Profile Design ABS Carbon Levers

 Dec 27, 2012 article & images by Nick Salazar

Profile Design's ABS carbon levers are probably my favorite aero brake lever on the market today.

Today I've got a quick review for you of Profile Design's ABS Carbon aero brake levers. These little beauties are the top-end brake lever from Profile Design, one of the most prolific manufacturers in the world of triathlon. In October we reviewed the Aeria, easily one of the best UCI-legal aerobars at the moment. And today we're following up with an often-overlooked aero component, the aero brake lever. The ABS levers come in three flavors: an aluminum version, a carbon-and-composite version, and the full-carbon version shown here. The three varieties are identical except for the materials used, their total weight, and their price.

The top-end carbon version shown here comes with a hefty price tag of about $170. For that princely sum, however, you get what is probably the best brake lever on the market today. It combines smart design and excellent functionality with exceptionally low weight. My pair came in at 72 grams complete. That's a figure other levers struggle to attain for a single side. Cable routing is internal, meaning you don't have to subject your brake cable to a sharp bend as it tries to exit the bar. And each lever contains TWO return springs, which are actually fairly strong. This isn't the weakling spring found in the 3T levers - these things actually return the lever to neutral, and feel great. The lever shape is great - the smooth crab-claw-esque shape originally pioneered by Vision Tech feels great with two or three fingers, and the blade width is just wide enough not to feel uncomfortable in the hand, but thin enough to keep the frontal area to a minimum.

Again, when compared to 3T, the frontal area is slightly higher, and the weight is higher, but both of these concessions are very marginal. You wcill never notice the mere 6 grams of extra heft on each of the Profile Design levers, and the frontal area is just a scant bit higher. But you WILL notice the vastly superior ergonomic shape of the lever blades, the stronger return spring, and the improved wrenchability of a standard compression plug.

I'm going to put this set on my Shiv Pro build, at least until the E-tube brake lever shifters are released. Even then, I may be tempted to keep these on for a while - they're simply beautiful, and I want to keep them around on one build or another. If you can't afford the top-end version, snag either the Composite or Alloy versions. They're just as good, and barely any heavier.

(Oh, and for those of you who like the trivia, our photographic backdrop for these levers was the Dash Gizelle Disc. I shot the levers sitting right on the disc's flat portion.)

  • Ultra light weight
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Strong return spring
  • Expensive (but available in several price points)

Nailed it.
Rating: 5.0

Tags » brakes,  levers,  profiledesign
  • The smooth crab-claw shape of the ABS levers is similar to the popular Vision Tech levers. But the Profile Design version is just a bit larger, offering better purchase for your fingers to grip.
  • Behind the lever body you can see two return springs. These are more powerful than you'd expect, and provide a nice solid feel to the lever.
  • The Profile Design ABS levers feature in-bar cable routing. The little dimple in the compression plug body is where your cable housing routes straight into the lever without having to exit the bar. I like this kind of routing. It keeps things clean, and avoids sharp cable bends.
  • These levers are quite beautiful, and tip the scales at a scant 72 grams ... for the PAIR. If the $180 price tag is too high for you, Profile Design also makes a semi-composite version that adds 10 grams, or an aluminum version that adds 20. All three feature the exact same design and ergonomics. The only difference is material.
  • The lever blades are thin, smooth, and feel great in the hand.
  • Almost every part of the ABS Carbon levers is made of carbon fiber, including the compression plug!
  • Not much to see from the front - these are aerodynamic beauties.
  • From this angle you can see that the ABS levers are very thin compared to other offerings on the market, but not quite as thin as the razor-like 3T levers. However, I find the 3T levers a bit uncomfortable in the hand, where the Profile Design levers are just right.
  • The Profile Design ABS brake levers use mountain-style brake cables, with the circular termination instead of the mushroom-shaped road version. These are easy to find, just make sure you stock the right version when you get set to route them up.

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