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I commute daily on a road bike with Shimano Tiagra STI shifter/brake levers. The rubber hoods are pretty grimy and getting sticky, torn up and unpleasant these days. Repair and replacement of pretty much everything on my bike seems very straight-forward, but I can't figure out if these parts can even be replaced, much less how to do it. Ideas?

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Had a similar issue with sticky hoods and could not get them clean. I realize this is quite an old post, but it gave me encouragement when trying to get the Saccon hoods I could find over my shimano 105s. This was not possible by hand alone. After earning myself a blister, I used some silicon spray, which allowed the hoods to slip over the breaks. Silicon is used to keep rubber from cracking, so I think it is a superior choice for getting those little buggers to fit. –  user3721 Mar 23 '12 at 20:25

5 Answers 5

Easiest thing to do is just cut off the old hood then take the new hood and thread it on over the bottom of the brake lever. Some are 'ergo' and have a right and left hood so make sure that you watch for right and left hoods.

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+1 Hoods are are most definitely designed to be replaceable. Also, keep in mind that stretching them a little bit to get them over the lever is OK! No disassembly required. –  Dustin Aug 30 '10 at 23:18

before you do anything, you should check the components documentation on shimano's web site, all the instructions are there - the hoods are quite widely available on order from bike shops although they don't seem to justify the $$ tag. if it's only sticky, just clean it with a damp cloth or with 1 drop of dish washing liquid if it hasn't been properly cleaned before. i use mine for over 5yrs+ its very scratched now but still don't need to replace.

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+1 for dishwashing soap. Just did wonders for me. –  Jason Plank Mar 3 '11 at 22:59

I think the first thing you should do is take the hoods off the bars. Usually there is a screw or an allen key that will loosen the hood on the bar. On my hoods this is only viable when the break leaver is pulled down. After you loosen this screw you should be able to slide the hoods along and off the bar. (You might need to remove the tape).

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I've never seen a road bike that you have to take the brake assembly off to get at the hoods. If you do it this way you'll also have to retape your bar as the tape goes over the back of the brake assembly. –  curtismchale Aug 31 '10 at 16:22
    
Actually now that I have thought about it a bit more that probably makes sense. On my older road bike, that is how I got them off the first time but you are right it would be easier to do like that. –  sixtyfootersdude Sep 7 '10 at 14:05
    
I think you are thinking of the brakes themselves, not the brake hoods. The hoods are the rubber pieces, not the metal parts underneath. –  Jason Plank Mar 3 '11 at 22:44
    
Never mind... according to Sheldon's glossary, "hoods" can refer to either. I find that highly confusing. –  Jason Plank Mar 3 '11 at 23:01
    
This helped me a ton, so many thanks! I ended up using the allen wrench to remove the whole lever assembly, then had to remove the brake cable. From there, I was able to (somewhat) easily replace the rubber hoods. –  kc-bike Mar 16 '11 at 16:04

If you can't get a replacement hood, try making one yourself. Here I have stretched a section of 26 x 1.5 - 2.0 inner tube over the brake lever. The inner tube fits better if you cut off the tip of the "horn" of the aero levers. With these Shimano Exage Action BL-A351 levers you can slip the edge of the rubber under the plastic front of the lever to help hold it in place.

The lump at the bottom of the dip in the brake lever is caused by a metal tab. I'd cover that with a leftover piece of padded handlebar tape before adding the inner tube.

To avoid the seams on the surface of the rubber, try turning the inner tube inside out.

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If you can't get a replacement hood, a desperate, last option "hack" is to get some cushioned handlebar tape and wrap it around the lever body. You can use electrician's tape to hold the last end and stop the tape from unraveling.

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