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Grail Brake Levers!

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Grail Brake Levers!

Old 02-14-18, 09:52 PM
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Grail Brake Levers!

It's been brought to my attention that there are brake levers that have caused invasions of entire countries. These brake levers have a "grail" status that is irrefutable.


The first levers that come to mind for me are the dual slotted Shimano Z series brake levers- the Z306 levers. Sure, they're "lowly" but they're not beholden to any particular group by labels- so you can use them with a Golden Arrow, 600 or even Dura Ace group- they look classy and function nicely.

Shimano BLZ306 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr


The other levers that come to mind are the dual slotted Gran Compe levers- when you see an unmolested set- you get a view and feel for that beautiful Gran Compe satin finish. I do have a nice set- but I don't have pix. I do, however, have a pic of my set of these- something makes me think this will not buff out.

Gran Compe by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr



And then the TRP RRL levers. I used to think these were the goofiest looking brake levers... at some point they started looking intriguing to me... and then I got a set. My goodness, these are REALLY really nice levers. They feel nice- they're comfortable to ride on, they're easy to grip and even easy for your fingers just to fall into place on these levers.

TRP RRL Levers by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

Trek 720 Cockpit by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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Old 02-15-18, 04:35 AM
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Relatively unmolested, on a 84 Supersport
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Old 02-15-18, 06:07 AM
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Custom hooded low-end Weinmann and Dia Compe--- the cat's pajamas.



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Old 02-15-18, 07:10 AM
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Origin8 classique sport road bike Capture+_2018-02-15-14-02-15.pnglevers.
A little on TRP RRL levers division, they're a cheaper with good modulation. Perfect shape for my hands.
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Old 02-15-18, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Custom hooded low-end Weinmann and Dia Compe--- the cat's pajamas.



Love those leather break hoods ! Where can they be purchased ?
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Old 02-15-18, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by joesch View Post
Love those leather break hoods ! Where can they be purchased ?
As mentioned, the "brake" lever hoods are custom made, by me. If interested you can PM me or email me at my user name plus Gmail.
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Old 02-15-18, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
And then the TRP RRL levers. I used to think these were the goofiest looking brake levers... at some point they started looking intriguing to me... and then I got a set. My goodness, these are REALLY really nice levers. They feel nice- they're comfortable to ride on, they're easy to grip and even easy for your fingers just to fall into place on these levers.

TRP RRL Levers by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

Trek 720 Cockpit by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
I have to admit I've been strangely attracted to these levers ever since the first time I saw a pair online. Usually I'm not into anything that looks even remotely modern, but I feel like these strike a nice balance between classic-ish looks, and modern comfort and ergonomics. At least they LOOK comfy anyway... I've yet to actually have one in my hand. Maybe it's about time I buy myself a pair!

Great taste in components all around though. I've really been enjoying your grail threads. I like almost every part you post!
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Old 02-15-18, 05:58 PM
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The Chorus aero's always looked good to me.



And I agree the Tektros are really nice especially like the quick release system.

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Old 02-15-18, 06:14 PM
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I've got a small fetish for Mafac plastic guidonnets. Grails-to-be as they dissolve into the ether with each passing year. Along with most things Simplex. (Dam I threw away a lot of Delrin in my day)



Like these too

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Old 02-15-18, 08:41 PM
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Suntour Cyclone
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Old 02-15-18, 08:54 PM
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Modolo Pro

An extra pulley, hoods that last and last, great modulation, and they look fast. Pics to follow.
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Old 02-15-18, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Custom hooded low-end ... Dia Compe--- the cat's pajamas.


My Fuji Pro had the Grand Compe version of those levers. In a race that meant a lot to me (the Stowe VT race with Smuggler's Notch), a rider took me out as I was bridging to the leaders. Rear wheel into my front. I got going shakily after the following peloton rode around me as I lay on the road. Front wheels had a big wobble, big enough that hands came off the bars only to shift. But the front brake was rubbing. Since I had that lever, I just pushed it aside and kept racing. Ended up catching the field and placing in the sprint. Nowhere near as good as I would have like but I salvaged something. Since then, those levers have always has a place in my heart even thought he fit to my hands was so-so.

