I love city bikes. I don’t understand people that ride bikes in the city without fenders and chainguards, and dare I say. . . upright riding position!!

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.

9 thoughts on “Frexel inverse Brake levers

  1. hey, those no-name ones look a little like the ones on my Russell. had to file down the section of the lever blade that’s sandwiched in the clamp because it would bind on the bars, but that done, they work great. i do covet some badass inverse levers like these frexels, if only because they leave more bar space. keep up the good work, fudge brother #1!


  2. Hi, around May I bought the same exact levers as your Frexel's (no name though) on e-bay. i looooved them, but now when coming down to fitting them onto my handlebars (upright, swept back style) i'm rethinking my love. the brake cables bend horribly! is that dangerous, have you run into this as an issue? is it a non-issue??


  3. arghh actually i mean i have the CLB's you show in your photo, not the frexels. it seems to me i have to drill a hole in my handlebar for that. makes me a little nervous. . . what do you think?


  4. Anon-
    yes for ClB, Mafac, and Frexel inverse brake levers you have to drill the handlebars. that is the way it was done. The newer inverse levers by Tektro, you do not drill the handlebars.

    Rene Herse and Alex Singer did it, sooo. . . .I am still nervous about it too. My friend rides a late 1950s-early1960s French porteur bicycle that has the original handlebar/Mafac brake lever combination and it has been for years here on Philly streets.


  5. whats the diameter handlebar you would need to accommodate a frexel inverse brake lever?

    any way you would part with one?

    finishing my gazelle polished ss reno and been looking for these for a while

    sometimes wish i had a milling machine in the kitchen so i can juat make what i need

    in any case, nice score!


  6. Hello — if, by any chance, you have one spare MAFAC/CLB/Frexel/whatever bar-end lever, I'd love to buy it. I've been looking for one for my Hetchins for quite a while now. So far, I've only been able to find a DiaCompe, but I can't bring myself to put it on the Hetchins' Belleri porteur bars, so it's going on the Bottecchia instead.

    Please let me know if you have a single lever you'd sell. You can reach me at rch427 at yahoo d0t com.



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