I recently acquired a Surly Steamroller (fixed gear bike). I want to ride is as a single speed for everyday use. I changed out the rear wheel and got one with a flip-flop hub. I'd also like to add a rear brake but I'm not sure what will work. The Surly website states that standard reach post mount calipers are compatible but that's for the current model. My bike is a number of years old. The other problem is that there are no stops for housing. Any suggestions for my best option(s)? Thanks.

  • Surly specifically has a page for this: surlybikes.com/info_hole/spew/spew_caliper_brake_reach For older ones, you need a standard reach front caliper with concave washer and fastening nut. You can also add housing stops with clamp on 28.6 mm housing stops.
    – Batman
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 6:50

3 Answers 3


The steamroller will work (for the last 5 years at least) with a standard reach rear brake. Any model will do. As for housing stops, you must use a full length housing, and zipp tie it to the top tube of the frame, or have someone add riveted stops. Full length housing is easier, cheaper, and doesn't void your warranty.

  • Wouldn't bolt-on cable stops work too? Like the Problem Solvers Backstop or this similar unit via rivendell.
    – freiheit
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 7:04
  • 2
    Yes, they will work as well. I don't generally recommend them though, because with time, they always damaged the paint. On a steel frame, that leads to corrosion, which is contra-indicated. :)
    – zenbike
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 8:23
  • @zenbike, thanks I had though of getting the bolt-on cable stops but I hadn't though about paint damage and ultimately corrosion :-( Will probably still with full housing and cable ties. Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 23:46
  • No problem. I use zipties because they are soft enough material that, while you might get surface scratches in the paint, you are unlikely to remove enough of the paint to increase the risk of rust. The clamp on stops will crack and compress your paint to the point where corrosion is inevitable.
    – zenbike
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 10:18

You can pick up any low-cost standard-reach rear brake. In a pinch, some of the models from Nashbar work. You can zip-tie or run cable clips to route your brake cable. Be sure to acquire a long length of cable housing.


I recommend not adding a rear brake, you should add a front brake instead, and learn to use it properly. Any standard reach front brake should work fine.

If you want to have both brakes, then use the full length housing and zip ties as others have mentioned.

The complete bike as specd by Surly has a front brake only.

  • Thanks. The bike already has a front brake, I want to add a back one too. Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 23:48

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