Jim Needham's Front Brake Fandangle

Jim Needham is a Sheffield Pro-Flatlander who I sponsor. At the end of 2001 he asked me to rig him up a front brake system with both levers operating the front brake (no back brake). The following details how I did it, there are easier ways to do some parts but this makes a nice neat, low-profile set up.
This page takes a while to load but you can be reading the words while the pictures come down...It is all on one page for simplicity.


OK this is the key to how I did it. Instead of the cable stopping at the brake it carries straight on to the other lever. So, one cable runs from one lever down the forks, loops round to the brake, then dives back up the fork to the other brake lever where it stops.

Theses old gyro cables donated most of the bits I needed. The only thing Jim needed to buy was a super long brake inner. The aluminium cylinders in the middle of the gyro cables (from now on refered to as "slugs") became all the 2-into-1 bits I needed. Also useful were the ferrules which can be pulled off and re-used, and the barrel adjusters went into the spares bin.

To "stop" the outer cable at the other arm I used this old "spade" piece off another brake. This fitted into the hole vacated by the pinch bolt.

The first bits to make were the 2-into-1 bits. For the top bolt I could have just mated the bit from the gyro-slug up to the stem bolt, but it would have moved and stuck up quite a bit.
Instead, I counter-bored the top-bolt to the outside diameter of the gyro-slug to make a recess for it to sit in. I also cut the end of the slug down as short as I could to keep it out of the way of Jim's big feet.

For the bottom of the stem bolt we need to go back to two outers but there is no shortage of space. We can use both halves of the gyro-slug here but I did make one little modification. I turned the end flat so that it would sit nicely against the bottom of the bolt, and put the existing barrel adjuster back through the other way to make a neat peg to locate into the stem bolt. As it stood this was too small a hole for both the inners to fit through so I had to enlarge the hole, tricky.

On to assembly, there is a lot to see in this picture so have a good look. I have located the nipple in the lever and cut a piece of outer to the right length to run to the top bolt (I cut another the same for the other side while I was at it) and threaded it all together. You can see the bit of gyro-slug located in the top bolt recess and threaded on the bottom of the cable the other modified cable slug all ready to be pushed up against the bottom of the stem bolt by its outer. This is the easy bit, now it gets fiddly.

Next, I spent some time putting all the little bits and bobs on the cable for the brake IN THE RIGHT ORDER!
You can just make out; the barrel adjuster for the ex-pinch-bolt-side, threaded through its spade piece; and the adjuster bits for the other side. I left the bits off the brake for now to give me the slack needed for lubing and set-up.
Remember that lubrication is absolutely critical to any brake system, dont skimp.

Having put all the bits on the bottom, I threaded the inner back up through the slug (inside the fork steerer) and watched it pop out the top.
The slack in the cable lets me  do a bit at a time. Here the outer is through the bottom-slug and the top bolt but has missed the top 2-into-1. But it is easy enough to slide the 2-into-1 up and get it right.

With the cable now correctly threaded the outer can be added and everything seated down in place. Remember to keep applying lube as you put on each section of outer.

Jim is sponsored by Snafu so he has the weird levers, I had to cut the side away a little to clear the nipple clamp but its no problem.
Getting the cable length just right is a matter of trial and error. I set the brake up with the springs in the arms completely slackened off to make things easier and guestimated where it should be.
The nipple-clamp goes on the end and we are nearly there.

You could make your own nipple clamp, the G-Sport version used here is in the catalogue section of the site and available through the shop.

With the cable connected I was feeling a nasty vibration through the lever when pulling the right lever. This indicated a problem somewhere along this side of the cable system (the other side would not be moving so it couldnt be there).
It turned out to be the notch in the brake arm. A little work with the hack-saw soon cleared this up...

So, there you have it. I think it looks pretty neat and tidy and Jim hasnt had any problems with it yet. We decided to leave the gyro on till he was sure he was giving up the back brake. Unfortunately taking it off will necessitate stripping the brake system down.

Jim Needham is sponsored by G-Sport, We-the-people, Snafu, and a bunch of other people too....

Well that about wraps it up. If you want to know anytthing else just mail me.

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