Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

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LuckyLuke
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby LuckyLuke » 23 Oct 2010, 1:24pm

Hi 531, cheers for the post, will have another bash with the shimano brakes. I've got an old Avid Shorty brake that I had on an old rigid MTB commuter ~5yrs ago. Might give that a go too. Firstly I'll play around with the Tektros. I currently have them mounted on the weakest spring settings. If I've read Sheldon correctly I could increase the MA by mounting the brake on the strongest spring setting. This would raise the Anchor arm and effectively reduce the yoke angle, increasing the MA. I could also shorten the straddle wire too. Here's pics of my current set up:
bike photos 001.jpg

bike photos 005.jpg

bike photos 006.jpg


BTW, what are "un-pair" brakes? Am curious, could you post a photo?

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531colin
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby 531colin » 23 Oct 2010, 2:25pm

This is my "un pair"of brakes (like Humpty Dumpty's "un birthday present" in Alice)

Front...Image

Rear...Image

This is the brake block clearance front...Image
and Rear.....Image

with similar lever travel before the blocks hit the rim. So the rear blocks move farther, so the mechanical advantage is less.

And here is the front brake setupImage

tonycarrigan
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby tonycarrigan » 23 Oct 2010, 3:51pm

I spent years messing about with drop bars and canti brakes then gave up and moved to a flat-bar setup for my commuting bike. I have not regretted it.

By default you will always get much more braking power with flat bars because the cable-routing inside the levers is more direct, and also the hand position is more conducive to a powerful grip. So it doesn't really matter whether you're using cantis or Vs (with appropriate levers/travel agents/whatever you need to ensure the cable-pull is sorted), the problem is really in the levers (and the hand position) not the brakes themselves.

To illustrate this point - my wife's bike is a Dawes Galaxy which came with drop bars and Tektro Oryx cantis. I converted it to flat-bar setup with the same Oryx brakes (different levers of course - flat-bar ones designed for canti brakes). The difference in braking power was immense, and the brakes were as powerful as any v-brake setup I've ever used.

Drop bars and canti brakes are the traditional choice for touring bikes, and I think one of the reasons people persevere with them is because you get the choice of multiple hand positions which is important when doing long days in the saddle. However, nowadays you can get really comfy ergonomic grips for flat-bar setups - I am a big fan of Ergon GC2 grips, for example - they're the mutt's nuts!

The other reason people persevere with drop bars is vanity of course - you want people to think you're a "proper cyclist" even when you're cycling to work :lol: :lol: :lol: ...I've been there...and got over it

willem jongman
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby willem jongman » 23 Oct 2010, 4:33pm

I love my Magura HS 66 hydraulic rim brakes for drop bars. They brake really well. They are not cheap (discontinued, watch ebay), but neither is a flat bar conversion.
Willem

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531colin
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby 531colin » 23 Oct 2010, 5:49pm

tonycarrigan wrote:I spent years messing about with drop bars and canti brakes then gave up and moved to a flat-bar setup for my commuting bike. I have not regretted it.

By default you will always get much more braking power with flat bars because the cable-routing inside the levers is more direct, and also the hand position is more conducive to a powerful grip. So it doesn't really matter whether you're using cantis or Vs (with appropriate levers/travel agents/whatever you need to ensure the cable-pull is sorted), the problem is really in the levers (and the hand position) not the brakes themselves.

To illustrate this point - my wife's bike is a Dawes Galaxy which came with drop bars and Tektro Oryx cantis. I converted it to flat-bar setup with the same Oryx brakes (different levers of course - flat-bar ones designed for canti brakes). The difference in braking power was immense, and the brakes were as powerful as any v-brake setup I've ever used.

Drop bars and canti brakes are the traditional choice for touring bikes, and I think one of the reasons people persevere with them is because you get the choice of multiple hand positions which is important when doing long days in the saddle. However, nowadays you can get really comfy ergonomic grips for flat-bar setups - I am a big fan of Ergon GC2 grips, for example - they're the mutt's nuts!

The other reason people persevere with drop bars is vanity of course - you want people to think you're a "proper cyclist" even when you're cycling to work :lol: :lol: :lol: ...I've been there...and got over it



The bike I illustrated above, on a dry road, braking from the hoods, the braking is limited only by my ability to keep the back wheel down. You can get good braking with drops and cantis, but you have to choose the right brakes and set them up carefully. As I have posted before, I dont know of any current production brake that is as good as the old type illustrated. They all (eg. 720's) have the straddle wire fixed too low to use Sheldons straddle wire mechanical advantage.

