This question may just be too basic, but was unable to find a direct answer. People seem to assume that a brake lever hood* is a given, but I'm wondering if it's necessary or really does all that much to protect from the elements.
*I am aware that sometimes "hood" refers to the whole apparatus, and sometimes to just the rubber/ silicone/ whatever protective cover. I am referring to just the protective cover.
Background: I've an old Raleigh Competition bike that I cleaned up and tuned a couple years ago. Just the other day, the drop handlebar snapped in half.... Anyway, I acquired a new handlebar for it, and I'm getting new wraps, but the brown brake lever "hoods" are original and basically falling apart. I pried them off, and honestly with the black-silver scheme, I think the bare silver brake lever apparatus looks fine on its own. And getting just replacement hoods looks like an additional $30+... which... I mean I might as well get a whole new braking system. Anyway, once I re-wrap the handlebars, things will be pretty much locked in place, so I'm wondering if there'd be any detriment to just riding around without hoods.