Based on this previous question I found out that this frame can actually support V brakes and that I had to change the levers to a specific V-brake lever type. I bought some V brake levers, but they cannot be easily fit into the handlebars.


brake hole

The diameter of the whole is fine, it's just that I cannot fit the lever in because it needs to spread, but I cannot spread it wide enough.

I tried with a screwdriver, but it actually ended up breaking. I tried to take out the grip on the handlebar but it's glued.

Did I get the wrong levers for my bike? Are there some levers more flexible to be able to force them into the bars? Is there any other technique? I've found some that have a hinge, but they are not for V brakes.

The pic shows the lever that's not broken, you can see the handlebar on the background.

  • 4
    It's extremely unlikely the grips are glued on, but push on style grips are a VERY tight fit - to ensure they don't move once fitted. You'll probably have to cut them off.
    – Andy P
    Aug 6, 2021 at 10:53
  • 1
    To remove the grips, when they are tight like that, i often succeed with pushing a cable binder between grip and handlebar, and spraying with window cleander. Note: Don't use anythign greasy if you want to re-use the grips. Then, twist. You might notice some play. repeat the process (creating a gap, splaying window cleaner) until you can move the entire grips. And yes: The grips must come off before you can mount the brakes.
    – Burki
    Aug 6, 2021 at 12:29
  • "I've found some that have a hinge, but they are not for V brakes." — There do exist V-brake levers that have hinged clamps. A search for "Shimano Deore V-brake levers" gives me results with pictures that clearly show a hinge joint. I also remember that my older Deore levers had them. Aug 6, 2021 at 14:11
  • @GrigoryRechistov I'll search again with more care...
    – user59073
    Aug 6, 2021 at 20:00
  • You broke a screwdriver? I'm interested to see what happened to the part you broke it on... Aug 6, 2021 at 20:27

2 Answers 2


It is usually impossible or unreasonable to drag the brake lever clamp over the grip.

The brake clamp must not be forced to widen up. It is made of aluminum, a metal which does not bend (compared to steel), it breaks.

Options that you have.

  1. Take off the grips, slide on the levers, put on the old grips. It may be tough, you may need some fluid or air compressor to assist you. Look online for installation tips.
  2. Cut off the old grips, slide on the levers, and put on new grips. The new grips may be of the screw-on type, held by small bolts. Such grips can be quickly taken off and put on multiple times.
  3. Keep the grips on, but use different levers with hinged clamps. Such clamps can be opened wide to eliminate the need to remove the grip.

The picture below shows a clamp without actual lever, just to explain how it works:

Example of hinged clamp

  • I haven't found this hinges for V-brakes yet. I'll keep on searching.
    – user59073
    Aug 6, 2021 at 19:59
  • +1 for air compressor
    – Jim W
    Aug 7, 2021 at 0:07

Pick (or buy if you don't have one) a caliper. This is by far my most used tool among the tools of my toolset.

Measure the inner diameter of the brake lever clamp and update your question with the information.

Measure the outer diameter of the ends of your handlebars and update your question with the information.

The most common diameter is 22.2mm, but it seems either your levers are intended for thinner-than-usual bar, or your handlebar is thicker than usual at the ends.

If you have 22.2mm handlebar clamp diameter like usual, my recommendation would be to select high quality Shimano levers as opposed to some cheap knock-off ones. Since you already broke one lever, you need to purchase at least one lever -- or two if you want to select some other lever type and want to have matching levers.

If you have larger-than-22.2mm handlebar then I'm not sure what's the best way to proceed. Perhaps you could buy a normal sized handlebar. If you choose to do so, be sure to measure your handlebar diameter at the stem clamping area too (it's usually there thicker than at the ends, usually 25.4mm or 31.8mm -- 31.8mm is the more recent standard).

Of perhaps you could abort the entire project and use the old cantilevers. There's nothing wrong with cantilever brakes, they can be set up to work perfectly.

  • It all started because the bike had only one brake :-) Thanks, I think that the lever is the right diameter, but it doesn't bend enough to go in... So you're saying that it should bend enough easily, that's how it's usually done?
    – user59073
    Aug 6, 2021 at 10:36
  • 3
    Oh yes, indeed, this lever looks like it is intended to be pushed from the end. It's a low quality lever. High quality levers have a hinge that allows fitting it not from the end, without removing the rubber grip. Your only option probably is to remove the rubber grips, put the lever in, and reinstall the rubber grips. Or buy a pair of higher quality levers, that have the all-important hinge.
    – juhist
    Aug 6, 2021 at 10:42
  • 3
    @ParibusCeteris No that clamp will NOT spread enough to go over the handlebars. You ABSOLUTELY need to remove the grip and slide the brake lever on the end of the bars. Anything else and you'll destroy the lever mount.
    – Criggie
    Aug 6, 2021 at 10:59
  • 1
    @Criggie I noticed :( :-D Thanks! Great to get confirmation and know I wasn't missing any bike brake-installing technique
    – user59073
    Aug 6, 2021 at 11:03

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