Repairing or upgrading your bike! Look for items on UMB site Discussion board for bike fanatics! Visit the UMB store!
Css Menu Javascript by v4.3.0

Replacing the Brake Lever

A broken or damaged brake lever is easy to replace. Just strip the stuff off the handlebar and put the new one on. The only tricky part is handling the cable -- if you don't have a slot in the brake lever housing to allow the cable to be pulled out of (instead of through) the lever mechanism, you'll need to strip the entire cable from brake lever down to brake caliper. (See our section on cables.)

First, you need to get your grip out of the way. This SHOULD take some work. (If it pulls off easily, it means the rubber is deteriorating, and it's time for a new grip.)

Use a butter knife to raise up the inside edge of the grip. Pour some water down into the grip.

Begin rotating the grip until it breaks free and slides off.

Helpful hint: If you ride a long time in the rain, you may notice your grips become sloppy -- rotating freely around the handlebar. If you want those grips to stay put, slide them using lacquer as your "lube." Once they dry, they're going nowhere. (Of course, you'll have to CUT them off if you need to take off shifters or brakes in the future.)

Next take off your shifter. (Some shifters, for example Shimano Deore XTs, are in a single unit with the brake. If so, take the whole thing off.)

Find the hex bolt that attaches the shifter to the handlebar. Loosen it until the shifter slides on the handlebar.

Slide the entire shifter off the handlebar.

This illustration shows a grip-shift, but an index shifter is removed in the same way.

Now loosen the hex bolt that attaches the brake lever.

Slide the brake lever off of the handlebar.

Loosen the brake cable at the caliper. Unhook the cable housing from the clip, and loosen the retaining bolt so you can get some extra cable.
Pull the brake lever back to expose the retaining clip. If you have a slot in the lever housing and cable-tension adjusting knobs, line them up so the cable comes free of the housing.

Grab the cable and rotate it so the slot in the retaining clip lines up with the cable. Now lift the cable out of the retaining clip.

If you don't have a slot in the housing and adjusting knobs, you'll need to remove the cable at the brake and pull it through. This means you'll (essentially) need to do a cable replacement operation.

Put the cable into position in the new brake lever. Rotate the cable-tension adjusters back into their original position.

(If you had to remove the entire cable and cable housing, re-route it down to the brake.)

Now put the new brake lever onto the handlebar. Rotate it so the lever matches the one on the other side, and tighten it with the hex bolt. Tighten up the cable at the retaining clip on the brake caliper, and reattach the cable housing to the brake mechanism. Test the brake and adjust as needed.

Reattach the shifting mechanism and handgrip to the handlebars.

 [Fix-it Index Page]