Don't know how this would apply to vintage practice, but I can tell you how I used to handle this for my ride to the track(s) in Britain. I used a standard non-aero brake lever and made a new (larger diameter) retaining strap (the steel strap that circles the bar and to which the lever body is bolted). I took a tough steel Jubilee clip (British term for a hose clamp) and shaped it to match the lever's retaining strap so that it had an extended section that accommodates the nut. Used the stock nut from the lever's retaining strap. Drilled a proper sized hole for the lever bolt in the Jubilee clip at the extended section. The Jubilee clip's adjuster/tightener barrel was left outside the lever body. To install the brake lever I needed only to slipped the Jubilee clip over the bar tape to the desired spot and then tighten the clip at the adjuster barrel with a standard srew driver (or 1 pence coin). I was using cloth tape on my track bike and I applied an extra cloth layer over the tape where the lever went. This I could replace if the lever body soiled or wore on the tape. Romoving the lever was just as quick.
One concern I had was whether the Jubilee clip (hose clamp) would fatigue and break. For a while I used a little wire back up retaining line from the lever to the bar so that if it did break, it wouldn't fall into the spokes. I frequently inspected the Jubilee clip, but the drilled hole never seemed to enlarge or show and stress. One thing I noticed was that the Jubilee clip seemed like thicker more malleable steel than American hose clamps but I've done hack jobs on American hose clamps for other purposes and not had one fail.
--Mitch Harris Little Rock Canyon, Utah
On 6/18/07, Harry Schwartzman <email@example.com> wrote:
> I have read accounts of British racers who would ride their track bikes to
> the track with a front brake. They would then remove the brake to race. The
> brake just screws off from the rear nut but the levers? Presumably, their
> bars were taped.
> I'm currently trying to put a front brake on my 50's Frejus track and
> would like to put an older brake lever on the Ambrosio bars and am searching
> for a period correct or slightly later hinged brake lever or some other sort
> of easy-off lever. Does anyone have any ideas (perhaps a known easy to
> remove clamp?). I tried a hinged BMX lever and the diameter is all wrong. I
> could file it more open but my time is limited. I tried an old Royal Grand
> Compe lever (pretty!) but I couldn't get the clamp around the bar without
> unwrapping the tape. I would rather not use today's in-line 'suicide' levers
> (although they would work and I'll do it if I have to) and would prefer a
> non-aero brake lever. I'd like to get to Kissena velodrome in one piece...
> if not me, then at least the bike.
> What did the Brits do?
> Harry Schwartzman
> Astoria, NYC, USA