Friday, October 1, 2010

Cyclocross Review: Top Mounted Brake Levers




You either love them or hate them, use them or don't, or maybe you have no idea whether they should stay or go.  I'm talking about the top mounted brake levers that come on many cyclocross bikes.
My Giant TCX came with them and I used them during the first year I rode cross.  I almost felt like I used them too much.  I don't typically ride the tops when on the road, so that riding position was as natural for me.  Last year I upgraded some stuff on the bike and took those levers off.  I personally feel like for me it was the right move.

There are some very good cross racers who use them, but at the same time it seems like if you buy a high end cross bike, they don't come with them.

I did an internet search and found a few forums about people talking about this.  Here is what I found:

Benefits:
More control over the bike when going down steep descends.  Less likely to do this:


More control during technical trail riding.
More control of your speed when approaching barriers.

Downsides:
Bars are too cramped.
The brakes become too much of a crutch.  In other words, you use them more than you should.
For many roadies it puts them in an awkward riding position.
Added weight to the bike.

I tend to do 90% of my CX riding on the hoods, so removal of those levers made sense.  For many CX racers with a mountain bike background, much of the riding might be done on the tops, in which those levers may come in handy.

Feel free to leave your opinions.
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