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Tektro RL520 V-brake compatible drop levers



Ideal lever upgrade for touring commuter bikes or MTB cross conversions

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Dead ringers for Cane Creek SCR-5V V brake compatible drop levers, Tektro’s RL520 are pretty much all the lever you’ll need whether upgrading the stoppers on a commu-tourer or transforming older mountain bikes into drop bar crossers’ and/or rough stuff tourers. They won’t detract on more expensive bikes either thanks to shapely curves and surprisingly high lustre anodised finish. The only fly in the ointment is their deeply recessed mounting bolt- Allen keys typically found on multi tools don’t have enough reach.

Some will cock a snoot at the prevalence of resin composite, keeping the weight and production costs low but in practical terms, in the RL520s seem as durable as levers costing considerably more and their shape, complete with thick, shock absorbing rubber hoods provide day long comfort when cruising on the tops or honking up climbs.

The adjuster screw dialling them closer to the bars is equally irksome- a moot point if you’ve got long, lean fingers but riders with smaller hands and shorter reach could feel slightly stretched. Subjectively, lever action is identical to their more refined Cane Creek cousins, very light but stopping short of remote or mushy when pulling mid range linear pull/cable discs, although pairing these to traditional cantilever, side and centre-pulls is an absolute no-no, ejecting you over the bars at the first hand-full.

Campagnolo pattern quick release buttons are easily operable from the hoods, compensating for unexpected buckles or providing some welcome slack for wheel removal without disconnecting the callipers- an otherwise tricky task wearing full finger gloves. Sentimental attachment to older levers aside, given their asking price it’s difficult to see why anyone would want to use Travel Agent cable gizmos that spoil a bike’s clean lines and make for more convoluted cable replacement. More accessible lever adjustment would broaden the appeal to women and juniors with smaller hands but otherwise there’s a lot to like.


Very likeable levers for a very modest buck. test report

Make and model: Tektro RL520 V-brake compatible drop levers

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The RL250 are V brake specific drop levers allowing touring/cross and converted mtbs to run V brakes without needing to fit Travel Agents. Simply put they're remarkably good in terms of performance, finish and good old value for money.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Resin bodies, thick rubber hoods, high polish silver anodized aluminium aloy levers.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

320g pr

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The Rl are a super comfortable lever that (whisper it) works ever bit as well as other, costlier brands providing great modulation and feel paired with Vs but might be considered a bit fierce with their junior siblings. Campag design is reassuringly familiar too and the well positioned quick release button opens the brakes to counter buckles on the fly or facilitate wheel removal.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Lovely design, great feel.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Deeply recessed mounting bolt is a devil to reach unless you've a really long 5mm Allen key.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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sbarner | 3 years ago

A now five year-old review, but still calls for correction. Brake levers for V-brakes are "long-pull" meaning they pull almost twice the cable compared to "short-pull" levers. Pulling twice the cable means that you get half the mechanical advantage, since you don't get somethin' for nothin', at least according to your high school physics teacher. Therefore, pairing the RL520s with caliper brakes will not pitch you over the handlebars but instead could leave you without adequate braking, unless you have a very strong grip.

Completely unrelated -- that tape job sure puts a hurt on the eyeballs.

G-bitch | 14 years ago

Just digging this review out as I installed a pair of these last night on the tourer. Did you use an in-line cable adjuster with these or just accept having to adjust them a little more crudely using the cable clamp?

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