In-Line Brake Levers

This article will discuss the installation of the in-line brake levers, also referred to as "cross levers."


Getting Started

What Tools do I need?

Figure 1. In-line brake levers

In-line brake levers are an additional set of brake levers that may be installed on drop-type handlebars. In-line levers are installed above the primary brake lever, and allow the rider to actuate the calipers while riding on the top part of the handlebar (Figure 1). The in-line lever pushes on the housing, effectively making it longer, which causes the brake caliper to close on the rim.

In-line brake levers are designed to clamp on specific bar diameters. Lever must be mounted to a compatible section of bar. Check the manufactures literature of the clamp to confirm compatibility. For most drop-style bars, the smaller outer section of the bar (where the primary lever is clamped) is approximately 23.4mm. However, the larger bulged or center section may be 25.4, 26.0, 26.4, or 31.8mm.

It is sometimes possible to reuse old housing and brake inner wire. However, it is recommended to install new brake housing and cables when installing in-line levers.


Brake Lever Installation

Remove handlebar tape at least down to the brake lever. Remove brake housing and cable (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Untape bars and remove housing

Mount in-line lever to the top section of the bar (Figure 3). Do not route housing under clamp of lever. Position lever for comfortable reach and angle (Figure 4).


Figure 3. In-line brake levers


Figure 4. Adjust angle for comfort

Tighten lever to bar (Figure 5). Do not route any housing under clamp of lever.

Figure 5. Secure levers


Housing & Cable Installation

Cut housing lengths for in-line lever. There will be two sections of housing. One section goes from the primary lever to the in-line lever. The second piece of housing goes from the in-line lever to the brake caliper or frame housing stop as applicable (Figure 6). Use housing end caps where ever they will fit into levers or stops.

Figure 6. Cut two sections of housing

Feed brake wire through brake lever, through first section of housing, through brake lever, and through second section of housing. Attach brake wire to caliper and adjust brake as normal. Secure first section of housing to bar with tape (Figure 7).

Wrap handlebars. However, do not attempt to bring bar tape to lever as this may stress housing (Figure 8).


Figure 7. Housing is installed and ready to be wrapped


Figure 8. Allow housing to reach stop in brake lever