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View Full Version : Brake reach issues... Shims?



slinkedog
03-17-2006, 05:16 PM
I'm sure this topic has been discussed before, but I'm not finding what I'm looking for when doing a search. I'd love to hear from you who have had to shorten your brake reach by using shims or whatever method you're happy with. I'm also interested in knowing about how much you paid for such surgery. :) Thanks!

tprevost
03-17-2006, 06:00 PM
Hey Slinkedog,

Are they too far forward or are the levers out of reach of your fingers? The former can be helped w/shorter stem; not sure what to do about the latter but I'm sure you'll get lots of advise from those 'in the know'! ;)

Tracy

ps. I will be up there next month so I'll PM you before I finalize to see if I can ride with the south san jose/morgan hill contingent!

wavedancer
03-17-2006, 06:00 PM
Try this link: http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=3346&highlight=shims

I know there are shims made specifically for this purpose, but the little home made shims are still working great!

Linda

Trekhawk
03-17-2006, 06:47 PM
After I rode my bike for awhile I realized I needed to do something as I was getting really sore hands from braking. I took it into my bike shop and they put some shims in for me. It didnt take long and they didnt charge me. I think its because between my husband and I we spend a bit of cash there.:)

My hands are very happy now.

SadieKate
03-17-2006, 07:12 PM
The shims are available for Shimano 105s and Ultegras. Specialized also makes them. The link is probably in that earlier thread.

slinkedog
03-17-2006, 07:40 PM
Thanks Ladies! Tprevost... the reach is just a little far for my fingers. I was really noticing it last weekend on a long descent (yes, SK, I braked pretty much the whole way as it was twisty!) and my hands were cold, besides... I was pretty uncomfortable at the end of it. My stem and bike fit are pretty good, I think. Just the levers are a long reach for my fingers.

Tprevost... let us know when you are coming up. I would LOVE to ride with you! :D

SnappyPix
03-18-2006, 12:48 AM
Slinkedog,

I fitted a pair of Specialized Shims to my brake hoods a few months ago - made the world of difference - just 20mm can make the reach much more comfortable and downhill descents feel much safer now!

They're easy-peasy to fit, takes mere seconds. The shims have a self-adhesive backing, you just peel off the paper, pull on the brake and insert the shim into the gap. (Full instructions come in the packet).

Looking at some of the WSD bikes, some manufacturers actually use shims, rather than fitting shorter reach brake hoods.

Here's a link from Specialized: http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqProduct.jsp?spid=14922

You should be able to pick these up off-the-shelf - any store that stocks Specialized accessories should have them.

brok
03-18-2006, 06:30 AM
I use the shims from Specialized, actually my hands are so small that I have mine double shimmed ( is that a word:confused: ). Anyway, my hands are much happier and I have better control of the brakes. I ordered mine directly from Specialized.

Kathi
03-19-2006, 02:08 PM
While on this topic, I'm building a new bike and my guy at the LBS thinks I should get Shimano because the levers are supposed to be short reach. Yes, I can reach the brakes but I hate the way the hoods feel. They're just not at comfortable to me as my Campy hoods. It appears to me that Shimano dealt with the reach to the brakes issue but hasn't done anything about making the hoods more ergonomic for small hands.

Living in Colorado I do a lot more braking from the drops than I did in Cincinnati so I'm trying to decide which to do.

Do I keep the comfort of the Campy hoods, where I spend most of my time, or go for the safety, security of a better reach to the brakes?

SadieKate
03-19-2006, 02:21 PM
I have small hands, not incredibly small, but small enough that I have reach problems. The width of the Shimano hoods was uncomfortable for me. I set up a bike with them and used them for about 6 months and finally decided it wasn't worth it.

I've never had a problem with the reach of Campy from the drops. From the hoods, I cannot get a really firm grip but good enough for times when I don't want to be in the drops anyway. I descend in the drops.

