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Old 08-09-10, 03:37 PM   #1
renyay
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Any experience with shimano R700 'short reach' STI levers?

I have some older ultegra 9sp STI levers, they are too big for my hands and i have very inefficient braking power with them. I almost always use my aux or cross (or inturrupter or inline) levers instead.
I work in a shop, I've heard that shimano hasn't produced any actual short reach STI levers to date, but then I saw that the 2010 Ladies version of the Jamis Quest is spec'd with these st r700 levers and they are supposedly designed for smaller hands. I want to know if this is actually true, if the body of the levers themselves is a bit more compact; Or if this is just a gimmicky product discription and the levers need to be shimmed to reduce the reach... just like every other STI lever out there.
Anyone have any experience with these? I'm not looking for advice on how to shorten my reach or adjust my positioning... I just want to know if these specific levers have made a difference for anyone? Especially any ladies?
Thanks!
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Old 08-09-10, 04:22 PM   #2
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I have experience with the 9 speed version, R600 I think. They are shorter reach and are a nice product.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:42 PM   #3
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My wife has them and likes them. They do use shims to decrease reach so you do give up some travel especially with the thicker shim.
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Old 08-13-10, 01:08 PM   #4
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shelybyfv: by shorter reach you mean the body of the lever itself is smaller? do you feel like these levers are easier to use for small hands?
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Old 08-13-10, 02:39 PM   #5
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They appear to be the same size as some 105s I have with the exception of the reach from lever to bar. This reduction seems to have been achieved with a molded shim that prevents the lever from "retracting" fully when released. Otherwise, nothing is thinner, shorter, etc. It looks like about 10mm difference in reach, which helps when braking from the drops. Again, I don't know if this is the same for the newer 10 speed R700.
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Old 08-13-10, 02:48 PM   #6
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My wife has the 9-speed R600 shifters on a Trek WSD and has found no improvement in braking as compared to Ultegra 6500 braking.
Softer brake pads like the Koolstop salmon colored pads have helped.
Shortening the reach to the brake levers can help only when riding in the drops. It can make the problem worse when braking from the top of the hoods.
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Old 10-14-10, 03:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input everyone. I think I will avoid spending the money on these. Maybe I'll just switch to bar end shifters!
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Old 10-14-10, 05:23 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input everyone. I think I will avoid spending the money on these. Maybe I'll just switch to bar end shifters!
Replacing the pads with KoolStop salmon pads can make a BIG improvement in braking and require less physical pressure to stop the bike.
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Old 10-15-10, 12:23 AM   #9
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The most benefit in stopping power is from the pads, but what shorter reach levers allow you to do is firmly grip the bars and levers at the same time for both hands, as opposed to firmly gripping the bar with one hand and grabbing the brake with the other.

Having a firm grip on the bars while braking gives more control and confidence. With smaller hands you can't grab the lever and bars firmly at the same time, so you should use one hand to hold the bars straight while grasping the brake with the other. You want to have a firm grip on the bars, because as you decelerate, more weight is put on your arms, due to the laws of physics. One of the leading causes in an endo is where the bike stops, but the rider loses grip of the bars and flies over the stopped bike. This can be prevented by having a firm grip on the bars.

Now, this is where short reach levers come into play. For hands, the amount of crushing force, that is gripping force, varies with the amount that the hand is closed. For example, try crushing a grape fruit and a Clementine with your good hand. The Clementine is much easier to crush, because your hand has more crushing power when it is less open. Compare this to the grapefruit, which is hard to even hold it, let alone crush it. Translate this to shorter reach levers, and it becomes clear as to why having a shorter reach is easier to use, especially for smaller hands.

if you want to go the barcon route, than tektro R100A and RL341 levers are a good deal.

alternatively, all of the latest generation levers from shimano, as well as the current generation tiagra and sora offer the same reach adjustments through shims.

Specialized also sells shims for previous generation 10sp 105/ultegra/DA and 9sp 105/ultegra/DA levers to reduce reach.

Campagnolo, from 2009 also offers their levers with reach adjustment. Campy 2009/10/11 levers come with 'short' as default and have a shim to increase reach for larger hands.
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Old 10-15-10, 04:29 AM   #10
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Specialized also sells shims for previous generation 10sp 105/ultegra/DA and 9sp 105/ultegra/DA levers to reduce reach.
These are called "Specialized Slim Shims." Unfortunately, they are becoming more difficult to get hold of, I assume Specialized aren't making any more because they are only for the previous-generation levers, the newer levers come with such shims included. I've used the R700s and Ultegra levers with Slim Shims, and they have exactly the same effect, so if you have some levers already then just buy the slim shims, not new levers.
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