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BQ 26 (Winter 2008)


Vol. 7, No. 2

Brake Special

Brakes define the performance of a bicycle much more than its derailleurs. How a bike corners and descends very much depends on its brakes. In this issue, we look at the fascinating history of bicycle brakes, illustrated by hundreds of drawings from the pens of Daniel Rebour and Christopher Zider, the latter specially commissioned for this issue.. In the early days, the biggest issue was how to get enough brake power. The first step was to create a caliper brake activated by cables. To overcome brake flex, cantilever brakes moved the pivot to the fork blades and seatstays. The system still flexed, so centerpull brakes were developed to move the pivots to locations that were better supported. As racing bikes began using narrower tires, brakes could get shorter, and caliper brakes were resurrected. Oddities such as various roller-cam brakes and Campagnolo’s infamous Delta brakes are covered as well as V-brakes and disc brakes. A chapter details the history of brake levers, which went from simple levers to places to rest your hands. Sidebars detail how to obtain the optimum mechanical advantage from cantilever brakes and how to optimize your braking power.

The Brake Special occupies most of the 72 page of this sensational issue, but we still found room to test a Lyonsport 700C randonneur bike and the innovative Frances Smallhaul cargo bike with a load-bearing space frame basket and wire-operated steering. A must-have issue!


Vol. 7, No. 2

Brake Special
History of Bicycle Brakes
100s of Daniel Rebour drawings
How brakes work, how to set them up
Test: Lyonsport Randonneur
Test: Frances Smallhaul cargo bike