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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last Sunday at the Cascade bike swap, I picked up a set of Paul brakes. Wasn't sure exactly what I was getting. Some of the pieces were missing but the price was very right. Did a few searches here and on google and I am still not certain exactly what I have. I have learned that Paul was constantly changing the style of their brakes. Looking over the Paul website, it appears the missing pieces are still available but it will cost me about $50 shipped (sigh). So, along with sharing a pic of this little score, I have a few questions.

1. What exactly are they? Crosstop 1, 2, 3 or?
2. Brake lever compatability Canti or V?
3. What year would these brakes have been available?

One of these days I am going to get out of the 80's and actually put together a cool project from the 90's. These will go into my little box of cool 90's stuff until then. Sorry about the blurry pic and dirty parts. Also, please don't burst my bubble and tell me I bought a set of brakes that are only compatable with road bikes...

Thanks,
T

View attachment 597662
 

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Paul Crosstop 2. Available I am guessing up to 1994.
The Crosstop 1 I seem to remember being reviewed in Mountain Bike Magazine in 1993. It had solid arms without any drillings or cutouts; the 'dealie', or rocker on top of the arm on that version was also different, a half circle shape; you can find it here, it is the blue brake. http://www.blackbirdsf.org/brake_obscura/mtb.html
The Crosstop 3 forewent the arm drillings in favor of more sophisticated, scalloped removal of material and a whittled-down dealie.
The Crosstop MC (Mo' Cheaper) was with stainless hardware and no drilling, a bit like the original brake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, I am thinking out loud here.
This is from Pauls, so they should know their own brakes:



Looks like Blackbird and uphiller had it right. or?

T
 

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whoa. That's a lot of small parts. I sold a set and I don't remember all those parts. Sorry, can't help you Tim. Just fascinated by the exploded view.
 

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The Brutally Handsome
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I had a set of those in red, pretty cool but lacking in brake power. I also heard they were discontinued because the cross top can pop off and fall into the tire knobs :eekster: !
 

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Sizzler said:
I had a set of those in red, pretty cool but lacking in brake power. I also heard they were discontinued because the cross top can pop off and fall into the tire knobs :eekster: !
I heard that rumor as well, but I think more likely is that the V-Brake did them in. I don't know exact dates, but as I recall the Crosstop was discontinued around 1995. I never once had an issue with the crossbar popping out and can't imagine how that would happen.
I also used them with Ritchey 2.35" Z-Max tires without clearance issues.
About the lack of stopping power: I tried them with several different levers, which has a huge effect. There are a few things that can screw up stopping power when using these brakes:
-Bad setup. Good setup means positioning the pads such that when you really squeeze hard, the rocker arm is already moving way, way down into its travel. The rocker can't really bottom out, the limiting factor is more like the crossbar's running into the top of the tire (or the mud on top of it), whence the bent shape of the arm, which increases mud clearance a bit.
-All the other things things that go with bad setup: badly cut cables, flimsy housing. Since we're all bike nerds I assume that's not an issue.
-Not the right levers. The absolute worst levers to use with these brakes are any, and I mean any V-Brake lever. I see you're using sidepull levers (which have the same pull and leverage as canti levers). Suicide levers are called that for a reason.
In fact, in my fairly wide experimentation with different levers, only one lever rendered performance with this brake that made it rival a V: the Shimano SLR Plus lever, which both doubles braking power and doubles rim-pad clearance. Incidentally, the lever you are using in the pic does have SLR Plus, so I suspect that the real issue was not setting them up to allow the rocker to really bend over. I could be wrong, though. When set up right with SLR Plus levers, I was always able to get these brakes working better than V.
Aemmer: if you do get your brakes to a point where you are ready to install them, I will be glad to share some set up tips with you.
 

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Aemmer,
Those are Crosstop 2's. They were designed to work with short pull, or "canti" levers.

The Crosstop line of brakes filled a need for full suspension bikes where a cable hangar for regular cantilever brakes wasn't practical or was not possible due to suspension design. They also were available a few years before linear pull (V-brakes) and long pull levers became the norm. Properly set up, they worked very well.

Ask me how I know...;)
 

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Two important thing to note about the Paul's: the rocker pivot wears out, and the cable clamp is a PITA. IRD's Widget is better in both respects, but had crummy pad hardware.
The Strange Brake, from the looks of it, was the best version: normal sized bolts, big, solid pivots. Too bad they don't make them anymore.
 

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The Brutally Handsome
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Could anyone tell me if the version of crosstops I have pictured above are meant to be used with v or canti levers?
 

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Aemmer said:
Not to confuse something I am already confused about even more. Yes, I had found the Blackbird site where the solid Crosstop is identified as the 1, but if you go to the ever reliable Bikepro site you see the same solid blue brake identified as the Crosstop 3.....
AAAAUGH......

http://www.bikepro.com/products/brakes/brakecanti/paul.html

http://www.blackbirdsf.org/brake_obscura/mtb.html

In fact, they share the same picture...

I enjoy this hobby......
Thanks
T
That's kind of funny. ;)

The Brake Obscura site is correct with their labels on the Cross Stop 1 and 3. BikePro is incorrect - apparently they updated the name but not the picture.

The cam (where the brake cable connects) changed with each version.
 

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Sizzler said:
Could anyone tell me if the version of crosstops I have pictured above are meant to be used with v or canti levers?
Sizzler, see my post above. They were designed to use short pull, or canti levers.
 

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Sizzler said:
Could anyone tell me if the version of crosstops I have pictured above are meant to be used with v or canti levers?
Canti levers. V-Brake levers will feel rock solid and offer extremely poor stopping power.
The best levers to use are Shimano SLR Plus levers.
 

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The Brutally Handsome
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Thanks for the info. I switched from xt v levers to ss-5's canti levers and the brakes work much better now. Thanks again!!!
 

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They will work twice as well again if you use Shimano SLR Plus levers. It will more than double pad-rim clearance, and it will at the same time double stopping power. This is one of the cases where it sounds too good to be true, but is in fact true.
You can identify SLR Plus levers by pulling the lever blade all the way back- if, where the cable attaches, you see a kind of vertical slot, and if you look inside the lever body and see that the cable carrier rides on two little rails, then you are holding an SLR Plus lever. It was featured on XTR Rapidfire Plus levers, most XT Rapidfire Plus levers, and some LX Rapidfire Plus.
 

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uphiller said:
They will work twice as well again if you use Shimano SLR Plus levers.
I have these Deore II levers which have an SLR sticker on them, but I'm not sure if they're SLR Plus levers. I see what could be a vertical slot, but not the carrier rails. Anyone know?
 

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The Brutally Handsome
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I did a search on SLR Plus and it turned up these, but I thought they were v levers. Are they actually SLR Plus canti levers?

I have a set and and they didn't work very well with the Crosstops, which was the reason why I asked the question in the first place. :lol:
 

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Sizzler said:
I did a search on SLR Plus and it turned up these, but I thought these were v levers. Are they actually SLR Plus canti levers?

I have a set and and they didn't work very well with the Crosstops, which was the reason why I asked the question in the first place. :lol:
no. you want something from 90/91. they came either w/ rapidfire or brake only levers. DX and XT had slr plus.
 
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