Author Topic: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)  (Read 8534 times)

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2008, 12:22:22 am »
I hope it works for you - it solved it for me like magic.

It takes a bit of careful taping to get it right, and a tight wrap is essential, but you will figure that out as soon as you do it.

Best of luck!  :thumbsup:

All paws crossed! I haven't retaped bars since I was about fifteen (and then it was messy!), so I expect there to be lots of trial and error and weeping. I'll report back.

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2008, 09:35:43 am »
It occurs to me that if you wind back the bar tape allowing you to experiment with lever position and find the best position for you, then re-tape using JrG's method, you will have enough surplus tape when re-taping to ensure a nice tidy finish.  Thus, with some 'prodding and poking'  :o  you should achieve the best lever position and get the benefit of the tape trick.   

You might need some electricians tape to tidily trim off the tape once you are finished.

Jacomus

  • My favourite gender neutral pronoun is comrade
Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2008, 10:42:29 am »
It occurs to me that if you wind back the bar tape allowing you to experiment with lever position and find the best position for you, then re-tape using JrG's method, you will have enough surplus tape when re-taping to ensure a nice tidy finish.  Thus, with some 'prodding and poking'  :o  you should achieve the best lever position and get the benefit of the tape trick.   

You might need some electricians tape to tidily trim off the tape once you are finished.

Indeed, I forgot to mention this - taping like this allows you IME to shuffle the levers up and down a little witout having to untape, and without ruining the wrap.
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." Amelia Earhart

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2008, 02:32:16 pm »
The Deda4Girls is quite good, but still not as good as the 3T Morphe Bars. But they are tricky to find online. Wiggle ran out, IIRC.
Waves hello!
No! Please don't let them stop doing Morphes  :'(
The last pair I bought were in Evans at Waterloo.

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2008, 03:40:22 pm »
OK, one side of my bars has been stripped of tape. Just retaping makes very little difference, but wriggling the levers down a couple of milimeters seems to have made *all* the difference. Hurrah!

But now I have a new problem. I have those bonus extra interrupter levers on the tops, and to wiggle the main levers down I have to wiggle those across. I have tiny bars anyway, so every little bit of space is needed, so what I want to do is move those back a bit. How? I'd guess I need a longer length of cable housing. I can tape everything back up and nip down to the bike shop and get some.  Do I need anything else?

Sorry for my extreme dimness here.

(Also, Roswell the kelpto-kitty has trotted off with my light fitting clutched in her little mouth. Bad cat!)

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2008, 07:25:27 pm »
Worst case, you might need to replace the brake cable (although you might be able to get enough spare by loosening the brakes & feeding a bit of cable upwards).  I've got some brake cable & outer if you want it - am about to go out though so it'd have to wait till tomorrow!

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2008, 07:42:33 pm »
I haven't seen marna's bicycle but I have seen plenty of others and Jacomus's set up isn't very unusual nor is the problem of reaching the brakes whilst on the drops. The problem is that no matter how the bar is angle or the position of the brake lever the hand, wrist and lower arm are all generally at the same angle for the same rider, and naturally the hand will point diagonally down towards the front hub or just in front of it. One can twist the wrist forward only so much. The modern fashion of the brake lever hoods high like Jacomus's places the brake lever high and forward and beyond the reach of some peoples hands. Anatomic (ha!) bars make things worse as the comfy hand hold part encourages the hand to point down towards the hub and not towards the lever, it gives a hand hold which doesn't allow some riders to pull their brake lever very effectively.  Perhaps Stis/Ergos require the hood to be longer and thus place the brake lever further away and anatomic bars are some kind of response to that. I ditched mine and my STis a few years ago for a tried and tested set up.


Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2008, 07:59:57 pm »
Worst case, you might need to replace the brake cable (although you might be able to get enough spare by loosening the brakes & feeding a bit of cable upwards).  I've got some brake cable & outer if you want it - am about to go out though so it'd have to wait till tomorrow!

It's ok! I have some, and I don't need it. I moved both levers to the New! Improved! position, and cycled to the bike shop to see if they had brake cable covers. (And bar tape because I tore mine. Well done me.) But coming there and back I decided that things were too far forward for the hoods, so the latest setup is somewhere halfway between that and the old one, and I don't *quite* have to move the interrupter bars.

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2008, 12:23:41 am »
One can twist the wrist forward only so much. The modern fashion of the brake lever hoods high like Jacomus's places the brake lever high and forward and beyond the reach of some peoples hands.

Mine are almost certainly fashionably high too - they don't look all that different from Jacomus's setup, and my bike is almost shiny new. I'm still pretty new to this cycling lark, though, so I don't have much to compare it to. I do know that they're incredibly comfortable - at least compared to the flat-bar bike I used to ride - when on the hoods. Moving either the levers or the bars too far down stops this being so comfy. I mostly cycle in London (my lovely new bike has been out of London twice), so living mostly on the hoods makes sense. Now I want to go and look up pictures of bar-setup throughout the ages, to see the differences.

I have done many laps of the park today, and one thing that I did notice is that the drops are more comfortable when I'm hunkered down more, and my reach is better then, too. So possibly the next thing I need to do is to play around with my posture when using them, and see what I can improve there. I think I've adjusted the poor bike enough for the moment.

