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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:05 pm 
Karma Queen / Cake Meisterin
Karma Queen / Cake Meisterin
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:02 pm
Posts: 6736
Location: North Yorkshire
In the late 80's my husband bought a Muddy Fox and his friend brought a Saracen. The Saracen had a rear brake placed under the chainstays, would collect mud and become completely useless, if I remember rightly.

Anyway we were reflecting back on our early biking days and my husband swore blind that this braking system was at one time popular, I say, most definitely not and it was just this bike model and no other that sported it.

Has anyone come across this type of brake fitting before and knew it to be popular? I’ve yet to see a retro frame with it


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:14 pm 
Ain't no party like an S Club party
Ain't no party like an S Club party
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Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 4:54 pm
Posts: 7130
Location: UK
Early Kleins had the brakes there.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:16 pm 
Ain't no party like an S Club party
Ain't no party like an S Club party
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Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 4:54 pm
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Location: UK
As seen (or not) here...

http://www.firstflightbikes.com/_borders/KleinGrn.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:20 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:42 pm
Posts: 783
Location: Brighton
Yes, U-Brakes were very popular for a couple of years - 1987-88 really.

The theory was that chainstays are thicker and so less prone to flex and so stronger braking is possible. Early MTB-ers would often hang off the back of their bikes on descents, sometimes fitting a rear rack to provide some safety from a tire / arse interaction - if you had cantilevers they kind of got in the way and would scratch your legs. U-brakes avoided this.

Having your weight way back like this and having the strong brake on the back wheel meant you could brake hard on steep descents without any danger of going over the handlebars or of losing traction. A Hite-Rite attached to your seatpost to let you shove your saddle down a few inches before the descent made this all much easier. Once the descent was over, move back to the normal position and flip the seat release to get the saddle back up to the optimum pedalling position.

They worked great on dusty fire roads in the US, maybe less so in muddy European weather. My Ozark has a U-brake and it can clog in really muddy weather - but not to the point where it's hard to pedal - the long wheelbase of these bikes tends to leave room for the mud to sort itself out - but a tire that is good at chucking mud off helps immensely.

Where they are a pain is in adjustment and maintenance. As the thing is in effect upside-down you either have to turn the bike over (thus making operating the lever difficult) or mount it on a stand way up so that you can see what you're doing.

That's probably a longer answer than you were expecting.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:31 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:18 am
Posts: 15804
Location: near cwmcarn
I remeber when seemingly every bike had them. certainly my 1st bike did & I had to look hard to find a new bike a year later that didnt.
the specialized anniversary book sums it up nicely "..1 of the bike industrys worst collective decisions.." reminds me of the ISIS conversation <no please, not again> ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:14 pm 
Mr Darcy
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:36 pm
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yep. I had one of these on my 88 Rockhopper.

Made the stays look really neat and clean though :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:46 am 
98+ BoTM | BoTM | Gold | Rider
98+ BoTM | BoTM | Gold | Rider
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:48 am
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Location: Kingdom of Ringlé
I put up a post about this a while ago, it seems the main reason was as terryhfs says, stronger tubes down there..

Not so good for the British Gloop as I remember on my '88 Marin Palisades.. :roll:

Then again, U-Brakes anywhere were pretty crap for mud clogging.. :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:35 am 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:03 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Portsmouth,Hampshire
I had the Suntour roller cams like this on my 87 Muddy Fox Explorer. I always remember them being very 'on' or 'off' brakes - meaning not good control..also under the chain stays they always got clogged in mud etc...not the best of designs.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:44 pm 
Mr Benn
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Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:07 am
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Location: Omnipresent
what those saracen's lacked in braking they made up for in thump value.

my twin u-braked Trekker hit my friend's Cinder Cone flat on at silly speed once and ripped it in two. Saracen escaped with just scratches and a headache.

:shock:


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