I am just in from changing clutch levers on the 350EXC. A little tip over sent the ball end flying off into the sunset last week in Baja. I can’t help but cringe when I have to shell out around $50 dollars for the OEM replacement. There has to be a better option.
A quick look online pointed me to the aftermarket lever from Tusk, about $13 on Amazon or Ebay. So how does it work?
At first glance it looks spot on. Except for the casting marks it could easily pass for the original. Even the trick adjuster parts look identical. It comes with a new return spring and ferrule for inside the lever pivot.
Swapping the parts takes just a second with the newer style handguards, the nut is captive, so an 8mm t-handle has the bolt out in seconds. I sprayed a little lithium grease on all the moving parts and put the new lever in.
The first try yielded a hard and noisy pull. That’s not good. I did a quick check, nothing out of place. Then I put the broken lever back on, it was fine. So what was the difference?
As it turns out it is the shape of the adjuster cup. The Brembo part is cone shaped and funnels the pin from the master cylinder right to the center. On the Tusk adjuster it is more of a bell shape and pin grinds along the edge to find the center on each pull. There is nothing to keep it centered, so it appears to be the same every time.
On left is Brembo cup with cone shape bottom, right is Tusk cup with bell shape
The solution wasn’t too hard. The adjusters are interchangeable. I popped the head off of each and screwed the adjuster out of the lever. Once swapped, things are just about as good as new. The Tusk lever still seems to have a bit of extra resistance, but I can’t find any obvious reason.
So there you go. The Tusk lever will work with just a little modification. But, as with so many inexpensive aftermarket parts, it just doesn’t have the refined feel of the original. I don’t break many levers, so I will probably opt for the OEM Brembo next time.