Strange Brakes

Are no longer available!


Out of stock. Never to return. Too bad.

I do not have installation instructions for these brakes.

Many road bikes both solo and tandem come with integrated brake & shift levers such as Shimano's STI and Campagnolo's Ergo levers. These levers have been designed to work with caliper type brakes that are used on racing bikes. Those caliper brakes require relatively little cable travel to work properly. Many mountain bikes are now equiped with V brakes. V brakes were invented to solve the problem of heel clearance on mountain bikes. Early mountain bikes used cantilever brakes that extended far to the side in order to have good power and modulation. They did a great job of helping the rider stop the bike, but on smaller frames caused problems when the rider's heel would hit the brake.

Brake manufacturers tried to solve this by using "low profile" cantilevers, but they proved difficult to adjust and have reduced braking power. Then Shimano began selling the V brake. V brakes have lots of stopping power and are very narrow offering excellent  heel clearance. V brakes require specially designed levers which pull more brake cable for a given lever movement than standard cantilevers.

Touring bikes and many tandems are not suitable for use with caliper brakes. Modern caliper brakes are designed to be used with narrow tires on racing bikes and simply don't have the space between the brake pad and the top of the caliper for tires much larger than 700x25 or 28. Touring bikes and tandems require larger tires than this and must use cantilever brakes. (A V brake is a type of cantilever brake.) There are brake levers designed for road bike handlebars that work with low profile cantilever brakes and V brakes.

If you want to use V brakes with non-V brake levers, you need to use a device to amplify the cable travel of the lever, to make it compatible with the V brake. These devices, while they do work, cause problems, particularly at the rear by interfering with rear rack mounting, and by increasing friction in the brake system.

The "Strange Brake" by Strange Cycles has the heel clearance advantage of a V brake without requiring the extra cable travel of a V brake. Strange Brakes work very well with standard road bike brake levers such as Shimano STI levers and Campagnolo Ergo levers. Strange Brakes require the same amount of cable travel as caliper brakes. On our own tandem I use Strange Brakes with Dia Compe BRS 500 brake levers which are designed to work with caliper brakes. Strange Brakes eliminate the need to use cable travel multipliers such as the Travel Agent or Brake Power Booster (BPB) from Sidetrak.

The cantilever studs on your frame should be between 75mm and 85mm apart, center to center for the Strange Brakes to work properly. And the cross rod is about 87mm above the cantilever studs, so measure your vertical clearance to be sure your tires aren't too big and your fenders will clear.

Please don't call asking about these brakes. We can't get them any longer. I've left the page up so that people looking for them can see that they aren't available any longer, and to provide information to anyone who might find a used set and wants to see how they should look on a bike, not for any other reason.

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This page updated: Friday, April 10, 2009

Peter White Cycles
24 Hall Rd.
Hillsborough, NH 03244
603 478 0900 Phone
603 478 0902 Phax