How To Level Your Brake Levers To Perfection | Road Bike Maintenance


– Now there is something
oh, so frustrating about brake levers not being level or in line with one another. It simply plays on your mind. Now making sure that your
brake levers are both in line with each other is very important, why? Well, a lot of the time, we
ride along and we’re wondering, are they actually even with one another? Today, I’m going to show
you how to measure them so they are perfectly
in line with each other. (hip hop music) So why do we actually need to make sure that they’re level and in line? Well, it helps prevent injury,
imbalance, poor stability, as well as even giving
you better steering. It only takes a few minutes
to check and adjust, so why not just do that? Now even the legendary
Eddy Merckx was a nightmare for fettling around with his position. He used to pester his
mechanics constantly for a tape measure and a tool, even
during the neutralised sections of a race, he’d pull over,
grab a spanner, and fiddle around, thinking that
things weren’t in line. Tell you what, Eddy, if
you’re watching, this video is for you, and the rest of the viewers. (hip hop music) So how can we do this without
lasers and fancy equipment? Let’s start by levelling the levers first. There’s the classic one of one eye open, one eye closed and checking to make sure it’s level. That’s one that most of us probably do. Now even better than the one eye open and one eye closed technique is this, the mighty spirit level. You can get them in most hardware stores if you don’t already
have one, alternatively, knock on your neighbor’s
door, they may have one. So firstly, you’re gonna have
to make sure that your bike is perfectly upright, not
in any slants or slopes. You can even use a spirit
level to check that. In my case, I’m really lucky, I’ve got a very, very heavy work stand. This bike is not gonna
move or go anywhere. Once you’ve got it, you’re
gonna have to put it across the lever hoods in exactly
the same place on both sides. I’m really lucky, I’ve got some ridges on these hoods, so I can count them so I know that is in
exactly the same place. Then it’s simply a case of
looking where the spirit level bubble is, and then adjusting
one lever to match the other. What’s going to happen,
though, is when you actually finally do up the final
torque of the lever, that lever is gonna
possibly move up slightly, so you’re gonna have to bear that in mind. It might take a few attempts,
but it’s more than worth it. Now if you don’t have a spirit level, or if you’re unsure if your
bike is perfectly level, and you’re having a bit
of a nightmare with that, get one of these, tape measure. A flexible one like this is
easier to use than a standard steel one because they
don’t quite bend or curve as much as this, this
is perfect for a job. What you’re gonna want
to do, hold it underneath the brake lever hood,
get it right in there, and then it’s simply a
case of pressing it down onto the bar tape and measuring
to the end of the handlebar. Then, you get that
measurement and you repeat it on the other side, so on
the other brake lever, just to make sure it’s in the same place. Again, when you tighten up
the lever, it may well raise a little bit, so be prepared
just to do it a couple of times and you’re sorted, then
your levers are level. Now making sure that
your levers are in line with one another is
very important too, why? Well, it’s to prevent any neck injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, as well as improving the
handling of the bike. So what you need to do is find a marking on the top of both lever
hoods that are identical, so in exactly the same
place, and then take your tape measure or ruler,
it needs to be accurate, though, and measure from that marking to either the centre of the
stem, or one of the stem bolts and then repeat that
procedure on the other side. Then, it’s simply a case
of adjusting the lever which you feel is not
pointing directly straight or in the direction that
you’re most comfortable with. Again, just like when
we torqued up the levers to make them level, they
may well move a little bit, so it might take a couple of
attempts just to make sure that those measurements are identical, but it’s more than worth
it in the long run. Now let me know in the comments down below how you measure your setup,
or if you’ve ever had a steering or injury disaster
because of misalignment. I’ll be very keen to read
that, as would Eddy Merckx, the king of tinkering himself. Now, do remember to like
and share this video with your friends, and subscribe to the Global Cycling Network, click on the globe on
the screen right now, and for two more great
videos, how ’bout down here for Why Do Procyclists Slam Their Stems, and down here for Slammed Vs. Non-Slammed. That’s a cracker.