Press "Enter" to skip to content

Brake Lever Insulation for Winter

Riding a bicycle in winter is made easier by insulating one’s body from the metal frame, which acts as a heatsink pulling away warmth. Bicycle grips, saddle, and boots do this fairly well, but metal brake levers can quickly chill one’s fingers even with gloves on. I’d looked into some carbon fiber brakes such as the Tektro MT5.0 on the Mukluk, but $50+ seemed like a lot to spent for just a bit of extra insulation.

Earlier today I came across this post on MTBR in a thread about insulated brake levers which suggested using some heatshrink tubing to insulate the blade itself, so I’ve decided to give that a go. This was pretty easy to do, and while there are a couple slightly visible high spots and subtle wrinkles the curved part where my finger goes is smooth, and it seems to feel good.

I’ll give this a go tomorrow and see how it works out, but just basic experimentation in the basement is showing it to be warmer than the bare metal lever. Now if I could only find something to do about the metal clamp at the end of the Ergon grips…

UPDATE: After a 2+ hour ride in the snow at Bald Mountain I’m going to declare this a success. The brake lever never once felt cold, I had to consciously try to feel for a differing texture, and things just worked.


  1. Paul Wujek
    Paul Wujek January 4, 2014

    It could be that Plasti Dip™ might also work the same way, and could probably be used to coat anything including the metal parts of your Ergon grips.

    If you use Plasti Dip it might be good to use more than one coat, although I’ve never used it, sot I can’t say for sure.

  2. Steve Vigneau
    Steve Vigneau January 4, 2014

    Paul Wujek: I thought of that, but I really didn’t want to pull the levers off for dipping, then hang them to dry, etc. I could also have used the spray version, but that’d be even more complicated… And, until I got it really thick, I’d think it could more easily rub/tear off than heatshrink tubing. This stuff is extremely strong, especially one it has shrunk.

    This also cost a lot less than either dip or spray Plasti Dip, particularly because I had the tubing laying around the house. Even if I had to buy it cost would be less than $2 (I only used two 3″ pieces), and it was quickly shrunk in place with a small heat gun.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.