SRAM Rival 1 Brake Lever, Pair: Rider Review

Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for. 

When riding a bike with drop bars having the right lever setup is very important for comfort on the long days in the saddle. Read on as our friend Michael tells us about his SRAM Rival lever setup on his single speed cross bike.

Sram Rival 1 Review


Got these brake levers for my sscx set up. I tried out different levers and the hood shape didn’t quite resemble the road bike shifter feel I was looking for. The other brake levers I tried before were quite short & narrow. The top section was too arched and caused palm pain. I was looking for something flatter. I disliked the fact that my palms rested on both shifter and handlebars. The arched top profile felt abrasive. The reach felt strange due to the lack of platform. Overall, I was pretty dissatisfied with them. But upon digging the web, I came across the SRAM Rival brake levers. These are awesome because they have the exact same shape as the Sram Apex/Rival/Force 11 speed shifter. I’m really into the long flat profile. Personally, I think these have the closest resemblance (feel wise) if you are accustomed to riding or SRAM shifters.

Sram Rival 1 Review


I instantly felt a HUGE difference on these brake levers. The longer, flat profile made me feel more at home. The extra reach gave steering & handling a closer feel to my actual road bike. I can ride these harder & longer than my other levers and maintain an excellent amount of comfort. (Especially because I use these on fire roads and trails) The longer flat profile makes me feel like I have more control over the bike. The rubber hoods have a nice embossed profile that enhances grip when you're hands are sweaty. On the drops, the lever distance feels awesome and cable response is on point. It really made riding the bike more enjoyable. Not only for my hands, but also with the peace of mind I gained from the increased leverage.


Installing them was easy enough. My old brake lever position felt awkward because of the short reach. I ended up positioning them at the tip of the bend to get them as far out as possible. This made the angle of the drops feel strange. The problem was eliminated with these levers. I positioned them a fair amount higher on the drops for an upward angle. The hood profile meshed well with the shape of my compact drops. The upward angle felt much better on my wrists. The flexibility of lever positioning allowed me to set my bars at an angle that was comfy on the drops. The brake/bar combo felt amazing on both the hoods and the drops.

Sram Rival 1 Review

Final Thoughts:

I would highly recommend these to everyone. From Track to SSCX, these will serve you well. Not to mention, I've gotten quite a few compliments on rides. People don't really know why they sell these without the shift mechanisms. The older alternatives would be to pay full price for a set of 11-speed shifter & run the with the paddles or pay full price for a set of 11-speed shifters, only to get the paddles. These serve as the happy medium bridging ideal road bike shifter feel, single-speed brake levers, and price point Don't sleep on these! You're gonna enjoy them!

Sram Rival 1 CTA

November 05, 2019

Customer Review › Rider Review › Rival 1 › SRAM ›

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