Motorcycle Levers Buying Guide

Like if this guide is helpful
Motorcycle Levers Buying Guide

Every time bike riders start their motorcycles, they use the levers on the handlebars. These levers include the clutch and brake, one to start, and one to stop. These attachments are a vital part of every ride, and they have to work perfectly every time because riders rely on them when they need to slow down or change gears. Unfortunately, the location at the front of the handlebars not only makes them easy to reach, but also susceptible to damage. This is only exacerbated by the fact that as moving parts, they are subject to wear every time they are used. Even without damage, they can wear out over time.

Luckily, new motorcycle levers are both easy to buy and easy to install, and this can be easily managed by anyone with a handful of basic tools. All buyers need to do is determine which levers are designed to fit their motorcycles and install them. Levers and other motorcycle components can be purchased at online sites like eBay or in local automotive parts stores.

Basics of Motorcycle Levers

Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle with hand controls can understand how a motorcycle lever works. At its base, it is a metal bar attached to a cable and mounted on a fulcrum. When the rider squeezes the lever, it rotates on the fulcrum, drawing the cable toward the lever. Most also come with a span adjustment knob that allows the rider to set the lever to a comfortable position for use. This is particularly helpful for riders with small hands since they may not be able to apply their full strength if the lever is too far away.

Types of Motorcycle Levers

While some people may think that the two main types of levers are clutches and brakes, that is not actually the case from a user standpoint. Both levers work in essentially the same fashion, regardless of what is on the other end of the cable. The biggest differentiator between motorcycle levers that buyers should concern themselves with is length. There are two main types, standard and 'shorty' levers. A standard lever reaches close to the end of the handlebar and is the default option on most motorcycles. The main issue with a standard lever is that because of its length and exposed position, it is very easy to damage, particularly on an off-road motorcycle. Shorty levers, on the other hand, are shorter. This makes them harder to damage, but at the cost of reduced mechanical advantage. For some riders, this is not an issue, but for riders with upper body strength issues, the greater effort required to use a shorty lever may be a problem.

Selecting New Motorcycle Levers

There are a number of decisions to make when selecting a new set of motorcycle levers for any bike, starting with the balance of the owner's needs and resources. While motorcycle levers are not usually expensive, any buyer should be aware of the normal prices and set a budget before making a serious decision to purchase. This allows the buyer to stay in control of the situation and make an informed decision.

When buying parts for any motorcycle, there are two main choices for the buyer to consider, whether to buy original factory replacement parts or to buy third-party alternatives. Each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages, and no one choice is best for all riders. What matters most is that each buyer pays attention to his or her own needs and budget.

Original Equipment Motorcycle Levers

The biggest benefit of buying original factory replacement parts is that they are a known entity. These are exactly the same levers that the motorcycle came with, and they provide the rider with exactly the same experience. They work very well for someone who either wishes to maintain a motorcycle in stock condition in order to maintain its value or who does not want to make any unnecessary changes. However, OEM levers can be more expensive than third-party alternatives, and if the motorcycle is out of production, they may no longer be available from the factory.

Third-Party Alternative Motorcycle Levers

Third-party alternatives provide the greatest variety of options for any motorcycle rider. They include everything from near-duplicates of the factory original levers to custom models that bear no resemblance to anything that came with any factory motorcycle. This is the best way to get shorty levers since they are rarely available direct from the original manufacturer. Third-party levers also range widely in price, from affordable to expensive.

New or Used Motorcycle Levers

As with most types of parts, motorcycle levers can be purchased new or used. New parts are often the simplest choice, and they come exactly as advertised with every new motorcycle lever from a given manufacturer identical to one another in quality. Used parts tend to have greater variation, as each part has its own unique history based on its use by the previous owner. The big advantage to buying used parts is that they are often easier on a buyer's budget. Additionally, in some cases, used parts may be the only way to get a particular motorcycle lever if it is no longer in production.

The following table outlines the possible best choices for buyers with different buying priorities:


Best Buying Options

Tight Budget






Original factory equipment

Proven Reliability

Original factory equipment

Every buyer can benefit from thoroughly considering his or her personal needs before attempting to make a purchasing decision. Knowledge is the most powerful tool any purchaser can have regardless of the situation.

When to Replace Motorcycle Levers

There are two common sets of circumstances that may cause a person may to replace motorcycle levers. The first is when the levers are damaged, either from an accident or long-term use. The second is when the owner wants to do something different with a motorcycle. Even if a lever does not appear damaged, it may be a good idea to replace it if it starts sticking during normal use. Levers should always have smooth action in order to ensure responsiveness when needed.

Installing Motorcycle Levers

Both brake and clutch levers are normally replaced in the same fashion. All it takes is a few basic hand tools and a little time and care. The first step is to remove the protective rubber covering to gain access to the bolts. Once everything is exposed, the next step is to loosen the cable to the clutch or brake so that there is no additional tension applied when the lever is being removed. Once the tension is reduced, the rider should disconnect the cable and then undo the bolts to remove the old lever.

Once the old lever has been removed, it is a relatively simple matter to install the new one. All a person has to do is reverse the above procedure. The important thing is to make sure there is no unnecessary tension on the cable when the lever is reattached, and that it is then tightened correctly before it is put into use.

Buying Motorcycle Levers on eBay

One of the best places to buy motorcycle levers is eBay. The site offers a great variety of levers, both factory and third-party choices, at prices that can fit any budget. All you need to do is put your requirements into the search box on any page and watch the results appear on your screen. Once you have the results, the next step is to clear out those that do not quite match your needs by using the filters. You can filter out new or used items or filter by price range or seller location. Once you have a more manageable list, you can use the sort function to ensure that the ones that best fit your requirements are at the top of the list.

After you have your list of levers, the next stage is to determine which of eBay's many sellers can meet your needs. The best place to start is on the sellers' eBay profile pages, where you can see everything from their feedback to their location. You can also check to see if they offer bundles that include other accessories like new grips with lever purchases. You can also check to see if you can pick up levers in person for local sellers.


As with other moving parts, sometimes levers on a motorcycle need to be replaced. With their connection to the brake and clutch, these controls get used innumerable times on every ride, and that can wear on any part. They are also mounted in the most exposed position possible, and this makes them easy to damage in accidents or falls. Luckily, levers are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Buyers have a choice of going with factory replacements that exactly match the original levers or a wide variety of third-party alternatives designed to meet every conceivable need. Some of the alternatives may simply be less expensive than the originals, while others may provide additional customisation options. Some levers, known as shorties, provide greater resistance to damage at the expense of ease of use.

Choosing the right levers depends on the needs and abilities of specific riders. Off-road riders may benefit more from short levers, for example. Whatever a person's needs, replacing motorcycle levers is a quick and easy way to keep any motorcycle in top condition.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides