Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-23-12, 04:29 PM   #1
treidm
Reid
Thread Starter
 
treidm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Kansas USA
Bikes: 2012 TREK 7.2FX
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Is the LBS mechanic correct and if so, what can I do...

Hello, I'm getting back into biking after (Don't laugh) about 25 years off
In my fifties now, and a LOT has changed since my Schwinn Continental days

I want to try and make a good first buy for myself
As example, I have been looking at a Trek 7.2FX (Around $500 is my budget for 1st buy in case I don't stick with it)
I like it but have a problem with the brake levers

I have large hands and the levers pinch my other fingers when I use a two-finger approach

The mechanic says the levers reach are not adjustable
The literature on them (Shimano EF51), says they are adjustable?
Soooo, why is the mechanic telling me he can't adjust them?
The brakes are V brakes if that matters

Would another type of brakes be better for me in regards to having levers farther away from my fingers?
And if so, could they be switched out and used with the levers already on the 7.2FX?

Regards, Reid
treidm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-12, 04:54 PM   #2
Makeitso
Desert Rat
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: SoCal Desert Cities
Bikes: GT Timberline (1990?), Trek 1100 (199?), Giant OCR3 (2007)
Posts: 366
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
According to Shimano's web site those levers are reach adjustable. Look to see if there is a screw on the lever near the pivot point of the lever.
Makeitso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-12, 04:55 PM   #3
bikeman715
Senior Member
 
bikeman715's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Salinas , Ca.
Bikes: Bike Nashbar AL-1 ,Raligh M50 , Schwinn Traveler , and others
Posts: 2,447
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
The brake levers should have a small 2 or 3 mm screws on them above where the cable / housing leave the clamp , if so you can back them out so your hands / fingers feel more comfortable . also when you do this you will need to readjust the brakes .
bikeman715 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-12, 05:00 PM   #4
CACycling
Senior Member
 
CACycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Oxnard, CA
Bikes: '08 Fuji Roubaix RC; '07 Schwinn Le Tour GS; '92 Diamond Back Ascent EX
Posts: 4,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The adjustment brings the lever closer to the bars (typically for people with smaller hands) so, unless the levers are already cranked in some (which I doubt), they are giving you as much room as you are going to get. Also, these are (I believe) integrated levers so changing levers would require changing shifters as well. One possibility is that the brakes are not adjusted well so it takes too much lever pull to activate. Setting it up with the pads close to the rim will require less pull and may be enough to solve your problems.And I started back 4 1/2 years ago at the age of 48 after 30 years of riding less than 5 miles per year. It is a lot of fun and can be addicting.
CACycling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-12, 05:49 PM   #5
Lawrence08648
Advisor
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central New Jersey
Bikes:
Posts: 544
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'd go with turn down handlebars, racing type, more comfortable for riding, better body positioning, better hand and arm positioning.

I grip my brake levers with all my fingers, not just two with the others wrapped around the bars.
Lawrence08648 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-12, 07:58 PM   #6
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 7,577
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
+1 If the brake levers are bottoming out on the grips and pinching your fingers the brakes are setup wrong. Should be plenty of clearance unless you have Hulk hands.

I'd recommend a drop bar bike too, but they don't make many anymore for casual riders. They're mostly racing bikes which would probably put the OP in an uncomfortable position after not riding for 25 years. They're also quite a bit more expensive. IMO, a Trek 7.2FX would be the perfect bike to start out on.
FastJake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-12, 08:08 PM   #7
UnsafeAlpine
Domestic Domestique
 
UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Michigan
Bikes: Brand New Old Catamount! Schwinn Homegrown, Specialized FSR, Salsa Vaya, Salsa Chile Con Crosso
Posts: 1,742
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Move the levers in about an inch from the end of the grips. The levers won't adjust further out but by moving the levers in, you'll be able to operate the brakes with one finger (something that can be done effectively with new brakes.) Using one finger should allow for plenty of clearance for the rest of your hand.

This is a technique I use all the time for my larger handed customers.
UnsafeAlpine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 05:31 AM   #8
JonathanGennick 
Senior Member
 
JonathanGennick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Munising, Michigan, USA
Bikes: Priority Bicycles Eight
Posts: 2,632
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
Move the levers in about an inch from the end of the grips. The levers won't adjust further out but by moving the levers in, you'll be able to operate the brakes with one finger (something that can be done effectively with new brakes.) Using one finger should allow for plenty of clearance for the rest of your hand.
This ^. Or even use your first two fingers to brake, but still move the lever over so that you're fingers are hitting the very end of it.
JonathanGennick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 10:21 AM   #9
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Bikes: 7
Posts: 22,182
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1134 Post(s)
+1, perhaps the adjustment is there, but the wrong way,
A screw lessens the lever arc, for smaller hands..
but they ship with the adjustment screw not engaged, and it will not go bigger..



Back in the day .. Early mountain bikes were built with motorcycle brake levers.