Is spare bar-tape useful at all for anything? I have oodles left over and no ideas about what to do with it.

I found my light fitting (kleptokitten is not very original with her hiding places), and the bike is taped up again and hopefully more drop-reach-able. If it's not, I'll investigate new levers, because I think I've done all the re-arranging I can. I have rewarded myself with a glass of wine and Leonard Cohen on the hi-fi. (Empty house = singing along. Sorry, cats!)

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2008, 09:36:09 am »
marna, Hi. In what way are lower brake levers or bars less comfortable ? back? wrists? shoulders ? neck ?  I can only speak from my experience and of course can give no guarantees that what works for me will work for you. When I used STis and anatomic bars I found the hoods and levers too far away from me but the tops were right. This is how I decided the handlebar shape itself was wrong. The STis hoods were also too fat and square and my hand hurt after a while. I prefer to hold them in the bit between my thumb and index finger and if I need to curl my finger around them.  My curly bars and regular brake levers bring the brake levers closer to me so the angle that my arm and wrist makes allows me to pull the brake lever properly from hoods or drops. It's more of a push from hoods actually though it is the same finger action. With the picture of my bike in mind I have imagined how I might be with your set up, my arms will not change their angle much, well they'd have to to be able reach the brakes from the hoods, I'd have to drop my elbows to enable me to bend my wrist up more which in turn would cause my shoulders to ache more. I don't think I'd be supported much on the handlebar and this would effect the control of the steering too. I have been riding bikes like this for over twenty years,  I got used to this position by chance really then set up my newer bikes to match. STis and anatomic bars came along and didn't allow me to replicate it, so I sacked them. I know everyone is different with different preferences and different brake levers may well solve your issue, it did for me in part. Just some of my thoughts though on how I got my front end position just right.

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2008, 10:56:07 am »
Marna - if you're on the drops, then being a bit more bent over is prob a Good Thing anyway as it reduces your wind resistance.  I find that I don't ever ride for all that long on the drops, because it's a bit of a strain - the bike's set up for most comfortable riding on the hoods.  I only ever ride on the drops for downhill, into the wind occasionally, and the very occasional short hill. 

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2008, 11:37:24 pm »
marna, Hi. In what way are lower brake levers or bars less comfortable ? back? wrists? shoulders ? neck ? 
Shoulders and neck, mostly. I find that to cover the brakes, I have to bend my elbows more than I'd like, and this causes me curve my upper back and shoulders and tense my shoulders and neck. I think my wrists would start complaining after a couple of miles on the drops, but I've never used them for that long. If I'm not covering the brakes I'm fine, but I'm far too cautious to go very swiftly at all without *knowing* that I can brake at a moment's notice. Or, if I'm descending, braking gently as I go. Possibly more fearless cyclists (that would be 99% of them)  would be fine with my setup.

Your description sounds pretty much spot on, actually. If I could move the brakes a lot lower, or a lot nearer, it would be fine, but that's incompatible with having comfy hoods, from my experimenting. I don't have STIs, and that was partly because they made the hoods chunkier and I have fairly small hands. (It was mostly because of wanting friction shifting.)

What sort of bars do you use, out of interest? I probably can't afford to change mine yet (and I don't *need* to - I really very rarely take the bike (or me) out of London, and drops are not really useful in London, at least for very long), but ideas on what I might be looking at would be useful.

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #37 on: April 16, 2008, 08:30:23 am »
What sort of bars do you use, out of interest? I probably can't afford to change mine yet (and I don't *need* to - I really very rarely take the bike (or me) out of London, and drops are not really useful in London, at least for very long), but ideas on what I might be looking at would be useful.
I don't think any of my bars are the same brand, they are all very similar shape though. All are 40 or 42cm c-t-c (centre to centre)wide, all have 14cm drop from the top to the hook again measured c-t-c. All are curved  in the traditional way as in this picture.
http://www.mseries.plus.com/hewitt.jpg those are Profile H20, I think another set may be ITM.

Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2008, 10:17:48 am »
Marna,

You might want to try a non-anatomical bar.
Ribble are selling off Cinelli Model 66 bars, these are quite narrow, very rounded and you can move the brake levers around a lot.
In theory, they are the wrong size (diameter of tubing) for modern road ahead stems. In practice they fit fine, although they'd fit a mountain bike stem slightly better.

Also top tip for people who have to retape their bars here!
Bontrager gel tape is not very thick and has a rubbery backing and no adhesive. you can take it on and off the bars over and over again. You can even wash it in the sink! It's brilliant stuff.


Re: Wedges! (tiny hands and reaching the brakes)
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2008, 04:08:14 pm »
Marna,
You might want to try a non-anatomical bar.
Ribble are selling off Cinelli Model 66 bars, these are quite narrow, very rounded and you can move the brake levers around a lot.
In theory, they are the wrong size (diameter of tubing) for modern road ahead stems. In practice they fit fine, although they'd fit a mountain bike stem slightly better.

That would be awesome (and cheap enough that I could buy a set and see if that improved things), but they only have 40cm ones, and I need 36cm. I am too small!

I think hunting up a non-anatomical one might be the way to go, though.