The Shudder Shaker Review

August 2, 2011
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS

The Good

  • Reduces brake shudder
  • Features a barrel adjuster
  • Stealthy black finish
  • Inexpensive

The Bad

  • It might not fit your fork or may require some work to get it to fit
THE VERDICT

If you want better braking but can’t afford a fancy new disc brake-equipped cross rig, Specialized provides an affordable solution, providing it fits your bike.

ITEM DESCRIPTION

A fork-mounted bracket that replaces a headset- or steerer tube-mounted brake hanger for cantilever brakes.

FULL REVIEW

Brakes are probably the most hotly-debated pieces of equipment on a cyclocross bike. Rarely will tempers rise when cross racers discuss their tubular tires or single ring setups, but brakes bring out zealotry in the believers like nothing else.  Whether you prefer vintage Mafac cantilevers or whizz-bang carbon EuroX cantilevers, it’s likely that you’ve suffered the pox of brake shudder.

The zealots would have you believe that the magic is all in the setup: toe-in those brake shoes! Your straddle cable is too short! A different sect of believers advocates picking up a new disc brake-equipped CX bike. Having exhausted all the setup possibilities of your existing brakes and lacking $3,000 for a new bike, the next step might be to listen to Leonard Zinn.

The custom bike builder and tech writer for Velonews.com is a calm, rational voice amongst all the quasi-religious fervor. In an effort to eradicate brake shudder from his own ‘cross bikes, he figured out that the solution is a fork -mounted brake hanger. Enter the Specialized Tricross Fork Brake Hanger. While the idea is nothing new, Specialized gets it right. Their version features a locking barrel adjuster, is anodized a stealthy black and is easy to install–provided it fits your fork.

Successful installation requires that your fork have a hole through the crown. Some forks have them, others don’t. Even forks that do have a hole may not have a flat surface that the brake hanger can mount onto. This was the case for both my ‘cross rigs. My Bianchi Cross Concept with a stock fork required that the hanger be spaced out with a washer. My other bike with a Ritchey Comp fork will require fabricating an adapter—something I haven’t gotten around to quite yet.

The Bianchi has been a worthy test case. Equipped with Tektro CR720 brakes with Kool-stop salmon pads, my bike suffered brake shudder at the most inopportune times despite the various remedies I tried. I could minimize it but it never went away. Upon installation of the Specialized hanger, brake shudder was eliminated. Whether I was bombing down pavement and needed to make an emergency stop or decelerating during a decreasing-radius turn on single-track, the brake shudder was gone. And that should be enough to silence the zealots.

Rich_brake_hanger

 


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