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Finding it hard to press brakes on drop bar handlebars

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Finding it hard to press brakes on drop bar handlebars

Old 06-28-20, 07:46 AM
  #1  
fadetoblack22
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Finding it hard to press brakes on drop bar handlebars

I'm finding it hard to press my brakes in the hood position. Where the pivot of the brake lever makes the force really low - can anyone help?

I did a video but it won't allow me to post cos I'm new to the forums - You can find it by pasting watch?v=g1y2jYGKUag onto the end of YouTube.
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Old 06-28-20, 07:51 AM
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Old 06-28-20, 07:52 AM
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fadetoblack22
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Thanks. Appreciate that
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Old 06-28-20, 10:39 AM
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That's why you have to set up your bike so that you can ride in the drops. Any time you are in rough terrain or descending, you should have your hands in the drops to get the most leverage on the brake levers. They are not really intended to be used for serious braking from the hoods.
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Old 06-28-20, 11:09 AM
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Yep, ride in the drops if you need to do extensive braking. Don't put off learning this until you are in the middle of a long downhill.... Supposedly the new GRX levers are designed for easier braking from the hoods.
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Old 06-28-20, 11:11 AM
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Technique and bike fit.
It seems most bike are ridden from the hoods these days and brakes are designed to be used from the hoods.
So yours will work.
Make sure the bike fits
Sit on the bike and practice. No need to ride it
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Old 06-28-20, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by blamester View Post
Technique and bike fit.
It seems most bike are ridden from the hoods these days and brakes are designed to be used from the hoods.
So yours will work.
Make sure the bike fits
Sit on the bike and practice. No need to ride it
You will never have the same leverage braking from the hoods as from the drops, it's just the geometry of it.
An option which allows braking from the tops is cross or interrupter levers, like these: https://www.amazon.com/Tektro-RL720-.../dp/B0090X36Y0 Useful in traffic, to keep your head up.
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Old 06-28-20, 12:36 PM
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When you're in traffic and might need to brake quickly and you're on the hoods you need to keep your fingers in that down position ready to brake. That's basically my normal hands-on-hood position unless I'm climbing up a hill. For best control on bumpy downhills, high speed turns, etc., I'm in the drops. Riding on the hoods is for less critical, more relaxed segments.
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Old 06-28-20, 12:48 PM
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blamester
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
You will never have the same leverage braking from the hoods as from the drops, it's just the geometry of it.
An option which allows braking from the tops is cross or interrupter levers, like these: https://www.amazon.com/Tektro-RL720-.../dp/B0090X36Y0 Useful in traffic, to keep your head up.
Obviously you don't have the same power from the hoods.
But you can brake from there.
I do it lots and so do most people.
Brake levers have changed. In the old days the leverage from the hoods (non aero) was terrible so they added suicide levers which where also awful.
Areo levers have a different leverage and suicide levers where no longer needed.
The o.p. is a new cyclist and needs to learn how to ride a bike safely. So practice.
Why would bike manufacturers sell bikes with brakes that don't work.
See below.
https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-mechanics/1205691-adding-brake-levers.html#post21553068

Last edited by blamester; 06-28-20 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 06-28-20, 01:05 PM
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It's hard to see from the video the exact position of the levers. They look about like they're where they should be, but maybe a different placement would improve the mechanical advantage from the drops.
I ride on the hoods a lot, though the drops are accessible, and I find I have more than enough braking power from the hood position. Possibly this is because I have V-brakes and "Travel Agents" as well as Shimano levers.

This lever placement on drop bars works well for brake operation on the hoods.

Last edited by sweeks; 06-28-20 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 06-28-20, 06:35 PM
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Lots of interesting replies here. OP, I assume, based on your question, that you are a new cyclist.

There are two main hand positions on the hoods (the rubbery part of the shifters), as tyrion alluded to. There's what I call the "aero" position. That's shown at 0:08 of your video. Naturally, it's hard to press the brakes that way. But also, notice that your wrist and forearm are close to parallel with the ground in that position


Notice how this rider pretty much has no access to his brakes.

Then there's what I call the resting position. 0:35 of your video.


Notice how these riders have much better access to their brakes. Their wrists and forearms are also much more upright - as are their backs. You end up with weight distributed more nicely across the palm this way too.

You should find yourself in the "resting" position more often than the "aero" position. The only time you should use the "aero" position is when there is a clear road ahead of you and you're trying to get as aerodynamic as possible.

If your wrists feel weird in the "resting" position with an upright torso, you might need to lower your bars or adjust the angle of the hoods - usually by tilting them upwards. If you want to get low and you think you might need to brake, you should always be in the drops. Primary case of this is while descending. You should pretty much never, ever be in the hoods while descending or riding in a tight pack.
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Old 06-28-20, 07:03 PM
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Probably not the problem, but do make sure the tab circled is in the position shown or braking may work, but rather poorly.

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Old 06-29-20, 04:42 AM
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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all the detailed replies It helps a lot!!

Btw, I spent about 10 minutes trying to work out how to like posts on here, but I couldn't work out how to do it...

Last edited by fadetoblack22; 06-29-20 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 06-29-20, 05:42 AM
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shelbyfv
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You may not have enough posts to "like." An obvious button shows up at lower right when the feature is available to you.
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Old 06-29-20, 05:44 AM
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fadetoblack22
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
You may not have enough posts to "like." An obvious button shows up at lower right when the feature is available to you.
Ahh, that would be why then! Makes sense.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:22 AM
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You can adjust where the brakes bite.
I personally adjust the levers so there is a lot of travel but I can get my hands right around the lever at the bite point.
It depends on the size and strength of your hands. This is where bike fit comes in.
Full power braking from the drops and the levers just touch the bar. 1 finger from the drops and two from the hoods will slow me down very quickly.
So if you are able adjust the levers to get a comfortable pull. You don't want a stretched hand when you brake.
You are a new cyclist so there is a lot to learn if you want to make it comfortable and safe.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:45 AM
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fadetoblack22
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Thanks
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Old 06-29-20, 11:13 AM
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OP has cable disc brakes which are properly ****e when it comes to braking from the hoods. If it continues to be an issue i suggest getting a decent bike shop to re cable it with compression-less housing and die drawn inners. Other than full hydro upgrade that's as good as it gets.
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Old 06-29-20, 11:38 AM
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Most all Shimano STI's have a lever stroke adjustment. Some you have to pull the hoods back, others you pull the lever a little to get to an adjustment screw. It lets you get a little more free travel out of the levers before they start to actuate the brakes letting you get a better grip on them.

Just make sure you don't adjust it so much that it hits the handle bar and won't let you use max braking.

Find your type lever on the Shimano tech doc site and it'll show you which screw.....
https://si.shimano.com/#/
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Old 06-30-20, 02:44 PM
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What Iride01 said above^^^. Level reach is adjustable, you should be able to bring the levers much closer to the bars. Not everyone has long fingers.
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Old 07-01-20, 05:39 AM
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This is how I position my hand when riding on the hoods.

This is how I brake from the hoods.
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