24 April, 2012

Brake Levers, a New Golden Age

I remember how hard it was to find decent looking silver brake levers for upright bars just 10 years ago. Usually I'd search E-bay for old levers to use on my own bikes. How times have changed...

I really liked the Tektro FL750 levers from the moment I first saw them. They combine a clean moderniste shape and Tektro's usual high quality. But the black clamp wasn't quite right, so we asked Tektro to make us some with silver clamps. Now they are stunning. They fit 22.2mm bars.

If you prefer a MTB style lever, check out the Tektro FL740 levers. The new version has red quick releases. I wasn't sure about the red at first, but they are kind of cool once on the bike.

For the true retro look there are always the inexpensive, but classic, VO City Levers.

Dia Compe Guidonnet Brake Levers are another great choice. Who would have though, ten years ago, that brand new guidonnet levers would ever be available again.

Finally there are two inverse levers, the Tektro RX4.1 and the Dia Compe inverse levers. The latter are available to fit 22.2 or 23.8mm bars.

I think it's pretty great that we can build practical and great looking city bikes without searching for parts on E-bay or at swap meets. Are we in a new golden age of sensible bikes? 

11 comments:

Gunnar Berg said...

Very, very nice. Sometimes I see your new products and I think to myself, "What the hell are they thinking?" More often you are spot on. And I suspect when you are not, it is my myopia which has kicked in again.

Dave said...

Let's hear it for silver, the best on a bike (IMHO)
Dave

George said...

I'm afraid the golden age is still pretty far off...my city still seems to think the cheap hybrid with knobbly tires is the chariot of the working man.

That said, I love what you're doing and hope to see more elegant/useful (kalos kagathos?) bikes hitting the streets in the future!

jsk_online said...

Agree about the beauty of multiple lever choices (and handlebars, thanks in big part to VO) ... but what I'd like to see is Tektro offer a 23.8 bar compatible city/mtn bike style lever so we could benefit from the convenience of using bar end shifters such great offerings as the Belleville, Porteur and Montmartre.

Anonymous said...

Chris:

I recently installed the Porteur handlebar with the Guidonnet levers on my Rambouillet which I use for commuting, errands and rambling rides. The combination is excellent. I have easy access to the Brakes from many areas on the handlebar. It truly was one of those "why did I not do this before" upgrades. Thanks for bringing so many great products to market.
Jay

John I said...

Nice.

Have you ever thought of developing a combined reverse brake lever/bar-end shifter pod unit? That could make for a nice clean bar setup.

fridaycyclotouriste said...

I'm no expert, but I did announce the Golden Age beginning on November 28, 2009 in this blog posting ;)

http://thefridaycyclotouriste.com/?p=2314

-nathan

Sherlock said...

I agree that a pretty wide selection of nice brake levers for upright handlebars is available today — but what about drop bars? For those who don't need modern brake/shift levers, but don't want to go all retro either there is not a lot to choose from.

BTW: I really wonder why Tektro dropped the R200A levers from their product line. In my opinion, the R200A was much nicer than the oddly-shaped R340.

Ritchie said...

Reverse bar-end/shift pod is genius. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Things are changing. I see people from NYC to Tucson AZ sporting a mixture of these kinds of levers. Go VO! You're always the most innovative! Manufacturing things we wished we had (which we can now get! )

Anonymous said...

These were out on some Specialized Globe models before they were released under Tektro's name. I was disappointed to see that they had added some black parts (and the logo) from the Specialized version which was all silver, and has a non-anodized clamp. I did manage to get a pair from them before Tektro released the production version. They're still waiting on the project, for which I laced some high-flange Record hubs to a pair of your PBP rims.