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  1. #1
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    short reach brifters for women's hands?

    I recently bought my wife a starter bike on line that came with Sora 2200 levers. She can't effectively brake from the hoods or the drops (it's her first road bike so she's not comfortable in drops yet anyway). i installed the shims that came with the bike but the reach is still too much for her.

    Are there any women specific sti levers or ones with more adjustment that are reasonably priced for a beginner? I've googled and seen some things like the R700 for about $270 but that's way more then I want to spend since the bike was $400

  2. #2
    Senior Member seymour1910's Avatar
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    probably no women specific brifters but you can get short reach bars if that helps...

  3. #3
    An Average Joe Cyclelogikal's Avatar
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    Not sure. You would think road bike brifters would one day be like mountain bike components or at least my Hayes brake levers and have a dialable reach with the turn of the screw to bring the levers in toward the bars and away if desired.
    I am just a spoke in a broken wheel!

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    Senior Member Jakedatc's Avatar
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    some SRAM shifters do have adjustable levers. Also some shimano ones you can get wedges that go in the top that changes the reach too.

    cheaper fix is getting womens short/shallow bars with a tight radius on the bend. i know Bontrager makes a set. probably others
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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Or add cyclocross interrupter levers on the tops of the bars ? Sorry, doesn't really answer your question.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I didn't think about the woman's specific bar. How will that change the reach to the brake lever?

    I was also thinking about the interrupter idea so she can at least brake safely if that's the only option

  7. #7
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I think you need to clarify the issue too - is the problem that she can't physically move the lever far enough or that she can't even reach the lever?

    SRAM levers can be positioned closer to the bars, which may help if you're in the drops but won't help braking performance any unless I'm off somehow.

    If her hands are in the hoods though, how can she not reach the brake levers? My 10 yr old son can reach the brakes fine from the hoods so I may be misinterpreting your issue.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    IMy 10 yr old son can reach the brakes fine from the hoods so I may be misinterpreting your issue.
    I might be misinterpreting too because she's not a serious cyclist so her explanations might not be accurate. I just had her pull the lever from the hood and she can do it. I do think she needs shorter reach. I am thinking of going from 90mm to 70mm stem. Also considering getting some 38 cm compact bars to replace the 44cm that came on the bike

  9. #9
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    44cm is pretty large!

    Also look for short reach bars / compact drop. If you spend a little time looking you'll see most bars quote the width (some are center to center, some are outside-outside, so it's different), but they should also quote the reach and the drop. combined with a shorter stem, you may be able to fix your wife's riding position. It might be best to go to a shop and have them demo some different cockpit layouts until you figure out what she likes.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    I might be misinterpreting too because she's not a serious cyclist so her explanations might not be accurate. I just had her pull the lever from the hood and she can do it. I do think she needs shorter reach. I am thinking of going from 90mm to 70mm stem. Also considering getting some 38 cm compact bars to replace the 44cm that came on the bike
    44 with a 90 is a huge setup, she's definitely be better off with the 38 bar with a shallow drop and a shorter stem.
    Have you got the top tube length right, women have much shorter torso's than us men

  11. #11
    moving target c0urt's Avatar
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    I think you can adjust the reach with a screw in side the the top of the brifter to shorten the reach double check me
    how to tape your bars http://www.flickr.com/photos/89572419@N00/sets/72157629279270681/

  12. #12
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I didn't think about the woman's specific bar. How will that change the reach to the brake lever?

    I was also thinking about the interrupter idea so she can at least brake safely if that's the only option
    As a woman with small/weak hands, interrupter levers are great so that one has multiple places to brake from. I did a mountain descent on Saturday and swapped back and forth between braking in the drops and the interrupter levers (I can't brake hard on the hoods -- it's a very different angle and I just don't have enough strength there -- I can dump a bit of speed but I can't haul hard on the brakes.) But she will want to be able to brake in the drops -- I wouldn't be comfortable getting in the drops if I couldn't brake there -- I can slide back from the hoods to the interrupters very quickly, but coming up from the drops would take too long in an emergency.

    The shape of the bar will make a big difference, though -- it doesn't need to be a WSD bar if it has the shape that works for her, although if she's small all over a WSD bar is more likely to come narrow enough.

    This is definitely a go to the shop and demo cockpits. Don't worry too much about putting expensive components on a cheap bike (as long as you can actually afford the components) -- if she gets into it and wants to upgrade bikes, she'll likely take her cockpit with her to the next one.

  13. #13
    Senior Member seymour1910's Avatar
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    try the fsa Omega compact or wing pro compact, they have short reach and shallow drop. They can be had cheap on ebay, and I think this will help, the shorter stem and shorter reach on the bars should fix most of her issue with reach.

  14. #14
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Shimano sells a 4 degree and an 8 degree rubber shim that replaces the press-fit bumper beneath the top of the brake lever. The shim prevents the lever from opening or snapping back all the way outward, thus reducing the reach. The shims are easy to install and they do work.

    I have used the 8 degree ones for my wife's bike. Although she later decided that she didn't like the feel of STIs, and has since gone back to bar ends and Tektro 100s. I'm not certain whether 2200 levers take the shims or not. It'd be easy to check, though, through the Shimano tech notes...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Shimano sells a 4 degree and an 8 degree rubber shim that replaces the press-fit bumper beneath the top of the brake lever. The shim prevents the lever from opening or snapping back all the way outward, thus reducing the reach. The shims are easy to install and they do work.

    I have used the 8 degree ones for my wife's bike. Although she later decided that she didn't like the feel of STIs, and has since gone back to bar ends and Tektro 100s. I'm not certain whether 2200 levers take the shims or not. It'd be easy to check, though, through the Shimano tech notes...
    If you read the OP I think they are already using the shims.

  16. #16
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    My bad. I'm sorry about that. PG

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