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Tektro Top-Mount Levers (was Spooky...)(4 posts)

Tektro Top-Mount Levers (was Spooky...)triangleforge
Sep 18, 2002 8:29 AM
Received a set of the new hinged top-mount levers from yesterday & mounted them up last night. The short version of the story: they're very nicely made, install easily, and work just great. And now they're VERY affordable (more on that in a second...). That, and is simply the best place I've found to buy 'cross stuff.

First things first -- These are Tektro levers, not Spookys. I ordered these from the Cyclocrossworld website on Thursday, probably the first day they had them up. The UPS package arrived yesterday, doing a great job as usual getting my order packed and shipped within about two hours of receiving it. Looking closely at them, I noticed that they had a Tektro logo on them that had been either rubbed out or covered with a black marker. Disappointing, for sure, but I figured that they'd work just fine no matter whose logo was on them. I did send an e-mail to tell them what I'd discovered. I don't know if this is just this one shipment to CCworld, or if all the "Spooky" brake levers out there are the same as these re-badged (or rather, un-badged) Tektros -- I'd look closely before you plunk down your cash.

This morning, I got a message from Stu Thorne of, saying that he'd checked (it's really not visible unless you look very closely), and sure enough, these were Tektros that he'd received from Holland as Spookys. Within hours of my note, they had changed the label on the website from Spooky to Tektro, and dropped the price from $65 to $40 for the set, and refunded the difference to me without waiting for me to ask. I don't know who's eating the difference in price (CCworld, I suspect), but doing the right thing -- and fast -- gets my attention. Like I said, I'm a very satisfied customer at, and you should be, too.

Anyway, how do they work? A couple of things worth noting:

1) They clamp on the narrow portion of the bars, not on the 26.0 mm "bulge" portion next to the stem. I thought I wanted them closer together than that, nearly snug up next to the stem like the Pauls levers, but a night of installation and a morning of riding have convinced me otherwise. I don't think I'd have been able to get decent lines out of the cables if the levers were any closer together, and while riding the brake levers are right where I want them.

2) Installation is pretty straightforward, especially since the levers incorporate a hinged clamp. You don't have to remove the existing brake levers, but it does help to peel the bar tape back to the hood so you can access the whole brake cable -- mine were from last season anyway, so I took this opportunity to replace them. The trickiest part of the installation for me was getting the cable housing between the primary brake lever and the top-mount to be the right length -- it's got to be just right, or the cable will either not lay against the bar or won't lay in the cable groove. Cut it a little long, and shave it off a bit at a time -- and have some spare housing on hand in case you come up a millimeter or two short, like I did the first time. Cable routing gets a little tricky, but not too bad. It helps that the levers incorporate barrel adjusters, so you can dispense with those at the other ends of the cable stop, if it helps smooth out the cable run -- it definitely helped on mine.
3) Stopping power is great -- at least on the back brake for me. I fiddled with the brake straddle cable geometry on the front, and made it worse -- that's got nothing to do with the top-mount lever, it's just going to take me some more fiddling to get it back to the way I want it.

Practicing with them this morning, I did discover that it's worth practicing dismounts from the left bar-top (instead of the left brake hood, like I'm used to) is better done at slow speeds the first few times. Roaring into a barrier at full speed with my hand on top for the firs
re: Question on levers)Steve A
Sep 18, 2002 10:01 AM
Do you keep the STI levers also ? hooked up and do you have the option of braking from the different levers, I'm new to this so go with me on this one.
re: Question on levers)triangleforge
Sep 18, 2002 10:07 AM
The simple answer is "yes" to all of your questions.

I've got one STI lever & one "regular" brake lever on this bike. The new top-mount levers all use the same principle -- think of cutting your brake cable housing in the middle and adding a device that could push the two cut ends apart -- you run one continuous brake cable, which the primary lever still pulls just like it always did. The top-mount lever works, in effect, by making the cable housing longer.
I have them as wellJan Gerrit Klok
Sep 19, 2002 1:25 PM
Ready to be put on my Sunn soem day soon. We freaked when first the rep that also sells us Spooky came with stories on a Spooky lever and subsequently ship us Tektro's with rubbed away Tektro logo's. If I look at the price we have to pay for them, €65 is an incredible mark-up, even for something that seems to come from Holland, as much Taiwan-as it is... €40 is more a reasonable price for it, CCW isn't hurting too bad, believe me...

On my Sunn, the Tektro levers will be hooked up to Tektro and Rush mini-V's (the Rush in the back is an anchor), and Problem Solver cable pull doublers that take all the moush out of the lever feel.
Empella levers (I'm not even an Empella fan, consider that), are way better machined than these Tektro's, and well worth their price, although harder to install, lacking the opening clamp.
Spooky first made brakes, sold them to Empella. All at once Empella didn't need them anymore, and the next day they had them with their own name on it. Read my words, for 2004 Empella's with have opening clamps as well, making them the ultimate Cross levers.