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Shimano 600 vs Shimano 600 EX Brake Lever - Any difference?

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Shimano 600 vs Shimano 600 EX Brake Lever - Any difference?

Old 07-11-13, 08:26 AM
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shettena
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Shimano 600 vs Shimano 600 EX Brake Lever - Any difference?

Hi everyone!

I recently purchased an SR Gran Course that I would like to refurbish.

Most of the components are original, with the notable exception of the brake levers. I looked online and saw ads on Ebay for Shimano 600 brake levers and Shimano 600 EX brake levers. The Shimano 600 brake levers are half the price, but look identical. Is there any difference between them when it comes to brake levers?

Thanks, Seth

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Old 07-11-13, 09:20 AM
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There were quite a few different "generations" of the 600 line before it turned into "Ultegra" -- I would check here (skip forward a couple pages in the results) to find the exact ones you're looking for: https://velobase.com/ListComponents.aspx?Category=118
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Old 07-12-13, 12:49 PM
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[QUOTE=shettena;15838860]Hi everyone!

I recently purchased an SR Gran Course that I would like to refurbish.

Most of the components are original, with the notable exception of the brake levers. I looked online and saw ads on Ebay for Shimano 600 brake levers and Shimano 600 EX brake levers. The Shimano 600 brake levers are half the price, but look identical. Is there any difference between them when it comes to brake levers?

Thanks, Seth

[QUOTE]

Avoid the older Shimano 600 levers and brakes. 600EX falls into that category. They feature flimsy single-pivot calipers and hopeless, uncomfortable levers. You want the last generation of 600 levers with the aero cable routing. Especially bad are the levers that have the rightfully notorious "suicide levers" that supposedly allow you to brake from the tops of the bars. Weak, flimsy and pathetic braking performance.

You also want the last generation of dual-pivot calipers, which about as good as any road brakes produced to date.
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Old 07-12-13, 03:24 PM
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+1 on replacing braking components for more modern, dual-pivot calipers and levers. The SR looks pretty sweet. Love old steel frames. Rather than keeping the old 600/600EX levers, if you want, you could move to, say, slightly more recent, but still 20 years old, 6400-series (Shimano 600 Ultegra Tri-colour first generation). They had a second release of brakes (BR-6403) with dual pivots, and aero style levers that worked pretty darn well. But still kind of pricey on eBay these days. Instead, I've opted to use Diacompe BRS aero levers with Tektro dual pivot calipers. Sometimes, you may see closeouts on some no-name OEM Tektros, like the Tektro R-566e series not carried in their regular catalog, but probably for some OEMs that used them like Cannondale or Specialized, and the remainders that didn't get used, I found at bikewagon.com for $24.95/pair (front and rear w/ premium brake shoes with tire guides). And the stopping is as good as anything out there. They're no longer available, but you might still find some deals like that if you look around. However, beware that you may need medium-long reach calipers for older bikes, and I've had great success with Tektro R536 calipers which came in a version with standard bolts and not the more modern recessed mounting bolts. Again the Tektro 536 is no longer sold and hard to find, but there is the Tektro 539 that replaced it, and while it's most in recessed bolt mount, can be ordered with standard bolt mount. I think Sheldon Brown's Harris Cyclery still sells the 539s.

While it could be expensive relative to the used bike you have, new brakes are a safety item, and I think it highly worthwhile purchasing.
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Old 07-12-13, 05:45 PM
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Meh, I wouldn't be in a big rush to replace the brake calipers, especially the rear. As long as you have aluminum rims and grippy pads (such as Kool-Stop salmon), single-pivots will do a good job of stopping the bike.

One other note -- mixing newer levers (like 6400 and later) with older brakes (pre-6400) would make the levers harder to pull than necessary. I'd avoid that combo.
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Old 07-13-13, 03:38 AM
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IMO it's a good move to bung a dual-pivot on the front; very sensible upgrade. Worse than pointless sticking one on the back though, unless you want to keep leaving bits of your tyre on the road.

Also, everyone knows you take a photo of a bike from the drive side
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Old 07-13-13, 05:35 AM
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Seth, The 600 EX brake levers are pretty good for their era and the color will match what is on the bike now. The 600, BL-6401 and later aero levers are grey. If you want aero levers to match, look for the 105 aero, BL-5401.

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