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Is a "travel agent" really necessary?

Posted By: Digby Symons
Date: 27 January 2009

Has anybody any experience (good or bad) of using a normal V-brake and drop drop STI/Ergo brifters without a travel agent (or similar device) to change the mechanical advantage?! The accepted wisdom is of course that you must. However, I am doing an experiment on this myself, just for the front brake. I can't say I really had a problem with the travel agent, but it is a little fiddly to set up and I wondered if I could make the braking more powerful by not using it.

I am using a Campag ergo lever with an LX V-brake. To increase the lever travel I can use I am leaving the quick release button on the lever in. In fact I am also continuing to use the travel agent, but now just as a friction reducing pulley.

My theory is this:

I do now need twice as much lever travel to close the brake pads to the rim, but have compensated somewhat for this by using the ergo lever quick release.

I can cope with the greater reach to the brake lever with the quick release button in, especially since I'll mostly be braking from the brake hoods.

I'm not losing much travel through cable stretch since a) I've now reduced the cable tension I need for the same brake pad force, and b) this is just the front brake.

The travel agent used simply as a pulley should be more efficient than a "noodle".

I won't have a problem with frayed cables (as has occasionally been reported with travel agents apparently).

Hoped for advantage: I'll be able to brake harder for the same hand strength and stop the tandem very quickly in an emergency.

Possible disadvantages: I might run out of lever travel and not be able to brake hard. I might have to set the pads so close to the rim that they rub. I might not be able to easily remove the wheel since I'm using my quick release already.

Comments welcomed!

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