Blockhead Stem IB – Integrated Brake Lever Apr 3, 2010

You know, I was just thinking about something like this last week. The guys at CW&T have improved upon their Blockhead Stem design with an idea I’ve never seen before; an integrated cross brake lever. Here’s their description of the Blockhead Stem IB:

The Blockhead Stem IB is our Blockhead Stem with an integrated brake lever. The lever is tucked neatly into the stem and is just long enough for two fingers. We designed it to be used with a front brake so the cable can be cut really short and straight, eliminating friction within the brake cable housing.

Sometimes it’s nice to ride fixed with a front brake, but break levers tend to be massive, take up a lot of handlebar space, and have levers that are much longer than they need to be. Our solution is to make the lever part of the stem. If you despise your ugly massive brake lever, this one is for you.

We ride with these on our bikes all around NYC. We love them.

What do you guys think? I’d be interested in seeing someone’s improvements to the 3d file. Maybe I’ll mess around with it. Read up on the stem and the Creative Commons license for the stem design here, at CW&T.

Blockhead Stem

  • marty

    For the hipster who doesn’t want other hipsters to know there is a front brake

  • rogbie

    That is an interesting idea, but seriously ugly. The corners on that stem look dangerous as well. Also, having the hands so close together to brake can make for sketchy handling situations, not to mention a restriction of air-flow to the lungs.

    I am being nit-picky here, but most bars come in 31.8mm, not 31.5mm sizes.

    And, please put some bar tape and bar ends on those bull-horns. No one likes to be perforated by their own bicycle.

  • Sizemore

    Is that hooked up to a brake that rivals the cost of that frame? Damnit.

  • Gordon

    Haha, mike…

    I think this is sick. But ould I buy another stem just to have a smaller brake lever? Probably not. I wonder if they’ll just make ones with the lever on the left…

  • Luke

    Psst… your brake is showing! ;)

  • Terry B

    I saw that bike or a similar one in Manhattan when I was visiting NY. I snapped a couple of iphone photos of it locked up on the street. what’s with the seat?

  • tim

    my knees your from seeing the back of that stem. the square back looks terrible.

  • sharkilepsy

    i feel like a massive ugly stem is less appealing than a massive ugly lever, which really isn’t all that massive or ugly…

  • lester

    ok – everyone’s design preferences aside; this is a pretty innovative idea – right?

    I think the “hand-grip too narrow for stability” argument is redundant – so many people run really really short bars anyway -and the design of most drops and bullhorns is such that you can’t really comfortably grip the bars too far from the stem anyway.
    People who would find a use for this will probably already be running their lever close to the stem anyways.

    and a well hidden, slightly less usable brake is better than no brake at all (when it comes to those who chose brakeless as a style thing).

  • erik

    at first i thought this was pretty smart looking.. til i saw those flicks on the street.. fuck, just use a paul ecomp lever. whatevs.

  • Jerrylikesbikes

    Reminds me of my third week of Machine Tool Technology. Props to them for releasing the CAD as a CC License, anti-props to them for releasing a product that any hack with a vertical-mill could crap out without a diagram in under a half hour.

  • Tinj

    Wow, I think the stem looks awesome! Those corners could be a little dangerous but all in all its super innovative and I think its a great way to keep your bike lookin clean.

  • Luke

    Hello Leader 735TR!

  • alex

    it would be cool if they hid the brake cable, it would add to the clean minimalist look. also the lever doesn’t look very integrated its just kind of sticking out of stem, it could also use some a radius on the edge of the lever, it would be easier on fingers.

  • Ray

    I’ll try it when it comes in a barspin version. I realize I’ll have to put the brake lever on the top of the stem in order to clear the top tube, but maybe I could just flip over the face plate and go with a right handed set up; pushing the lever to actuate the brake instead of pulling on it. I’ll have to route the brake cable to the rear with a super long housing or a gyro headset and a split cable, but that’s no big deal. I suppose I could also go with a super long steerer tube, then I could run enough spacers under the stem for the stock lever to clear the top tube.

  • Rui

    I’m not nuts about the stem with the level sonce I don’t use a front brake. I do like te boxyness of if it.

    What kind of bars are those?

  • Lian

    kudos for making CC license, but putting a break lever at the center line of your steering apparatus is the least stable place to brake.

    Not to mention, this thing is never going to ever be used by anyone except people who ride fixed. Why not put the bolts closer together and mill out some of the extra alloy. The thing retails for 169, they don’t list weight and I’m pretty sure a deda or thomson stem would be this thing out of the water.

    Ugh, great that we have innovators

  • AsTallAsRyan

    This is seriously awesome. I love the simplicity in the design. Also, are those Nitto RB-021s? Those bars look killer

  • rogbie

    @ lester

    Bullhorns and drop bars are made to ride with the hands in the drops (also on brake hoods for road bikes). This is for aerodynamics, stability and power. Watching people try to accelerate from a stop with a moderate to high gear with narrow riser bars or hands placed at the stem is unbearable. Try to make a hard sprint with hands close to the stem, then try the same sprint with hands in the drops. Not to mention the amount of air that is restricted from the lungs by having arms nearly crossed across the chest.

    A general rule of thumb is handlebar width should closely match the width of the riders shoulders (on road/track bikes). The argument that narrower (than shoulder width) bars are good for getting through tight traffic is moot. Since, if the space is so narrow that a rider needs smaller than shoulder width bars, how can the rider’s shoulders fit in the same space?

    Some photographic evidence:

  • agi

    I am riding this stem on a bomber aero Dodici that Ive built.
    I think they look nice on certain types of frames. For an aero track they certainly do. Two things I would change, and I might actually try to do so since t is open source n all, one its corners sould be rounded a bit, they are dangerous like that! Two, this thing is heavy as fuck, although bombing down you dont really care and it feels good that you got something so SOLID at the front but still… 0.5 kg is way too much! Hooray to open source bike hardware!