Photo submitted by Matty Bates, “Some brakes we found on a Trek. I’ve never seen anything like it.” If you think you know what this part is, post your answer in the ‘comments’ section.

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  1. Paul Crosstop. These brakes were more or less a copy of the IRD Widget Brake. The idea was that, at that time, everyone used cantilevers. With traditional cantilever brakes, the cable housing stops on the frame- and on full suspension bikes, the frame moves, which can activate the brake. So the guys at IRD made a brake whose cable stop is on the brake, allowing the suspension to move without putting on the brakes.
    The Crosstop came in several versions- the one in the picture, the Crosstop 2, with a revised , lighter rocker arm, and circular holes drilled in it; the Crosstop 3, which had ti bolts, an even lighter rocker arm, and more complex rectangular holes cut out of it; the Crosstop MC, which was a Crosstop 3, but with stainless bolts and without the weight cutouts.
    Another company used this same design; that brake was called the Strange Brake.
    This design of brake worked extremely well when paired with the right brake levers. Set up right, it always had a reserve of power. It was a pain to set up, though. Never use them with V-Brake levers!
    More weird brakes are at:

  2. BTW- if you are setting this brake up, the power really comes on when the rocker arm is tucked way down. The deeper the rocker moves down, the stronger the brake gets.
    You’ll get the best results with Shimano SLR Plus brake levers- they truly double both the power and the rim clearance of this brake.

  3. Those Trek shocks looked like a stack of those waxy chocolate-covered donuts from the high school cafeteria. And the bikes rode terribly.


  4. Paul Crossstop- I had these on my old hardtail racebike in the 1990’s. I sold them about a year ago. Great brakes for the time.

  5. I bought one of those back with full XTR for $999.99………….and promptly returned it 24 later. To this day, it is one of the worst full suspension bikes that I have ever ridden. It turned the bike into a pogo stick. Bunny hopping turned into catapulting!

  6. I love the mystery pics every week but I have got to ask, does anyone know the origins of the campy seat post…etc jokes? They are getting pretty old and It just occurred to me to ask how it all got started anyone know?

  7. Do you not get the jokes or are they not funny anymore? Pick one, can’t be both. If you don’t get them then they were NEVER funny to you. If they’re not funny ANYMORE then at some point in the past you got them and thought they were funny.

  8. Gotta wonder about a “mechanic” who hasn’t “ever seen anything like this” – from the 90s. Not like this is a Campagnolo Euclid dropper post or something.

What do you think?