To get the bike handling you crave, with braking and clutch control at your fingertips, swap out those stock levers and upgrade. New levers for your brake and clutch improve performance by customizing the most used portions of your bike to your preferences and physique. Even if you want controls with the same length as those installed on the bike, upgrading to aftermarket designs will give you a way to aesthetically improve the front of your motorcycle. Discover the differences new levers on your bike can make.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Motorcycle Clutch and Brake Levers
Take control over your bike's handling and features by upgrading the brake and clutch levers. The best motorcycle levers are not the same for everyone because the decision comes from your riding style. You need a set that fits your hands, offers the control you need and improves the aesthetics of your bike. Which set of levers fulfills these requirements depends on how you ride your motorcycle.
1. Improved Comfort
As a rider, you want the brake and clutch levers to feel comfortable in your hands. Do not settle for uncomfortably long or short controls or those that do not fit your hands. If you have smaller hands, you may require smaller levers. Longer levers have their benefits for those who prefer the extended pull distance.
2. Better Control
Depending on the type of levers you purchase, you may have the option to adjust the lever reach through a selector built in to the mechanism. Not all models have these selectors, and they often pair with levers that come with master cylinders. Adjusting the reach while riding maximizes the control you have over your braking and clutch.
Aside from controlling the lever distance while riding, almost all aftermarket levers allow adjustments during installation. When installing the new controls, you have the chance to space the bar at a comfortable distance for you. The setting you use will depend on the length of the levers and how you use them.
3. Increased Safety
Make safety paramount by choosing levers that improve your braking precision. Better braking and clutch control enhances both performance and security. Braking correctly in the rain or in traffic could save your life. Without adjustable, comfortable levers that respond to your slightest moves, you won't have this advantage. New controls make riding safer while improving performance.
Snapped controls from an accident make riding home difficult. Cheap OEM controls may have a higher chance of breaking off in an accident, especially if you turn over the bike or slide on the road. Aftermarket levers made of higher-quality materials make it less likely you'll experience the danger of a broken lever on the track or from an accident.
4. Better Aesthetics
Your bike is more than a performance machine. It also has to look impressive for people who congregate around it when you park. New levers, in many styles and colors, improve the appearance of your bike with a simple replacement of the OEM levers. If customization is important to you, new brake and clutch controls are a straightforward way to start transforming a stock bike into your machine. Colors, styles and designs all enhance your bike, turning it into a motorcycle that looks as good as it performs.
Motorcycle Lever Options
You will need to make several choices when purchasing new levers. In some instances, the choice depends on personal preference. Other decisions should rely on your performance and safety needs.
Shorty levers vs. standard:Short or long levers for brakes and clutch control depend on your riding preferences. Some people use a whole-hand grip for lever control, requiring extended controls, whereas others use two or three fingers. Shorter levers may function better in such instances.
Adjustable levers:How much you want to change the lever's distance depends on how you use the controls. Those with larger hands or who need more power for braking may opt for a broader range for the brake control, whereas people with shorter hands or those who use their fingers to control the levers may require shorter lever distances. You may also need to adjust the brakes while riding. Selectors on some lever models make this possible to quickly change the range you move the lever. The ability to adjust the distance makes customizing your ride to your physique and riding style even easier.
Folding levers:If you frequent the racetrack, where tight turns can snag long levers, you may need folding levers that move out of the way to keep you going. These levers also offer additional safety because they will not snap off in an accident, letting you get back on your bike after a more minor drop or slide.
Shorty Levers vs. Standard Motorcycle Levers
Motorcycle shorty levers have advantages not everyone will need. When deciding lever length, look carefully at how you ride and your hand positions. You may benefit from a short clutch lever or a long one, based on the way you control your bike. Your preference is the most critical factor in deciding on your lever length.
Advantages of Short Clutch Levers vs. Long Levers
If you pull the clutch lever with a couple of fingers, a shorter model may be a better option. Some riders use four fingers to grip the brake and a pair of digits for the clutch. Others reverse these settings based on their riding preferences.
If you need a motorcycle clutch lever for small hands, a longer model may feel uncomfortable. Either a standard or short model may suit your hands better, depending on how you adjust it. Your hand's reach will help you choose whether regular or shorter levers will fit your hand better.
Short levers don't extend past the grips. If you drop your bike, the controls will not drag on the road and break. Some riders prefer short levers to avoid snapping, while others choose longer folding models. Either option will prevent breakage, letting you move on after a minor incident.
When riding, if you wear gloves, you may find the material catching on standard or longer levers. If this plagues you during your ride, opt for shorter controls, which will remove the chance of your gloves snagging on standard or long brake or clutch controls.
Advantages of Long or Standard Levers
Riding in stop-and-go traffic around town? Using a pair of fingers on a shorter lever could wear out your finger muscles, increasing fatigue and reducing grip. Instead, long or standard controls may be a better option for more control in heavy traffic.
If you have larger hands or long fingers, you may benefit from the extended length of longer levers. Decide the lever length based on your comfort level with the standard controls. If they feel too small, you may need longer models. Should the standard levers suffice in size, upgrade with a new pair of a similar measurement but better-quality materials and other options you want.
