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When were Aero brake levers introduced, when did they become common on new road bikes

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When were Aero brake levers introduced, when did they become common on new road bikes

Old 03-09-16, 03:18 PM
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Barrettscv 
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When were Aero brake levers introduced, when did they become common on new road bikes

I known that sometimes during the '80 Aero brake levers, with the brake cable and housing under the bar wrap, became dominant on road bikes. But when, precisely? Which manufacturer introduced them and when? When were the featured on most road bikes sold?
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Old 03-09-16, 03:24 PM
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Mid 1980s. Campy C-Record levers can be routed both ways, and that was about 1984/85. Shimano had them on 105, 600, and Dura Ace for the first generation SIS groups, so 1984 or so. I'm not sure who got there first.

EDIT: per Classic Rendevous, Modolo Kronos were the first aero lever, debuting in 1980.

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Old 03-09-16, 03:29 PM
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So a 1987 bike was probably built with Aero levers, but a 1986 bike might have had non-Aero levers?
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Old 03-09-16, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
So a 1987 bike was probably built with Aero levers, but a 1986 bike might have had non-Aero levers?
Depends on the groupset, I guess. As an example, my 1987 Guerciotti has aero routed C-Record, my 1987 Ironman has aero routed 600, and my wife's 1987 Schwinn Super Sport has aero routed 600. But Campy was also still putting out Super Record, Victory/Triomphe, and others, all of which still had non-aero levers. Suntour and Dia-Compe made the switch sometime in there, but I'm not sure when.
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Old 03-09-16, 03:59 PM
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Border years would be 85 and 87. Shimano pre-SIS was popular in 85 and used non-aero routing. By 86 some of the 6208 non aero and Gran Compe non-aero were showing up on a lot of bikes. By 87 the new 105 1050 series came out with non-aero, as did DA 7401 seven speed and Shimano tricolor (although early tricolor was also available with non-aero) and it was pretty much game over.
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Old 03-09-16, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky View Post
Depends on the groupset, I guess. As an example, my 1987 Guerciotti has aero routed C-Record, my 1987 Ironman has aero routed 600, and my wife's 1987 Schwinn Super Sport has aero routed 600. But Campy was also still putting out Super Record, Victory/Triomphe, and others, all of which still had non-aero levers. Suntour and Dia-Compe made the switch sometime in there, but I'm not sure when.
It was trickling down the price ladder beginning in late 1984.
The exception was Aero Gran Compe levers, I bought a set in 1985 as part of my patching back together a road bike.
Still have those on it, save for the hoods that went gooey faster than I anticipated. Replaced with AME hoods which are wearing, time to exchange them with the other set I bought in 1988.

We exchanged many a brake lever for those Aero GC's.
A bit better shape for big palms too and decent leverage.
Just can't use this at L'Eroica events
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Old 03-09-16, 04:43 PM
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I just checked vintage-trek.com, and it looks like the '83 catalog is the first time aero levers (Dia Compe AC 500Q) show up and only on the 560 model.
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Old 03-09-16, 04:55 PM
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From the Koga-Miyata brochures:

1981 was the first year they offered aero levers, 1988 was the last year they had non-aero levers on drop bar bikes.
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Old 03-09-16, 04:59 PM
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I saw somewhere they began late 83' and were standard on some bikes in 84'. Will have to search again.
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Old 03-09-16, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
So a 1987 bike was probably built with Aero levers, but a 1986 bike might have had non-Aero levers?
Yes. This occured in the Trek racer lineup. My entry level '85 460 was DiaCompe aero and the 86 760 has Modolo Equippe non-aero. So, you have the newer, more expensive bike with old style and the older with newer style. But then, such was Trek in the mid-80s.
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Old 03-09-16, 06:46 PM
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to bring the discussion to a manufacturer/showroom level ...

no fuji in the '84 catalogue has aero levers.

two mid-level fuji models in '85 featured aero levers.

all the upper level fuji bikes in '86 have aero levers.

Catalog_Covers
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Old 03-09-16, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
to bring the discussion to a manufacturer/showroom level ...

no fuji in the '84 catalogue has aero levers.

two mid-level fuji models in '85 featured aero levers.

all the upper level fuji bikes in '86 have aero levers.
Yep, it was pretty much 1985, though there was a transition period of a couple or three years.

