It seems that when I travel outside of Alberta I always see some new, cool product that isn’t available at home. I am always anxious to try it out and see it become available in my local bike stores. This was the case with Bikebonz products. I was in On Top Bike Shop in Vancouver one day and noticed the Bonz Brake Triggers. I contacted Terry from Bikebonz, and he graciously sent me 3 pairs of triggers to test.
I got my paws on two sets of the two-finger levers and one set of the one-finger levers. All the Bonz levers are designed to work with Hayes hydraulics, and will fit Purple DH and Comp. They are made of CNC-machined 6065 aluminum and come with their own brass barrel nut. They have laser-etched graphics and are available in Red, Black and, my favorite, Pimp Daddy Gold. The list price on each set was $90, compared to about $120 for Hayes levers (at Calgary stores).
Robb and I rode the two finger levers on our Balfas all summer (BB7 and 2-Step DH). We both noticed how easy they were to install and adjust compared to other brands. The machining was excellent and this makes for a nice tight fit in the lever housing – and we all like tight fits!!! The adjustment screw was still a little hard to get at, but a longer 2.5 mm Allen key solved the problem. The braking response was immediate and the modulation felt much better than other brands we have tried. The barrel nut has never come loose or felt flimsy through a summer of all kinds of riding. After many fu$%-ups and falls we could not bend a lever - these are definitely solid! Because the Bōnz are so stiff, we kept our housings slightly loose so that the whole housing would twist on the bar rather than break. Hayes levers seem softer and more likely to bend rather than break a housing.
(Robb cuttin’ in: That being said - one thing to consider is that while the leavers are much stiffer and bend resistant there may be a price to be paid. In the event of a crash, the force that would normally bend your Hayes leaver will instead get transferred into your break housing. In once such incident this resulted in a broken casing. Many thanks to the smart friends who bring extra brakes on road trips!)
Overall, I really liked the leavers. Bonz craftsmanship is primo and the leavers have an excellent feel supplying smooth modulation and power transfer. One change I would recommend is to see the 2 finger triggers just a tad longer so that they have comparable leverage/ length to the Hayes. I found that on long sustained descents where control was vital, my fingers and forearms got just a little more fatigued than with the Hayes. One last thought from me, for the price of 90 CDN per pair, you really can’t go wrong!
The single finger set went to local trials/street rider Jared Jesperson, who is travelling with the Norco Trials team and the Drop In crew. His bike was set up with a Hayes hydraulic in front and a Magura rim brake on the back. The smaller lever creates a quicker braking response with less finger pressure. Hand fatigue is almost nil since the rider can keep more fingers on the bar. Also a plus is the way the smaller lever is much less likely than a regular Hayes lever to get bent or bust your housing when sh@# happens. The single finger lever seems to be designed for trials, street and dirt jumping. It’s great to see a company put out products for these styles of bike riding.
Bikebonz has other great looking products, and if the quality matches the Brake Triggers you will not be disappointed. Check ‘em out! The Bikebonz web page is here
If you have any questions or comments please contact me or any of the lads at email@example.com