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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 05-27-09, 04:45 PM   #1
brandontw
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Drop bars... cant reach the brakes good from any position!

Well, Ive been riding some chop and flop bullhorns that I made out of the drop bars that came with this bike for quite a while now, but I got a hair to try some drop bars again, because i craved more hand positions.

I like the way they feel, and I like the hand positions they provide, but i just cant reach the brakes very good.

If I'm on the "hoods" then i can only really use my bottom few fingers and reach around and pull on the top of the levers, which gives me terrible leverage for stopping, and is unacceptable for sudden stops.

If I'm in the drops, I reach up with my index and middle fingers and can get good leverage and stop ok, but the brakes are still a bit tough to reach.

I usually only ride in the drops when i'm out cruising for a while, when you don't need to use the brakes much. In stop and go traffic like i have on the way to work, I like to stay on top, but then i cant stop very good.

Here is a super high quality cell phone pic to show how i have it set up, ive been trial and erroring the position of the levers and bars for a while now, and I dont know where to go with it now.

BTW this is a big bike 62cm if i remember right, and i'm a big dude (6'6"), thats why the seat is so high.
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Old 05-27-09, 04:53 PM   #2
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How about a picture with your hands in the various positions.
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Old 05-27-09, 04:55 PM   #3
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They look a little high to me - try bringing them down by a cm or two.
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Old 05-27-09, 04:58 PM   #4
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They look a little high to me - try bringing them down by a cm or two.
I agree, it looks like if they are a little lower, your hands would probably ride further out on the shifter, and you will be better able to reach the brakes.
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Old 05-27-09, 05:37 PM   #5
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Wow, what's your inseam? I'm 6'5" with a 62cm and my seat doesn't look that high.

Also, maybe your brakes aren't tight enough if you can't stop very well when riding the hoods. I mostly ride on the hoods and I have no trouble making quick stops from that position
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Old 05-27-09, 05:45 PM   #6
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If it's that hard, maybe you should have some granny brakes installed. They're inline brakes that mount on the top of the bars and allow you additional hand positions. You will be derided as a Fred, but hey: it beats scraping your face off of someone's fender with a spatula...
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Old 05-27-09, 05:47 PM   #7
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Do you have super tiny hands?
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Old 05-27-09, 05:47 PM   #8
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I agree, it looks like if they are a little lower, your hands would probably ride further out on the shifter, and you will be better able to reach the brakes.
Also would give you a better grip in the drops. I can't tell the brand, but my SRAM levers were adjustable with a little screw under the hoods. I was able to bring the levers in a bit (while keeping tension slack) to make gripping the levers easier.
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Old 05-27-09, 05:48 PM   #9
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They look a little high to me - try bringing them down by a cm or two.
Like just rotate the whole setup down a bit in the stem clamp? i'll goose it down a little i guess, but i kinda already tried that...

I may be switching back to the bullhorns again soon... those actually worked out really well, but i felt like i was missing something not having the drops position at hand.
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Old 05-27-09, 05:56 PM   #10
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like someone already mentioned, how about these? A friend of mine has these on his Trek and really likes them.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...3_10000_201354
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Old 05-27-09, 05:57 PM   #11
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You will be derided as a Fred, but hey: it beats scraping your face off of someone's fender with a spatula...
Yeah i almost ate it into the side of an Escalade that wasn't watching what was going on today, thats what brought up this whole discussion. I'll look into granny brakes, but I think I'd switch back to the bullhorns before I tried that.

Quote:
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Wow, what's your inseam? I'm 6'5" with a 62cm and my seat doesn't look that high.

Also, maybe your brakes aren't tight enough if you can't stop very well when riding the hoods. I mostly ride on the hoods and I have no trouble making quick stops from that position
Well, i've got pretty long legs i guess, i tried a lot of heights and this one works REALLY well for me, so I'm leaving it.

I often have a feeling that my brakes arent tight enough, infact i made another thread a few days ago about it. My front brake works pretty good, but that back one just isn't as effective as it should be... i wish i could put discs on it.

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Do you have super tiny hands?
I'm 6'6" 250 Lbs, my hands are anything but tiny. Goddamn gorilla hands if you ask me, and pretty strong too...
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Old 05-27-09, 05:57 PM   #12
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Like just rotate the whole setup down a bit in the stem clamp? i'll goose it down a little i guess, but i kinda already tried that...
I think he meant move the shifters down on the bars, without changing the bar position. They are mounted considerably higher on the bars than the norm. That would make them hard to reach from the drops, and may affect your reach on the hoods as well.

