Mountain bike brake levers affect your ability to brake and significantly influence the safety of your bike. The bike's brake mechanism and the amount of mechanical advantage required for effective braking determine the type of levers you need. The standard-pull, long-pull, and adjustable brake levers available on eBay suit different brake systems and requirements. Look for additional features that improve utility and durability.
Choosing Brake Levers for Different Brake Mechanisms
Brake levers can form part of or be distinct from gear shifters. These levers transmit the force the rider applies to the brakes through hydraulic or mechanical mechanisms. Choose a brake lever compatible with the type of brake mechanism on the mountain bike. In addition, match the mechanical advantage of the lever to the brake to ensure adequate travel and leverage to operate the brakes effectively. Mismatched levers can cause too much or too little mechanical advantage, which makes the brakes overly responsive or under responsive. If in doubt, opt for an exact replacement by searching for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) brake levers using the make and model of your mountain bike.
Types of Mechanical Brake Levers
Standard-pull or short-pull levers work with calliper brakes, U-brakes, and traditional centre-pull cantilever brakes. Long-pull levers work with direct-pull cantilever brakes, such as Shimano V-Brakes, and most mechanical disc brakes. Direct-pull cantilever brakes require levers with half the mechanical advantage because they have double the mechanical advantage of traditional brakes. Long-pull levers pull the brake cable half as hard, but twice as far as standard pull brake levers. Most mountain bikes come with long pull brake levers. Alternatively, opt for brake levers with adjustable leverage or variable mechanical advantage. You can change these levers from short-pull to long-pull as required.
Hydraulic Brake Levers
Hydraulic brake levers push fluid from the brake reservoir through the brake hose. This moves pistons in the calliper that push the brake pads against the braking system. Mountain bikes rarely have hydraulic brakes. Their mechanical advantage depends on the design of the specific brake system. Check whether the brake levers available are compatible with your bike's brake system and ensure that you include the right brake fluid when buying new brake levers.
Brake Lever Features
Brake lever materials include lightweight yet durable alloys in single-finger or multiple-finger configurations, and you can pick a design that suits your riding style and preferences. The levers should be easy to install and simple to set up. Choose a corrosion-resistant finish for increased durability, and reversible brake levers for added versatility. A mountain bike's handlebar type and the amount of brake cable travel required further influence the suitability of brake levers. Mountain bikes have upright handlebars, and brake levers tend to curve away from the bar for improved clearance. Avoid brake levers designed for drop handlebars because these tend to follow the curve of the handlebars and are unsuitable for mountain bikes.