What's up with the standard brake levers and brakes on the Trek T2000?
The shifters appear to be made for people with small hands? Shimano ST-R600 STI, 9 speed
And the brakes are Shimano R600 w/Ultegra STI levers - which are called "Long reach"
Does anyone know what is the difference between these shifters/brakes and the standard Ultegra set? Are the better or worse?
The shifters are the same as Ultegra, just slightly shorter reach. Unless you have very big hands this is probably an advantage.
The long reach calipers are necessary on frames and fork with touring / mudguard clearance. They work fine. In theory there is somewhat less braking power as the lever arm down to the rim is longer. In practice your brain adds an extra 5% force to your braking without you thinking about it.
ST-R600 brake levers have removeable spacers that provide adjustable reach. They are better than Ultegra levers if you need the shorter reach. Most adult males will prefer to remove the spacers. Configured that way, they will function the same as Ultegra. The Shimano BR-R600 dual-pivot calipers are scaled-up versions of standard Ultegra calipers. IMO, they are better for a tandem than standard Ultegra calipers because they provide more room for fatter tires or fenders. Two of our tandems have BR-R600 brakes. With Kool-Stop Salmon pads, they are the best tandem rim brake setup I have ever used.