How to switch your hydraulic brake levers

Swapping the brake levers can be done easily with this hack

Brakes How To
How To Swap Hydraulic Brake Hoses

Tools needed to swap the hoses.

There’s two ways to set up brake levers, normal style or moto style with rear brake actuation on the right side. Often on the trail, we see riders ride or try bikes with the brake levers opposite of their preference. It’s too hard to swap and do a brake bleed they say. But there is a solution. With care, you can swap your levers easily.

The 100% dialed way to do this is with a full brake bleed of course. But if that is beyond your capability then this swap is still reasonable to do if you’re careful. Take note that it can only be done a couple of times to levers until a brake bleed is needed. But it is a handy trick indeed.

And it can be done to shorten those hideously long brake cables on new bikes.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • p brig says:

    This is a euro thing, and that’s exactly where such a silly setup belongs.

    • Erik says:

      Agree with Chase. Humans are right hand dominant. 90% of braking is done with the front. I think the reason that there are so many bad ruts in the trails is from poor braking and riders grabbing way too much brake on their dominant hand. It also helps amateurs from going over the bars. I ran moto for years and just recently switched back to standard last year to see which is better. I’m going back to moto. The worst however is when you loan our bike to someone and they wreck grabbing all front brake!

  • Chase says:

    After many years of racing moto. I feel I can confidently inform you ,that you are incorrect.
    Moto is front on right, rear on left. In moto we cll it LHRB when running auto clutch mechanisms .
    I have never understood or tolerated the opposite way which is how bicycles are setup in the US.

  • Bnystrom says:

    There’s one critical error in this video. He removes the front wheel, but doesn’t install a travel shim or better yet, remove the pads and install a bleed block. He squeezed the front brake lever BEFORE reinstalling the wheel, which will force the brake pistons and pads outward and prevent the wheel from being reinserted. If you do not use a travel shim or a bleed block, you MUST reinstall the front wheel FIRST, then you can squeeze the brake lever. A simple way to avoid all of this hassle is to cover the rotor and caliper with a piece of plastic wrap and leave the wheel in place. This is supposed to be a “simple” method, after all.

  • GTB says:

    I live in the US and every bike and motorcycle I’ve ever ridden has the Rear brake on the Right and Front on the Left. Right = Rear

    It would be weird to have it be any other way, to me.

    • john says:

      well i guess you havent ridden a motorcycle with a clutch, because the clutch is on the left and the front brake on the right, on every manual motorcycle.

  • SteveP says:

    There’s no right or wrong – only right and left :-) Agree the edit showed him squeezing the brake with the rotor out. So should have been shimmed (or just edited to show the wheel/rotor replaced first)

  • gogogordo@earthlink.net says:

    Tell me who sells bikes in the US with moto style brake setup???

  • mojo says:

    chase is correct, rear on left, front on right as on all motorcycles… GTB is wrong…
    i ride motor and push bikes with the front on the right as intended by nature…

  • dave tunmer says:

    can i tubeless tires on my DIAMOND 29ER , it does not have those small valves , it has
    what the manufacturers call an American valves like a car valve ??

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