The nice folks at Retroshift sent me a pair of their drop bar brake levers with bar end shifter mounts to try out. I’m not 100% which bike I’ll put them on, but I’m leaning towards the 26″ Surly LHT. Since I’ll be away from the Lazy Rando Command Center until mid-March I figured I would share some detailled photos of the levers and my initial impressions. A detailled review will have to wait a bit.
First off the packaging and instructions are minimal – just a thick ziplock bag and a bit of stiff poster board telling you to check out their website for installation instructions. That works for me. I like packaging that’s appropriate to ship the product and can be reused or recycled once I take the item out. If I was the Retroshift guys I would print a photo of a typical install on the back of the poster board to 1) make the packing more attractive and 2) to help folks that need an idea of what they need to do get moving in the right direction.
What I got in the package:
- right & left Tektro brake levers modified by Retroshift [Retroshift Two model]
- a few washers
- note this version only works with cantis, but a v-brake compatible version is in the works
I’ll be providing my own Shimano Dura Ace 9spd bar end shifters and I’ll probably use some Tektro cantis.
The Retroshift levers exude an industrial working man aesthetic. There is nothing fancy going on here, but everything is clean, simple and purposeful. Retroshift has been engraved into each lever and on the bar con mounts, but it’s subtle enough you won’t notice unless you are leaning down and staring at the levers. If you don’t like logos this won’t bother you. The hoods are smooth firm rubber and I like the shape of them. The levers have an ergonomic curve that’s pleasing to the hand. The overall feeling is of a solid well made part.
One issue with the Retroshift modification of the Tektro brake lever is that the cable release button doesn’t do anything. Normally the lever would tilt back further inside the hood, but the Retroshift mount prevents this. Probably not a big deal for most people, but if that’s a feature you use frequently on your current setup be aware of this limitation.
Bottom line the Retroshift levers look like a nice product and I’m stoked to try ‘em out as soon as I get back home in March and post a full review.