I've just about got used to the dual-pivot brakes on my Peugeot. Now I have a bike with V-brakes - or more correctly, 'sidepull long cantilever' since they're not Shimano. Wow, these are powerful and take a bit of getting used to.
The retailer set them up badly...there's a thing. They work, but at usable pull the brake lever is practically touching the handlebar. Sure, I could read Zinn's book and the Haynes manual (and indeed have) and yet be none the wiser as to how to proceed.
There are three possible adustments; 1) the 'reach adjuster'...little hex set screw which pushes the lever itself towards the bar. 2) A twiddly barrel/cable adjuster thing where the cable exits the lever assembly or 3) the cable attachment at the wheel itself - you know, slacken the nut/bolt with a hole in it, pull a bit more inner through and tighten up again. I can't see anything else that could be fiddled with.
Hope I explained this adequately, help appreciated.