I'm looking at replacing the brake levers on an older road bike and was wondering if the cable pull ratio for the old Dia Compe center pull brakes pictured below is compatible with new road brake lever like Tiagra or Cane Creek SCR-5. Also do these brake levers fit the old thinner drop bars seen on older bikes? I will eventually be replacing the brakes as well but was hoping I don't have to replace everything at once.

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1 Answer 1


I've used Cane Creek levers with old MAFAC racers which are pretty similar. However, the MAFACs allow you to adjust the length of the cross cable which allows you to tune the brake force.

It's my understanding that all road caliper brakes use roughly the same cable pull so that all "standard" caliper levers are interchangeable. Where you need to be concerned about the cable pull is caliper vs V-brake levers. This question covers that difference.

Direct Pull (V-Brake) vs. Center Pull Cantilevers (pros and cons)

As always Sheldon Browns site contains lot's of useful information for older bike technologies.


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    To complicate things a bit further, new Shimano brifters say not to use old brakes but I believe this is pure marketing -- but of course ymmv.
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 0:37
  • @Batman new Shimano road brake levers with the super SLR have a different mechanical advantage. It appears to be somewhere between that of other caliper breaks and that of V-breaks: bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/42164/30402
    – gschenk
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 2:03

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