The Direct Curve 5 is set up as a modular system that gives you unprecedented flexibility in how you set up the brakes. This enables you to set up the cleanest cable routing for maximum braking efficiency. And for bikes with balky cable traffic, like some dual-suspension frames, the Direct Curve 5 brakes are especially valuable.
Most everything on the Direct Curve 5 brakes is bolted on and removable, including the spring mechanism and the brake-pad bracket. There are two arms: the longer, more curved arm receives the cable and its housing, while the shorter arm is topped with a cable-fixing bolt. So if you decide you want the cable to enter the brake on the side opposite the given set-up, you can take apart the Direct Curve 5 brakes, reverse the arms, and reassemble the pieces. It's simple.
With any brake, the first thing to do in the event of squeal or chatter is to make sure the pads are properly toed in. The front of the brake pad must contact the rim first. If your pads are not tied in correctly, you can adjust them by loosening the pad bolt, re-canting the pad, and re-tightening the bolt. Finally, all pads will pick up some grit or other foreign matter, which can score the rim, decrease braking power, and make noise. Keeping pads and rim surfaces clean—and switching to new pads when necessary—will minimize this problem.
The main difference is the Direct Curve 5's modular adjustability, which provides an uncommonly precise bicycle interface. All pieces of the Direct Curve 5 are detachable--bolts, springs, pad brackets--so you can reverse the arms and mount the brake pads fore or aft of the arms.
The Direct Curve 3 does not have the same complete modularity, and it uses standard brake pads instead of the Direct Curve 5's cartridge brake pads. Other than that, however, the fundamental shape and design of the two brakes are very similar--including the key attribute of no cable noodle in the way of the direct-pull efficiency.
The main difference--and benefit--of the Direct Curve design is the lack of a cable noodle at the cable's entry point and no linkages joining the arms and pads. This direct design cuts down on friction, giving you smooth, predictable braking action from lever to brake to rim. Additionally, the Direct Curve 5 has greater adjustability features that enable it to better conform to the geometry of indiv idual bikes.
The Direct Curve lever's most exclusive feature is a small 2.5mm hex adjuster that takes up tolerances at the pivot, which assures you of a slop-free, always-smooth lever stroke. This feature also helps extend the performance of the lever, because it compensates for wear that develops from repeated use. Aside from this hidden pivot adjuster, the Direct Curve brake lever is a nice functional high-quality lever. The lever handle is made from cold-forged aluminum for high strength.
The Direct Curve brakes work with most modern MTB brake levers, and the Direct Curve levers work with most modern long-arm brakes. They are well-suited as a combination, as the low friction in the lever and brake yield extra-smooth braking power. But like any long-arm, high-leverage brakes, the Direct Curve 5 and 3 are compatible with any brake lever that can pull a lot of cable per stroke (all modern mountain levers designed for "V-type" brakes are OK). And by the same token, the Direct Curve brake lever matches up well with any "V-type" long-arm brake.
The SCR-3 is a standard long-reach brake with 47mm to 57 mm of reach. They have ample room for fenders.
All Cane Creek brakes use Shimano-style brake pads.
Side pull brakes are generally what are found on most road style bikes. They may be referred to as caliper brakes. The brake cable enters vertically, but off to one side.
Drop V levers are not compatible with standard road or cantilever brakes. They must be used with linear pull brakes such as V-brakes. They are also compatible with mechanical disc brakes.
Yes, the SCR-5 levers create enough cable pull for linear pull brakes. The SCR-5 is not compatible with V-brakes or mechanical disc brakes. Note: Avid’s BB5 Road Disc brake is compatible with the SCR-5 lever.
The reach is adjustable from 47 to 57mm.
The two sizes of the Cross Top levers are listed by the size of clamping portion of the handlebar, this does not reflect the actual size of the clamp on the brake lever. All road (drop) bars taper from the canter portion of the bar to a smaller diameter, this narrower section of the bar is the intended position for the lever. Therefore the lever can be purchased based on the clamp size of your bars and should fit the bar on the narrower section.