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Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 5:02pm
by wingnut
Hi

Recently I rather carelessly managed to chop off my left thumb, the stump has healed OK and I have been out riding my Cannondale touring light without too many issues.

The only problem I am having is getting any power into the rear brake (nothing to really pull against), and with just the standard sidepull front I am really having to be extra cautious going downhill and around traffic. I was just wondering if there were any specialists out there that did conversions for both brakes off one lever, I was thinking of Hydraulic disc brakes working off the same lever, but this may need a different sized master cylinder (and a new bike). I Was also wondering if there are any mechanical systems out there. Whatever there is I will have to adopt the gearing around it, I can change gear on the front mech with 105's on drops, but depending on what is available will probably need to change to a single front.

Any idea's appreciated.

Mark

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 5:59pm
by Brucey
Oooh, that sounds nasty.... :shock:

Hope make a remote master cylinder (V-twin) so that cable brake levers can be used with hydraulic brake calipers. This plus a simple cable splitter might allow two hydraulic brakes to be operated from a single brake lever. However there is always a compromise with this sort of setup; you can't have two brakes with the same lever/caliper stroke and the same power in each brake (for the original lever pressure); something has to give somewhere.

[edit; but hydraulic brakes normally don't suffer friction losses in the same way, so you can get more retardation for any given lever pressure, all things being equal, and this can make two brakes work sufficiently well at sensible lever pressures. You might need to arrange the rear brake to be less powerful than the front though; a ~0.5G stop needs to be about 80:20 F:R split, else the rear just locks up.]

At least one tadpole kiddie carrier uses hydraulic front brakes which operate from a single MC. Flat bars though.

Also legally speaking on a bicycle I think the brakes ought to be fully independent or something; there may be a three-brake workaround for this, whereby you have a pair of brakes operated from one system which you use most of the time, and a third independently operated 'emergency' brake that you don't normally use.

Another mad thought is that strategically placed velcro (on the handlebars and mitts) might allow braking/shifting that is a bit closer to 'normal' ...?

cheers

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 6:08pm
by 531colin
Ouch!
But equally, "chapeau" for just getting on with it!
The really old-fashioned downtube levers are easy to work either lever with either hand; you can work both simultaneously with one hand ; I have only ever done it right-handed, operating the right shift with my fingers and the left with my thumb.
Cable brake levers can be adapted (and probably even bought) to operate 2 cables, although I don't know if you can modulate the braking; there must also be cable splitters; either way will reduce the hand power available for each brake. Combined gear/brake levers may be a difficulty.
With any luck "Tiger biten" will be along.....
Edit...my father had a tandem where a rear drag brake was operated by your left heel.
Also backpedal brakes?

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 6:24pm
by thatsnotmyname
Both BC and CUK have disability/inclusivity contact hubs where you could be pointed to both advice and perhaps a local solution provider. There are also a number of independent charities that do the same/similar. It's quite likely they may have dealt with similar questions before.

There used to be a ex paralympian racing in my region with one arm, who operated both sti levers on the same side - one in the conventional position with the other positioned slightly lower down the drop bar. Although it doesn't sound like that's precisely what you are looking for.

There are also 'thumb levers' - bear with me on this - which might be able to be set up to operate from your other fingers. Just a thought.

Sympathies though - hope you find a good workable setup.

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 6:33pm
by Tigerbiten
I looked into this when I got back into cycling as I've only one arm.
You can get a single lever to pull both brakes, the difference in cable lengths acts as your modulation.
But it illegal to ride it on the road with only one brake system.

Easiest way to get an independent brake is a IHG with a coaster brake in the back wheel.
More costly is twin levers built into one housing.
Another idea is a second brake on the back wheel setup as a drag brake off a friction lever.

I've ended up with a bent trike partly due to the issue of brake.
Both front brakes off a single lever and the back parking/drag brake off a friction lever.

Luck .......... :D

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 6:52pm
by tatanab
Another possibility which retains independent brakes and is therefore fully compliant with the law - use two brake levers on one side. I did this back in the 80s when I had a tandem with rim brakes but added a front hub brake. I operated the rim brakes as usual, but mounted a straight handlebar lever underneath the drop handlebar lever working the front rim brake. I could use the front rim brake as normal, but from the drops I could use both front brake levers with two fingers apiece. In your case I'd suggest operating the front brake from the drop bar lever and the rear from the straight bar lever tucked underneath.

