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***Product Review*** eBay (Chinese) Shorty levers
11-14-2013, 04:19 PM (This post was last modified: 11-16-2013 06:55 AM by Rev. That Guy.)
Post: #1
***Product Review*** eBay (Chinese) Shorty levers
Another budget oriented product review.....

My Background:
Im 30 years old and have been riding since about 14 years old on the dirt and in the yard, then once i turned 16, I would beg and plead to ride buddies bikes on the street. I purchased my first bike in 2001, a 95 CBR600F3 full track bike that I converted back to street and have been riding ever since. I have owned nearly any type of bike you can think of from the Various vintages of CBR 600s, to Ninja 250s to a BMW R1200GS and R1200RT, a Victory hammer S, Hondas, Yamahas, Suzukis, Kawis, and most recently my MV Agusta and RC51. Sport bikes, standards, cruisers, dirt bikes, dual sports and everything in between including ATVs. I consider myself a confident and proficient rider and those that know me know that while I am not the fastest rider out there, I am certainly no slouch either. I have done many track days in the past but nothing recently but the foundation is there. I know my way around a bike with a wrench and have done nearly everything from engine rebuilds to frame up restorations. Hopefully this speaks to my credentials and credibility here. That being said, all of the opinions expressed are simply that, MY opinion. Your mileage may vary and your riding style and preferences may be different from mine.

eBay Shorty (Chinese) Clutch and Brake levers (seller: RCFollow)
[Image: rcfo_Short_Levers_Red_001.jpg]

No info available about the manufacturer.

My Bike: 2002 Honda RVT1000 RC51

Initial Impressions:
They kinda look like ASV levers, and by kinda I mean they almost look exactly like ASV levers. Just a few subtle differences. Price... well I paid $24.95 shipped to my mailbox. Shipping came from China so it took about 14 days to get. Pretty typical and worth the wait given the price. The price seems to have increased (or mine was listed in error) as I cant seem to find them that low again. They are listed now in the $30-50 range depending on application. Anyway, when they arrived, I opened them up to take a look. Initial impressions were favorable sans one thing - The red anodized finish was slightly off between the 2 levers. It seems that one sat in the tank longer than the other as one of them is a slightly deeper red and not quite as shiny. OK, that kinda sucks but most wont notice this unless they are looking for it and I am particularly anal about that kind of thing.

Build quality seemed adequate. Not great, but not horrible. The levers are 2 piece units, the actual lever itself, and then the mounting base. It appears that the levers left and right are identical and simply flipped for the other side, but top and bottom are a mirror image of each other so it works well. There are some machining marks on the black mounting base thing so not the smoothest there, but also nothing too bad either. Can barely feel it, just see it. They do feel nice and sturdy and no slop really to speak of between the base and the lever and the 6-position adjuster functions smoothly and as as it should.

Back on that sturdy thing, well they are, but that also translates to a bit heavy. Nearly double the weight of the OEM lever that came off. Now when I say double, that's not a big deal as we are only talking a few ounces between both of them. Negligible at best. It does make for a good feel on the bike though. One concern I did have with them was that there was not any kind of bushing where the pivot bolt goes through. Most, including OEM, use a brass bushing. These, however, are just a hole milled into the aluminum. We will see how this holds up over time.

Mounting them up, they went in perfectly. Everything aligned well and I didn't have to fiddle with it at all. Had the old levers off and new levers on in about 2 minutes. Only thing I noticed after install was that the tolerances weren't quite to that of OEM. They do have just a tiny bit of play in them up and down. The tip of the lever moves maybe 1.5mm No big deal. OEM had some play too but maybe only .5-1mm tops.

Biggest difference, however, was in the shape. much different from the OEM shape and thus I had to mess around with my master cylinder positioning a little to get the "feel" right with them. I feel that they could have made the mounting bases slightly shorter to bring the levers in a touch more towards the center of the bike, but again, these are being made in china, and as these same levers will work for basically all Hondas, that may be asking a lot as all the bikes are different. Eventually, with a little playing around on positioning and the adjusters on the levers, I found the sweet spot with them and thats where they will stay.

After a few miles:
I got to put a few miles on them today and actually get the feel for them and I love 'em. I did have to fiddle around with the adjuster to find what I liked a few times but that was mostly playing with "how does it feel now?" kinda stuff. I have been looking for a set of shorties and these certainly fit the bill. They look great, adjust enough that I can fully disengage the clutch without squishing my last 2 fingers (the OEMs were so long that they hit my fingers with gloves on and wouldn't adjust out enough). The feel is real solid and that little bit of play in them proved to be a non-issue as I did not notice any vibration or bouncing issues.

Again, I am still concerned about the long term and how well the pivot holes will hold up without the bushings in them. Also, another concern I do have is how well the anodizing will hold up to the sun. I have seen many a chinese part where the anodizing faded over time, faster than the Japanese counter-parts. Again, time will tell and I will update this later once I have more time on them. Even so, for the price they aren't bad. Hell I could replace them 6-8 times over with brand new ones for the cost of one set of big name levers of similar style.

Also, they do lack the up and down adjustment but for my application, it is not needed. They aligned perfectly and should be the same for any application where the master cylinders/perches are stock.

Overall impressions:
Again, being that this is a budget part, I do have to say that there are some minor issues with them. Mostly aesthetic problems and all very minor. Mechanically they seem great. I wish quality control was a little bit higher in regards to the color matching, and on the machining marks? well for the price I cant really complain. For $25, you couldn't get a machine shop here in the US to even power up the machine, let alone cut something like this, so there's that.

Longevity still sits in the back of my mind though. I hope they last a while because I think they really add to the look of the bike and I really dig how they feel (feel, however, is more of a design thing than a product specific thing).

Not sure how they will hold up in a crash and have no plans of ever finding that out, but again, at the price, they are the same (if not cheaper) than OEM so worth maybe even grabbing an extra set. They also make a full length version that looks identical only longer lever. Would I recommend them? Sure would with the stipulation that I don't have any long term usage reports yet, but really only if you need to replace a broken or bent lever (opportunity to upgrade?) or if your looking to change the look of your bike and add a little personal touch. Function wise, they aren't any different than OEM except, as noted for me, that I got a little more adjustability out of them. They make a great replacement. A serious track day rider or racer may want to go with a higher-end lever from a weight standpoint and also a little more adjustability if needed.

The Breakdown (On a scale of 1-5):
Price: 5 (compared to anything else, even OEM, you cant beat it)
Build Quality: 4.5 (some slight play in the pivot system)
Appearance: 3.5 (but only because of the mismatch color and slight machining marks)
Longevity: TBD
Overall Value: 4 (so far)

Hope some of you find this useful.

- Justin

"You were taking it easy right? Because I could keep up with
you and from what I understand, I shouldn't be able to do that..."
- Ken "No Neck"

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11-15-2013, 10:20 PM
Post: #2
RE: ***Product Review*** eBay (Chinese) Shorty levers
NIce review!! I will check on some myself!
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11-15-2013, 10:56 PM
Post: #3
RE: ***Product Review*** eBay (Chinese) Shorty levers
I have a set and am very happy with them. can't beat it for $25
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