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Brake Advice for Special Needs

tmccourtneytmccourtney Posts: 3
edited May 2019 in MTB buying advice
Hi All,

Im getting into MTB but will need to make some modifications to fit my needs. I have a condition called Upper Limb Deficiency in which I have the three middle fingers on each hand(surgically created thumb on left) and my arms are a little shorter. All function would have to be on the left hand side, however I could perform the twist shift on the right, but braking all left. The bike and parts I've gathered are below:

Giant Talon 3(29 or 27.5?)
Chromag Fubars FU40 Handlebar - 40mm Rise(Bring the bar closer to me)
Problem Solvers Double Barrel Brake Lever, Left
TRP HY/RD Mechanical/Hydraulic Post Mount Brake Calipers(Hydraulic power with cable pull for the dual lever on the left)
Shimano REVOSHIFT Shifter(grip shift)

There is also another brand I found called Outbraker. They make an adapter for the left side that hooks to the lever that controls both brakes. What are your thoughts on that? ... ed_system/

Am I on the right track? I'm super fresh into this sport as I'm just trying to keep up with my kids. I'm not going crazy, just trail riding, beginner stuff and not much further.


  • JoebristolJoebristol Posts: 326
    That outbreaker adapter looks good - so it can effectively be used with any hydraulic brake disc setup of your choice.

    I’ve no experience of it, but I’d imagine that would give a smoother / easier to pull leaver than running a lever that pulls 2 full length cables with the hydraulic element just being at the brake caliper itself - which I think is what the other option you mention is.

    I’d try and pick up a brake system to go with the outbreaker system that uses 4’pot brake callipers to get decent power - Sram Guide R can be picked up quite cheaply, as can Shimano MT520’s. Just make sure you match the lever and brake callipers as some systems use mineral oil and some use dot brake fluid and the 2 aren’t compatible.

    I’d also suggest you get levers with easy reach adjust so you can set them how far away from the bar you need.

    My mate has an issue with his left hand where he’s had multiple operations to try and sort his fingers out (he has an issue where the left side of his body didn’t develop the same as the right hand side) - for his rear brake he’s machined an adapter to make a thumb press brake lever instead of a pull lever. He’s absolutely rapid downhill so it’s clearly not holding him back.

    The main thing is to enjoy biking!
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 1,126
    I suspect that running 2 calipers from one lever would actually reduce the power of the front brake as the rear wheel would lock up before the front was near full strength. I would try using just the front brake and maybe mount the rear next to it on the same side as an emergency backup before making expensive changes.

    Also, pushing 2 calipers with one lever may not work very well as it'll need to push twice as much fluid.
  • JoebristolJoebristol Posts: 326
    I’m assuming there must be something in that twin hydraulic adaptor to account for the demands on it. If you read more about it, there’s some kind of power adjustment on it which must alter a valve or lever inside it.
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,842
    Search for posts from BigMitch41 on here. He has lost the use of one arm and rides an adapted MTB with all the controls on one side.

    One of his videos is HERE
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Toughtroad SLR 1 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 1,126
    I couldn't work out the blurb on the website. Most of it seemed to be about a single line version that had a brake power controller to stop you going over the bars, presumably it limits the maximum pressure to the caliper somehow. I didn't see much detail about the splitter version.

    I admit that I didn't watch the video, maybe that explains it all.

    If you still want 1 lever to 2 calipers, this may be of interest ... 13126.html
  • Thank you all for you advice. Joebristol, if the Outbraker Double System is utilized, I do like what you are thinking as I can pick a caliper system of my choice if needed. Yes, after watching many of their videos they proclaim that their system can be adjusted to increase/decrease braking force. I am just uncertain about those facts as there isn't any independent video reviews. And I really don't want to buy the cheap dual pull mechanical lever given the adjustments are limited. The levers that come with the bike appear to be nicer. I'll have to look into the thumb press brake lever though, interesting.

    I watched the video of BigMitch41, AMAZING! I couldn't imagine doing this with one arm. I wouldn't be able to do his setup as he utilizes all 5 of his fingers. I'm limited to one finger for the brake, two for the bar, and maybe that thumb brake. I noticed he has two brake levers on one side. I have also seen levers similar to the rapid fire paint ball guns, two lever close to each other. But again not enough fingers.

    Again, thank you everyone for your input. Great stuff :)
  • Just seen this. I have one full hand and another one that finishes at the wrist (from birth). I've found various way of operating two brakes with full hand - in my youth this involved a back-pedal brake but with full hydraulic brakes (+Di2) on a road bike it became more challenging. I discovered Outbraker last year and installed the 1:2 splitter. Worked very well - the only drawback being that you need to pull the lever almost to its fullest extent to operate the two brakes. Hardly surprising given that it's having to push more fluid (but an issue not advised on their website). However, not an elegant set up since the outbraker is designed for MTB and won't connect to the road-brake lever, it has to be connected in-line on the hose itself so flops around.

    However - just got a new bike and found the ideal set-up using the brand new GRX system. This system has the first ever hydraulic in-line (interruptor) lever (RX812) or a hydraulic system. The Outbraker connects directly onto the output of the in-line lever, tucking neatly under the handlebars.

    Still have the issue of brake-levers pulling to full extent. But effective braking and for me the perfect solution. Expensive but what price safety.

    Jeff (London)
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    edited November 2019
    Hope have recently done a hydraulic one handed duel lever/duel caliper design that may or may not be suitable for for you, expensive but it's hope so will be adjustable high quality and rugged.
  • Wow. I'd seen their 1:2 passive splitter but not this dual lever. Likely expensive (don't see a price anywhere) but so grateful that they create these products for such minority audiences. I've just asked my LBS to order one and fit to the (Hope) system on my flat-bar urban bike. Hugely superior to the set up I hve at the moment. Thx for posting this.
  • I just had the dual Hope lever fitted. Works brilliantly with a little adjustment (far easier with Hope levers than anyone else's). £170. Will take a little time to build up the right memory muscle (automatic) but getting there already. One smidgen of advice - connect the lower (longer) lever to the front brake.
  • Incidentally, GRX with interruptor and Outbraker still working great to operate both discs with one lever without any danger of front wheel lock.
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    edited January 2020
    Glad to hear it's working for you, I just mentioned it as I'd seen it mentioned somewhere and thought it looked pretty good/innovative and I'm a bit of a hope fan anyway lol!
  • Hi there I myself has just bought the Tech 3 Duo set up. It's really nice but the bottom reservoir sticks out a bit hindering position of your shifter positioning.
    After a few emails I was given a part number for a direct mount bracket (Sram only)
    3 dealers couldn't find this item at all. I asked my mate who owns a shop to phone Hope & ask just what is going on with this mount? They told him that they haven't made any yet, so they are making them to order at the moment & if you guys should need it it's HBSP384RN for RH & HBSP384LN for the left side.
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    I've got to say, this is all really good to see, you don't see SRAM or shimano doing such interesting and useful niche products.
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