I don't have especially big hands (I'm 5' 10") and have no problems reaching the brakes from the hoods or the drops...my hoods are lower (basically the flat part of the bar runs about even with the rear portion of the hood, if that makes any sense...)
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Old 05-27-09, 05:58 PM   #13
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like someone already mentioned, how about these? A friend of mine has these on his Trek and really likes them.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...3_10000_201354
Hmmm... those look pretty slick, you got me thinking now. They wouldn't be too trendy though...
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Old 05-27-09, 05:59 PM   #14
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My front brake works pretty good, but that back one just isn't as effective as it should be... i wish i could put discs on it.
You know the back brake doesn't have much stopping power relative to the front?
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Old 05-27-09, 06:12 PM   #15
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I have seen pro racers with their brakes mounted that high on the bar, so that position works for some riders. But if it doesn't work for you, you should move them. I would not go more than 1cm farther down on the bar.

Moving the levers lower will make it easier to reach them from the drops. It gives you a little less leverage from the hoods, but the change is minor.

You may also prefer a different bend of bar that has a larger radius curve. That leaves more room for larger hands.

If your front brake works "pretty good" but your back doesn't, then the problem isn't lever position. Check the brake's pad alignment, and the rear brake cable.

If you move the levers down on the bars you will need to remove the wrap, move the brake cables and re-wrap the bars. You can't just slide the levers down on the bar, that's dangerous.
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Old 05-27-09, 06:18 PM   #16
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your levers are jacked.
no way you can reach those properly from the drops.

you want the tips of the levers to be in line with the bottom of the drops, or up to 2cm higher.

you can also add shims... which is just a small plastic wedge.
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Old 05-27-09, 06:22 PM   #17
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Yeah, look at how high the brake levers are on this bike:



But also notice how the bars are angled so that there the drops are more parallel to the ground.

Either way, I suspect a flexibility issue. The reach may be too long for the OP.

Can you hold on to the brakes (either on the hoops, or in the rops) and lean over enough to that you can bend your elbow and make your forearm parallel to the ground?
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Old 05-27-09, 06:45 PM   #18
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A couple things occur to me:

1) Look where Lance's hands are in the pic above. I cannot fathom that you can't wrap your index finger around the lever if your hand is where his are. Are you gripping the TOP of the levers, and not at the base of them?

2) I might try moving the levers farther down the curve A VERY SMALL AMOUNT, and at the same time, rotate them up just a few degrees. That would bring the lever nearer to your hands when you're in the drops, but leave the hoods in the same place relative to the saddle (hence no change in reach).

Or not.
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Old 05-27-09, 06:49 PM   #19
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Hmmm... those look pretty slick, you got me thinking now. They wouldn't be too trendy though...
I have a version very similar to those (Teknic) that I paid $20 for and they work great. I don't care about trendy or cool, I care about function.
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Old 05-27-09, 08:57 PM   #20
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you can also add shims... which is just a small plastic wedge.
Sora brifters have reach adjustment screws in the middle of the back of the hood. The OP should be able to adjust that a bit without shims.
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Old 05-27-09, 10:26 PM   #21
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looking at the bike, there's a few things. If that's the hood position that works for you, you might want a different bar. If you go with an old-school bend on a short reach bar (such as Easton ea90 equipe pro) you can keep the same hood position in space, but farther down on the shorter reach bar. That puts the levers closer to the drops.

Even with the set-up you have you might find that if you get in a good aero position, where you're forearm is close to horizontal, you're fingers can reach straight ahead and get the lever pretty good. The same is true for about any set-up - if you have good flexibility and a good elbow bend, the drops work well, where if you have to stretch your arms straight out from your shoulders, they don't. Working on either flexibility might be an idea, or a closer bar.

But then again, I don't think the anatomic bend bars work very well with Shimano brifters. I went back and forth on mine for weeks and what I have now is a perfect and comfortable hoods placement (just a bit more forward than yours) on a semi-anatomic compact bar (ea50), with the drops being something of a compromise. I'd like the brakes closer, but they're pretty good from an aero position, and at 45yo I work on the back and hams stretching regularly.
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Old 05-27-09, 11:29 PM   #22
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Looks like the brifters need to be moved down and the bars rotated down to me. I have small hands and am a small guy 5'5" and I never felt comfortable reaching the brake levers from the drops. I recently bought some 3t ergonova bars (to help with reach) and put two sets of shims on the brifters (they are the specialized shims that remove 15mm of reach each). I finally feel safe and comfortable reaching for the brakes from every position. However with the brake levers that close, I have to keep my brakes pretty well adjusted to make sure I get all my stopping power before hitting the bars.
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Old 05-28-09, 07:31 AM   #23
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I'd junk those bars and get into something modern. There's no reason for a person with large hands to have problems using the brakes.

I have the opposite problem. I've got really short fingers, but with the right bars and a simple modification to my ergo levers, I can reduce the distance from the back of the hook to the brake lever to 8cm or less.

Shimano levers can be also shimmed but you should not need to do that.

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...d.php?t=174139
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Old 05-28-09, 08:27 AM   #24
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The drop bend on your bars looks odd for some reason. Get a compact bar and I bet your problem goes away.
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Old 05-28-09, 12:29 PM   #25
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These arent really weird bars, i just got them from a local LBS about two weeks ago...

http://stores.channeladvisor.com/cbo...itemid=5233877
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