Retroshift “CXV” Brake Lever-Shifter Mounts: Quick Review- by Guitar Ted

Earlier this past spring, I reviewed a set of Retroshift lever/shifter mounts for test/review. (You can see that review here.) One of the questions regarding these was “When will they have some long pull levers available?” Well……the wait is over, and Retroshift’s newest product for linear pull brakes is now available. They call them the “CXV” model.

What’s New: The CXV model Retroshifter not only represents a choice for linear pull brake users, but also for those that have “mountain bike” type mechanical disc brakes, which generally are based upon a long pull lever’s cable pull ratio. Retroshift chose another Tektro based design to mount their shift pod on to in the RL-520 model. I’ve used RL-520′s for several years on this and other drop bar bikes with mechanical Avid disc brakes with great success, and these Retroshifters are no different in that regard. Good choice there. Another new thing here is that now you can buy the levers with 9 or 10 speed bar end shifters as a unit from Retroshift, (MSRP $189.00), or source your own bar end shifters as before. (Shimano bar end or down tube varieties only at this point)

Finally, Retroshift is also going to produce a video showing how you can “clock” the mount to customize how the shift lever throw will relate to your specific lever set up. Besides the customization of the mount, Retroshift now also offers small parts to rebuild a lever, should that become necessary.

Ride Report: I installed the new CXV lever and my own Dura Ace 9speed bar end shifters on the Salsa Cycles Fargo, (Generation I model shown), which has On One Midge Bars. The new levers and shifters felt totally natural to me since the previous set up used Tektro RL-520′s. The only real difference here was moving the shifter from the bar end at the drop to the lever.

The bike now has plugs at the ends of the bars that are a bit more “top tube friendly” than having bar end levers there, and with the levers having the shift levers out front where they probably won’t get biffed unless I have an over the bars incident. Another result of the switch was that I now had shorter cable housing runs than before, but that was mostly due to my “under-the-tape set up I employed before.

As far as performance goes, it is similar to my previous report on these. Again- you can not shift from the drops, but shifting from the hoods is easily done. Of course, the bar end shifters work quite nicely, and having a simple mechanism, they should be fine in less than stellar conditions. The added option of being able to friction shift is nice to have “just in case”. The levers pull the Avid BB-7′s well and braking is very good. I happen to really like the shape of the lever blade which eases braking from the drops and feels nice in the hand. Finally- an added bonus for me is that the bar end shifter actually lends a new way to rest the hands/fingers on the hoods that I happen to like.

Conclusions: Retroshift hits with these long pull levers just in time for all the disc brake cyclo-cross offerings that are being shown now for the fall cyclo-cross season. These should be a great choice for inclement racing, or for adventure type setups that require robust, durable shifting with an option to go friction. Another plus is Retroshift’s offering of a complete, ready to install 9 or 10 speed option so you don’t have to source your own bar end or down tube shifters. Nice. Really, the only downside here is that you won’t be able to shift from the drops, but if that isn’t an issue for you, I can highly recommend this set up. Well, that and pretty soon the Goats at Retroshift will have to produce an 11 speed version! ;)

Note: Retroshift sent the Retroshift “ CXV” levers/mounts at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test/review. We were not paid, nor bribed to do this review and I strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.