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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

I am total rookie on the road - been riding in the dirt for years.

Just got a new Felt Z25 2 weeks ago - and have been having a lot of fun doing longer rides and commuting to work (about 18 miles each way). Getting plenty of sideways looks for riding with SPD pedals and mountain shoes and helment, but having a good old time.

Anyways, on to my real question. This bike has Dura-Ace shifter/brake combo which works well - but when going down hills in the drops it seems like I have to really reach and can barely get the tips of my fingers on the brake - so I am wondering if there is any way to adjust the reach on these brakes?

Sorry for the rookie question, I am a decent mechanic on a MTB - but these road parts are completely foreign to me.

Thanks,

Kirk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dinosaur, I do put my hands on the tops of the hoods while descending - if the road is not too steep - but when the downhill is steep and long enough to get up into the 40mph range it sure feels more stable and under control on the turns with my hands lower in the drops.

While it is a reach to get my fingers onto the brakes, it does seem like you get better brake control when going fast with your hands down lower as well.

I will give it a try keeping them up top tomorrow on my commute and see how it goes.
 

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there's no reach adjustment on those levers. Depending on the shape of your bars you might be able to get a better grip by changing the position of the levers on the bars.

I agree that the drops are a useful position on descents. more stable and better braking than on the hoods. So you want to work on this.
 

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Use the drops while descending. You have more control and can brake better.

Is your problem the reach to the levers, or the leverage that you get on them- meaning that you are applying the brake with the very ends of your fingers.

If it is the latter, then you can adjust the point in the lever travel where the brakes come on. Most shops adjust the brakes very tight so there is little lever motion before the brake pads touch the rims. That is safer for riders who don't pay attention to brake pad wear or who might install narrower rims without checking the brakes. But it means that the brake leverage may not be the best especially for people with smaller hands.

You can try turning the cable adjuster in to get more cable slack but chances are that you will need to undo the pinch bolt and redo it with a little more slack in the cable.

I like to set up my brakes so that the lever is in a comfortable position for application from the drops with one finger. For me that means that the brakes come on with the lever about 40% through its travel.

Don't put too much slack in the cable; you really don't want your brake lever to bottom out on the bar. It would be bad. I test my brake reach and adjustment before every ride, it takes 2 seconds.

If the problem is just the reach to the lever period, then Specialized make some stick-on shims to shim the lever in. They make cable adjustment a little more critical, a lot like moving the engagement point in as I describe above does.
 

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Good for you

kirkB said:
Dinosaur, I do put my hands on the tops of the hoods while descending - if the road is not too steep - but when the downhill is steep and long enough to get up into the 40mph range it sure feels more stable and under control on the turns with my hands lower in the drops.

While it is a reach to get my fingers onto the brakes, it does seem like you get better brake control when going fast with your hands down lower as well.

I will give it a try keeping them up top tomorrow on my commute and see how it goes.
I do a lot of climbing and descending, I can't ride in the drops when I descend as I have a bad right hand. I don't notice any difference in my speed when I am riding with other riders. So if you can't master the descending in the drops, the hands on the hoods will work (I have Campy, so they are actually on the flat part of the bars). Just be careful. don't descend too fast. I've had two bad crashes, one while descending and the other climbing. I guess the next will be on the flats.

Keep the rubber side down.

Dino
 

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kirkB said:
Guys,

Just got a new Felt Z25 2 weeks ago - and have been having a lot of fun doing longer rides and commuting to work (about 18 miles each way). Getting plenty of sideways looks for riding with SPD pedals and mountain shoes and helment, but having a good old time.

Anyways, on to my real question. This bike has Dura-Ace shifter/brake combo which works well - but when going down hills in the drops it seems like I have to really reach and can barely get the tips of my fingers on the brake - so I am wondering if there is any way to adjust the reach on these brakes?

Thanks,

Kirk
Interesting, I've been riding my road bikes with SPD's and mountain shoes for years, never got any looks for it. Or maybe I never noticed.

This may sound dumb, but have you tried moving the brifters lower on the bar? If they're too far up, the levers may be pointed away from the curved portion of the drops, increasing the reach. Of course, if the levers are properly positioned (or if you have small hands), Campy controls seem to have a bit shorter reach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Guys -

It is just the reach out to the levers, not the engagement point. I am used to braking with just one finger on a mtb, it is just that right now I can barely catch it with the very tip of my finger.

So I think the simple fix will be to just loosen the clamps and slide them down a bit - I will try that today - and if it does not work, I will try those specialized shims.

Kirk
 
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