I cant think of a way to combine the comfort of drops with the ability to use your whole hand to apply the brakes.

On 2 other bikes set up for roughstuff I have discs or V's with drop bars. Descending gravel or stony tracks I can feather the brakes from the hoods, while allowing the bars to bounce in my hands. With straight bars (and rigid forks) on the same tracks I get a lot more jarring, I guess because you squeeze the levers towards the bars, and it tightens your grip on the bars.

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philg
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby philg » 23 Oct 2010, 10:22pm

tonycarrigan wrote:The other reason people persevere with drop bars is vanity of course - you want people to think you're a "proper cyclist" even when you're cycling to work :lol: :lol: :lol: ...I've been there...and got over it


Or perhaps they cycle in close groups and prefer not to hit the tarmac every few km when the flat bars start to mate with each other. :(

If you aren't into super-wide tyres and/or guards then modern dual-pivot brakes are a no-brainer for road use(IMHO natch)

MacBludgeon
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby MacBludgeon » 23 Oct 2010, 11:11pm

Colins early suggestion around V's, drop levers for V's and bar end shifters is a good one, as long as it works with your riding style. This is what I ended up with, after trying a lot, but I tend to vary tempo and gear changes are a final option. Though I have this setup on a triple(30/42/52) I never use the outer ring and very rarely the inner. But, as said by others, the Avid BB7 road mechanical disc brake is a winner. My 3 setups right now are:-

Giant CRS Alliance 9 speed triple with v-brakes - started life as a flat bar sports hybrid, has been through bar end grips, butterfly bars with a variety of controls, titec H-Bars, North Road Bars, Drop Bars with STI's and Travel Agents, back to butterflies, drop bars with STI's and cantis, back to butterflies and finally is on splayed drop bars with Tektro drop bar levers for v-brakes and Dura Ace bar end shifters. When this bike is superceded by a new weekend bike then it will probably revert to flat bars and combined trigger/brake pods as it will be passed to one of my sons.

Surly Crosscheck Hub Gear Bike - this too has had several incarnations but is currently running a new SRF3 Sturmey Archer hub gear, one of the new SA downtube shifters, v-brakes, regular drop bars and Tektro drop bar v-brake levers

On One Pompetamine - armed with the knowledge of my, VERY BLOODY EXPENSIVE, previous experiments this has been built up with, Avid BB7 road brakes, 9 speed hub gear and front dynamo wheel, Tektro crosstop levers and Tektro RL340 road drop brake levers, the twist shifter is mounted in the bar end position on a home made adaptor. I also used Goodridge compressionless cables for the brakes.

To be honest I wouldn't now spec up a bike with rim brakes and I love having braking from the tops as well. This can be done on my v-brake bikes but requires specific crosstop levers that are about £85 a pair, compared to about £25 for regular road pull crosstops. If you decide to use bar end shifters you can get thumb mount brackets which allow you to mount the levers on the tops rather than the bar ends. But, again, this is more expense.
nuns, no sense of humour

tonycarrigan
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby tonycarrigan » 23 Oct 2010, 11:15pm

I cycle in close groups as well - on club runs, on my road bike, which has drop bars and dp calipers....but if you read the OP properly you'll notice he's talking about a commuting bike. Commuting is a different ball game and I use a different bike for it.

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CREPELLO
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby CREPELLO » 24 Oct 2010, 9:50am

I would also add that the choice of brake lever may have an effect with drops n canti's. I'm using Campag Ultrashifters on all three road bikes now, including the Cheviot with BR550 canti's. I think that efficiency of braking is somehow better. Whether this is just down to the ergonomic design of the levers - lovely long, broad levers that have a double sweep to the shape which makes braking from the hoods definately more efficient (ergonomically speaking.

willem jongman
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby willem jongman » 24 Oct 2010, 9:57am

Tektro levers copy the Campagolo shape.
W

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CREPELLO
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby CREPELLO » 24 Oct 2010, 10:28am

willem jongman wrote:Tektro levers copy the Campagolo shape.
W

Even the new Ultrashift shape? Quite different from the older Ergo, I thought.

willem jongman
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby willem jongman » 24 Oct 2010, 10:30am

Sorry, I meant he old shape.
W

DougieB
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby DougieB » 24 Oct 2010, 11:34am

LuckyLuke wrote:Hi, I'm frustrated by the wet weather braking on my commuter bike. I've a Surly Long Haul Trucker with Tektro CR720s. I've followed the excellent advice from the forum sticky on canti set up. I'm using an uphanger and Kool Stop dual compound brake pads. I clean my wheel rims and file the pads weekly. Collectively I found these measures improved matters, and dry weather braking is fine, but in the wet I'm disappointed. I don't think there's much room for further improvement with the cantis, so I'm looking at alternatives.


