Take away all the gear-selecting gubbins and a road brake lever is just a big hinge covered in rubber, really. Dia Compe's BL07 is more stripped back than most, a traditionally shaped lever with a narrow profile and internal cable routing. It'll do the job just fine on your singlespeed or retro build. Just don't expect any bells or whistles at this kind of money. Or too much padding.
Fitting the BL07 is pretty simple; you can loosen and tighten the clamp via a slot in the lever. Once in place it's solid enough, and the lever comes with a rounded ferrule to locate the cable outer in the right place. Once it's all set up you can pull the lever, and the brake comes on. It's not rocket science, is it? The BL07 does the job just fine though, I have mine set up with 105 callipers and there's plenty of stopping power for bike and rider. The alloy lever blades fall easily to hand from either the hoods or the drops, and there's not too much play in the pivot.
You can't expect miracles for not much more than a tenner though, and the small narrow profile is a bit of a shock when you're switching from a big, plush, integrated lever. There's not much padding either so they're not the most comfortable, meaning I was shifting position more than I would be on STI or Ergo levers. Plenty of cash left for the cake stops though, so it's swings and roundabouts.
Inexpensive and functional levers for your singlespeed or retro build.
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Make and model: Dia Compe BL07 road brake lever
Size tested: Black
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
BL-07, Regular hooded Drop Bar levers.
Comfortable rubber hoods.
Internal cable routing.
Regular cable pull.
Not bad at all for the money
Lack the power of big integrated levers but plenty good enough to stop you
Okay, they're not that comfy, especially when you compare them to big, well padded STI and Ergo levers
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fact that they're cheap and they work
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not too comfy, especially on longer rides
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, most of the time
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.