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.)