View Full Version : brakes seem too far for my little hands???

03-25-2006, 05:43 PM
hello all,
i purchased a used road bike that i love... other than the darn brakes, which are apparently sized for someone who has sasquatch hands. when i'm riding and holding the lower part of the curvey handlebars (yeah. can you tell i'm new here? yay for my technical jargon), i have to tilt my wrists up and reach, reach reach out with my fingers to get a good grip on the brake levers. it's very uncomfortable, but more importantly, i feel like in a true emergency i would not have quick enough reaction time because i have to change my hand position so dramatically to get a good squeeze. i bought the bike from a woman but apparently my hands are a little smaller.
is there a relatively inexpensive way to get the brake levers closer to my hands? or perhaps just changing the angle of the curvey handle bars (ie, tilting them down a bit) so my wrists don't have to bend upwards?
many thanks!

03-25-2006, 06:07 PM
Hi Lilikoi,

I don't know how to link another thread but just a few threads down there's a thread about brake reach issues w/info on shims that seem to work well. Another option would be to replace them with some that are sized for women, however, that might not be as inexpensive as you'd like.

Good Luck!


03-25-2006, 06:21 PM
Check out this recent thread on brake shims


Or you could replace the levers with something that has a reach more suitable for your hands.

A simpler idea that might (or might not) help is to move the lever up or down on the bar (this requires untaping the bars, disconnecting the brake (and maybe gear) cables, loosening the lever with an allen wrench, moving the lever, retightening, and retaping. After you manage to grab the brake lever, is the distance of the lever from the bar when you have the lever compressed to brake still too far and uncomfortable? Simply lengthening the brake cable 1/4 inch may help (clamp the brake callipers to the rim with a 3rd hand tool or strap, loosen the cable binding nut on the brake, pull a bit of cable through, and retighten). If you can brake fine after grabbing the lever, maybe you will be OK if you practice the lever grab by letting your arms move wider and your wrists rotate so your hand is to the side of the bar and only your thumb behind it when you grab.

03-25-2006, 07:55 PM
What kind of brake levers do you have? Brand and model?

03-30-2006, 05:48 PM
sadie kate - no idea :) i know that's terrible - i'm just getting into everything to do with road bikes and the technical learning curve is pretty steep!

thanks, everyone, for the info. on the thread about the shims. fantastic, and cheap idea, and i think it would fit the bill perfectly. much, much appreciated advice.



03-30-2006, 07:35 PM
The reason I asked is that shims only go on Shimano 105 and Ultegra levers of a more recent vintage. Not sure if they go on Dura Ace.

04-09-2006, 05:51 AM
It sounds like you have had some good advice already... but thought that I would add this. You mention that the brake levers are too far away from the handlebar... is that correct? The obvious would be to replace the levers, which will be somewhat costly. The other suggestion would be to replace the handlebar... different bars are shaped differently and the ergo bars might be just what you need. Most bars are shaped to put your hands closer to the lever(meaning that it feels dented or twisted at that point) are your handlebars like that? If not, that might be another alternative. They also do make levers for smaller hands... as a last alternative. Good luck!

04-09-2006, 04:12 PM
The reason I asked is that shims only go on Shimano 105 and Ultegra levers of a more recent vintage. Not sure if they go on Dura Ace.

I was pondering a shim today as I almost hit a cab.... do they make shims for campys? (I could just google, but someone here is easier!)