That release is one of those better ideas. All rights to them expired many years ago, so why don't all levers have that? (Some Tektros come close with their buttons. Others have the same buttons but they pop back as soon as you squeeze the lever. Most calipers have the levers also but you lose braking power with those instead of just having to reach further for the brake lever. Also you have to leave the handlebars to release them, something I was quite glad I didn't have to do with my wobbly wheel.)

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Old 02-15-18, 09:34 PM
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These are about the nicest brake levers I've come across; and I have quite a few:

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Old 02-15-18, 10:45 PM
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Here is my set of Grail brake levers..... So beautifully finished, sleek, classy shape and appropriately understated, I think they are the best looking C&V levers out there! The best levers that the French ever made, IMO.

MAFAC LSX levers for LSX calipers.
Got them about a week ago. Have been looking for these since I killed the ones on my Peugeot PSV, back in 1985 in a high speed, lowside crash.
I had been using DiaCompe Aero Gran Compe levers with the MAFAC LSX calipers on the bike since after that crash.
I was able to find the Spidel version of the LSX sidepull brakesets two times in NOS condition since, but never these MAFAC pantographed version levers, till now. The hoods on these LSX levers are close to unobtanium already, what more the MAFAC version of the levers (in any condition), with fresh, hoods on it to boot!
I am now reluctant to put them on the PSV fearing that the precious, original hoods will quickly rot out on me in just about a year like a set did on me a couple of years ago. I think I'll just buy Rustines hoods that will fit, put the levers on the bike and save the original hoods for later, till I find more spare OEM hoods for my three LSX brakesets.
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Old 02-15-18, 11:13 PM
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Shimano 6403 Super SLR levers. Late 'vintage' perfection.



Those levers went on to be either Shimano BL-R400 or BL-R600 levers, the R600s, of course, being the "higher end" of the two in spite of the identical function. I have two pairs. No one is getting them!



Tektro R200 levers. For when you love and want the Campagnolo "round top" 9/10-speed Ergo lever experience (including brake cable letting out for tire removal, like Ergos), but have down tube or barcon shifters. Dead ringer for shape and profile. Very comfortable. Nice looking too.



Late Superbe Pro. Super rare, but also super nice. Thankfully, lesser levers of the era have the same shape/fit.



Shimano Dura-Ace 7402 levers. A narrower body than the Super SLR levers that would follow, but extremely beautiful levers with a lovely feel.

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Old 02-15-18, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
The Chorus aero's always looked good to me.

Those appear to be Dura Ace 7410 levers, not Campy Chorus. And they are the most lovely brake levers Shimano ever made.

Originally Posted by Charles Wahl View Post

Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I believe both of these were made by Modolo under contract, and are mostly the same as these, which are great:




I have a set of these, and love them:



Modolo also made metal lever versions of these for Sachs and Mavic.


Another classic, the Aero Grand Compe 251s:

