SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


A Mini-Review: Tektro RL-520 vs Dia-Compe 287-V brake levers

New Brake Lever Day!
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop
I just replaced the Dia-Compe 287-V levers on my CX bike with the newer Tektro RL-520 levers. Overall, I like the Tektro levers quite a bit more than the Dia-Compes: the hoods are fatter/taller and nicer to grab onto; the levers are much better -- their spooned/curved shape offers improved braking from the hoods and the extra length and width works better from the drops; and of course no stupid friction-adding metal cable noodles under the lever bodies! The downsides to the 520s are: you need a REALLY long 5mm hex wrench to fit down inside the bodies to tighten them onto the handlebars; the bodies are made of plastic, not metal, and the notch for the cable could be shaped a bit better -- my desired lever position caused an additional curve in the cable due to this that increases friction slightly. Overall, though -- especially given the fact that the Tektros are half the cost of the DCs -- I like the Tektros MUCH better!

PS. Here's a tip/trick: An old, grubby computer mouse pad -- the kind that are made from 1/4" foam rubber -- cut into strips makes a SUPERBE additional cushioning layer under your handlebar tape. Tack it to your bars using duct tape, then wrap with your favorite top layer. Sweet!


Blogger blackmountaincycles said...

Jim, I too like the Tektro lever over the D-C. Check out what I did to improve cable routing as it exits the body: http://tinyurl.com/r5vpxg

And please don't use duct tape on the bars - electrical tape only. Duct tape dries to a crisp and never wants to come off easily


7:05 PM  
Blogger Jim G said...

Mike, you wrote "The combination of the shape of the brake lever body, how the cable casing exits the brake lever, and the shape of the bar where the brake cable housing exits made for a very tight bend in the casing that caused the cable to bind inside slightly. I filed the corner off and made the casing flow much more gradual - better braking!" -- EXACTLY. I'd seen your Fargo blog entry before, and I wish I'd remembered it late Friday night when I was finishing up my bike! I had the same thought (to cut the corner of the body off), but due to the late hour ended up letting sleeping dogs lay. Need to revisit this. Thanks also for the duct-tape warning...I didn't think about it drying out!

11:03 PM  
Blogger Cormac said...

I have to say I don't like these:
1) I had to remove my bar end shifters to install the clamp.
2) There's no slot in the brake cable attachment and the head of the brake cable doesn't slip through the body. Meaning you have to completely undo your brakes and pull the cable out the housing to slip it through the lever body.
3) If you don't have drop bars, the handles won't open far enough to tighten the hex key. I have mustache bars and was lucky to get the bolt tight enough at an angle.
4) these are huge and ugly. I'm tempted to go to cantilevers and my stock levers.

4:42 PM  

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