How To Install New Levers on Your Motorcycle

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How To Install New Levers on Your Motorcycle

Installing levers can seem tedious and a little intimidating. You’re messing with two of your most important controls, after all.  What’s the benefit of upgrading to an adjustable lever from your stock levers? Well, you can significantly improve the ways that you interface with your bike, something worth considering if your stock options are limiting, or if vanity has gotten the best of you. Read on to learn how to install new levers on your motorcycle.

Photos by Aaron Berg

What You’ll Need:

Large flathead screwdriver
10mm wrench or socket
Needle nose pliers (or your multi-tool)

Preparation:

Make sure your bike is parked on a stable, level surface, You can improve this further by using a rear stand. Get all of your tools out, and get everything ready.

Removing screw and 10 mm nut
Removing screw and 10 mm nut

Brake Side:

Remove the screw that attaches the lever to the perch and carefully remove the lever, ensuring that your brake switch isn’t damaged. Set the screw to the side, as you’ll likely be reusing the screw.

Closeup of the brake perch assembly and brake switch
Closeup of the brake perch assembly and brake switch

Installation:

Your kit will likely include a small dowel with a hole drilled perpendicular to fit your brake switch into. You’ll want to fit the dowel into your brake lever and the switch prong into that dowel. After that, simply replace the screw and nut, then torque to factory specification, listed in your owner’s manual.

New Brake Lever Installed
New Brake Lever Installed

Clutch Side:

Remove the 10mm nut from the underside of the perch and loosen your clutch cable to make it easier to remove. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to carefully remove the cable from the lever, be sure that you don’t mar or fray your cable, breaking a clutch cable is not fun.

Nut and bolt removed from the clutch perch
Nut and bolt removed from the clutch perch

Now that your stock lever is free, remove the brass bushing and set that aside along with your old screw and nut.

Removing the clutch lever. Note the brass bushing where the clutch lever pivots around the bolt
Removing the clutch lever. Note the brass bushing where the clutch lever pivots around the bolt

In your new lever, replace the cable first, being sure not to twist or wrench on it. Then, replace the old bushing into the pivot point and reinstall the screw and nut. Adjust clutch cable tension to factory specifications, found in your owner’s manual.

Underside of the clutch lever
Underside of the clutch lever

After:

Start your motorcycle (in neutral) and function your front brake to check that your brake light illuminates. Take your bike around the block and make sure your clutch is functioning normally.

Installed clutch lever
Installed clutch lever

Have you ever replaced your levers? How did it go?

  • Tom Hinds

    Perfect timing for this article to come up, about to do my first brake and clutch lever swap this week, cheers guys!

    • http://Rideapart.com/ Curtis

      Enjoy! New levers are the biz.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I haven’t changed levers in a while – but it’s planned for this spring. I want to install a set of adjustable levers. I need a little less reach for better control in traffic. Why this isn’t standard on all motorcycles is a mystery. Some of us small hands – or a few broken bones in them.

  • ontarioroader

    Most clutch cables I’ve seen break have snapped off at the ‘head’ that sits inside the clutch lever. I always put a glob of good marine or bearing grease in there to make the action smoother and reduce friction/wear that can break the cable.

  • Mofles Gutz

    Don’t forget to grease the perches with Lithium Grease. Keep the action smooth.

  • Joe Thrower

    Can anyone provide a link to these levers? I want to put them on my Street Triple as well

    • John Goddard

      They are CRG clones by the looks of it. Here is the real deal, http://www.constructorsrg.com/ .

      • Joe Thrower

        Thanks

    • http://Rideapart.com/ Curtis

      These are the Triumph Radial levers available from your dealership (or online). PN A9620027 for the long levers like these.
      Judging by the shiny red bits on your bike, you’ve got an R too, so these will be the answer.

  • Zandit75

    I changed mine over a couple of years ago for a pair of Chinese double adjustable levers. They are adjustable in reach as well as length, so can be changed to suit your preference(2 finger, 3 etc)……There’s a dirty reference there somewhere, I sure of it!!
    The clutch lever was perfect, and the brake side fitted straight in with seemingly no problems….until I tried to ride it! The hole for the master cylinder piston was not deep enough, so it started binding/locking up by the time I got 200mtrs down the road. Lucky I had some tools with me to remove the lever and ride it back home. Drilled out the hole slightly, and have never looked back!

  • Chad

    I have a set of gold shorty ASV/CRG knock-offs I got off eBay from China and I love them. The installation process was roughly the same as outlined in this article, except my 03 600RR does not have a metal extension for the brake switch, just the rubber. I have to say this is my favorite mod I’ve done so far. It’s really nice to have the adjustment for reach, and I like the length as opposed to the stock levers. However, I have heard of people preferring long levers to short ones, so take that into account when shopping. It might not be a bad idea to buy a set of the eBay shorties just to get a feel for them and then upgrade to ASVs/CRGs, then you’ll only be out $25 instead of $200-300 if you don’t like them. In my experience, the Chinese ones work and feel just the same, they just don’t have a brand name on them. Also, take a ride around your neighborhood or a slow-paced environment with little traffic (if any) after installing to make sure they’re working properly, they’re in a position you like and to get a good feel for any difference they may make to how you feel the brake. This is all going to be based on which position they are in, but you probably don’t want to slam on the brakes when a car pulls out in front of you and then realize your lever is farther away than before and accidentally lock up the front. And as has been said before, grease everything up before calling it a day.