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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I often get asked which levers are best for <X> type of riding so I thought I should finally put something down in one spot for it.

This will not cover brands as I will leave that to your personal preference. Rather I will discuss the different styles and the pro's and con's of each.

OEM Style
The ones that came on your bike from the factory.
PRO's
  • Inexpensive: Your bike already has them and generally they are inexpensive to replace.
  • OEM Fit/Finish: This can be good or bad depending on your brand.
CON's
  • Ergonomics: Most OEM levers are not terribly welll designed with an awkward slope that our hands do not naturally fit on.
  • Cheap: Due to manufacturing basics, they are usually made from cheap metal which breaks easily. Sometimes called "pot" or "white" metal.
  • Lack of adjustability: Most OEM levers offer little to no adjustment.
  • Lack of style: Let's face it. They just don't do much for the aesthetics of the bike.
Recommendation
If you already have them and don't particularly mind them. Keep them. If you run a dedicated track bike I would suggest replacing OEM with a quality aftermarket unit. See below.


Standard length / Long levers
Usually made to accommodate the full hand/4 fingers

PRO'S
  • Finer control: The extra length means that you can have finer control over what that lever does.
  • More adjustability: Typically will have a better range of adjustment than OEM.
  • More Leverage: As the job of a lever is...a lever. The further away from the fulcrum you get the more pressure you are able to apply. Longer levers means it can be easier to to move a difficult control (cable clutch).
  • Stylish: On a 1-4 scale I place these at a 4.
  • Customization: Most aftermarket levers will allow you to dictate the color choices of the lever and/or adjuster.
  • Ergonomics: These tend to fit your hand well, are wide and comfortable for extended use. They provide excellent feel/feedback of what the motorcycle is doing.
CON'S
  • Expensive: As a general rule most aftermarket levers are more expensive than the OEM counterparts. A single lever can range from $25-$125 depending on brand/options
  • More Leverage: This is a con as well as a pro. In the case of a brake control, if you panic and grab a handful of brake, it will apply significantly more force with a long lever than it will with a shorty.
  • Length: The extended length means that the lever is prone to hitting the ground if the bike goes down. This can result in bending/breaking the lever.
Recommendation
I usually recommend standard length levers for bikes which see primarily street duty. The extra leverage comes in handy when working a clutch in traffic, the ability to customize the colors means you can make your street bike your own, and the con of possible breakage if the bike falls over is minimal.

Shorties / Short levers
Usually made to accommodate 2 fingers on the lever.

PRO'S
  • More adjustability: Typically will have a better range of adjustment than OEM.
  • Stylish: On a 1-4 scale I place these at a 2. They look "cool".
  • Customization: Most aftermarket levers will allow you to dictate the color choices of the lever and/or adjuster.
  • Length: Because of the shorter lever, it is less likely to contact the ground in the case of a crash. This can be beneficial to track riders/racers.
  • Ergonomics: More comfortable than OEM but not as comfortable as standard length. They provide excellent feel/feedback of what the motorcycle is doing.
CON'S
  • Expensive: As a general rule most aftermarket levers are more expensive than the OEM counterparts. A single lever can range from $25-$125 depending on brand/options.
  • Less Leverage: Due to its very nature, the shorty lever cannot apply as much force as its longer counterpart.
Recommendation
I recommend these for bikes which see a lot of track use, for street riders who want a big "cool" factor on their bikes, or where the lack of leverage will not pose a problem.

Folding Standard / Long
Usually made to accommodate the full hand/4 fingers. These levers have a folding point which allows the lever to fold upwards in the event of a crash.

PRO'S
  • Finer control: The extra length means that you can have finer control over what that lever does.
  • More adjustability: Typically will have a better range of adjustment than OEM.
  • More Leverage: As the job of a lever is...a lever. The further away from the fulcrum you get the more pressure you are able to apply. Longer levers means it can be easier to to move a difficult control (cable clutch).
  • Stylish: On a 1-4 scale I place these at a 3.
  • Customization: Most aftermarket levers will allow you to dictate the color choices of the lever and/or adjuster.
  • Ergonomics: These tend to fit your hand well, are wide and comfortable for extended use. They provide excellent feel/feedback of what the motorcycle is doing.
  • Folding: This can be a huge benefit to bikes which see sustained track use as it is intended to keep the lever functional after a crash.
CON'S
  • Expensive: As a general rule most aftermarket levers are more expensive than the OEM counterparts. A single lever can range from $25-$125 depending on brand/options. Folding levers tend to be on the higher end of the range.
  • More Leverage: This is a con as well as a pro. In the case of a brake control, if you panic and grab a handful of brake, it will apply significantly more force with a long lever than it will with a shorty.
  • Quality is critical: If tolerances are not tight, the lever can quickly feel "sloppy" and you could experience a loss in feedback/feel.
Recommendation
This would be my #1 pick for track/race bikes. A rider gains the benefit of the finer control that comes with the longer lever without the risk of breakage due to the folding component. Also great for street riders who want more bling than a conventional standard lever without sacrificing function.

Folding Shorties / Short levers
Usually made to accommodate 2 fingers on the lever. These levers have a folding point which allows the lever to fold upwards in the event of a crash.

