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Your favorite aero brake levers?

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Your favorite aero brake levers?

Old 08-05-12, 05:05 PM
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Your favorite aero brake levers?

I am going to use long reach centerpull or sidepull brakes on an upcoming build.
I have no aero levers on any of my builds and I would like to give them a whirl.

I would appreciate hearing what folk's favorite aero levers are and why.

Thanks!

-D
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Old 08-05-12, 05:20 PM
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Tektro RL340 - it's inexpensive, has a nice, wide, comfortable hood and the levers have a great pull. There is no down side - they are wonderful.
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Old 08-05-12, 05:27 PM
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I like the feel of Campy Ergos and have smallish hands, so the now defunct Tektro R200 were my favorite. I stupidly sold my last set and now they are hard to find.

I find I also like the Shimano 105 SLR type. The newer Tektros are still comfy but a bit less so than the R200s.
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Old 08-05-12, 05:32 PM
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Tektro R200, the smaller, older model. Have them on a few bikes. I have a pair of the RL340s, with tan hoods, that I started to use with the Weinmann centerpulls on my Motobecane, but the slight bend the handles make did not look right on the bars, and the overall lever and housing seemed too bulky for the build, so I put on an extra set of the R200s. I will use the RL340s on something else, I'm pretty sure.

BTW the R200s work great with the centerpulls. And the QR feature is a must-have.
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Old 08-05-12, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Orrery View Post
I find I also like the Shimano 105 SLR type.
+1 Comfortable, nice look, available (if one doesn't mind a bit of time looking) at reasonable prices used.

Ones like these just look right on a wide variety of 80s and 90s bikes (which covers my entire stable), and they work great:



White hoods are a nice option (and can clean up surprisingly well, better than my example ), you gotta love the classic silver levers with the wavy lines low on the lever bodies for a little texture, and you're overpaying if they cost you much more than the above-mentioned Tektros do new. Especially recommended with the original Shimano 105 SLR single-pivots, which the venerable Sheldon has declared perhaps the best sidepull setup ever. I've also had some luck finding Shimano R600 levers under $50 signed and delivered from the UK...not super 'vintage', as a current production model, but very clean look and top quality. I'm sure the Tektros are good, too, but I've never used them.

I suppose it might help to know a bit about the bike you have in mind for your upcoming build - though I kinda like the fact that you just throw out the general question better, as it elicits a variety of responses that might be applicable beyond a particular build
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Old 08-05-12, 06:44 PM
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I really like the Cane Creek levers. They can also be had in Black or Silver with either brown or black hoods.
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Old 08-05-12, 06:54 PM
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I'll put in a plug for the R200 levers too (and I'm glad to hear how many others seem to like them as well.) I recently mounted a pair of Shimano Exage levers and I really like the fit to my hands, not to mention the feel of the durable hoods.
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Old 08-05-12, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mikemowbz View Post
+1 Comfortable, nice look, available (if one doesn't mind a bit of time looking) at reasonable prices used.

Ones like these just look right on a wide variety of 80s and 90s bikes (which covers my entire stable), and they work great:



White hoods are a nice option (and can clean up surprisingly well, better than my example ), you gotta love the classic silver levers with the wavy lines low on the lever bodies for a little texture, and you're overpaying if they cost you much more than the above-mentioned Tektros do new. Especially recommended with the original Shimano 105 SLR single-pivots, which the venerable Sheldon has declared perhaps the best sidepull setup ever. I've also had some luck finding Shimano R600 levers under $50 signed and delivered from the UK...not super 'vintage', as a current production model, but very clean look and top quality. I'm sure the Tektros are good, too, but I've never used them.