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Old 02-15-18, 11:57 PM
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Many think that the MAFAC/Spidel LS brakesets were made by Modolo as they have similar shapes. (I own both Modolo and MAFAC/Spidel LSX brakesets).
I do not think this is the case as the LS2 and LSX brakesets were included as part of the Spidel component Groups that were meant to showcase ONLY French made top line components. (That was the whole point they conceived the "Spidel" brand).
If you take off the hoods from these LS levers you will not find the typical flutes on the cast aluminum lever bodies that Modolos always have, regardless of what brand they re-branded their brakeset for other companies like Mavic, Edco and Sachs The lever bodies also do not have the blocky sharp corners of the Modolo lever bodies. I do not think a Modolo 919 lever hood will even come close to fitting over the MAFAC lever bodies which are a totally different shape, much more similar to Campagnolo record lever bodies.. Also, on all re-branded Modolo brakesets, you will always find the Modolo brand name still on the component either hidden or in smaller fonts not easily seen at first glance.
The calipers on the LS brakesets are also usually mistaken for Modolo products as there are similarities in shape. but if you look at LS calipers closely and compare them to all Modolo sidepulls, they are quite different in shape profile and section through the caliper arms plus the quick release mechanism is totally different on the MAFACS in design and materials.
The pivot bolt head design is also different with the MAFACS having a a unique looking bushing at the base of the bolt head with a knurled section on it that is never present in any Modolo caliper. The LSX calipers also have a very unique mounting bolt design where it is an actual full allen headed bolt that is screwed through the back of the fork crown, onto a threaded hole at the back of the calipers. Also, totally different from all Modolos.
It is not surprising that the two different brand brakesets might be similar looking because you can only really design sidepull calipers in so many ways and component manufacturers did copy certain characteristics of other company's designs, regularly. Who copied who, sometimes we will never know.... Maybe.....a former Modolo Engineer was hired by MAFAC at one time....or vice versa??

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Old 02-16-18, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Many think that the MAFAC/Spidel LS brakesets were made by Modolo as they have similar shapes. (I own both Modolo and MAFAC/Spidel LSX brakesets).
You are likely right. I thought I remember reading that, but I think I'm confusing it with how Mafac sold the Simplex shift levers under their name, which Mavic also did.

And many of those old levers were extremely similar - people used to put the thicker Modolo hoods on Campy levers.
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Old 02-16-18, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Those appear to be Dura Ace 7410 levers, not Campy Chorus. And they are the most lovely brake levers Shimano ever made.
You are correct. I posted the wrong Bike. They are dura Ace 7403 Levers. I believe they were the last DA Levers before Brifters.
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Old 02-16-18, 09:04 AM
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@The Golden Boy @tkamd73

The Gran Compe are classy. Look like Gucci or Chanel logos.
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Old 02-16-18, 12:58 PM
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I don't do "grail", but rather do like to be pleasantly surprised by stuff I find in boxes at swap meets.

The most elegant levers I've come across so far are these. Really nicely made, and very good-looking IMO (but require pretty big hands, as you can see here):



I get along quite well with most levers. My hands are big enough for MAFAC levers, and I love their brakes, so those are on many of my older bikes. The combination of MAFAC brakes with Universal levers is probably even better though. Favored by many racers in my area BITD.

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Old 02-18-18, 09:25 AM
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A few of mine, Chang Star is far from grail but they look different. The smooth Universal are a good look to me.












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Old 02-18-18, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
Relatively unmolested, on a 84 Supersport
These are from that little era where the screening on the Suntour and DiaCompe parts would come off if you looked at them too intently.

I'll have to get new pix of my GC levers.

I covered the logos on my screened 84-ish stuff with clear nail polish. Just to protect it a bit. It's pretty much invisible- I have it on my GranCompe levers, LeTech, Mountech, AR, Cyclone MII derailleurs...
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Old 02-18-18, 01:57 PM
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Time to call a spade a spade...
Those TRP drilled out levers are hideous. The huge antler-hoods and weird bend in the lever with the retro gum color just look wrong.

The "normal" Tektro/CaneCreek/Origin8 levers look way better, and the hoods are quite comfy to ride. But even those are ruined by the odd bend in the lever blade.

For less money you can get some Shimano BL-R600s, Sram 500s, Gran Compes or even Campy Record.

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Old 02-18-18, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocket-Sauce View Post
Time to call a spade a spade...
Those TRP drilled out levers are hideous. The huge antler-hoods and weird bend in the lever with the retro gum color just look wrong.

The "normal" Tektro/CaneCreek/Origin8 levers look way better, and the hoods are quite comfy to ride. But even those are ruined by the odd bend in the lever blade.

For less money you can get some Shimano BL-R600s, Sram 500s or even Campy Record.
I agree about the TRP levers......
Kinda like how strange SMP saddles look like.... I guess one could build a bike to have both (maybe add in ergo bars too) and call it "Baroque"??...
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