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Original MTB brake lever designs did not include a rotating barrel inside the lever to account for the change in angle as you apply the brake, so the wire end needed to be round to accommodate this. Road bike brakes have had the interior rotating barrel for a very long time. If the wire end does not rotate, the brake wire will be flexed in a "coat ...


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It is the design of components that determine which cable end is used. For somethings change comes slowly. My guess is that at some point in time someone wanted a lighter more compact cable end and designed what is currently called a road style end. That has become the standard. It would most likely work on a mountain lever that was designed to accept that ...


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As far as I have been able to tell, there is no difference in terms of functionality or practicality. With many bicycle components, different manufacturers create their own standards purely to ensnare customers. All of the vintage brake levers I have seen use pear nipples, so I assume the barrel nipple came later, but I have no idea which manufacturer first ...


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Disks are way more reliable. For example, I had a bike that had a disk in the rear of one of my bikes, in case my front brake broke. One day it did; the whole right arm hit a tree and disabled it and the disk I was still using stopped me on the trail just fine. I then put a disk on the front since they hit stuff if you are into that type of thing.



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