I am just going to re-wrap my road bike's handlebar tape tomorrow. Before I do that I was wondering what the proper place is to put the brake levers. I know they should be pointed vertically, however I was wondering if there is a rule of thumb.

  • 1
    Do you mean aero brake levers or traditional? The proper position varies - aero levers are generally best used from the hoods, while traditional levers are best used from the drops.
    – lantius
    Mar 21 '11 at 23:19

In the olden days one idea was that the bottom of the levers should be along a line projected from the bottom straight section of the bars. I don know why, and that was often an uncomfortable position for me. So I am a long-term follower of the "what feels comfortable" approach.

This is connected to what angle your handlebars sit at, so it's important to get that right at the same time. If you were happy with how they were before you started, leave them there.

My first step would be to attach the brake levers to bare bars, ideally without cables (it's easier if you're doing new cables at the same time). If you have a wind trainer, put the bike in that because it will make evaluating the feel of the bike easier.

Then try the two positions that matter to me - resting on the hoods, and standing up pulling on the levers. The latter is harder because it's usually something I do on hills or in sprints, not cruising along the flat. So I focus mostly on the resting position.

Sit on the bike, rest on the hoods and see how you feel. Lift the levers a little and see if that feels better. Then drop them back. Only a few millimetres at a time. Once you have somewhere that works for you, you're done.

  • 1
    Note also that, if you find that "what feels comfortable" is with the hoods most of the way up the drop, you might consider switching to a shorter stem while you've gotten everything already apart!
    – DC_CARR
    Mar 21 '11 at 18:17
  • @DC_CARR: I was trying to avoid getting into that :) If you find the hoods are more comfortable spread out rather than parallel to the bike, you might consider narrower bars. And so on...
    – Мסž
    Mar 21 '11 at 20:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.