a Cross Country Rider
from Auckland New Zealand
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2008
Strengths: Super light. Great feel, almost no hassles
Weaknesses: Pivot pin came out after a huge crash but no other damage
Awesome levers. I have had these for ten years and they are still going strong. I have a spare pair that I put away for when these break. Good for those who are weight weenie geeks like me. Loctite the pivot pins in and you will never have a problem.
Freakin' great levers. I have had my Kooka levers for many, many years. (Rode them on early canti-brakes, then, with Kooka's help, switched to later v-brakes). One of the best components I've owned. They've moved with me from beginning weekend warrior in Washington to years as a XC racer in Southern California. I've used them on many bikes & keep riding them. They've survived many ugly wrecks & even a roofrack collision with the parking garage. Great product. Thanks, Kooka.
a Cross Country Rider
from Northern AZ, USA
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2004
These levers looked great, felt great and I didn't want to take them off the bike. HOWEVER ... I eventually had to because I could no longer repair them enough to stay on! The pins that hold the lever onto the body fell out and the barrel adjusters broke. These are super light and will not last for people that ride a lot. If you are a lighter, less aggressive rider though, you may want to try them. Otherwise, it's XTR all the way!
from Hope Valley RI
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2003
Strengths: Light, minimalist design, true onf finger control, grip surface (very tactile), requires light touch to modulate (don't panic or you'll be face planted)
Weaknesses: Grips(loose on the lever), horizontal flex,
On the first ride I was like "Oh no I think I made a terrible mistake with these levers." By the end of the first ride "This is the 3rd greatest thing I've purchased for the bike!" These little puppies are powerful, it takes a light touch to grab rimful of brake. After getting used to them they felt solid under pressure, although they did feel 'squishy' while stationary. Modulation was positive although again you do have re-adjust your braking style slightly. It'll take you less effort to stop. I can see this being an advantage when your arms are tired from squeezing off the brakes on a loong descent or race. BOTTOM LINE: Buy them if you're an experienced rider/racer and you have a bit of concern of weight (1st and 2nd greatest upgrades to the bike were: FSA carbon pro ISIS cranks and Action Tec Ti cassette)
Similar Products Used: Dia Compe, Avid, Shimano, Machine Tech
Bike Setup: Superlight, XTR, Kore, King Disc Wheels, Avid Disc, etc.
a Weekend Warrior
from Edmonds, WA
Date Reviewed: June 25, 2001
Strengths: feathery weight and excellent craftsmanship
Weaknesses: poor modulation
You gotta be a gram counting geek to love this product. If those 92 grams are the most important thing in life, then you've found Nirvana. If you love psending free time trying to get your brakes dialed in, this is the lever for you. However, if strong braking performance is important to you, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
These things are minimalist works of art. In the four years I've run them they have they have head up well. The foam finger pads remain intact, the barrel adjusters are the best, and the anodizing is perfect.
If you are trying to sqeeze every gram out of your bike as I was, buy the Kooka Rachas. The Mavic Cross Max ceramic rim helps improve the over-all stopping power. However, the LX levers will be a much more effective, and cheaper alternative.
a Weekend Warrior
from pittsburgh, pa
Date Reviewed: June 19, 2001
Strengths: light weight, high, coolness factor
Weaknesses: don't pull enough cable to be used by themselves (see below) with V brakes. some bushing slop.
when i first got these levers, i thought they sucked. they didn't pull enough cable to be set up well with V-brakes. when i had them working MODERATELY well, the pads were so close to the rim there was NO room for any error at all. i was getting ready to ditch them and get a lever that pulls more cable when i decided to try those pulley things that go where the noodle thingie goes on the V-brakes (i think they are called 'travel agents' or 'smooth operators' or something like that - most mail order companies have them). well THAT fixed everything!!! now i love these levers, and they are still lighter than pretty much everything else out there even WITH the pulley thing. i'm very glad i have/kept these levers. if you have similar problems, try the travel agent.