I suppose it might help to know a bit about the bike you have in mind for your upcoming build - though I kinda like the fact that you just throw out the general question better, as it elicits a variety of responses that might be applicable beyond a particular build
This machine is going back to drop bars and 12 speeds. I am leaning toward rando bars.:


Motobecane Grand Record 3 speed conversion by djk762, on Flickr
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Old 08-05-12, 07:40 PM
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Another vote for the tektro r200 (also sold by cane creek, origin8, and retro shift)

The actual campy levers tektro copied are nicer, but not worth the price increase.
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Old 08-05-12, 08:24 PM
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I wonder if anyone connected to Tektro would ever notice this thread while doing market research? This is about as much consensus as ever seen on this forum, aside from general statements like 'bikes are cool.'
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Old 08-05-12, 08:33 PM
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Retro shift was able to get tektro to start producing the r200 again.
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Old 08-05-12, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
I wonder if anyone connected to Tektro would ever notice this thread while doing market research? This is about as much consensus as ever seen on this forum, aside from general statements like 'bikes are cool.'
This is too true. I feel a little left out! Seriously, never tried 'em. I'd say 'next time', but I've got a pair of R600s in reserve plus several pairs of non-aeros...

No one thinks that Moto could use a slightly inappropriate-looking Mavic 440 SSC lever just to stick closer to the homeland ?
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Old 08-05-12, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
Tektro R200, the smaller, older model. Have them on a few bikes. I have a pair of the RL340s, with tan hoods, that I started to use with the Weinmann centerpulls on my Motobecane, but the slight bend the handles make did not look right on the bars, and the overall lever and housing seemed too bulky for the build, so I put on an extra set of the R200s. I will use the RL340s on something else, I'm pretty sure.

BTW the R200s work great with the centerpulls. And the QR feature is a must-have.
+1

Origin8 rebrands the R200 and sells it as their own. They are only $25. What a bargain!

The only difference between them and the Tektro-branded levers is a little black 8 logo on the top of the levers which looks like it would be easy to polish off with some scratch-X if you wanted. I haven't done that with mine yet but I'm thinking about it.

They work VERY well. Tons of power/leverage and great feel. And like ChicagoAL said, the campy-style quick-release feature is REALLY nice. They work especially well on side-pulls with larger tires where the quick-release on the calipers isn't enough to clear the tires without deflating them. The release on the levers gives the calipers the extra opening to clear the tires.

Remember always: NACFO!
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Old 08-05-12, 08:46 PM
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Tektro RL340s. The levers are easy to grab from the hoods and the hoods are comfortable. They aren't as pretty as the R200s.
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Old 08-05-12, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mikemowbz View Post
This is too true. I feel a little left out! Seriously, never tried 'em. I'd say 'next time', but I've got a pair of R600s in reserve plus several pairs of non-aeros...

No one thinks that Moto could use a slightly inappropriate-looking Mavic 440 SSC lever just to stick closer to the homeland ?
I have a set of those. They are nice but not as comfortable as the campy/tektro levers.

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Old 08-05-12, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mikemowbz View Post
This is too true. I feel a little left out! Seriously, never tried 'em. I'd say 'next time', but I've got a pair of R600s in reserve plus several pairs of non-aeros...

No one thinks that Moto could use a slightly inappropriate-looking Mavic 440 SSC lever just to stick closer to the homeland ?
Inappropriate but very interesting. French aero brakes are few and far between.

Has anyone here tried the Shimano BL-R400's? :

https://www.amazon.com/Shimano-BL-R40...ro+brake+lever
[h=1][/h]-D
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Old 08-05-12, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by djkashuba View Post
Inappropriate but very interesting. French aero brakes are few and far between.
They are only French in name. They were made for mavic by modolo.
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Old 08-05-12, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Orrery View Post
I like the feel of Campy Ergos and have smallish hands, so the now defunct Tektro R200 were my favorite. I stupidly sold my last set and now they are hard to find.

I find I also like the Shimano 105 SLR type. The newer Tektros are still comfy but a bit less so than the R200s.
+1 Also Dia Compe Aero Gran Compe.
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Old 08-05-12, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by djkashuba View Post
Inappropriate but very interesting. French aero brakes are few and far between.

