Handle Bars, Levers & Shifters

Today I worked on the cockpit and installed the handle bars, brake levers and shifters.

Cross top levers

I’ve installed drop handle bars (AKA racing bars) because they offer several hand positions, which is a real plus when you’re in the saddle for a long time. While I rarely use the drops, it’s nice to have them when riding into a headwind and I want to reduce my profile. Most of the time I ride with my hands resting on the top of the bars, so I’ve installed a second set of brake levers. Although the interrupt brake levers (AKA cross top levers) are a little trickier to set up, they give me quick access to the brakes when my hands are on the top of the bars.

Bar End Shifters

I’ve also installed bar end shifters rather than the more popular integrated brake and indexed shifter levers (AKA dual-control levers). While the bar end shifters are indexed as well, if the indexing goes out of whack they can be switched to friction mode allowing me to continue riding and fix them when it is convenient. In addition, since I am using mechanical disc brakes I need to use long pull brake levers.

Tip: To select the proper sized drop handle bars, they should be the same width as your shoulders.

Tip: If using mechanical disc brakes be sure to pair them with long pull brake levers.

Ken Whittaker


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