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 7:18pm
by Carlton green
Please accept my sympathy, over your injury, too. I have a very small scar on one hand where I nicked it through a glove whilst splitting kindling, for some reason the blade wandered and having been lucky once I now do that task slightly differently - accidents can happen rather more easily than most of us imagine.

I would not like to argue with the more expert here (that’s pretty much all the regular contributors) but I had thought that legally one only needed a front brake on a bike and that trikes often have two front brakes operating from one lever. Perhaps its a case of only one brake is needed for fixed gear bikes and trikes have two separate hand levers both working brakes on the front wheel.

Whatever, for a long time I rode a bike with a five speed hub gear plus integral back pedal brake (Sram) and only recently gave it up because of obsolescence concerns. That back peddle brake was far more effective than the rim brake on the same wheel so something similar (but still in production) might be just perfect for your needs.

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 7:26pm
by Brucey
Carlton green wrote: I had thought that legally one only needed a front brake on a bike and that trikes often have two front brakes operating from one lever. Perhaps its a case of only one brake is needed for fixed gear bikes and trikes have two separate hand levers both working brakes on the front wheel.

one brake is OK if you have a fixed gear; the fixed gear counts as a brake, so you still have two. Some trikes do indeed have two independent brakes working on one wheel. However the same arrangement is not permitted on a bicycle.

cheers

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 7:29pm
by Cyril Haearn
Simples, upgrade to back-pedal brake, use your feet instead

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 7:39pm
by tatanab
Carlton green wrote:I had thought that legally one only needed a front brake on a bike and that trikes often have two front brakes operating from one lever.
Trikes have independent brakes on the front -- NOT from one lever. Having ridden trikes for 50 years I am certain of this.
Perhaps its a case of only one brake is needed for fixed gear bikes and trikes have two separate hand levers both working brakes on the front wheel.
See construction and use act papargarph 7 for general and paragraph 9 for trikes http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1983 ... 176_en.pdf

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 10:50pm
by NickJP
Dia-Compe make (used to make?) brake levers that could pull two cables. I can remember having the drop handlebar version of this lever on a tandem about 40 years ago, though I haven't seen one of them in many years. They definitely still make a flat handlebar version in both left- and right-hand versions: https://www.ison-distribution.com/english/product.php?part=BLDC7WLK.

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 2 Apr 2020, 11:50pm
by Ugly
Many years ago I rode with a chap who had a badly damaged hand, his bikes were equipped with a foot pedal to the the rear brake. A very neatly engineered job mounted on the near-side chain stay. Peter has long gone but I do know the whereabouts of one of his bikes.

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 3 Apr 2020, 1:37am
by Chris Jeggo
My introduction to tandeming (in 1977 IIRC) was a Gitane, which had a rim brake on each wheel operated from a single lever with two cables coming from it, and a rear hub brake operated by the other lever, so it should be possible for you to find a 2-cable lever. How you adjust the two cables to get the best front-rear balance is not so simple. For a solo bike on good dry tarmac the maximum possible braking is achieved when the rear wheel is on the point of lifting, at which point the rear brake is serving no useful purpose. On a long wheelbase machine such as a tandem it is different. It is also different on a much more slippery surface; the more slippery the conditions the closer the front:rear ratio needs to be to 50:50.

You may decide that a two brake and 2-cable lever solution would work for you, but to be legal it would be good to have a rear hub brake (disk or drum) operated by a heel pedal on the near side chain stay, or a back-pedal (coaster) brake.

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 3 Apr 2020, 9:45am
by Brucey
there have been various mentions of a third brake here. The implementation of such a brake could vary with the type of bike you end up with. If you have a third brake it could be set up as they have it on some tandems, i.e. operated via a shift lever, so it could be set up as a drag brake.

In general terms there are quite a few routes ahead which are tied to the use of flat handlebars. Do you want to stick with dropped bars, or are you open to the possibility of flat bars?

cheers

Re: Both brakes off one lever

Posted: 3 Apr 2020, 9:48am
by hamster
I have a Dia-Compe tandem drop lever that pulls two cables allowing both brakes from one lever. PM me with your details and I will post to you. It's been sitting unused in the toolbox for years.