Has anyone here tried the Shimano BL-R400's? :
I used to have a bike with Shimano RX100 aero levers, which seem to be more or less identical. Very much like the R600s, more economical version. Comfortable (to me), very functional, very much in line with what one would expect of Shimano (not such a far cry from older examples such as 80s tricolor or 105). Aesthetically, I could do without the light grey bits, but that's probably a personal thing.

Worth checking British suppliers such as chainreactioncycles.com for R600 if these interest you, I've snagged a pair as low as $45 there (though prices may not be that low at present).

Originally Posted by thirdgenbird View Post
They are only French in name. They were made for mavic by modolo.
This is true. More French than the Tektros or Shimano offerings, still, depending on one's standards and definitions.

Must've been some Sachs Huret branded (pseudo-) French aero levers made by Modolo as well, I imagine...
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Old 08-05-12, 10:06 PM
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Yep - the BL-R400 are my absolute favorites. As far as I can tell, they are exactly the same as the 600's except for the gray plastic piece between the hoods and levers which is black on the 600's. The Exage's are nice too.

I'll be the lone dissenter regarding the Tektros. They feel cheap to me (in fairness, they are), they're uncomfortable for my hands, they don't survive impacts well, and they look cheap IMO. They work fine, I suppose but on one of the pairs I had the pivot pins repeatedly worked their way out of the lever body. On the plus side, I do like the integrated QR lever.

Originally Posted by djkashuba View Post
Inappropriate but very interesting. French aero brakes are few and far between.

Has anyone here tried the Shimano BL-R400's? :

https://www.amazon.com/Shimano-BL-R40...ro+brake+lever
-D
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Old 08-05-12, 10:17 PM
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The tektros ($20) are a touch cheap. The real ones from campy ($200) are dripping with quality.
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Old 08-05-12, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by thirdgenbird View Post
The tektros ($20) are a touch cheap. The real ones from campy ($200) are dripping with quality.
Plus they go so well with the skinny jeans and the ironic mustache...
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Old 08-05-12, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by thirdgenbird View Post
The tektros ($20) are a touch cheap. The real ones from campy ($200) are dripping with quality.
Ain't that the truth? The (pseudo-) French options aren't cheap, either. The Shimano options discussed are closer to the Tektros in price. I can't arbitrate between those two, due to a lack in my personal experience...

As for amesja's point, I'm not sure the hipster constituency is really the predominant consumer demographic for premium campy parts, but...
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Old 08-05-12, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mikemowbz View Post
Ain't that the truth? The (pseudo-) French options aren't cheap, either. The Shimano options discussed are closer to the Tektros in price. I can't arbitrate between those two, due to a lack in my personal experience...

As for amesja's point, I'm not sure the hipster constituency is really the predominant consumer demographic for premium campy parts, but...
Live used the tektros, shimano's, and campagnolos (ergos, but it is the same lever and body) i have more miles on some than others but here is my take.

Comfort:
1. Campagnolo
2. Tektro
3. Shimano

Quality:
1. Campagnolo
2. Shimano
3. Tektro

Value:
1. Tektro
2. Shimano
3. Campagnolo

I won't rate pure function because I haven't tested them with the same brakes but i would say quality and function go hand in hand with most brake levers. I should also note that some of these are close and others are not. The campy and shimano are nearly the same quality but the price is on another planet.

If money were not an issue the campy levers are my obvious choice, the tektros are by far the best value, and as usual the shimano levers are a solid choice at a fair price.

the modolo/mavic levers are a virtural tie with the shimano levers in every category but do get bonus points for exclusivity.

Last edited by thirdgenbird; 08-05-12 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 08-05-12, 10:49 PM
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^ Appreciate the breakdown. I, for one, will have to take some heed to majority opinion and give those Tektros a try at some point...

I don't mind the Shimanos for comfort, but maybe I just don't know any better
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