You Might try, that , again ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-24-12 at 10:25 AM.
fietsbob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 10:53 AM   #10
DCB0
Banned.
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Bikes: CCM Torino 76
Posts: 937
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Also, brakes can be set so there is very little lever movement before the pads hit the rim, and so much space is left for hands. This can be difficult to get set up without rubbing as there will be little clearance for rim runout or flex.

Moving the levers in by about an inch should also help. You may also have to move the shift levers in, as they are usually inboard of the brake levers... this way, if the end of the lever gets closest to the bar at ~3 or 4 inches from the end, there should be plenty of room for your leftover digits.

And 'adjustable reach' for brake levers generally refers to the ability to be set closer to the bars for smaller hands. The don't get no bigger. But a few simple adjustments shoudl make it work better for you.
DCB0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 11:32 AM   #11
treidm
Reid
Thread Starter
 
treidm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Kansas USA
Bikes: 2012 TREK 7.2FX
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you for all the replies!
This is a very friendly forum!

The reason I don't want turn down bars is my back problems
I need a more upright position
I may end up adding a spring seat to compensate for the weight going more to my bottom

The lever itself is far enough out but when squeezing it, it comes in and will squash my other fingers if I pull enough for full braking power

I tried having the LBS moving the levers in as suggested
That does work, but then my shifting position is not as comfortable and natural

I am wondering if the older style caliper brakes with different levers would be a better way to go? Is that what's on road bikes?
Maybe caliper brakes give more travel in levers by design?
Back in the day, it's what I had and had no problems back then.

I'm just thinking I can't be the only person to come across this problem.
I'm surprised there isn't a company that has a lever model to compensate for this problem

The levers are sized for me to use three fingers
Back in the day, I used two fingers
I wouldn't mind switching to four fingers, but these levers aren't long enough
and three fingers just feels weird
Is this what happens when bike parts are all from Taiwan?

Regards, Reid
treidm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 12:01 PM   #12
UnsafeAlpine
Domestic Domestique
 
UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Michigan
Bikes: Brand New Old Catamount! Schwinn Homegrown, Specialized FSR, Salsa Vaya, Salsa Chile Con Crosso
Posts: 1,742
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It sounds as though it could be an adjustment issue but unless it's a sketchy shop, that's doubtful and the one piece shifter/brakes don't help. Look at other bikes in that price range. You may find that other bikes will be more easily adjusted to fit your hands.
UnsafeAlpine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 12:36 PM   #13
himespau 
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Bikes:
Posts: 9,692
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 167 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
It sounds as though it could be an adjustment issue but unless it's a sketchy shop, that's doubtful and the one piece shifter/brakes don't help. Look at other bikes in that price range. You may find that other bikes will be more easily adjusted to fit your hands.
I do wonder if a similar bike that has separate brake and shifter units would work with the trick of moving the brake lever in a bit while leaving the shifter where it is.
himespau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 12:40 PM   #14
DCB0
Banned.
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Bikes: CCM Torino 76
Posts: 937
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I do wonder if a similar bike that has separate brake and shifter units would work with the trick of moving the brake lever in a bit while leaving the shifter where it is.
Shimano shift levers are mounted inboard of the brake lever. The trigger and push-lever are long enough to cross under the width of the brake lever clamp. Mounting the brake lever on the other side of the shift levers will put the brake lever waa-aay inboard - the tip of the lever blade will probably be at or past the tips of the shift levers. IMHO, conveniance of braking should take pecidence over convenience of shifting.
DCB0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 02:01 PM   #15
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 7,577
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by treidm View Post
The lever itself is far enough out but when squeezing it, it comes in and will squash my other fingers if I pull enough for full braking power
I still believe the brakes are setup badly, with too much clearance between the pads and rim. Here's a photo of my brake lever with V-brakes and a similar setup:



I mean really, are your fingers that large?
FastJake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 02:52 PM   #16
himespau 
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Bikes:
Posts: 9,692
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 167 Post(s)
I suppose mustache bars with aero levers on the curves and then bar end shifters might give proper clearance, but I don't think that's the position you want.
himespau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 05:19 PM   #17
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 9,646
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 211 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
I mean really, are your fingers that large?
Something doesn't seem right in the OP's situation.

It would be interesting to have a picture of the OP's set-up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I suppose mustache bars with aero levers on the curves and then bar end shifters might give proper clearance, but I don't think that's the position you want.
Such a radical change shouldn't be required. We don't know enough yet.
njkayaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-12, 10:52 PM   #18
treidm
Reid
Thread Starter
 
treidm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Kansas USA
Bikes: 2012 TREK 7.2FX
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I thought I was clear in my first post, but must not have been, sorry
I don't have a set-up to show...

The bike in question is at the bike shop
I have been going down there for a couple weeks trying out bikes, for a buy
The Trek 7.2FX is the one that besides the brake levers, I liked the most in my price range

I wear XL gloves, so yes my hands are large, but nothing unusual.
Yes, when I pull the levers with two fingers to give full braking, they actually pinch my other fingers

I have thought about going to another dealer that carries Trek and see what they say
It is a long drive in to another city, but may plan it soon
Maybe their mechanics would be better...

