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Saturday, November 26, 2016

An Overhaul (part 5) - Brakes and Shifters

The brakes and shifters on my gravel bike are not the latest, greatest, gotta-have, gee whiz-bang shindigs.  To the contrary, these simple, durable, old school components just work well in most conditions.  They have never left me stranded out in the sticks and are unlikely to do so.  Eventually, they will wear out.  Let's see how they're faring.

Keeping it simple.  Simple brake levers, rim brakes and friction bar end shifters.  No worries.
Brakes (Shimano XT V-brakes/Cane Creek 287V levers).  Like the front derailleur, I pulled this set of XT V-brakes off my old Torelli cyclocross bike when converting to cantilevers.  For well over ten years, they collected dust in my parts bin before recalled for deployment on this gravel bike.  Teamed up with Cane Creek 287V levers, these V-brakes have provided all the power and modulation I've ever needed for rough road riding.

On close inspection, the calipers show some age, but still function without flaw.  The springs and pivots look good and move right.  Maybe I'll look for an upgrade to a set of Paul Components or other higher end rim brakes next time around.  This time, with some minor buffing, these V-brake calipers go back on.

Simple Shimano XT V-brakes, about 15 years old, or so.
The brake levers have weathered more than a few mishaps, but have never malfunctioned.  As one who rides on the hoods most of the time, I find these levers comfortable for long rides.  If I had to replace them, which I don't, I'd buy the same set again.

So, for the brakes, I'll replace the pads, run new cables and housing, and expect many more miles of comfortable, confident braking.


Rivendell Silver friction bar end shifters.  Move the lever, move the derailleur.  Simple.




























Shifters (Rivendell Silver Bar End).  If the square taper bottom bracket somehow escaped attention, the friction (!?!?!) bar end shifters scream "RetroGrouch!"  For the younger crowd, with friction shifting, one slides a lever to find the desired gear, rather than punching a lever to precisely click into a specific gear.  Think playing a trombone, rather than a trumpet.  Admittedly not lightening fast, these shifters define versatility and perform well in all sorts of nasty conditions.  I like them and will put them back on, along with a fresh set of new cables and housing.

All told, these brakes and shifters have worked as intended and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future, with regular maintenance and replacement of cables, housing, and pads.  I love it when a plan comes together.

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