Hello All - I have a 1988 Trek 1200 that has break levers that say "Shimano 105" on them. They are aero brake levers. They look kind of beat and have more electrical tape on them than I would like, so I would like to upgrade them. I saw a "Shimano 105 SC SLR Brake Lever Set" on Ebay that I like the looks of. My question is can anyone tell me if these newer 105 are compatible with what is probably older ones on my bike? Can I just slide the old ones off and slide these on? I am not an very experienced bike mechanic. Thanks.
Brake levers on road bikes are pretty much all compatible. There are exceptions, but people only use them when they need to (V-brake levers with drop bars require special levers), but for caliper brakes, almost any brake lever will work.
So, yes, you can use the newer Shimano 105, if that is your choice. I like the Cane Creek SCR-5 because my large hands like the larger hoods. I only mention this so you realize that there are options.
There are some newer road brake systems that use a different amount of cable-pull, but otherwise pretty much everything designed for road brakes is compatible.
Since you are replacing the levers, consider what sort of lever body shape would be most comfortable for you. The Shimano aero levers (8-speed like the 105SC you are looking at is the same shape as Shimanos aero brake levers nowadays) feel fairly narrow for me, and I have gone with Tektro levers on multiple bikes. Note: the Tektro R200 is the same as the Cane Creek levers mentioned by Little Darwin.
Pictured, in order, are
Shimano (RX100 8-speed era levers, same profile as 105SC)
Tektro R340 (longer hood, more up-angled from bar)
Current 79 Nishiki Royal, Jeunet 620, 59 Crown Royal, notable previous bikes P.K. Ripper loop tail, Kawahara Laser Lite, Paramount Track full chrome, Raliegh Internatioanl, Motobecan Super Mirage.
I would definetly consider the cheaper options offered or a set of vintage 105/600 levers over the current ones which are slightly smaller if you have big hands. For new replacments I would probabley go with the crank creeks for slightly less money or the Techtros if i was on a budget.