MXA PRODUCT TEST: RENTHAL INTELLILEVER BRAKE LEVER: If You Think You’ve Seen Every Way To Make A Folding Lever Think Again

December 18, 2009
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MXA PRODUCT TEST:
RENTHAL INTELLILEVER BRAKE LEVER

WHAT IS IT? The brake lever version of Renthal’s unique folding clutch lever. The Renthal Intellilever uses a very creative system, especially when compared to typical hinged folding levers. A hinge only works in two directions, so Renthal engineers scrapped that idea and went in search of more range of motion. Instead of attaching the blade by a hinge, the Intellilever uses a steel cable kept taut by a spring. The base of the blade is knuckled so that the lever will dislocate when force is applied up, down or forward.

WHAT’S IT COST? $89.95.

CONTACT? www.renthal.com or (877) 736-8425.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Renthal Intellilever brake lever.

(1) Materials. The Intellilever is machined from 6082 T-6 billet aluminum, and the blade of the lever is hard-anodized to ensure maximum durability. The weakest component is the rubber protector, which can tear during installation if you try to stretch it.

(2) Looks. Without a hinge, the Intellilever brake lever is sleeker than many folding levers, albeit with a somewhat angular blade design. If it weren’t for the supplied Renthal-emblazoned rubber protector, the lever might go unnoticed to the casual observer. The rubber cover gives it a factory look, but also ensures that all your friends in the pits will walk by and bang on your lever. Amazingly, it takes a decent size jolt to dislocate the Renthal Intellilever blade. This deters your friends from banging away at your bike.

(3) Operation. The spring-loaded cable is a unique solution to the problem of designing a folding lever that can move across a 360-degree axis. When dislocated (and that is the proper word for how the Intellilever works), the lever’s steel cable lets it move freely in many directions, but the slack in the cable doesn’t let the lever move as far in any direction as one might think. There are crashes that could forcefully displace the lever past this range. We think the Intellilever would benefit from more available travel of the cable and a few more degrees of dislocating pivot angle.

(4) Adjustments. As with stock levers, you can adjust the Intellilever’s distance from the handlebar. Also, the lever comes with an extra, stiffer spring, in case you want to make it more difficult to dislocate it in a crash.

(5) Durability. Any part can be broken under the right circumstances, but the Intellilever will most likely survive the vast majority of crashes that would break a stock lever. Not only is the lever stout, but the spring-loaded cable is very durable. Our only doubts center on crashes that want to push the lever past a 90-degree bend.

(6) Feel. The shape of the blade is an important part of the feel. Half of the MXA test riders liked the square feel of the lever, while the other half hated it.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have three small squawks. (1) We’d prefer increased angles of lever pivot to make it virtually invulnerable. (2) The shape of the blade had more than its fair share of detractors who wanted a rounder and slimmer shape. (3) The rubber boot tends to tear during installation.


The Intellilever brake lever is perfectly compatible with all stock master cylinders and is by far the most ingenious folding lever ever designed.


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