Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good Design is Intuitive

I was completely sold on those top-mount brake levers on the Cross Check in the first ten seconds this morning.

Going down my eroded dirt and gravel driveway, I wanted to slow down to check for approaching traffic before pulling out. Intuitively, I used the iterrupter lever on the front brake, as if I'd always had it. Perfect.

Later, in town, I rode in the multi-variable environment on Main Street with my hands on the top levers. I could see better than when I'm more extended on the hoods and I could stop instantly for darting pedestrians or other sudden intrusions.

Out on the road I could tell the levers were there, but never felt they interfered with any of my favorite cruising positions.

I would not slap them on any bike, but they're perfect for this one. Setting them wide the way I did leaves room for light and handlebar-bag brackets whenever I might add them. If I transfer the multi-gear setup to the Traveler's Check for a trip that might call for it everything will work just as well.


Rantwick said...

Hmmm. one more piece of my bike building puzzle... Thanks CR.

Ham said...

Confirms and validates my preference for Urban/MTB setup for commuting

greatpumpkin said...

I've had the thought off and on for my new build. So I'll pick up a set of levers and include them when I resume building.

Steve A said...

I HEARTILY ENDORSE the crosstop levers. I love them on my Tricross. They're particularly useful on a drop-bar bike used for commuting. I'm surprised more manufacturers don't include them as OE.

They're what those old "suicide levers" SHOULD have been. The only downside I've noticed is they do take up some bar space that might otherwise hold more useless electronic gadgets.

greatpumpkin said...

Ham, I built an upright bar commuter based on a mountain bike for my city commute. I chose the bars and setup for similar reasons to yours, I think. I traded the power advantage of drops for being able to sit up, see and be seen, and keep my hands near the brakes--the reduced efficiency mattering less on a 5 mile low-speed city-street commute than on the open road. Cafiend commutes on long stretches of highway and some hills where he probably uses those drops more. But these levers give the best of both--they do what safety levers looked like they'd do, but didn't. And as I usually ride my drop bar bike on the tops or the hoods, I like these levers too, on the occasions I've tried them.

Ham said...

Greatpumpkin, I do appreciate the difference in commute - iron horses for courses.

Might be interested in a hack I've come up with in preparation for my Saturday night ride (link to sponsor me or find out more: As it's overnight through country lanes, I recognised my feeble city lights weren't going to cut the mustard, but I didn't fancy the big $$$ for the high power dedicated bike lights. So, I bought a maglight style C-cell 3W LED flashlight from here , slipped a length of inner tube over the body to help grip and stop it grating the frame, then velcroed the head to the bar, just by the stem. Last piece is a couple of pump brackets along the stem to support the rear, elastic bands to hold it, and a wedge to angle it. Result? yet to be tested in anger but appears to be rather astonishing, and expected bun time from a couple of C-cells is 2 hours . If that seems a bit confusing and anyone is interested, I'll sort out a picture.