I have a gravel bike with drop bars and combo brake/shifter levers. It's only about a year old, but at some point in the last year the right brake lever started rattling if I'm not holding it. It's not bad on smooth pavement but on rougher pavement it's quite annoying.

I've peered inside from every possible angle, pulling the lever every which way. It appears that the innards are metal, not plastic, and I don't see anything broken. It's functioning perfectly both as a brake and shifter and nothing seems loose.

I've crashed at least a couple times in sandy areas and my suspicion is that a tiny pebble somehow ended up inside the brake, and that's what's rattling.

How can I fix this without removing the lever and re-taping the bars?


2 Answers 2


Tried that again with no luck and finally got frustrated enough to yank the brake hood and just start unscrewing stuff. Turns out the problem was a loose nut and all I had to do was remove that top cap from the brake lever to access it.

I have no idea how tight it's supposed to be so I just added thread locker and tightened it as tight as I could using only needle nose pliers. I hope that's tight enough and not over-tightened.

The brake and shifter work fine and the sound is gone!

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  • Glad you found and fixed the problem. You should accept your self-answer so others know that you solved the problem. (voted)
    – Duncan C
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 18:47

Without removing the lever and re-taping the bars.

If there really is some gravel making the sound and not something broken or loose they you might be able to shake it out by shaking the bicycle.

I'd try hanging the bike upside down by something like a hook or rope and shaking it and hope that the gravel will fall out.

By hanging it you can shake it near your ear and maybe get a better idea of what it is.

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