Urban Velo

Avid Speed Dial Ultimate

Avid Speed Dial UltimateWhile Avid may be best known for their mechanical disc brakes these days, they have always been known for their brake levers. The brainchild of Wayne Lumpkin, Avid was purchased by SRAM in 2004 and they continue to produce some of the most popular and arguably best-performing brakes on the market.

At the top of their cable-actuated mountain bike brake levers line are the $241 Speed Dial Ultimate brake levers. Exquisitely machined from 7075 aluminum, the levers feature Avid’s patented “speed dial” leverage adjustment, as well as standard barrel adjusters and reach adjustment. The range of adjustments afforded by the combination of the three is seemingly limitless.

The split clamp makes installation easier, and enables you to switch brakes from regular to “moto” without removing your grips, should the need arise.

The levers hinge on sealed cartridge bearings, which adds to the 159g weight, but prolongs the lifespan and ensures a smooth feel. I must admit, I was a bit disappointed that the levers have a bit of “slop” at the pivot, but this is only noticeable when you’re standing around showing off your top-of-the-line brake levers. On the bike, the small amount of vertical play is negligible.

Visit www.sram.com for more information.

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  1. Pink RobeJanuary 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    One of the best things about the Speed Dial levers is that they can be set up to work with discs, v-brakes, cantis or calipers. This lever works with everything. Just dial the leverage up or down depending on your setup and you’re golden. For those on a budget, the regular Speed Dial levers work just as well, just without the extra features.

  2. d*powJanuary 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I picked up a set of these in 07, after lusting after them for a while. They are the nicest brake levers I’ve ever used. You get what you pay for. Others pay them respect all the time.

  3. jimmyJanuary 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    $241! you guys are drunk… and if you’re not, you should be. beers on me if we ever meet. wait a second, you guys paid over $240 for brake levers… beers on YOU!

  4. Ghost RiderJanuary 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I love Speed Dial…I have cheapie versions of these levers, and they are great — perhaps my favorite MTB levers of all time.

  5. DocDJanuary 5, 2010 at 10:02 am

    You could buy 10 sets of “regular” Speed Dial Levers, crash and break them to your hearts content and still come out ahead. No thank you over priced levers.

  6. d*powJanuary 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I never said a word about paying $240. I said you get what you pay for.

    Having a second job at a bike shop pays off.

  7. VladJanuary 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Oh, $240 for brake lever is robbery!

  8. joefiSeptember 19, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I can’t believe the adjustment barrells on these levers! Just bad design and a lot of slop.

  9. JamesApril 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Ugh.. I scored a pair of these from a friend who races. But while in storage she lost one of the barrel adjusters, as they don’t actually seem to screw into the levers at all. Now I’ve got to spend $40 on a “hardware kit” to a get one crazy barrel adjuster?!

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