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Your Thoughts on Vintage Aero Levers

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Your Thoughts on Vintage Aero Levers

Old 11-13-12, 09:13 PM
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Your Thoughts on Vintage Aero Levers

I love a simple sleek cockpit so I'm thinking of replacing my the standard levers on mycommuter for a set of Aero Levers.

Who know's the history?

Are there any particular vintage models of considerable repute?

Any new models to look out for?

Is there a significant difference in performance between standard and Aero levers?
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Old 11-13-12, 10:48 PM
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You might find this thread of interest regarding the history. PCB's post towards the bottom has some good info.

As for 'repute', there are certainly a number of potentially good options...the question is perhaps more one of suitability for your particular ride. What're we talking here?

Folks 'round here are mighty fond of the contemporary Tektros for a variety of reasons (economy being a good one for 'sleeking' your commuter). I'd buy a pair of Tektro's $20 offerings for such a task if I didn't have some old Shimano 105s or Dia Compe Aero Compes lying around. There is some degree of efficiency to be gained in going aero, but it's not terribly significant in terms of performance, in my experience.

EDIT: This thread solicits members' "favorite aero brake levers". It's a good one. Many possibilities!

Last edited by mikemowbz; 11-13-12 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 11-13-12, 10:51 PM
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Aero levers have a mechanical advantage over standard non-aero, so they work better.

Which ones to choose is personal choice. Many people really like the Tektros. They work well and are inexpensive. For me, they feel kind of wide. I like old Shimano levers like 105; I also really like Dia Compe Aero Gran Compe.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:05 PM
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I ride a 85 Schwinn Traveler. Something classy and vintage is preferred. I happen to know that everyone around here has excellent tastes in bicycle aesthetics, so I figured that you'd steer me in the right direction.

Here's a picture for you.
https://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphoto...09683207_o.jpg
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Old 11-13-12, 11:11 PM
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I'd vote for Dia Compe Aero (Gran) Compes for that one, if you can get a pair cheap. Which you likely can if you keep an eye out...

Definitely something from Dia Compes 80s offerings. They'd fit right in on that Schwinn.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:12 PM
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i too like an uncomplicated cockpit with fat, comfy, good looking hoods. i have cane creek scr-5 levers with gum hoods on three of my bikes, and similar tektro levers on another. the gum hoods look more vintage imho.

'73 falcon
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Old 11-13-12, 11:17 PM
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Something along these lines then?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Diac...item232518176c
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Old 11-13-12, 11:17 PM
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i think gum hoods (to match the tire sidewalls) and white fizik tape (to match the decals) would look pretty good.

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Old 11-14-12, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Berylbite
Those would be fine if you like the black hoods. It's not that easy to find replacement hoods for these, so get what you like to start with. Fyi you need an oversized ferrule for the housing end on the Dia Compe levers. That listing says they function properly so it sort of implies that they are included, but I would ask.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:35 AM
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Pick one:


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Old 11-14-12, 12:43 AM
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Well, That bottom pair is awfully charming. after that I'd go for the Shimano set.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Berylbite
Well, That bottom pair is awfully charming. after that I'd go for the Shimano set.
Good choice. They're big and pretty comfortable. Light too because it's mostly plastic. Those are Tektro R200's. They're about $20.
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Old 11-14-12, 02:48 AM
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I like having aero levers on vintage bikes.
In france it is seen as an american thing to put these levers on vintage bikes i think.

Most people don't know that some french constructeurs used aero levers in the 1940's and they are beautiful ones!
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Old 11-14-12, 02:50 AM
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Voila 1940's Frexel levers!

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Old 11-14-12, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Veloh
Good choice. They're big and pretty comfortable. Light too because it's mostly plastic. Those are Tektro R200's. They're about $20.
you can also pay $35 for the cane creek version of the Tektro R200 (same levers, diff brand and price)


Shimano 600 BL-6208 are nice vintage aero levers from the late 80s
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Old 11-14-12, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Berylbite
As much as I like the looks of my Dia- Compe aero levers, they take a special barrel that the cable fits in which is a pain to find. After I installed mine on my Centurion the right lever is sticky because of the way the cable exits them also, I know I can fix it but I picked up a pair of Shimano 600 aero levers in bronze that I just love. The 600's look & feel so much better then the Dia-Compes and the cable doesn't need any special barrel end, I even found a pair of NOS hoods at the shop I work at for the 600's ( also found them for the Dia-Compes in pink & black).

