Brake Levers Explained
Hopefully this quick guide will explain the differences between the brake levers we offer.
Regular Pull vs Linear Pull - This refers to the ratio between the amount of cable pulled and the lever movement. As a basic rule, V-brakes are linear pull and all other brakes use regular pull.
Clamps - Either 22.2mm or 23.8mm. Flat or swept back handlebars are generally 22.2mm and drops or bullhorns are 23.8mm. Some levers will work on both but most are specific.
Aero vs Non-Aero - Traditional style brake levers have the cable coming out the top of the lever (non-aero), while modern drop levers run the cables inside the bartape (aero). The aero design can look neater, however non-aero cabling is more direct and results in a smoother cable.
Bar-end Inverse Brake Levers - Today these are mainly produced and sold for TT bikes. We like to use them to recreate classic porteur style bikes like the one below.
These levers require the handlebars to have a large internal diameter (usually 19-22mm) to fit. In general, all 23.8mm outer diameter handlebars will work. There is one set of levers made to fit 22.2mm bars, the Dia-Compe DC188 levers. They are suitable for 16-19mm internal diameter.
All inverse levers have external cable routing so you will need to run bartape or the specific Dia-Compe Inverse Lever Grips.
Cables - There are two main types of brake ends, barrel and pear. All drop handlebar levers use pear end cables. Most other levers use barrel end, with the exception of the Tektro FL750, which must use pear end.
The BLB crosstop levers are in-line levers designed to run mid-way through the brake cables of a cyclocross bike. Their short levers have made them popular on bullhorn single speed bikes as the only lever. This means the cable end sits on the outer body of the lever. Neither cable end sits well without modification. We have found that ball end brake cables work perfectly for these levers.