Author Topic: Brake Lever Reach Question  (Read 3716 times)

Brake Lever Reach Question
« on: 27 September, 2010, 10:34:57 pm »
This is my favourite setup at the moment; it’s a Nitto Noodle bar with Shimano Ultegra 9-speed STIs, in a version adjustable for small hands.  Don’t actually know the model number.



I’ve used drop bars for some time, but these bars, with these levers, mean that, for the first time, I feel confident and comfortable in the drops, mainly because I can reach the levers so easily. :thumbsup:

Now, here’s my fixed bike set up, also with Nitto Noodle bars, but with Shimano Exage levers.  I like the fact that they have a quick release, so that I can still get the wheels out despite Alhonga non-QR calipers.  But the reach to the levers is much bigger, which means that I don’t feel so confident braking from the drops. :-\



I wonder if there are any other aero levers (not STIs, obviously), which would give a better reach.  I wondered about these.

Any experience out there by riders with small hands?
 

Rhys W

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Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #1 on: 27 September, 2010, 10:41:36 pm »
I have pretty small hands but have had no problems as long as I stay away from horrible anatomic bars (I guess you've figured that out already).

Tony Oliver's book has a photo of some levers from a French company called CLB that came in S, M & L sizes!

arabella

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Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #2 on: 27 September, 2010, 10:46:48 pm »
Having gurl-sized hands I find even "short reach"* brakes are too far.  So I I jam a bit of old brake pad in the top of the lever (where it's against the hoods) and adjust brakes so that the 'off' position is again correct.  Which means there is less movement of course, but I've survived so far.
(If you do this be aware - some 'helpful' person may remove them for you, or they may fall out.  That's why I carry around some spare chinks of old brake pad.)

Also of course moving the brakes higher/lower on the bars will make a difference - to the hood position as well though.  I've yet to resolve that satisfactorily.

*some joke I'm sure
Any fool can admire a mountain.  It takes real discernment to appreciate the fens.

Zoidburg

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #3 on: 27 September, 2010, 10:54:04 pm »
You can't reach the exage levers in the drops as they are meant to run further down than you have them.

They don't run almost level with the tops like modern levers.

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #4 on: 27 September, 2010, 11:02:51 pm »


The position of the levers on the bars looks about right( maybe slightly high), but the bars should be rotated down more. The lever handles should be more vertical, the lever body (hoods) should be about horizontal. The bottom of the bars should be slightly sloping.

Then you should be able to reach the levers from the forward part of the drops, unless you've got unusually small hands.




Zoidburg

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #5 on: 27 September, 2010, 11:05:41 pm »
It might look right but it's not right.

They are not new ergos like you see in the top picture.

Ferret out some early 80s race pics and you will see them run half way down the drops.

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #6 on: 27 September, 2010, 11:12:06 pm »
If the bars didn't point upwards then the levers are in roughly the right position, in relation the bars.

Yes, for the position of the bars as they are in the photo, the levers need to be moved down.

Zoidburg

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #7 on: 27 September, 2010, 11:15:40 pm »
The bars are only just off the right position, the levers are still about an inch higher than they were designed for.

They are not modern ergos.

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #8 on: 28 September, 2010, 12:04:27 am »

With the bars correctly positioned in the stem:



the levers are in about the right position, in relation the both the bars and the rider.

Zoidburg

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #9 on: 28 September, 2010, 12:10:20 am »
Still wrong.

You can tell just looking at the lever tips.

robbo6

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #10 on: 28 September, 2010, 06:59:01 am »
What I can tel you is the Cane Creek levers are made by Tektro who make almost identical levers, RL341, sold for a lot less.

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #11 on: 28 September, 2010, 08:14:38 am »
Thanks for all this response so far.

I think that I'm going to have a problem trying to create a flat platform and reachable levers from the drops.  I can't get on at all with levers fitted way down.

I even wondered whether I should go for a pair of old 8-speed STIs to try and achieve the combination I want.

I'm happy with the existing hood position with the Exages, it's just the reach that's the problem.

Anyone any experience with the kind of levers I was wondering about, Cane Creek or Tektro?

Woofage

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Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #12 on: 28 September, 2010, 08:37:16 am »

With the bars correctly positioned in the stem:



the levers are in about the right position, in relation the both the bars and the rider.

Out of interest, why do you suggest that this is the "correct" position? I would suggest that 3 out of the 4* main contact regions are compromised in that setup.

* bends, hoods and drops; you can't mess up the tops.
Pen Pusher

clarion

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Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #13 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:09:51 am »
There's no one 'correct' position for bars.  I have the tops horizontal, and the hoods as a direct continuation.  It's not wrong.  It's just how I have it.
Getting there...

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #14 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:10:45 am »
If the bars didn't point upwards then the levers are in roughly the right position, in relation the bars.

Yes, for the position of the bars as they are in the photo, the levers need to be moved down.

^  This.  pre-"ergo" levers were run way down the drops compared to today, thats why the lever is at 90 degrees to the hood top, whereas the STI has a more acute 70'ish degree angle between lever and top.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Rhys W

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Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #15 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:30:58 am »

With the bars correctly positioned in the stem:



the levers are in about the right position, in relation the both the bars and the rider.

I agree, but maybe the levers could slip down the bars maybe 0.5cm, which might bring the tips in a little closer.

Upturned bars and levers too high up (although the original photo wasn't that bad) always suggest to me that they're trying to compensate for a positioning mistake in the first place.

robbo6

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #16 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:34:39 am »
Anyone any experience with the kind of levers I was wondering about, Cane Creek or Tektro?

I have the opposite problem to you (size 12 gloves) but can say that the Tektro levers -I have the previous model- are approximately equal to early 8 speed ergo in size and suit me fine, The 341s are claimed to be 20mm shorter in reach. Quality is OK but I did have to take a file to some sharp corners on the hood moulding before I was completely happy.

Re: Brake Lever Reach Question
« Reply #17 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:38:34 am »
pre-"ergo" levers were run way down the drops compared to today, thats why the lever is at 90 degrees to the hood top, whereas the STI has a more acute 70'ish degree angle between lever and top.
Another in agreement.

Most of my machines have post 1990 levers, hence Ergo generation which includes non Ergo levers having the same shape.  However, my fixed has 1980's Modolo levers.  When I ride that I immediately notice that the lever is further round the drops and that the hood is a lot shorter.  Very quickly you get used to it and do not notice.  As for ease of braking from the drops, I cannot say because 99% of my braking is done from the hoods.  I've just been to have a look at it and don't reckon that the lever blade is much closer to the bars than your Exage levers, and certainly not as close as your Ultegra.

I'd say that if you want to change the levers on your fixed then try1980's or earlier.  Earlier will be non aero.