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I have just bought my first road bike today - a specialized Dolce Compact EQ from Epic Cycles in Paddington, Brisbane (highly recommend by the way, the customer service was next to none) and as I am not yet confident on using the drop bars all of the time am relying on having my hands primarily on the hoods. The only problem is I am having a lot of trouble reaching the brakes from that position, and even in the drop bar position the brakes sill feel too big for my little hands is there anything I can purchases or do to make the brakes easier to reach when I have my hands on the hoods to allow me to brake with confidence and that will help with my confidence when riding? Really concerned about not being able to break in time. Would a brake lever extension (I know specialized sells one) solve this problem? Is that what they are for? Please any help would be much much appreciated
Some brake levers have a hand reach adjustment. Just take it back to the shop and explain the problem to them. If they can't help immediately, they should know what the solution is.
If you can reach properly (in the future) but still have problems braking well, this (sadly) could be the road brakes just aren't very good. It is a common problem with road caliper/rim brakes on drop bar bikes.
Not to rain on your parade, but I wouldn't pass that sort of judgement and make such recommendations just yet.
Unless I got even a ball park bike fit out of them before I handed over money and walked out the door, friendly staff & smiles whilst they're debiting your bank account is an easy facade to have. Even just a quick by eye size up of your positioning on the bike is better than nothing. It is initial decent fit and follow up with small issues like you've posted about that maketh the store. Just saying is all.
Your problem may be easily remedied with a shorter stem. That's the sort of item most stores should have a box full of as they're constantly swapping out. If this isn't something they suggest when you go back, or they want to charge you $$$ as a recent customer I would really want to retract the recommendation.
After all is said and done; a lot more is usually said than done.
Also, just take the time to really get used to rim brakes. Technique is everything. You'll soon find that you dont ever stop suddenly or slam on brakes on a roadie. Its more about modulating and adding it on in dribs and drabs to keep your speed either constant, or consistently reducing speed gradually. Once you get used to it you will be able to stop as well as any disc brake equipped bike. But it does take time.
You could try the things mentioned above, but also tilting the bars may help.
Either up or down depending on how your hand feels. But when your stem length is right and your hoods and bars are set right you should be able to deliver enough power from the hood position lock the back wheel up.
Try the reach adjust first though, and count how many turns you make of the Allen key because if you don't like the adjustment you'll be able to set it back to factory position.
Specialized dealers are good with options for fitting. Once you buy a specialized you have the option to switch out stems at no charge. It will be a specialized branded stem, but they will let you try a few over a week or two to get the right fit. Its part of their whole sales and service ethos.
Last edited by harmonix1234 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
You need Reach adjust shims
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Maybe as well (in dry whether only) but generally not as easy on the hands (which may be a significant issue for a female).
Unfortunately rim brakes are inferior to hydro disc brakes
I've got small hands and I generally find I can get more purchase on the brakes when I'm down on the drops.
But you can't always plan that ahead. You can when you are descending or something, but harder when you are just riding around.
Some levers are smaller than others. My Ultegra Di2 are the best of the ones I have. Another Ultegra set is less good and I have shims in that, somewhat like the ones ozdavo mentions above. That has benefits when you are on the drops, but are less useful on the hoods. In fact, it can make it worse.
I reckon go back to the shop, tell them what the problem is and get them to adjust. They can adjust the amount of play on the levers, and they can also rotate the bars up or down to get them at a better angle for you. Probably they will move them up which will be good for when you are on the hoods, but less good on the drops.
Do practise riding on the drops. It feels uncomfortable and weird at first so try on a flat, safe place. But you will find you have more handling control and a better grip on the brakes. Persevere! Good luck.
Thanks Everyone - I went back to the shop and they swapped the levers over to ones that I felt more comfortable for free when I told them what the problem was. I guess I am just used to a flat bar mountain bike of my childhood, so will practice using the drops and I am sure I will start to trust my skills a bit more!
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My wife had similar issues. Partly it was familiarity (or lack of), partly improved by installing the reach adjustment shims, but upgrading to Shimano Ultegra (6800) brakes was a big improvement. I sourced them from a seller on this forum.
I don't know how good the Tektros on your bike are but at the minimum I would suggest a change of the pads they use.
Great! That's a good thing about local bike shops (LBS) and I'm pleased they sorted out the problem. Do try using the drops. It will feel weird but you will have more control when it really matters. Like all things bike, it just takes time.
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