I have drop bars with v-brakes on my LHT, with the Tektro 520 levers and downtube shifters. My experience is that they are excellent (wet or dry, not snow/slush). Although the levers are not adjustable, so (while the stopping power is the same) the levers gradually get closer to the bars as the pads wear. Not really a problem, but it might not suit you.

One thing I've noticed is that the pads wear fairly quickly. My theory is that I have less feel on the levers (when braking while my hands are on the hoods), so am pulling them too hard; which wears them faster. I've tried various different pads and all wear quickly.

I am swapping to flat bars (and keeping the v-brakes) as I'm off on a tour, and will likely be on gravel/off road a lot.

I also have toured on a mountain bike with low-end mechanical disc brakes. Drove me crazy with the constant squeaking. Also we rubbish in the wet. I ended up holding the brakes on slightly to keep some heat/dryness in the pads so they would bite when I needed them. they were fine when trying to stop from high-ish speed, but poor when in traffic and stop/starting. I didn't bother trying various pad types, etc. I've had hydraulic disc brakes on another mountain bike, and they were just so far ahead of these mech versions that I didn't think it was worth the effort.

cheers

EDIT:

PS. I'm going away for 2 or 3 months, with my flat bars. if it helps I can post you the 'v-brake for drop' 520 levers to try out (though I'll need my v-brakes)...

LuckyLuke
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby LuckyLuke » 24 Oct 2010, 11:30pm

Hi folks, thanks for all your posts and photos. It's really helpful for me to learn which options work. So far the possibilities are:
1) V-brakes with V-brake road levers & bar end shifters.
2) Bar end shifters with Magura road levers.
3) Flat bar with mtb shifters, brake levers & V's.
4) Optimise Canti set up.
(I've ruled out discs, travel agents & mini-Vs).
I'm averse to 1) & 2) as I've been spoiled by fingertip shifting and can't go back!
I'm trying no. 4 at present. It's a work in progress. More of which later. But first I must confess I made a mistake earlier about spring holes and MA:

quote="LuckyLuke"]Firstly I'll play around with the Tektros. I currently have them mounted on the weakest spring settings. If I've read Sheldon correctly I could increase the MA by mounting the brake on the strongest spring setting. This would raise the Anchor arm and effectively reduce the yoke angle, increasing the MA. [/quote]

The anchor arm is actually raised by mounting the brake on the lowest spring hole on the boss, ie the weakest spring setting.

I digress. I fitted the Shimano MT60s. They went on fine except one half of the rear brake was a real effort to mount on its boss. I fitted the springs in the middle holes, as on the lowest hole the recoil was a tad weak. I tried them with my existing cables and found them to be an improvement over the Tektros, even with the stock pads. (Cheers for the recommendation 531Colin.)

Here's where I should have quit while I was ahead... I decided to replace my gear and brake cables with Transfil Mudlovers, with the waterproof inner lining. Doing so has added so much friction to both gears and brakes, I wish I hadn't bothered. I'll give it a week and if no improvement I'll change to ordinary cables next weekend. If after all that I'm still not satisfied I'll go for the flat bars & Vs.

DougieB wrote:
PS. I'm going away for 2 or 3 months, with my flat bars. if it helps I can post you the 'v-brake for drop' 520 levers to try out (though I'll need my v-brakes)...


Hi DougieB, ta v. much for the kind offer. I don't think I'll go down the bar end shifters route though. Hope you're enjoying your LHT, am smitten with mine.

Thanks for all the help everyone, tis much appreciated. Best wishes, Luke

reohn2
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Re: Converting from drops to flats for better brakes: Worth it?

Postby reohn2 » 25 Oct 2010, 9:54am

Have you tried Stainless Steel prestretched cable inners? I find these the best of the bunch used with ordinary Shimano or Jagwire outers,
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