Bar-end brake lever and best bike maintenance trick ever

I decided to finally get rid of my old-skool Weinmann brake levers in favour of some bar-end brake levers, to give my single-speed a neater, more streamlined look. After some googling, I bought a pair of Dia Compe 188 Reverse Brake Levers. They are pretty reasonably priced, and well-made. My handlebar is a DIY Chop-and-Flop affair, with an inner diameter of just under 20mm. Initially I did not realise the aluminium tubes that came with the brakes were actually shims for handlebars with wider inner diameter (>20mm) - they looked to me to be parts of the brake levers. I tried to force the levers with the shims into the bar ends. Realising my mistake, I installed the levers without the shims and was happy to find that they sit very snugly inside my handlebars after some tightening.


Bullhorn with "normal" (non-reverse) brake levers mounted

Now with Dia Compe 188 Reverse Brake Levers installed

Cables neatly concealed underneath the bar tape

p.s. the levers are designed to work with BMX-style barrel brake cable nipples, but I decided to keep my original brake cables with road-style pear cable nipples. Personally, I think the levers work with pear nipples just as well.

Best bike maintenance trick ever...

So what is the best-kept secret? I had to shorten my brake cables as the cables now run from underneath as opposed to from the top of the levers. The problem with trimming brake inner cable with normal pliers is that the inner cable tends to squash under pressure, and refuses to cut cleanly. While some people would insist on buying specialist bike cable cutter, I found out that if you wrap the cable tightly with a bit of insulation tape before cutting through it, you can actually achieve a clean cut with normal pliers! Trust me, it works a treat.


Lee said…
Cable clipping mind - blown! Nice tip!!!!
Kevin Nelson said…
A good grip will be tacky enough that a bump won’t send your hand flying off the bar; soft enough that the vibration as you smash into a rock garden doesn’t send pins and needles up your arms. fahrradprofy

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