Weaknesses: About an 1nch of flex that you might develop a taste for
These are sweet light canti levers. The fools that say these suck becuase they don't have power with XTR v brakes, etc. forgot or don't know that these are short pull cantilever specific levers. They weren't even designed for any long pull v brake setups. I used them with older XTR cantis and loved how they performed. Also if you buy a damn multiplier they might work with Vbrakes, ooor, you could buy the long pull version recently designed by kooka and have sweet light levers that pull enough for v brakes.
Bike Setup: Well, I bought this weirdly equipped Klein Rascal for 250 bucks, not bad has mass unusual parts like machinetech and paul and these levers
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: April 6, 2000
Strengths: Lightweight, quality materials, smooth feel, and super spiffy looks!
Weaknesses: A little flexy (not bad consider weight), a little slop in the bushings (again, not too bad), impossible to get them from slipping on bars...
Nice levers with cool looks. The penalties paid for the light weight are worth it, as they are fairly minor. The only exception to this is the clamps. I have yet to be able to get them tight enough to the handle bars to keep them from swinging and slipping. I finally ended up snapping one of the cinch bolts off at the head. Now I'm on a search for a replacement bolt. Checked the local hardware stores and couldn't find any to match the thread pitch. I then sent e-mail to Kooka customer service to see if they could set me up with some replacements. Still waiting on a reply, although I'm not gonna hold my breath. I contacted them several times when I first bought the levers, and never got a reply. To sum it all up: 4 points for the quality (love the levers grips), take away 3 points for the slippage, and another 10 points off for the customer support (OR LACK THEREOF) and end up with -9...too bad...it's a potential 5 flaming roadkill product
I like the modulation that you get with this combo vs. the trigger on/off of my XTR v-brake/XT lever combo. It gives me much more confidence going into loose pebbly downhill corners vs. the other combos I am using. They are obviously not as stong, but that is always the sacrifice for weight savings. Don't know how they work in the rain though. So far 5 chilis. These are cross country specific levers, not intended for jumping or DH.
Bike Setup: Zaskar LE Single Speed with Avid SD 2.0. (18 lbs.)
from Novato Ca 94947
Date Reviewed: February 3, 2000
Strengths: Uh, mabye that it's light.
Weaknesses: Everything. These levers suck! they don't pull enough cable which makes them supper spongy, you have to set the pads so close to the rim that they almost always drag. Until I bought new levers I always blammed this on the McMahon V-Brakes, but then I tried XTR with the same problems. Theses brake levers suck.
Don't buy these levers, buy shimano. I know you want to buy american, but don't buy these, buy Avids instead if you have to.
Bike Setup: Ventana MPFS, SID, XTR, Synchros, RaceFace, etc.
a Cross-Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 18, 1999
Strengths: Light They work!!
Weaknesses: 1 cm of Bushing play
I have been using the Rachas for 2 years and they work like a charm. The 1 cm of play takes a while to get used to, but once you do you never realize that it is there. I would recommend them to any and everyone.
a Cross-Country Rider
from Denver, Colorado
Date Reviewed: May 7, 1999
Strengths: Way light weight, feel
Weaknesses: Not as sturdy as some - to be expected given the weight.
These superlight levers work very well. The foam grips as they give the levers a nice, grippy feel. I use 'em in conjunction w/XTR V-brakes and the response is great with just one finger. I recommend them if you're gram-shaver and like the trick look of machined, anodized components (my blue levers have not exhibited any of the color fade mentioned below). Be careful if you're tough on equipment or if you tend to crash a lot. Following a minor endo, I discovered a broken barrel adjuster on one of the levers. No biggie. The trade-off with superlight parts is often reduced durability. In this case, your 90 bucks is buying you feathery weight, not bomb-proof construction, so don't buy these levers if you expect to dig hard and have zero equipment damage. 5 steamers for performance, 4 for durability. Ride on!