CANE CREEK V BRAKE DROP BAR LEVERS
SSRP £52.99 317g
Cane Creek V brake levers are designed to overcome the marital difficulties between Vs and drops without resorting to “travel agents” or similar adaptors. Compatibility with mechanical (cable operated) discs keeps them relevant for the latest generation of single speed winter/commuters or expedition tourists shunning brifters.Cosmetically inseparable from their SC5 cousins, both feature ergonomic composite bodies with gummy hoods and shapely 6061 levers. These follow the classic Campagnolo pattern and also come in age defying silver.
To be fair, our black samples still look sharp after three months daily service. Button type quick releases are easily operated from the saddle in gloved hands and facilitate easy wheel removal; or breathing space in the event of buckling a wheel/ disc rotor mid-ride.
Soft springs translate into a light, progressive feel, which will be particularly welcomed by riders with smaller hands. Initially paired with V brakes, engagement is smooth but without the vague, mushiness associated with some adaptor/lever combinations.
Obviously calliper, pad and cable quality have considerable influence and we weren’t surprised Shimano XT brought out their very best, but entry level Dia Tech also proved a cheerful combo. It's common knowledge that V levers and cantis are an absolute no-no but give hybrid systems such as IRD’s Cafam a wide berth too - you’ll lock the wheels and go into orbit, or induce a massive skid at the first touch.
Commanding my fixed gear winter/trainer’s Avid BB7 calliper, they’ve brought stopping in line with my ideal of what cable operated discs should be. Ferocious, yet controllable bite never strayed into lock up n’ spit you off country. This came into its own when performing emergency stops in town, or holding off along 1in 7 descents in the pouring rain.
Nirvana? Not quite. Despite the ergonomic bodies providing all day cruising comfort and the hoods excellent all conditions grip; their low density and embossed lizards weren’t everyone’s bag - especially on short commutes sans mitts. Deeply recessed 5mm Allen bolts will frustrate most multi-tools too, which is a bind should you need to perform quick roadside adjustments.
The most divisive issue boiled down to price. £50 odd isn’t steep for brake levers, especially given they genuinely deliver. However, aesthetics aside; Tektro offers a suspiciously similar version with nigh on identical performance - for half the money.
Verdict: 3 out of 5: Excellent choices for cable operated discs and V brakes but cosmetics rather than performance separates them from some cheaper brands.
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2015