Bicycles

Wire Brake replaces conventional bike brake levers

Wire Brake replaces convention...
The Wire Brake on a bullhorn bar
The Wire Brake on a bullhorn bar
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The Wire Brake also works on drop bars
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The Wire Brake also works on drop bars
The Wire Brake on a bullhorn bar
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The Wire Brake on a bullhorn bar

Fixie bikes are all about simplicity. Besides just having one fixed gear with no associated derailleurs, shifters or freehubs, many of them don't even have brakes – instead, riders just stop them by stopping pedalling. Italian manufacturer OML, however, has introduced a braking system that may meet the minimalist standards of fixie riders. It's called Wire Brake, and it replaces two brake levels with a single plastic-housed wire.

Wire Brake is designed to work on bullhorn or drop bars, with its braking wire stretching across the gap between the two sides. Pulling or pushing on that wire at any location (with either or both hands) creates tension, activating the front and rear brakes simultaneously – or activating just one brake, if that's all the bike has.

Besides looking non-comformist and "urban," the Wire Brake's other claimed attributes include the facts that it has far fewer pieces than dual brake levers, it's lighter, cheaper, less prone to damage, and works with any type of cable-activated brakes.

The Wire Brake also works on drop bars
The Wire Brake also works on drop bars

Do-it-yourselfers, in fact, have made similar setups before – we saw a variation on the concept on Rasmus Gjesing's award-winning one-off bike at last year's NAHBS show.

If you'd like to give your bike the Wire Brake treatment, OML is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter. Pledge levels range from €16 (about US$18) for a 1-brake kit that you add to your own bars, to €133 ($146) for a set of bullhorn bars that are ready to work with two brakes. For bigger spenders, there are also bikes available with the system already built in.

More information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter

wire brake

8 comments
flibb
yeah because those pesky brake levers never work properly and this is just so stylish it make Campagnolo look like it came from a two dollar shop!
Mirmillion
Really? How do you modulate the brakes, especially the front-back ratio? Might work for the cruiser or steam-punk guys (or panic stopping if you have to decide between braking and steering) but my brakes are a precision-controlled necessity that isn't going to be put in the hands of a system that has almost no application leverage, and all of the finesse of rake handle in the spokes...
wle
SO many reasons this is a bad idea how does it work on flat bars? how does it replace STI type integrated brake+shifters? how do you apply just one brake and not both? how do you control the front/back ratio? how do you adjust the tension or offset required? how do you cut cheese with it? wle
Joe Mamma
It has practical application but not in all situations or styles of riding. There has to be some modulation proportional to pressure or pull of the cable but not as precise as current brakes. There also has to be a control problem, having to grip the top of the bar and not ends or bend makes for an unstable hard braking experience
mediabeing
I like the concept well. I just want to take it a bit further. I want to see large(2-3 inch diameter)foam cylinders around the wires for easier access and safety.
bergamot69
@wle, Obviously this product isn't designed to replace STI-type integrated brake and shifter levers because fixed gear bikes are by their very nature never fitted with those in the first place- they don't have any gears to change!
sk8dad
Isn't the whole point of the hipster fixie fad one of minimalism and exhibitionism? Look at me, I'm such a bad-ass rider I don't need gears or brakes (and arguably helmets). Very little of this cycling discipline is about cycling utility/efficiency/safety. I can't imagine how the contrivance of a brake system at hand would ever fit into the fixie or any othe cycling genre. It caters neither to the needs of the minimalist or the utilitarian. It's not so much of a happy medium than an unfortunate bastardization of cycling styles. Just because an Italian manufacture came up with it doesn't mean the idea has any useful merits. Rednecks can wear skinny jeans and designers shirt too.
MattBaugh
Seems like a bad idea to me, physics-wise. 1. You lean on the brake wire, the brakes are applied. Your weight shifts forward, causing you to lean harder on the brake wire, braking even harder. 2. In my experience, if you take one hand off the handlebars and brake hard, your other hand pushes the bar forward as your weight shifts. The bike swerves, at best... or the bars jam 90 degrees sideways, stopping the front wheel and jackknifing the rider.