Adjustable Motorcycle Brake and Clutch Levers
Selecting short or long controls is only part of how you control the level of precision you get from them. For better braking and clutch action, you want adjustable levers. Through simple adjustments, you can set the controls to the ideal distance for your hands or fingers to operate quickly and effectively.
Depending on the lever model, you may have a selector option to control the leverage ratio while you ride. While hydraulic clutches will automatically adjust the grip, brakes don't do the same in high-heat situations. The faster you ride, the higher the friction created when you brake, which increases the temperature of the brake pads and disc. Hotter brakes need more adjustments for stopping correctly. When you have adjustable selectors, you get even more control over how quickly your brakes respond. This feature will also benefit you in sudden wet or rainy weather, which requires softer braking to prevent hydroplaning on slick roads.
Folding Motorcycle Levers for Improved Safety
Safety both on and off the racetrack is critical to keep you riding. If you choose long levers, they could break in low slides or in the event of an accidental drop. To avoid snapping off your brake and clutch levers, consider replacing them with folding motorcycle levers. These levers fold up and out of the way in dangerous conditions. When you upright the bike, you'll be able to continue riding. Even with the folding technology, you don't sacrifice control over your brakes or clutch, making folding levers the ideal choice for racing or other extreme forms of riding.
Pair Your New Levers With an Upgraded Master Cylinder
Power is only half the equation when it comes to the performance of your motorcycle. You also need precision. Upgrading your levers may also require updating the master cylinders for your clutch and brakes, because not all models are compatible with the OEM cylinders. When you improve, you will get several advantages that make your ride better controlled and more responsive.
What a Motorcycle Clutch Master Cylinder Does
A clutch master cylinder regulates the mechanical or hydraulic clutch system. In a mechanical operation, the master cylinder transfers force down a Bowden cable to calipers at the clutch's pressure plate. For a hydraulic system, fluid moves through a hose to the slave cylinder at the pressure plate. High-performance motorcycles tend to have hydraulic clutch systems. These systems require no adjustments, even as the pressure plate or clutch disc wear out. Thanks to the additional power a hydraulic system offers, clutches operated with this system have a better response to the pull of the lever.
What a Motorcycle Brake Master Cylinder Does
The master cylinder transforms the physical action of squeezing the brake lever into more powerful hydraulic force. Moving the brake lever moves the piston inside the master cylinder. Braking power comes from a direct relationship between the force you exert on the control and the piston size. More strength from the lever — the leverage ratio — or a larger piston increase braking power. Some master cylinders allow you to change the force with a rapid adjustment on the lever, giving you the maximum control over your motorcycle.
Your motorcycle rear brake master cylinder does the same job as the device for the front brakes, but the right brake pedal controls it instead. Like the cylinder controlled by the lever for the front brakes, the rear brake cylinder sends hydraulic fluid to the calipers on the rear wheel brakes, which close the pads around the wheel.
Better Control and Response
High power and speeds require better braking for a safer ride. Installing an upgraded brake master cylinder with your new levers can help you gain better response, no matter where or how you ride. The Brembo RCS19 master cylinder, for example, has an adjustable ratio click system, or RCS. With this system, a 180-degree twist of a screwdriver changes the distance from the fulcrum to the piston from 18 mm to 20 mm.
This version of the Brembo brake master cylinder also has a click-based selector that gives you three options to switch among as you ride — race, sport and normal.
Race:The race setting has the shortest lever distance, giving you the tightest bite point. You can gain seconds on the race track through instantaneous braking, giving you an edge during race events.
Sport:For more casual, sportier rides, the sport setting has a slightly longer bite point than the race setting, but less than the normal setting. You get a perfect balance of control and rapid braking response, ideal for open-road riding in clear weather on flat stretches.
Normal:When riding in inclement weather, you need better braking control with more gradual stopping power to prevent skidding. The normal setting is necessary for riding in rainy or wet conditions.
Having control over the responsiveness of your brakes improves your performance when needed, without sacrificing safety in adverse riding conditions. The precision associated with aftermarket brake master cylinders is something you won't find on standard options.
Discover New Brake and Clutch Levers for Your Bike
Stop settling for the stock levers on your ride. Customize them to give yourself an edge in performance and comfort, whether on the track or cruising on the highway. Discover the many lever options we have at Design Corse, such as long lever sets, shorty lever sets, folding levers and more. You can find the perfect set of aftermarket brake and clutch levers for your MV Agusta, Ducati or Aprilia bike. If you need an upgraded master cylinder with your new controls, we have those, too.
Improve the fit and feel of your motorcycle's levers for a simple start to customization. Get started today by browsing our selection of clutch and brake levers and master cylinders. You and your bike deserve better performance, precision and style.
One of the best-known names in motorcycle racing today, Aprilia had inauspicious beginnings. Once the company hit its stride, it started making history on the track and beyond. Discover the past, present and future of this legendary brand and find out how you can improve your bike with Aprilia racing parts....
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