The search for brake levers for the upright riding position leaves the rider looking either at current stock(modern plastic/aluminum Mtn. bike levers) or older brake levers. Most brake levers found on upright bikes were plain Weinmann or Dia Compe alloy brake levers that haven’t changed much since the 1960s. They are nice and look at home on any classic bike, but I wanted something a little different. So I started looking at weird French brake levers.
I first had a set of these cool slim-lined aluminum brake levers. They looked great and also had a great feel. But I wanted something even cooler, weirder looking. My friend Fred had purchased a french Porteur bike from us a couple years ago, and it had Mafac inverse brake levers. I loved the look, but inverse brake levers were very hard to find. So went to the only place that would have them, Ebay. I bought various sets of them-CLB, no name, and finally set my eyes on a beautiful set of Frexel ones. They are sculpted, and highly polished, and a nice final touch- they are super lightweight. I have yet to install them on a bike, because I have no bicycle worthy of them yet. I am hoping that the same fortunate circumstances happen with the brake levers as what happened when I bought a Jack Taylor stem, I was given a Jack Taylor Super Tourist, missing a stem. So I am waiting on my Rene Herse Porteur bike, missing brake levers 😉
On my current city bike, a 1960s french Rochet road frame set up with Honjo fenders and Velo-Orange Porteur rack, I installed Tektro inverse brake levers. They are very nice and have a spring return. As nice as they feel, they have nothing on Frexel.