Renthal Direct Fit Intellilever

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Free 3-day express shipping on orders over $79.
Intelligent Leverage
Vital Review

There are a few truths about motocross, things that, if you ever put your leg over a dirt bike, are inevitable. Unfortunately, the most obvious one is that you will crash. No ifs, ands, or buts. You are going to crash and there is nothing you can do to keep it from happening. Of course, some other truths are that you will have an enormous smile on your face, you will be sore from head to toe even without crashing, your bike will eventually stop working properly, and you will scare the crap out of yourself (not literally, although it does happen). Nevertheless, crashing is probably still at the top of the list of these eventualities, and while not every fall will do harm, sooner or later damage will occur to both bike and body (in case you haven’t already figured this out, I hate to be the bearer of bad news). Lucky for you, though, Renthal has a solution to minimize the damage…to your bike. Your body is still screwed, sorry.

The first Renthal Intellilever came out about four or five years ago, and while concept itself was intriguing, it was a little on the bulky side. With the entire system being CNC-machined, from the perch to the lever itself, it had a raw look to it, but the lever was a little too thick for some riders’ tastes. Personally, I thought it worked really well and fit my long fingers just fine, but overall it was a little too big to attract more riders.

The straighter piece between the black lever and the pivot houses the tension cable that keeps the lever in place.

Then Renthal introduced the Gen 2 Intellilever: a trimmed down version of the original with far less bulk all around, a redesigned perch, and a much more contoured lever that was more like a stock lever in shape.

Now, the company best known for its handlebars and chain wheels has gone one step further with the new Direct Fit Intellilever. What does “Direct Fit” mean? It means that Renthal has cut out the need for an aftermarket clutch perch. While they still offer their beautifully machined perch, the Direct Fit Intellilever is designed to replace your stock lever, allowing you to keep the stock perch. Not only does this significantly cut the costs of having an “unbreakable” lever setup, it also allows the clutch to keep the same leverage ratio as stock.

Different bikes have different optimal leverage ratios to actuate the clutch and maintain the proper feel at the lever. By using the stock perch, Renthal is able to keep that same ratio rather than going with a universal clutch perch.

The breakaway portion of the lever has been slightly refined from the original version, but the idea remains the same and one of the more unique concepts in the flexible lever market. Rather than using a specific pivot (that only allows a lever to move in one direction) or a dual pivot system (which allows for up and down movement), the Intellilever uses a spring-tensioned cable to keep the lever in place during normal usage but also allows an infinite range of motion in the event of a crash. A tapered cut at the base of the lever matched with an inverse cut in the anchored portion of the lever allows the Intellilever to breakaway in any direction necessary.

This is actually the Intellilever for from brake of the 2013 Yamaha YZ450F, but the function of the flex socket is the same. You can see the spring-tensioned cable that keeps the lever in place. I recommend greasing the contact points on occasion to keep the socket movement smooth.

One of the major advantages of using a multi-directional breakaway lever is that you can clamp down the clutch perch itself as tight as you wish. There is little reason to keep it loose because any movement needed during a fall will occur at the breakaway portion of the lever. Why is this an advantage? How many times have you seen someone get up from a crash and smack the perch back into the preferred position? During a race, this can cost several precious seconds and, more than likely, the lever will not be in the exact position it was in prior to crashing. With the Intellilever, there is no guess work in determining the proper lever position.

After collecting yourself, if the Intellilever has not automatically relocated itself, just one quick hit on the lever will pop it back into your exact preferred position. Since Renthal’s system uses a spring-tensioned cable to secure the lever, nine times out of ten, the lever will reposition automatically because of that cable tension.

I say nine times out of ten, because I did find that it is possible to move the pivot out far enough that the Intellilever basically pops out of socket, and a little more effort is required to pop it back into place. However, this has so far only occurred while moving the lever around with the bike on the stand. On the track, the lever has worked without incident and I can only foresee this issue occurring in bigger crashes, in which case you usually have more things to worry about than your lever position.

The machining on the Intellilever not only looks good, but minimizes weight and allows for excellent fitment.

A couple of other negatives I find with the lever are that it does not use a bearing in the pivot, and that it is very strong. Why is strength a bad thing? The forged aluminum perches that come stock on most bikes are not nearly as strong as a CNC-machined unit, and therefore could break near the pivot point in an extreme crash. That’s just me being a little nit picky though.

Overall I think the Renthal Direct Fit Intellilever is an excellent idea and product. For a long time, one of the major reasons to go with an aftermarket clutch perch was to have a quick-adjust wheel. Nowadays, every OEM offers a stock quick adjust system (no need for that on KTM’s hydraulic clutches), so there is far less need for an after market upgrade. However, the stock levers are pretty much the same as they have been for decades, and once they break (which is almost guaranteed), you will be looking for a replacement. This is the way the Direct Fit Intellilever should be viewed: an upgrade replacement for your stock lever. Yes, it is more expensive than a simple forged unit, but it is also far superior, yet is also one of the most inexpensive breakaway levers on the market.

-Bayo Olukotun


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Renthal Direct Fit Intellilever
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Where To Buy
Free 3-day express shipping on orders over $79.
Free 3-day express shipping on orders over $79.
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