I realized a few weeks ago that whenever I spot a bike, in particular a road bike, the first detail I usually zero in on are the brake levers.  Kind of odd, but I figured out that I am looking for those “helper” levers that wrap along the profile of the bar and end near the stem.

Years ago we were all told that they aren’t safe for stopping and that you won’t find them on better bikes.  So you see, I’m looking to see if it’s a cheap bike, or one worth taking a closer look at.  Levers = don’t bother.

The thing is…these bikes are everywhere.  I’ve noticed that people are either riding box store MTBs; or they’re riding these 20 year old “racing” bikes with the handy levers.  Nobody seems to be careening wildly out of control – they just seem to be getting to wherever they need to be.

I’m beginning to think there might be some kind of retro movement back to aluminum road bikes with 27″ wheels and helper levers…it just hasn’t been written about yet.  And if these bikes are so terrible, hows come they’re lasting 20 years?

BTW:  If you Google “cheap bicycle levers”, a bunch of Tektro and Shimano bikes pop up.  Hmmm…


2 responses to “Snobbery

  1. Snobbery is right. I has a story.

    A few weeks back I had the opportunity to ride some other people’s bikes. (OPB?) These bikes all belonged to Harrisburg Bicycle Club members. Bike enthusiasts. I got to ride a carbon fiber cross bike, a high-end folder, and even a custom Seven. At least, I think it was a Seven. It was a titanium road bike that wasn’t a Lynskey.

    Squishiest brakes ever. Every last one of them.

    One could assume, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable, that bike enthusiasts who pay thousands for top of the line machines might actually keep them tuned properly. I could pull the levers all the way to the grips on two of them. The third bike had a brake that was so far from the wheel that it never touched the rim at all.

    I get antsy if I can’t lock up the rear wheel on mine. Yet these folks seem to be OK with planning their stops a day in advance. Chicken wing suicide levers can be made to work much better than that.

    • That’s scary. You’d think bikes like that would have the brakes tuned up pretty tight. I’m pretty impressed with the Big Mouth Tektros that are on the Bianchi. For calipers, they’re pretty strong.

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