Bicycle Mechanics - How to change brake levers without breaking them?
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05-18-09, 01:12 PM
My daughter wanted me to put a different set of handlebars on her mountain bike and I am just wondering how you get the brake levers onto the new handlebars. The old bars were somewhat normal mountain bike bars that allowed me to loosen the levers and slide them off the end of the bars. The new set of handlebars have the curled up ends on them (look like ram horns...lol) with foam gripping area, so cannot slide them onto these bars.
The brake levers are made of some kind of fiberglass or heavy duty plastic and I am afraid if I try to spread them open enough to slip them straight onto the handlebar the material will crack and ruin the brake lever. How do you go about installing these plastic brake levers? Do you heat up the plastic so it won't break when spreading the clamp to slip onto the bar? Do you somehow get that foam grip off the end of the bars, to allow sliding the levers along the bar? If so, can't imagine how these grips come off...they are on the bars pretty good. Any help appreciated.
05-18-09, 01:14 PM
Huh. Sounds like a set of old Scott bars. You need to take the foam off, and probably the only way is removal by destruction: cut it off. Then you can decide what to replace it with.
05-18-09, 02:00 PM
Stick a screwdriver between the foam-grips and the bars. Spray some sopay water into that gap and twirl the screwdriver all around the bar to distribute the liquid. Remove the screwdriver and the foam-grips should be easy to push off.
As for the brake-levers, post a picture. Most levers have a pinch-bolt of some sort that clamps the levers to the bars. On some of them, the bolt may be underneath the pivot and hard to see. On some, the bolt squeezes the two forward parts of the lever ahead of the round clamp.
05-18-09, 07:02 PM
Here is a few pics of the brake levers, you can see they have no pivot and if I force them open enough to slip onto the bar, it will break for sure...
05-18-09, 07:56 PM
That kind of brake lever doesn't like to slip onto curved bars, get different ones.
The clamp ought to be a separate steel ring instead of machined aluminum.
garage sale GT
05-18-09, 08:05 PM
They're probabaly magnesium alloy. I have heated them to spread them apart but didn't trust the kluge because I had no way to know when they would break, so I tossed the levers after a while. It MIGHT be safe to spread them a tiny bit if they flex back to their original shape, and they probabaly won't both fail at once if you do get them on there and the metal is changed somehow.
05-18-09, 08:16 PM
Those look sorta like Zoom Brahma bars. You can't buy the proper grips for Brahmas any longer. They are NOT the normal diameter on the bar end part. Good - you can easily slide the brake levers on once the grips are removed. Bad - You'll play hell trying to replace those grips if they get destroyed.
Track grips do NOT fit Brahma bars. The only option we've found is to install normal grips in the normal position, and then wrap the bar-end part with road bike bar tape. Maybe someone has some on eBay, but no suppliers carry them any longer. (They were primarily a GT thing)
On the plus side, I don't think those are actual Zoom Brahma bars. As such, they *might* be a normal diameter on the bar-end part, and as such, track grips might fit. I honestly don't think you'll have much problem getting the levers on once the grips are removed.
05-19-09, 02:42 AM
Here is a few pics of the brake levers, you can see they have no pivot and if I force them open enough to slip onto the bar, it will break for sure...Piece of cake to get those on. You see the pinch-bolt on the flat part between the round clamp and the lever? Unscrew that completely, then put a flat screwdriver into the slot and twist to spread the clamp apart. Hold the slot spread with one hand while sliding the lever over the bars. Let go when it's in the correct position. Spin to correct angle and re-install the pinch-bolt.
There's even a trick to using the pinch-bolt itself to push the clamp apart with a penny. But it's more trouble than it's worth and the screwdriver works just fine.
05-19-09, 04:09 AM
These bars came off of a wrecked Haro bike..and as such have Haro name on the handlebars as well, if that info helps any to identify the bars. Thanks for all the replies guys, appreciate it!
05-26-09, 08:08 AM
I would just remove the foam and slide the levers on. If the foam gets damaged when removing, just wrap them with bar tape if you feel you need something on them. I always preferred regular grips and "naked" bar ends on my MTB bike.
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