaps Nashbar! of course the old ones are always selling on e-bay, but i assume they aren't likely to have the return spring...
Harris Cyclery has some: http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?id=1361

Maybe you can find them elsewhere, too.
 

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I was once trying to build up my 1980 frame as period correct. It was going to be my main training bike, not a museum piece. I tried a pair of very nice looking Modolo/Scott levers for one ride and immediately took them off.
If you're used to modern levers, and modern dual pivot brakes, these things are crap. You have no braking power and zero leverage from the hoods compared to modern levers. You need to be ET to comfortably reach them. They have a ridiculous amount of flex and free play. It's exactly like going from power steering to manual steering.
People building up classic bikes want classic parts. People looking for non-aero brakes are do so because they want a period correct group on their vintage frame. They want the REAL deal. There are a TON of NOS non-aero lever available very cheap. If you're going to use a newly manufacturered lever, you might as well build up a brand new frame and try to pass it off as authentically classic.
 

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N. Hollywood, CA
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
didn't strike a chord.

oh well - not a lot of sympathy for that idea! perhaps some folks didn't understand my original post, where i hinted that modern manufacturing and modern features such as the return spring could be mated to a non-aero routing. of course it could be done, and would operate as well as any other modern lever. at least from an engineering/design standpoint.

but if the idea doesn't float in this forum, then youre' right - it probably won't garner the demand necessary to justify production. but hey, it's a style thing, and maybe someday. after all, if you told me a few years ago that nashbar would be branding their own moustache bars, selling single speed kits, and brooks saddles, i wouldn't have believed it...
 

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ispoke said:
of course it could be done, and would operate as well as any other modern lever. at least from an engineering/design standpoint.
What about ergonomics?

To be fair, the non-aero brake levers I have used were crap. This is certainly coloring my opinion. Has anyone ever used equally good levers in both cable routing configurations?
 

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N. Hollywood, CA
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
ergo

wsexson said:
What about ergonomics? To be fair, the non-aero brake levers I have used were crap. This is certainly coloring my opinion. Has anyone ever used equally good levers in both cable routing configurations?
Once on RBR I stumbled across a comment about a Campy brake lever that included an adapter for either aero or non-aero routing. Don't know a thing about it though. Certainly any lever from the 1980's won't be as comfortable as today's, since hood designs have swelled to better fit the contours of the hand. So let's leave the 1980's design behind.

Just imagine whatever modern "comfortable and efficient" brake lever you'd prefer to use, perhaps Shimano or Campy or Tektro/CC. Then imagine it with non-aero cable routing. Shouldn't be a problem, unless you normally rest your hand over the "point" of the hood. Perhaps I'm oversimplifying, but it seems that the simple action of pulling a cable-end around a pivot can be accomplished (from a design perspective) in many cable orientations(?). Guess I'll sneak a glance at some old beater bikes here in town and get a better idea of what we're up against. I'll be darned if modern function can't be mated with classic style...
 

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ispoke said:
Once on RBR I stumbled across a comment about a Campy brake lever that included an adapter for either aero or non-aero routing. Don't know a thing about it though.
I still have a (beat up) pair of Campy levers from a circa 1990 Athena brakeset that could be routed either way. Even came with little plastic 'plugs' to put into the hood on non-aero mode.
 

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Hi

I had a similar dilemma...
I bought some early Shimano 105 SLR non-aero levers so I could retire my Campy NR levers and put them in safekeeping (I was afraid of wearing out the hoods). Once I peeled off the Shimano decals they didn't look out of place at all. Plus having a return spring in the lever
made braking about 20% slicker.

Here's a link (otherwise look for seller "Banana Brain" on E-bay; there's several sets still available.

http://cgi.ebay.com/SHIMANO-105-SLR...ryZ42331QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 

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Dia-Compe still makes 'em

Try Rivendell -

http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/brakes/15101.html

I think these have return springs (BRS, in Dia-Compe speak.)

FWIW, Some folks prefer a little more hand effort in their brake levers. I had dual pivots for several years, and never really liked them. Single pivot calipers (Dia-Compe or Shimano) are just enough heavier to give me the feel I like. Conversely, non-aero cable routing gives better brake feel, to me, than aero does. Not having to follow all the curves of the handlebar helps a lot. All of this is with modern cables and housing, which are much, much better than those of 20 years ago, no matter how your cables are routed. Pads, too. Older brakes can be vastly improved with new cables, housing, and pads, equaling modern brakes in stopping power, (both can lock wheels on dry pavement) although still requiring more hand effort to do so.

I have both types of levers, on different bikes, and I switch back and forth with ease. The only advantage to "aero" cables (there is almost no aerodynamic benefit) is the extra hand position (palms on the point of the hood.) I find this rather uncomfortable, so for me, there is no benefit. Cosmetically, it depends on the bike. Some bikes look better one way, and some the other.

--Shannon
 
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