BQ 26 (Winter 2008)


Vol. 7, No. 2

Brake Special

Brakes define the performance of a bicycle much more than derailleurs. How a bike corners and descends 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 other artists. 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 got 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 edition, 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 edition!

  • Features:
  • 8 A Bicycle Tour along the Baltic in 1991
  • 15 The Story of Bicycle Brakes
  • 16 Developing the Caliper Brake — More Braking Power by Clamping the Rim
  • 18 Cantilever Brakes — Moving the Pivot to Overcome Brake Flex
  • 28 Centerpull Brakes — Optimizing the Cantilever Brake
  • 34 Modern Racing Brakes — From Sidepull Resurgence to Dual Pivot Brakes
  • 38 Brakes for Fat Tires — V-Brakes, Disc Brakes and Long-Reach Dual Pivots
  • 42 Brake Levers — From Simple Levers to Integrated Control Centers
  • 64 Handlebars for Long-Distance Riding
  • 70 My Favorite Bike: Xtracycle
  • Reviews:
  • 4 Book Review: A Dog in a Hat
  • 5 Book Review: Smart Move
  • 6 Book Review: Campagnolo — 75 Years of Cycling Passion
  • 49 Test: Kool-Stop Pads for Mafac Brakes
  • 49 Test: Bikesmith Designs Crank Cotter Press
  • 50 Test: Medium-Reach Dual-Pivot Brakes from Cane Creek and IRD/Tektro
  • 52 Bike Test: Lyonsport Randonneur
  • 58 Bike Test: Frances Smallhaul Cargo Bike
  • 68 Test: Grand Bois Handlebars
  • Tech:
  • 23 Cantilever Brakes and Mechanical Advantage
  • 25 Brakes with Variable Mechanical Advantage
  • 44 Optimizing Brake Performance
  • 45 Braking the Right Way
  • 46 Opinions on Brake Levers