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Brake Lever Compatibility

By Brad Quartuccio

Not all cable-actuated brakes are created equal. Beyond differences in make and quality, there are fundamentals of design at hand that determine what brake levers will and won’t work effectively. There are two varieties of levers available, designated by the amount of cable that they pull. Standard or short pull levers are paired with road calipers, U-brakes and cantilever brakes. Long pull levers are compatible with Shimano’s V-brakes and other long armed direct-pull brakes along with the majority of mechanical disc brakes. Drop-bar road levers are almost always standard pull save for a few specialty versions for direct-pull brakes. Levers for flat bars are available in either version, with most mountain levers of the past 15 years or so being long pull, and some being swappable between short and long pull.



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