Picture of How to Change Road-Style Bicycle Brake Levers
Bicycles are a great way to get around and are an economical, environmentally friendly means of transportation.  However, they can also be dangerous if not in proper working order, leading to injury or even death.  These instructions will explain how to replace the brake levers on a road bike, allowing you to upgrade or restore your bike’s braking system and ensure your bike is in optimum working order for safe use.  This is a task that will take about 1-2 hours, with the only skills necessary being knowledge in the use basic hand tools.  Soon, you’ll be back on the road with your upgraded bike!
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Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Picture of Gather Your Supplies
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To change your brake levers, you’ll need the following items:

• New brake levers
• Allen wrench set
• Crescent wrenches

The following items may also come in handy, but are not necessary:

• Needle nose pliers
• Electrical tape or similar types
• Screwdriver (for prying stubborn bolts out)

If you will also be doing the optional Step 8 and wrapping new handle bar tape onto the handlebars, you may need the following items:

• Scissors (not pictured)
• New bar tape
• Electrical tape or similar type

Hey-thanks for the instruction! I might add that if you're just changing handlebars instead of brake levers, you won't disconnect the cables. Rather-you'd just unscrew the allen bold and slide the levers off, keeping them intact to add back to your new handlebars if possible. Thanks again!

Good details to your project. Something worth noting when wrapping bars too, is make sure the wrap rotates to the direction of the rider. Your natural inclination is to pull on the bars when under hard pedaling. This tends to twist the bar tape towards you. If the bar is not wrapped in the towards rider direction, you will have loose bar tape in no time. I usually remember after I have done it the wrong way.


PS I love the blue tape I just did the color tape on my nieces touring bike. I have some for mine but have not put it on yet.
21GeeOff213 years ago
Very good instructions in this. Only thing I would say is that I think your front tire may be on backwards..... Shouldn't the tread run the other way?
It actually matters less than you may think. With very shallow treads, directionality can go out the window, but even with unidirectional knobbies, there can be some benefit to installing the front tread backwards; traction is most important on the front wheel when braking, and installing it such that the tread grabs when a backwards force is applied can lead to improved emergency stopping power. Check out more info.

Fantastic 'ible, by the way.  I love the color bar tape you chose.
Jonno0133 years ago
Just a tip, if they are close to being perfect there is an adjustment screw where the outer cable meets the caliper, and by twisting that anticlockwise you can tighten the brakes leading to better braking.