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Cheap road brake levers with better ergonomics?

Old 06-17-16, 01:12 PM
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gsk3
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Cheap road brake levers with better ergonomics?

I have a largely stock Torker U3, which I love. Except the brake levers. They're always too far out to grab when I'm in the drops, and too hard to pull when I'm in the hoods.

I used to have a pair of mid-2000's Shimano 105 brifters that were super comfortable and had neither of these problems. Instead, they had this lovely double-action, where they moved easily at first and then some sort of lever kicked in and they applied tons of pressure with mechanical advantage. I don't need brifters on this bike, just levers.

If I picked up a pair of Shimano 105 BL-1055's would the feel be similar? If so, is there a particular time frame I should be looking for (e.g. more recent than 2002 or whatnot) where they changed the design?

Thanks!
Ari
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Old 06-17-16, 01:20 PM
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What levers does it have now?
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Old 06-17-16, 01:38 PM
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I don't think I have the 105 levers mentioned. I do have some Shimano 600 levers which are fairly small. That might be of benefit for people with smaller hands, or otherwise needing a little less reach.

You might, however, look at the Tektro levers. They are a large and fairly comfortable lever.
R340 - Short Pull
R520 - Long Pull

Technically, the short pull is good for most road bikes, but there are some advantages of the long pull (less leverage, but pulls more cable, less critical with brake adjustment).

I'm not sure what you mean by "double action". Perhaps as they contact the rim, and flex is pulled out of the system, they pull harder. Also angles would change somewhat which might increase the leverage.
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Old 06-17-16, 01:59 PM
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I Like Cable Out the top Brake levers .. being Old they should be cheap .. search them Out.
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Old 06-17-16, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I Like Cable Out the top Brake levers .. being Old they should be cheap .. search them Out.
Sorry Bob, no, just no. I slap Tektro levers on any C&V iron I pick up, no if's, and's or but's. Cheap, ergonomic, attractive, did I say cheap?
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Old 06-17-16, 04:40 PM
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Shimano still sells Tiagra level not-brifters, I think
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Old 06-17-16, 06:27 PM
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It's possible that the brakes themselves (not the levers) on the Torker just aren't as good as the 105s on your previous bike and that is partly responsible for the difficulty in operating them. Obviously that doesn't change the fact that reach is also a problem.

I have Tektros on two of my bikes and I like them but I can't honestly say whether the reach is any shorter than what you have which is why I'm a little reluctant to tell you to get a set. Changing the levers' position on the bars may help and so might different bars. Maybe even better pads or making sure the cables are moving freely.

Your best bet might be to find a bike shop that does fittings in your area and tell them what the problem is. They should be able to let you try different lever and bar combinations so you'll know your getting something that will be an improvement.

Last edited by tjspiel; 06-17-16 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 06-17-16, 06:41 PM
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Tektro RL340 levers are definitely the way to go. Good "brifter-size" hoods and available online for less than $25 in many cases. If you feel you have smaller than average hands, model RL341 are made for smaller hands, though I've never handled them to be able to describe the difference.
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Old 06-17-16, 06:51 PM
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Super helpful everyone, both on the 105's and the tektros and the cable out the top pro/con opinions. I'll check them all out.

Looks like the U3 has: "Sun-Race bar end shifter with alloy brake levers". Whatever they are, the levers feel cheap, which is why I'll try replacing them first. I'm adding in-line levers so I can have levers while on the bar rather than the hoods/drops (city commuting) and replacing the tape anyway, so might as well try new levers. If that still doesn't fix it then I'll work on replacing the brakes themselves.

I'll report back when I try them out. Thanks!
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Old 06-18-16, 07:27 PM
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Ordered the RL341's. We'll see how this goes.
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Old 06-18-16, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
It's possible that the brakes themselves (not the levers) on the Torker just aren't as good as the 105s on your previous bike and that is partly responsible for the difficulty in operating them. Obviously that doesn't change the fact that reach is also a problem.
I'm running Campy levers + Ultegra 6800 callipers on one bike. They really grab well. I've been using old side-pull callipers for so long that the new 6800's really seem nice.
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Old 06-19-16, 11:25 AM
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From 4th post : Modolo 919 hoods on Modolo or Campagnolo brake levers ..

Pictures (not mine) : https://www.etsy.com/listing/2923806...IlwaAgy28P8HAQ

Mine are cheaper since I got them, New, 35 years ago. (thin, glove, leather glued on the outside kept them from deteriorating)

this is what I have on my Drop Bar touring Bike , Now.

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Old 09-30-16, 04:39 AM
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Finally got around to installing them (Tektro RL341), and together with the addition of cross levers, I'm in ergonomic heaven! Thanks everyone.
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