Road bike brake levers are an essential component of any cyclist’s setup. They enable riders to control their speed and bring their bike to a stop when necessary.
However, not all brake levers are created equal. Upgrading your road bike brake levers can help you push your limits and improve your cycling experience.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss how upgrading your road bike brake levers can enhance your performance and what to consider when selecting new brake levers.
Road bike brake levers may seem like a minor component of your bike, but they play a critical role in your overall performance. Upgrading your brake levers can have several benefits, including:
- Improved Braking Power: Upgrading to high-quality brake levers can increase your bike’s stopping power, allowing you to stop faster and more efficiently.
- Better Control: Upgraded brake levers can offer more precise control, enabling you to modulate your braking force accurately.
- More Comfortable Riding: Ergonomic brake levers can make riding more comfortable, especially on long rides where you frequently use your brakes.
- Aesthetic Appeal: Upgraded brake levers can enhance the overall look of your bike, giving it a sleek, modern appearance.
Before you rush out to purchase new road bike brake levers, there are a few things to consider to ensure you select the right levers for your needs:
- Compatibility: Not all brake levers are compatible with all brake systems. Be sure to check the compatibility of your brake levers with your bike’s brakes before making a purchase.
- Material: Brake levers are typically made of aluminum or carbon fiber. Aluminum is generally less expensive but can be heavier, while carbon fiber is lighter but pricier.
- Lever Shape: The shape of the brake lever can have a significant impact on your riding experience. Some brake levers have a curved shape, while others are straight. Experiment with different shapes to find one that feels most comfortable for you.
- Cable Pull: Different brake levers have different cable pulls, which can affect their performance. Select brake levers with a cable pull compatible with your brake system.
- Lever Reach: Lever reach refers to the distance from the brake lever to the handlebars. Some brake levers have adjustable reach, allowing you to customize the distance to your preference.
- Weight: Upgraded brake levers can be heavier or lighter than your current levers, affecting your bike’s overall weight. Consider the weight of the new levers and how it may impact your riding experience.
Now that you know what to consider when selecting new brake levers, let’s take a look at some of the top road bike brake lever upgrades available:
- Shimano Ultegra Brake Levers: The Shimano Ultegra brake levers offer excellent braking power and control with an ergonomic design that’s comfortable to use.
- SRAM Force Brake Levers: The SRAM Force brake levers are lightweight and offer a high level of control, with an adjustable reach to customize the distance to your preference.
- TRP RRL Carbon Brake Levers: The TRP RRL Carbon brake levers are lightweight carbon fiber, with an ergonomic design and adjustable reach for a customized fit.
- Campagnolo Chorus Brake Levers: The Campagnolo Chorus brake levers offer excellent braking power and control with an attractive, classic design that looks great on any bike.
- Tektro RL520 Brake Levers: The Tektro RL520 brake levers are affordable, with reliable braking power and a comfortable ergonomic design. They’re compatible with road and cyclocross bikes, making them versatile.
Once you’ve selected your new brake levers, it’s time to install them on your bike. Here’s a step-by-step guide to upgrading your road bike brake levers:
- Remove the old brake levers: Begin by removing the old brake levers from your bike. Use a hex wrench or screwdriver to loosen the bolts holding the brake levers.
- Install the new brake levers: Slide them onto your handlebars and secure them in place with the bolts or screws that come with the levers.
- Adjust the cable tension: Once the new brake levers are installed, you must adjust the cable tension to ensure your brakes work correctly. Use a cable cutter to trim the brake cable to the appropriate length, then use the barrel adjusters on the brake levers to fine-tune the cable tension.
- Test the brakes: Before taking your bike out on the road, test your brakes to ensure they work correctly. Squeeze the brake levers to ensure they engage the brakes and adjust the cable tension as necessary.
Upgrading your road bike brake levers can be an excellent investment in your cycling experience. With improved braking power, better control, and more comfortable riding, you can push your limits and take your cycling to the next level. Consider the factors we’ve discussed when selecting your new brake levers.
Experiment with different shapes and styles to find the best ones for you. With the right road bike brake levers, you’ll be on your way to a smoother, more enjoyable ride.