PRO'S
  • More adjustability: Typically will have a better range of adjustment than OEM.
  • Stylish: On a 1-4 scale I place these at a 2. They look "cool".
  • Customization: Most aftermarket levers will allow you to dictate the color choices of the lever and/or adjuster.
  • Length: Because of the shorter lever, it is less likely to contact the ground in the case of a crash. This can be beneficial to track riders/racers.
  • Ergonomics: More comfortable than OEM but not as comfortable as standard length. They provide excellent feel/feedback of what the motorcycle is doing.
  • Folding: This can be a huge benefit to bikes which see sustained track use as it is intended to keep the lever functional after a crash.
CON'S
  • Expensive: As a general rule most aftermarket levers are more expensive than the OEM counterparts. A single lever can range from $25-$125 depending on brand/options.
  • Less Leverage: Due to its very nature, the shorty lever cannot apply as much force as its longer counterpart.
  • Quality is critical: If tolerances are not tight, the lever can quickly feel "sloppy" and you could experience a loss in feedback/feel.
Recommendation
For people who want the ultimate in "bling", these are it. All the cool factor of a short lever with the folding component thrown in for good measure. I would recommend these for track riders who do not necessarily need the finer control offered by a longer lever or for street riders who want the best of the best.



A quick note
Some companies will sell mixed sets of levers allowing you to choose short or standard lengths for each lever: i.e. you could buy a standard clutch lever and a shorty brake lever allowing you to receive the benefits of both where they are needed most and further enhancing your ability to customize your ride.
 

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Nice article :upside:

Bit of a random question but... What's with the notch on the underside of the lever that most aftermarket ones seem to have? I take it there's a reason for that?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nice article :upside:

Bit of a random question but... What's with the notch on the underside of the lever that most aftermarket ones seem to have? I take it there's a reason for that?


I assume you are referring to the notch near the bottom left of this lever, just after the ball end? That is a relief cut which basically provides an intentionally weaker section into the lever so that if you crash and the lever catches, the idea is that it will break away at that spot which will still leave you a usable lever after the crash.

is there any way you can do one on rear sets?
Unless I am missing something there don't seem to be as many different types of rearsets, just different brands. Some just an adjustment plate, some don't but that is about it.

What I can tell you is to stick with a quality brand. I personally run Woodcraft because 1) trackside support is awesome 2) I like their pegs better than Vortex and 3) I race with the owner =)
 

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Lol.....ok thanks for helping me out. I was asking about them because I hear about people switching them out. I was thinking....what for? Do they break over time? Are they uncomfortable do to your foot not fitting in there properly? I do not plan on switching mines out. Just wanted to know why people use aftermarket brands....thought it was a performance thing.
 

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Good Info, thanks. I just bought some MadScientistMoto levers. They look pretty straightforward to install, but how about a video overview? I was planning on lubing my clutch line at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lol.....ok thanks for helping me out. I was asking about them because I hear about people switching them out. I was thinking....what for? Do they break over time? Are they uncomfortable do to your foot not fitting in there properly? I do not plan on switching mines out. Just wanted to know why people use aftermarket brands....thought it was a performance thing.
For track use, having fixed rearsets means you have a more stable perch. Also, most aftermarket rearsets move the riders position back and up a bit into a more aggressive stance which provides more ground clearance than OEM. Sorry, I misunderstood your question =-).

Good Info, thanks. I just bought some MadScientistMoto levers. They look pretty straightforward to install, but how about a video overview? I was planning on lubing my clutch line at the same time.
First, thank you for supporting my little business. I truly appreciate it!
Second, that is a brilliant idea. I actually have to install some levers on the wifes bike so I think I will make a little video from it.
 

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I assume you are referring to the notch near the bottom left of this lever, just after the ball end? That is a relief cut which basically provides an intentionally weaker section into the lever so that if you crash and the lever catches, the idea is that it will break away at that spot which will still leave you a usable lever after the crash.
Yep that's the bit. Thanks, that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Any thoughts on the adjustable length type levers? Those that can be shorten or extended.

*Photo is for demonstration purposes*
To be honest I have always thought of these as kind of a gimmick. Once you have the length you want you will leave it there and generally speaking you either want your whole hand (standard) or partial hand (shorty) on the lever.

I suppose that if you have oddly sized hands you might find some use for it but really this just comes down to personal preference. If you like them, buy them =) At the end of the day they do the same job as every other lever out there.
 

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What are the brake lever adapters for the brake and clutch lever? It says for example the clutch lever adapter is on back order. I'm guessing it's a needed part to install the levers properly?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What are the brake lever adapters for the brake and clutch lever? It says for example the clutch lever adapter is on back order. I'm guessing it's a needed part to install the levers properly?
Correct. Levers are made of 3 main components: The adapter (the part that is specific to each motorcycle, the adjuster, and the lever itself. The adjusters and levers are universal.

If you are referring to my site, then yes, right now the ZX6R clutch adapters are out of stock. You fine people here have ordered more than I was expecting and it caught me by surprise. I have my stock order from the machinist already in the works so I should have them back in stock in about 10 days.
 

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Correct. Levers are made of 3 main components: The adapter (the part that is specific to each motorcycle, the adjuster, and the lever itself. The adjusters and levers are universal.

If you are referring to my site, then yes, right now the ZX6R clutch adapters are out of stock. You fine people here have ordered more than I was expecting and it caught me by surprise. I have my stock order from the machinist already in the works so I should have them back in stock in about 10 days.
Are your levers anodized? If so, how long does it last? Also, have you seen those 3d levers with the texture machined on them? If so, do you think it could be done on your levers?

ALSO, lol, what tolerances are you holding on the bushing area as far as diameter and thickness?
 

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Correct. Levers are made of 3 main components: The adapter (the part that is specific to each motorcycle, the adjuster, and the lever itself. The adjusters and levers are universal.

If you are referring to my site, then yes, right now the ZX6R clutch adapters are out of stock. You fine people here have ordered more than I was expecting and it caught me by surprise. I have my stock order from the machinist already in the works so I should have them back in stock in about 10 days.
Good to know. I think I'll be ordering some levers from you soon then.
 
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