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  1. #1
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    Something not often mentioned, but extremely important!

    Riding in the frigid temps today, I realized something that I've only seen mentioned here maybe once. For a winter bike, you SHOULDN'T have metal brake levers! My bike has old style SOLID aluminum ones, and they're REALLY cold. Even with my gloves on, under my pogies, I could feel them! Even though my hands got hot I could still feel the cold lever under my fingers!

  2. #2
    All Terrain UFO RatMudd's Avatar
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    Wrap them with paracord or leather boot laces.
    Typing on this iPhone sucks.

  3. #3
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
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    Where do you live? I've ridden down to -14 F and never noticed my cold brake levers being an issue.
    '81 Panasonic Sport, '02 Giant Boulder SE, '08 Felt S32, '10 Diamondback Insight RS, '10 Windsor Clockwork

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  4. #4
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
    Riding in the frigid temps today, I realized something that I've only seen mentioned here maybe once. For a winter bike, you SHOULDN'T have metal brake levers! My bike has old style SOLID aluminum ones, and they're REALLY cold. Even with my gloves on, under my pogies, I could feel them! Even though my hands got hot I could still feel the cold lever under my fingers!
    It sounds as if you may have too thin gloves, and relying on the pogies too much. I have ridden all metal levers in sub freezing temperatures every winter for about 45 years. I use no pogies, and thicker gloves, and, in severe cold, mittens. I can shift slowly and carefully even with the mittens. I've ridden higher speeds of a motorcycle with leather goose down filled mittens, and been ok. The warmth of pedaling and the lesser wind chill makes the bicycle warmer. The goose down mittens that are OK on the motorcycle are too hot on the bicycle over about 20 F.

    YMMV, experiment with different weight gloves or mittens.
    I have basically four levels of warmth for my hands. Depending on the temperature I use, gloves, very thick gloves, mittens and thick mittens.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
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    There are so many fixes to this problem..... most of them are easy.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MNBikeCommuter's Avatar
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    Actually, I don't recall it ever being mentioned. I'm trying to figure out why it's extremely important too.

  7. #7
    Senior Member elcruxio's Avatar
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    Yeeeah... because a plastic one which would instantly snap would be a major improvement.

  8. #8
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    There is a foam similar to MTB grips one can buy just for brake levers.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I don't think you'd want plastic brake levers.

    I suspect that thicker gloves or mitts would solve the problem. When it got quite cold, back in Canada, I wore mini-gloves as a base layer, and then ski gloves or mitts over that, often with leather palms.

  10. #10
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    -1 on plastic levers.

    The only part of my Ortlieb Back Rollers I've needed to replace in 10+ years of use are the plastic QRs that hold the rolled top close. Both snapped during a very cold winter when the panniers were still quite new. I've lost quite a few rear lamps due to broken QR mounts during the years. I would not want to use plastic levers for braking.

    If it really bothers you OP, get wooden levers instead.

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  11. #11
    back in the saddle bent-not-broken's Avatar
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    How much of the time are your hands actually on the levers? Should be minimal.
    Bent

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  12. #12
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    heat shrink tubing, 18" of recycled inner tube, leftover peices of bar tape. But for all those thoughts.. my brake levers are metal and I havent ever noticed them being the source of cold fingers. Usually the wind does a find job of that.

  13. #13
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    Electricians friction tape.
    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

  14. #14
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    Inside hydrasense spray bottles (essentially sea water with flavor, just for the sake of knowing) there is a rubber tube that fit perfectly on brake levers.

    Last edited by erig007; 11-15-14 at 11:44 AM.

  15. #15
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    I think the problem is that my levers are solid, unpainted aluminum, while the majority of yours are probably painted, hollow steel. Aluminum is a much better heat conductor than steel, especially painted steel.

    For the record, I had already found many ways to fix it, but I particularly like the heat shrink or 550 cord suggestions above.

  16. #16
    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    I might try the heat shrink tubing, maybe in conjunction with some innertube under for my summer bikes to alleviate chafing from the undersides of the brake levers when I am climbing. Thanks.

    Ben

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
    I think the problem is that my levers are solid, unpainted aluminum, while the majority of yours are probably painted, hollow steel. Aluminum is a much better heat conductor than steel, especially painted steel.
    No problem with my aluminum levers, but I do use warm, long finger gloves below 50F or so.

    Are you using short finger gloves under the pogies?

  18. #18
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    I have aluminum Tiagra STIs and I have ridden down to about negative ten Centigrade. I have never had an issue. I know the STI and not as thick as MTB levers.

    I do wear Black Diamond ski gloves.

    I agree that plastic levers are a bad idea. The tape or cord sounds like a good idea. Also the reassessment of your gloves and pogies is probably needed.

    Do you suffer circulatory issues such as Raynaud's?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    No problem with my aluminum levers, but I do use warm, long finger gloves below 50F or so.

    Are you using short finger gloves under the pogies?
    No, I'm definitely wearing long fingered gloves. This morning it was -25C. That's -13F! Maybe it's just really freaking cold.

  20. #20
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    Or you have an excuse to buy those silly expensive carbon fiber brake levers...

  21. #21
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Drillium carbon fiber levers !!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I don't think you'd want plastic brake levers.

    I suspect that thicker gloves or mitts would solve the problem. When it got quite cold, back in Canada, I wore mini-gloves as a base layer, and then ski gloves or mitts over that, often with leather palms.
    "Plastic" can cover a wide range of materials. You probably don't want levers made of polystyrene or unreinforced polyethylene but a carbon fiber lever is plastic and wouldn't break in the cold.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
    There is a foam similar to MTB grips one can buy just for brake levers.
    Lizardskins makes these
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  23. #23
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bent-not-broken View Post
    How much of the time are your hands actually on the levers? Should be minimal.
    That's what has me scratching my head as well. Whenever I'm not actually braking, I'm not even touching the levers.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  24. #24
    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bent-not-broken View Post
    How much of the time are your hands actually on the levers? Should be minimal.
    That depends on your riding style. I have spent many miles with my hands draped over the levers and in the drops with on finger on the brakes. Now the one finger on the brakes is more of a summer thing, but there are times in winter when I want to be on the brakes at at times so I can quickly slow on that little patch of dry pavement before the ice. (That would be less of a factor at -13F. At those temps, ice is a lot less slippery! Projecting from the -5T I have ridden.)

    Ben

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