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.