There was also a brief aero fad in 1981 -- Dura Ace AX for example, but it didn't really catch on.
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Old 03-09-16, 08:15 PM
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84 team fujis did ship stock with aeros and this bike was the earliest example I have seen/ridden with aeros--may have been only fuji model shipped that way oddly enough vs pro and opus. They are diacomp AC something (worn away). The 85 club kept a few years also had stock aeros but do not remember exact diacompe model. But these mid 80s examples ride and perform well, still have the team set up stock with them.

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Old 03-09-16, 08:16 PM
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Shimano's early foray into the aero lever business was quite painful to look at. "Aero" was supposed to look smooth and elegant, but their Adamas aero levers looked absolutely clunky from most angles. Looked like they were designed by many different people that tried to fit their designs against another in a bg rush......
On the contrary, you see pretty nice looking early aero lever designs fron smaller companies like Weinmann (for their Dela brakeset) and even CLB, as I think they just modified the internals of their then current levers that already looked good.
Shimano eventually got it looking right with their DA7400 and 600 groups....
The earliest Campy aero levers looked pretty good but got so heavy and bulky when their first brifters were introduced....
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Old 03-09-16, 08:21 PM
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I remember back in the mid 80's when the aero's came out , I felt like I had been left behind because no way could I afford that stuff . Then then brifter era came , well OK I got those but Shimano 105 . Not exactly top shelf , but as my good friend Psycho Billy said " entry level ". And now electronic , my head is spinning . What is next ? Nuclear .
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Old 03-09-16, 08:30 PM
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I looked through the various Raleigh catalogs I have and aero levers don't show up until 1983 and then only on the Road Ace 12 model with lots of Shimano 600 AX components.
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Old 03-09-16, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
no fuji in the '84 catalogue has aero levers.
Originally Posted by dailycommute View Post
84 team fujis did ship stock with aeros...
totally right. i missed the team model. that was the only fuji in '84.

https://www.classicfuji.com/1984_09_TeamFuji_Page.htm

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Old 03-09-16, 09:39 PM
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Yep the 460 was also the only model with aero levers in Trek's 85 catalog.
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Old 03-10-16, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dailycommute View Post
They are diacomp AC something (worn away).
Aero Gran Compe?

AGC

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Old 03-10-16, 10:05 AM
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Shimano introduced their aero levers for the 1981 model year on the various AX groups. However, the real breakthrough occurred in 1987 with the New 105 SLR levers with the return assist springs. After this, a lot of people started converting to aero levers.
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Old 03-10-16, 12:09 PM
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I haven't looked at catalogs, but I would wonder when aero levers trickled from only the top-end models to just about everything else.
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Old 03-10-16, 01:56 PM
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First generation Campsgnolo aero levers were dual routing, could be traditional or aero.
The body was a bit bigger, had a bit better shape for large palms but when used in the aero mode had less mechanical advantage and if you did not drill the bars the installing mechanic had to file a mouse hole for the cable to exit the lever body. These levers required the little saddle shaped plates for the cable to route against, identified by the small rectangular piercings above the cable stop barrel on the lever blade.
A meh design, one of many of the period for them. Dark days.
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Old 03-10-16, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Aero Gran Compe?

AGC

I have these exact ones on one of my bikes. Very nice l99king and light too.
Best thing is, the hoods never rot out on these. I think because they are made from silicone rubber, and not latex based......
Other than just a slight tinge of yellowing, the hoods on mine clean up to close to brand new looking up to this day. I think I bought them in 85 or 86.....
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Old 03-10-16, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I haven't looked at catalogs, but I would wonder when aero levers trickled from only the top-end models to just about everything else.
I would say 1987, it seems like everything had Aero Levers at that time, Not sure if others would agree but i felt like the bike was automatically ancient if it didnt have Aero levers... but then i was a punk teenager in 1987
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Old 03-10-16, 11:08 PM
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Shimano's 1982 catalog had "Aero" levers for the AX groups, standard levers for the EX groups. There was no "exact" year when the transition happened since all manufacturers were fishing around the "aero" movement in the early '80's. However, by the mid-'80's mountain bikes had taken over the market and road bikes became almost irrelevant.

Shimano 1982 Dealer Catalogue
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