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  1. #1
    Green Tea Lemonade Oil_LOL's Avatar
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    Non-aero brake lever questions

    I thought I'd ask here. For Christmas, I got a new commuter bike. It's a BikeDirect bike (), and I love it. It's a Windsor Timeline singlespeed and/or fixed gear. It has nice wide tire clearances, nice brakes, and I enjoy the geometry. The only downside is the brake levers, which, while they mechanically work, feel cheap and have weird loose hoods. So, I was looking into a new set of brake levers. I was on ebay, looking around, and ventured into the vintage section. There are some cool looking old non-aero brake levers in there, and I am considering picking up a pair for myself, probably something from Shimano or Campagnolo, because it's different and I like the vintage look. Also, it's basically a beater, so the brake levers may make it look older and less desirable to a thief.

    First, is there anything I should know about these old brake levers, any major problems that have been fixed with modern levers?

    Second, given possible problems, are there any brands or specific models I should either seek out or avoid? Perhaps a certain model is particularly powerful, or another has weird problems. Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    If your buying either Campi or shimano as long as the hoods are in good shape you should be OK. one big difference between the old non-aero levers and the aero ones is size. the older levers are about 2/3s the size of the aero style simply because they did not need room for the cable running through the lever.

    you will likely need new cables and housing, although you could trim the old rear for the front then only need a new rear.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo SOLd, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis SOLD, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti SOLD, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe SOLD, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  3. #3
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    There are basically two styles of straps which fasten the lever to the bar. One has a nut which grabs the two ends of the strap. A bolt screws into the nut and pulls the nut towards the lever, thereby tightening the strap. This is what Weinmann and Dia Compe used.

    The other has a T-shaped bolt, which goes through both ends of the strap, because the strap is looped at the ends. A nut screws onto the bolt and blah blah blah. This is what Campagnolo and Mafac used.

    The Campy/Mafac design is MUCH better at surviving crashes and therefore more durable. It's also possible to make it tighter. I don't remember what Shimano used. Probably both, depending on model.

    So I recommend the Mafac type.

    While Mafac levers are very tough, they're not the most comfortable. You might like Campagnolo, but they'll be very expensive.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  4. #4
    Green Tea Lemonade Oil_LOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    You might like Campagnolo, but they'll be very expensive.
    What would be expensive? There's a set of Shimano 600 EX levers on the bay for 40 dollars, is that a good deal? It seems like a good deal, and I have the money for it. Is there an unreasonable price to pay for this sort of brake lever?

  5. #5
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    It's a bit high. You would do better to buy a donor bike at a garage sale, but of course, that takes time and trouble. craigslist generally has lower prices.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  6. #6
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    There also some new non-aero levers like these, if you wanted new ones:



    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...ke-levers.html
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson) San Remo Plus, 1989 Trek 520, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  7. #7
    Green Tea Lemonade Oil_LOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    That seems like a good option. They're cheap, and I'd rather have new levers. It was an aesthetic choice, the non-aero levers. Thanks.

  8. #8
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oil_LOL View Post
    That seems like a good option. They're cheap, and I'd rather have new levers. It was an aesthetic choice, the non-aero levers. Thanks.
    I have them on my JRJ, they're good levers, and they have a quick release built in, which is nice.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson) San Remo Plus, 1989 Trek 520, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

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