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Old 11-14-12, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Berylbite
That's about what I had in mind, yup. There are a few variations in the Dia Compe line at the time (some have shallow indentations in the alloy where there are holes through on that pair; some have plain levers bodies). If you troll the 'bay, check out other options for a bit (coop?), should be able to go a fair bit cheaper than that pair - but that's certainly a direction I would look into.

EDIT: As others have noted, ensuring that these are complete with appropriate ferrule, and that hoods are OK and appropriate to your use in terms of preferred color, would definitely be worth your while. As I said initially, if I didn't have anything lying around (I have seemingly everything but Tektros in the box: a pair of those Dia Compe AGC, old Shimano 105, new Shimano...) I'd just buy a pair of those to sleek up a commuter. Price is right, look decent, they work, some folks (though not all) like the wide hoods. But the Dia Compes are, of course, more 'period', and very similar in styling to the levers you have on that bike at present.

I'd swing you a deal for the pair of DC AGCs in my box, but it'll be months before I have access to the stash of parts - it and I are very far apart at present.

Last edited by mikemowbz; 11-14-12 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:52 AM
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those Frexel levers are amazing, I've never seen anything like them before. they're up there along with the Roi des Grimpeurs levers as the coolest vintage brake levers ever.
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Old 11-14-12, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Catnap
those Frexel levers are amazing, I've never seen anything like them before. they're up there along with the Roi des Grimpeurs levers as the coolest vintage brake levers ever.
+1^^
They look like deadly weapons of some sort.....I wonder if they would look even better all polished up??
It would also be nice to see a period pic of these early aero levers installed on a bike as it might look like some sort time traveler bike compared to other bikes next to it.

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Old 11-14-12, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by frantik
you can also pay $35 for the cane creek version of the Tektro R200 (same levers, diff brand and price)


Shimano 600 BL-6208 are nice vintage aero levers from the late 80s
6208 are non areo only I believe. 6209 is when they switched to aero routing. I have sets of both in my parts bin.
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Old 11-14-12, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Daveyates
Voila 1940's Frexel levers!

THANKS!
BEST POST OF THE WEEK!
I really enjoyed its image, I never know the concept was explored this early.
Hats off

Mike
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Old 11-14-12, 03:57 PM
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I like the 105, dura ace, 400 and diacompe levers, both for looks, feel and efficiency. I have not tried the Cane Creek or Tektro levers but I think they look hideous.
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Old 11-14-12, 04:14 PM
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I've done some more research and found out Frexel Aero levers were designed for Lionel Brans voyage.
Lionel Brans cycled from Paris to Saigon in 1948 and i just now remember that i saw his bike at a cycling exhibition in Paris last year.

Here are some photos of his bike with the aero levers.





The eagled eyed people might notice the extra brake levers as well!
Mafac Guidonnets.
He could use the brakes from any position on the bars.

The above bike is 19 kilos!

Last edited by Daveyates; 11-14-12 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 11-14-12, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Daveyates
Here are some photos of his bike with the aero levers....
Hey, I didn't know GT was making "Triple Triangle" bikes way back then!

Also, I've never seen top-tube shifter(s) instead of downtube. How are (is) the cable(s) routed?
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Old 11-14-12, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad
Hey, I didn't know GT was making "Triple Triangle" bikes way back then!

Also, I've never seen top-tube shifter(s) instead of downtube. How are (is) the cable(s) routed?
There was a few early french bikes with this triple triangle design.

It was common to have the gear lever mounted on the top tube around the thirties.
The cable or cables ( if a Cyclo derailleur was used ) ran along the top tube and down the seat stay.
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