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Tips & Tricks for Levers

Kent Rathgeber

I've been around motorcycles and mechanics most of my life, and I've learned a lot of little things that can keep you in a race and save you some money. I thought I'd share a few tips & tricks that have saved me money and races over the years.

When you crash your bike, two of the most likely parts to get damaged are your clutch and front brake levers. Without these two levers, your race or ride could be over. Here are some simple and cheap tricks that can help you.

1) Teflon tape:

What you do with this is wrap a few layers of Teflon tape (available at any home improvement or auto parts store) around your bars underneath the clutch/brake perches. Tighten your perches down snugly, but not so tight that a crash won't move them. The idea here is that Teflon tape is slick, so it allows the perches to move on the bars, saving your levers and perches from damage when you hit the ground.

You CAN use "rotator perches" in place of the Teflon tape, and acheive the same results. My thought on that is "why spend the money if you don't have to?" If you want to spend the money on the rotator perches, that's cool to.

2) Drilling your levers:

Eventually, you're going to crash hard enough to break a lever, whether it's forged or cast. By drilling a small hole in your lever about 1 inch in from the ball end, you create a weak point where the lever will snap. However, the crash only snaps off the outer inch of the lever, leaving you enough of the lever left to be usable. You'll be able to finish your race or ride on what's left of your lever. Some bikes (like KTM's) and some aftermarket levers come with notches in the lever for just this purpose.

3) Using handguards:

We've all seen the wraparound style handguards that a lot of the woods riders use. These make it almost impossible for your levers to get wrecked, but I don't recommend them. Why? There is a chance that, in a crash, your wrist or arm could get caught between the handlebar and the guard, which is highly likely to result in a broken wrist or arm.

The handguards that I use are the "deflector" or "roost guard" type, specifically Acerbis Uniko handguards. These guards won't protect your levers and hands from a tree, but they CAN protect your levers in a typical crash on a track or trail. What happens is that there is a layer of plastic between the lever and the ground, so the lever usually can't catch on any ruts, roots, tree branches, rocks, etc., that could cause the lever to break.

We all know that there are the ARC/ASV levers available, as well as some from other companies. However, these levers are expensive, so why spend the bucks if you don't have to? By using the tricks described above, I've never had a broken lever spell an end to my race or ride, AND I've saved money on levers (that I normally use to buy gas for the bike:busted:)

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