Yesterday a bicyclist passed in the opposite direction when I noticed the reverse brake levers installed on the bar end of drop handlebars. A moment passed as I made a quick assessment of the safety/ergonomics of this type of cock[pit set-up. Asking myself, was this in any fashion or form a close proximation to the Duluth cock[pit?
First, when we take into account the drop racing handlebar bar end is the lowest point to reach leads to safety concerns in urban situations. Reaction time from the tops to the drops and a low field of view make this set up a dangerous suspect. Most importantly, in the event of a quick reaction, the bike rider has only one option when braking and that is to go to the drops which has the least steering control. Fashion without function in this case of the drop reverse gets a failing grade for safety.
The ergonomic positioning of the reverse brake lever on a racing drop handlebar concerns me in that braking actually forces the bike rider to go to the drops. In riding on the drops we overcome wind but, braking even on a down hill is better to brake from a more upright posture as to create drag to slow the moving body down.
I didn’t get a picture of this handlebar but imagine eliminating hooded brake levers, one of the most used hand positions. It’s one step closer to no brakes at all. It’s just another symptom of the bike rider who wants something different but has not thought it through. It’s easy for someone to slap parts on a bike when the bike industry does the same thing and can’t back up the performance, safety or ergonomics of the part. See a post of mine on the Salsa Woodchipper.
What I fear is that one day when I’m out driving my automobile is a fixie or fashionista will cross my path senselessly. Again, here we have a bike industry, local governments and a public that ignores good safe bicycle brake design and goes as far as endorsing bikes without brakes.