Bicycles

Slidepad lets cyclists apply both brakes using one lever

Slidepad lets cyclists apply b...
Slidepad uses the rear brake to activate the front brake
Slidepad uses the rear brake to activate the front brake
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The Slidepad system is integrated into Jamis' new Hudson Sport bike
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The Slidepad system is integrated into Jamis' new Hudson Sport bike
The components of the Slidepad system
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The components of the Slidepad system
Slidepad uses the rear brake to activate the front brake
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Slidepad uses the rear brake to activate the front brake
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Despite the fact that the majority of a bicycle's stopping power comes from the front brake, many novice and casual riders worry that if they apply that brake too hard, they'll go flying over the handlebars. As a result, to be on the safe side, they often only use the rear brake. It was for cyclists such as these that the Slidepad system was created. It allows both brakes to be applied with the squeeze of a single lever, in such a way that the front brake will never lock up on its own.

Here's how the system works ...

The rider squeezes the one and only handlebar-mounted brake lever, which has a traditional-style cable and housing running to the rear brake (Slidepad only works with rim brakes, not discs). As the brake pads engage the forward-turning rim, one of them actually slides forward a bit with it – the brake calipers and the other pad remain in place.

A second cable, attached to the back of that sliding pad, loops forward and proceeds up to the front brake. As the pad moves, it pulls on the cable, thus activating the front brake a split-second after the rear one. The process is illustrated in the video below.

Slidepad Brake System - How it Works

Various manufacturers already offer an alternative – single brake levers that can accommodate both front and rear brake cables at the same time. Why not just use one of those? "Two cables hooked up to one lever means there is always a fixed amount of braking to each front and rear brake, it doesn't change if you're on a slippery surface, leaning too far forward, etc." explains company president Brian Riley. "Slidepad's breakthrough innovation is that it allows the front brake force to intelligently change based on the riding situation ... For example, if the rear wheel begins to lift off the ground as if you grabbed too much front brake, the front brake is instantly released, which will likely prevent an unwanted accident."

Slidepad was developed primarily for bicycle manufacturers to build into their new models, and is already standard equipment on several of Jamis' latest bikes. It will also be featured on soon-to-be-released models from Sun and Torker. It can additionally be purchased as a kit for retrofitting existing bikes, which is priced at US$49.95.

Source: Slidepad

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8 comments
ivan4
That is fine working under ideal conditions in the factory or workshop but has it been tried in the real world, on roads wet and muddy or coated with slush created by salting the roads in winter? If it jams up in those conditions then it is not fit for general use.
The Skud
The basic idea looks as if it will make them a mint! The idea of "over-braking" is every novice or seldom-rider's nightmare ...
Bob Stuart
Fred DeLong's classic book from the 70's shows the same basic scheme, running from the brake mount instead of one shoe. It should be set to multiply the brake force about 20 times for best effect, but it always loses some of that in the rain. With heavy rear panniers, the correct balance is also upset. One alternative for training especially is to use a squeaky rear brake, and just touch it lightly. Then squeeze the front until the squeak stops.
Gregory Gannotti
When I know I can't stop in time I purposely skid the back brake and slide the bike down to protect me from a car cutting me off. Saved my head and torso on more than one occasion. I like my brakes acting separate. Pretty soon people will never be able to think for themselves!
Claudio Pagan
This is a great idea.
Tonghowe Seeto
Anyone who is incapable of managing front and rear brakes, shouldn't be cycling. This device puts other road users at risk.
Gadgeteer
Another "new" idea that's not so new. The Calderazzo design patented 35 years ago operated on the same principle, although not the same mechanism. A sliding mechanism is almost always inferior to a pivoting one from an engineering standpoint, mostly because sliding components generate more friction, so this isn't as good as the old design. http://www.google.com/patents/US4102439 The Calderazzo design cites the earlier Peckham patent which achieves the same thing. http://www.google.com/patents/US3882971 David Gordon Wilson wrote in his book, Bicycling Science, that prototype testing for the Calderazzo system eventually caused fatigue failure of the fork. Given that much stronger forks are easier to design today, that shouldn't be an insurmountable problem. Patent disputes did kill the system back then, though.
GdB
Seems like it should work fine and even allow rear biased overbraking. The only issue is going down steep hills and trying to stop, the front brake will be deactivated at stop. Beyond a certain slope, this will not allow complete stop. An easy fix would be to have a second front brake only lever. With this modification it could be useful for advanced cyclists.