If it is a matter of getting lower gearing, I use a Jtek Shiftmate with Campy levers and a Shimano drivetrain.

slinkedog
03-19-2006, 04:11 PM
Thanks for all the advice, Ladies! I will order a set from Specialized and I imagine Blaine will be able to install them for me. :)

SnappyPix
03-20-2006, 11:44 AM
Forgot to mention that sometimes it might be necessary to make a slight adjustment to the brake cable, to slacken it off a little - but I didn't need to adjust anything on mine when I fitted them.

tprevost
03-25-2006, 06:32 PM
Ok Slinkedog,

NOW I know exactly what you were talking about! ;) I did a ride with a couple of steep areas yesterday and I actually got off and (gasp!) walked! :eek: After crashing on the rollerblades going downhill, I am ultra whimpy and don't feel very stable on the downhills. Anyway, by the time I was done w/my ride my right wrist/arm hurt so badly that I ran home and iced it for a long time. I'm ordering my shims right now!

Thanks everyone for the info -

Tracy

Robbin_G
04-20-2006, 05:33 AM
I have small hands, not incredibly small, but small enough that I have reach problems. The width of the Shimano hoods was uncomfortable for me. I set up a bike with them and used them for about 6 months and finally decided it wasn't worth it.

I've never had a problem with the reach of Campy from the drops. From the hoods, I cannot get a really firm grip but good enough for times when I don't want to be in the drops anyway. I descend in the drops.

If it is a matter of getting lower gearing, I use a Jtek Shiftmate with Campy levers and a Shimano drivetrain.

Hey there SadieKate,

I too am having problems with grip in the hoods. I think this is casuing my numb thumbs. Is there any correcting this? Shims for campys?

Here's whats funny....the training group I ride in is a tad slow and all over the map on confidence. I can do decents faster than some of these folk, but can't needing to maintain single file....so I've never descended in the drops thinking the aero dynamics are going to speed me up, but you get more breaking power in the drops. The result is stiff gripping in the hoods.

By the end of a ride I have no strength left in my hands. (How close did I come to that cab because I wasn't braking hard enough!?)


Thanks!

Starfish
05-08-2006, 06:35 PM
I use the shims from Specialized, actually my hands are so small that I have mine double shimmed ( is that a word:confused: ). Anyway, my hands are much happier and I have better control of the brakes. I ordered mine directly from Specialized.

I would like to hear more from anyone who has done this. I currently have one set of these shims, and it isn't enough. I've been thinking of getting a woman's bar due to brake reach problems, but would prefer the cost of this double-shim solution, if it works. Guess I'm concerned about slippage, security, adjusting cables to work with the extra shim distance, etc.

Anyone?

Starfish
05-12-2006, 06:30 PM
Brok, thanks - got your reply on the other small hands thread.

Mags...
05-25-2006, 08:40 PM
I've read through all the linked threads and looked at the Specialized shims, but it looks like they are suitable for Ultegra's and 105's. Has anyone fitted them to DuraAce?

Mags...

ktbikes
05-29-2006, 06:39 AM
My Specialized shims arrived this week - they were so easy to put in, and it has made a huge difference. I did my first road ride where I did not have extremely sore hands afterwards. Wonderful! :D

fasteryet
05-29-2006, 04:21 PM
Mags, they don't make them for DuraAce. I bought a set of the Specialized ones home to try, but I never used them. You could probably make them work, but it won't have a clean finished look.
I just got different bars, with a very short reach (Bontrager Race X Lite), and that helps somewhat. I still need to find a way to get the levers closer when I'm in the drops, though. I may just end up with something homemade.

Kathi
05-29-2006, 07:10 PM
A woman on another forum said she used a Guiness beer can, cut it into the shape she wanted and it works great. I'm amazed at what people are doing to shorten the reach!

I'm very happy with the Modolo Venus bars. Shorter reach to the hoods, drops and I can reach the brake levers, and my bike handles better. The more I ride with them the better I like them. Overall, they are a much better fit for me.

I looked at the Race X-Lites but they didn't come small enough in size for me and the LBS didn't think they'd solve my problem with the levers.

The bars were not a cheap fix, cost was about $120 for handlebars, new tape and installation but well worth it in terms of comfort, handling and braking.