Top Mount Brake Levers

The cyclocross guys and gals have recently started using an extra set of brake levers mounted on the top flat part of the handlebars. This gives them two sets of independent brakes and allows them to brake while they’re up on the flat part of the handlebars.

This is cool because using these levers it would be possible to have both a standard lever brake and a friction gear shift lever drag brake on a Coker. This brake setup would use only a single cable.

These levers are called top mount brake levers. There is a single brake cable. The brake cable runs from the standard drop style brake levers to and through the top mount brake levers and finally to the brakes. The cable runs straight through the top mount brake lever. The brake lever pushes on the brake cable housing and that is enough to activate the brake. Pretty cool.

That description is probably leaving you scratching your heads. A picture would be better. Unfortunately I cannot find any good pictures of the top mount brake lever setup on the web. Here is a picture of what I was able to find on the web:
It’s not a good picture for showing how it’s setup.

Specialized is also putting top mount brake levers on their Sequoia line of bikes. We’ll likely see them on more bikes next season. If you have a local Specialized dealer the best way to see how these brakes work would be to visit the dealer and look at the Sequoia bike. That way you can play with it and see and feel how the lever works. Here is a PDF brochure for the Sequoia:
It also has yet another undetailed picture that doesn’t show how the top mount levers work.

There are top mount levers designed for both linear pull v-brakes and cantilever brakes. Check out this link:
Specialized is also selling a top mount brake lever now as a separate component. Your local bike shop should also have top mount brake levers in their catalog.

A bike shop that carries cyclocross bikes would also be a good place to possibly see these levers.

Has anyone tried this style of brake on a unicycle yet using a friction lever on the end for a drag brake and a top mount lever for a finger brake? It looks like the best way to get the best of both worlds. A drag brake for the long downhills and a lever brake for the short downs.


he whole fun of a uni is one wheel and no brakes!!!:stuck_out_tongue:

There are some better pictures on here;

This is from the Paul website

The Paul’s levers are more expensive I think. I seen some Tectro levers on the web the other day that were cheaper, but I don’t remember where I seen them.

Found them at;

Picture is here;


Yes, That’s a good picture showing the brake lever setup.

The Paul levers are the expensive ones, but they are also the only levers I saw in the bike store catalog that can be used with v-brakes.

The Specialized levers are less expensive (probably less expensive than the Tektro levers), but I don’t think they can do v-brakes.

Another possible option might be to drill a hole through some BMX v-brake levers. You just need to drill a hole so the cable can run straight through the lever. It might work with the right lever design.

this is a pretty dumb idea, but how about just getting a normal brake lever and cable, but instead of putting the little nipple thingy into the brake, tie a knot a bit down the cable and then tie that to the brake where the nipple goes in. Then you’ve got a brake attached to the cable and still got the cable end to attach to your gear lever.

I think sheldon brown has something about doubling up brakes on his website, I seem to remember a road bike with normal brakes, brakes on the aerobar and a drag brake, all controlling the same brake. I think he used a cable that split into three though.


This one?


I’ve got some Tektro ones on my single-speeder - they work well with Mini-Vs abd/or cantis.

They were very cheap (14ukp).

Leo White


Other points …

Gear levers don’t pull enough cable for a V-brake either - but they still just about work. (You can fit a V-dapter thingy to increase the cable pull).

The levers are designed for road bars so the clamps are designed for something like 24-25mm. This would work well on and oversized bar-end with a drop-bar gear lever attched …

see below



WOW! Hi-Tech Schwinn saftey levers…

why not just ride on the hoods in a cyclocross race like you suppose to? :roll_eyes:

Cool setup on the bike. Do you think the top mount lever setup in combo with a shift lever drag brake would work on a unicycle? I know it will require some modifications and some re-engineering to get it all functioning on a unicycle. I’m just trying to figure out if the setup will actually work as expected before going through the trouble and expense of doing it.

I had already figured that the shift lever would require some modifications to be able to pull enough cable for a v-brake.

I’m not sure if using a v-brake is worth the extra re-engineering trouble. The levers and such are more suited to cantilevers, center pull or side pull brakes. But cantilevers are too wide for the Coker (my legs would be hitting the brakes) and I don’t know of any good center pull or side pull brakes that will fit around the Coker tire.

Exactly right… I have wide drop bars on my mountain bike and get plenty of braking power from the hoods. I use the older wide profile cantilever brakes, so I have more than enough brakes.

As far as the drag brake/regular brake combo goes, I wouldn’t want a drag brake. I have no problem modulating the brake on my 29er, and I can let off of it anytime. Plus, the mtb bar-end with a bar-end shifter does look a little too phalic for me.

I just remenbered that I used to use an old Suntour Barcon as a drag brake on one of my old fixed gear bikes. It was a clean looking set up, but I never used it enough and took it off. I usually went brakeless on my fixies and track bike. In fact, I rode a really hilly RAGBRAI on my track bike, sans brakes and it really sucked. Grinding my way down huge hills in a 60 inch gear, just on teh edge of control, as people on coasting bikes balst by me at 40 mph. I made up for it on teh uphills though. The track bike eats roadies on the uphills.

Woops, sorry for the bicycle content.

cheers… Mojoe

I bought them 'cos they were cheap and as an alternative to a slightly shorter stem when I put my 140mm cranks on and raised the saddle by 35mm.

I can reach the hoods but it’s not comfortable at the moment.

I can see the use in a cyclocross race - you could get right off the back of the saddle like a downhiller. ( I can’t 'cos it’s a fixed wheel and my legs are pumping up and down!).


I’ve used BMX deep drop brakes on a coker.

The models I used were “Bulldog” and “Bigdog” (the later a dual-pivot design). I don’t what the numerical designation are or if they are still available.

Anyway all you need is a BMX caliper brake with over 70mm or so of “drop” - distance between bolt hole and rim.
Front brakes are MUCH easier to fit as they have the correct length bolt.

In my experience drag brakes are great for road riding and fire-roads. Lever brakes are much better for anything very steep or technical.

Good luck with your combination attempt!


i can see all that but the levers are still another Americanized element that i dont like to see in classic races like cyclocross.same goes with the flat H-bar…


Mmmmmm…fixed gears. That’s what led me to unicycles in the first place.