Regards, Reid
treidm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-12, 08:04 AM   #19
DCB0
Banned.
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Bikes: CCM Torino 76
Posts: 937
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by treidm View Post
I thought I was clear in my first post, but must not have been, sorry
I don't have a set-up to show...

The bike in question is at the bike shop
I have been going down there for a couple weeks trying out bikes, for a buy
The Trek 7.2FX is the one that besides the brake levers, I liked the most in my price range

I wear XL gloves, so yes my hands are large, but nothing unusual.
Yes, when I pull the levers with two fingers to give full braking, they actually pinch my other fingers

I have thought about going to another dealer that carries Trek and see what they say
It is a long drive in to another city, but may plan it soon
Maybe their mechanics would be better...

Regards, Reid
When brakes are set up properly, there is normally not that much movement in the lever before full power. People with full size hands use those same brake levers all the time witho problems. My wife's bike has those levers and I have large hands (most XL gloves do not fit, actually) and I have no problem, except for the fact that the rest of the bike is much much too small for me..

If the brake cable is tightened slightly, so the lever does not need to travel so far before adequate braking power is realized, it should fix the problem.
DCB0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-12, 05:09 PM   #20
Camilo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 4,263
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
When brakes are set up properly, there is normally not that much movement in the lever before full power. People with full size hands use those same brake levers all the time witho problems. My wife's bike has those levers and I have large hands (most XL gloves do not fit, actually) and I have no problem, except for the fact that the rest of the bike is much much too small for me..

If the brake cable is tightened slightly, so the lever does not need to travel so far before adequate braking power is realized, it should fix the problem.
This (and others who have said the same) is the answer to your technical question.

In simple terms, what you need to do is go back to the bike shop and ask them (use these exact words if you're not familiar with what he wrote above):

"Can you please adjust the brake pads to sit as close as possible to the rims without rubbing? I need to see what the minimum brake lever throw would be, because the way they are now, I can't buy this bike. But I think it might work if the pads were simply adjusted so they are as close to the rims as possible."

As an educational point, the way this is done is to "tighten" the cable so that it draws the pads inward closer to the rims. You tighten the cable by turning a barrel adjuster on the brake cable. It's very simple and any salesman should be able to do it. Certainly any shop tech should be able to come out onto the sales floor and do it in 30 seconds.

If they don't understand, or can't make it work for you with that simple request, go to a different bike shop.

I'm with the rest who say, with properly adjusted brakes, the lever throw should be very minimal, certainly no where near pinching even large fingers. With nice straight rims, you can adjust them close enough so that they begin to engage with the tiny-est movement of the brake lever. Some don't like it that way (some like to have a little slack before the brakes engage), but in your case, you'll need to go as close as possible.
Camilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-12, 08:12 PM   #21
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.
Posts: 16,782
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Back in the day .. Early mountain bikes were built with motorcycle brake levers.

You Might try, that , again ..
Indeed. "Magura" was a popular brand: http://www.maicoland.com/levers.html#maguradl
JohnDThompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-12, 09:33 PM   #22
treidm
Reid
Thread Starter
 
treidm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Kansas USA
Bikes: 2012 TREK 7.2FX
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks so much for the informative posts!

Extra thank you to DCBO & Camilo!

I will go down Monday morning and run this by them...

"Can you please adjust the brake pads to sit as close as possible to the rims without rubbing? I need to see what the minimum brake lever throw would be, because the way they are now, I can't buy this bike. But I think it might work if the pads were simply adjusted so they are as close to the rims as possible."

So far all they say is we can move the levers in.
It helps but then shifting isn't natural (When they move the brake levers, shifters go too)

I will try this approach and see what happens

Being from a very small town can be a disadvantage at times
It's the one and only bike shop in town and the next nearest is a good drive away

Regards, Reid
treidm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-12, 10:09 PM   #23
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 7,577
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
How far? It may be worth the drive to buy a bike that is properly assembled... Especially the brakes!

See the picture I posted above to compare lever travel.
FastJake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-12, 01:31 AM   #24
treidm
Reid
Thread Starter
 
treidm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Kansas USA
Bikes: 2012 TREK 7.2FX
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's about an hour each way in to a large congested city

I think I may just do that next, come to think of it
And if the mechanics there can set it up to work, I will know my local shop either doesn't know how to or doesn't want to take the time to do it.

I wanted to throw my business to a local dealer, but I think competent service will outweigh my desire to help a local business and the convenience of it.

Would be so convenient though with local shop only about a mile away

Regards, Reid
treidm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-12, 03:30 AM   #25
Danno123
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Bikes:
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by treidm View Post
So far all they say is we can move the levers in.
It helps but then shifting isn't natural (When they move the brake levers, shifters go too)
No, these guys are idiots. You don't adjust the lever's position or rotation on the bars. It's an adjustment with cable tension you need. By increasing tension, you bring the pads in closer to the rim and have less dead travel of the levers before the pads engage. You'll want to find a more competent shop, because you'll want to be able to go back to them for tune-ups and troubleshooting later. These will be much more complicated jobs than simply adjusting cable-tension on the brakes.
Danno123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:42 AM.