South Salem Cycleworks
(503) 480-2001

Vintage Components - Dia Compe Brakes

On this page: Royal Gran Compe black calipers | Aero Compe levers | Non-aero levers | Vintage Dia Compe lever hoods | 189 Reverse Brake Levers

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Dia Compe is the brand name of Japanese component maker KK Yoshigai. The firm was stated in Osaka, Japan, in 1930. The first product off its production line was a brakeset. Though Dia Compe has long since branched out into headsets, suspension forks and stems, brakes and brake parts are what most people rightfully think of when they see the Dia Compe name.

It was Dia Compe who invented the famous "Safety Lever" extension levers that allow a rider to put his hands on the tops of a set of drop handlebars and still stop his bike.

Swiss brake maker Weinmann was was so taken with the invention that the two firms entered a design-sharing agreement. Weinmann could make the safety levers and Dia Compe could make its own version of the highly-regard Weinmann brakes. That is why those highly polished Dia Compe brakes of the bike boom look just like Weinmanns.

Royal Gran Compe short-reach black brake calipers. used $70.00

Part# BR-41

Weight per pair: about 350 grams

Reach: 39-49mm

Dia Compe made these top-of-the line brakes in the 1980s. Initially they were produced in silver, but a few white and black sets were also produced. It is thought that the black anodized version is the most rare.

The quick release is incremental, as on a Campagnolo Nuovo Record side-pull caliper. You can open it just enough to get the clearance you need. The cables are clamped (a far superior method, that forestalls broken and frayed wires), rather than being run through a bolt with a hole in it.

Note: our set does not have matching front lock nuts. Otherwise, they are in fabulous condition.

Royal Gran Compe

The finish level on these calipers matches the best by anyone, anywhere.

Royal Gran Compe calipers

Note these have allen-key mounting nuts.

Aero Compe brake levers. Lightly used, $50.00

These aero levers were produced in the early 1980s and came with the Aero Gran Compe brake set. "Gran Compe" is stamped on the mounting straps.

Aero Compe levers

A simple, nicely finished lever set.

Aero compe levers

Side view

Dia Compe brake levers with hoods, non aero. lightly used. $45.00

Part# BL-40

Produced in the early to mid-1980s. They are well-finished and will go with a wide range of Dia-Compe calipers.

Diacomple levers

Nicely finished.

Dia Compe levers

And from the side, they look just as good

Dia compe levers

And from the other side

Vintage Dia Compe brake lever hoods. New, $25.00

These are not copies, they are original Dia Compe factory-produced hoods. They will work on Weimann levers as well.

Dia Compe lever hoods

These will work on Weinmann levers as well.

Dia Compe 189 Reverse Brake Levers. Used. $30.00

Since the early 1980s when these levers were made, Dia Compe has done several redesigns. But these original 189s are simple and light. They should weigh about 140 grams each.

Dia Compe's original intent was to produce brake levers for city bikes. But racers quickly figured out that they make super aero levers. Securing the lever to the bars does require drilling a small hole for the fixing screws. Cables can be run inside the bars.

Dia Compe 189 reverse brake levers

Light, simple and effective.