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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Specialized Allez 2010 and I'm finding the controls very difficult to use. First of all is the brakes, the levers are facing forwards like all the other road bikes I have seen but the problem is that you need to really curl your wrists into position and can only just get your fingers on the levers. And I have hands bigger than most! Am I doing this wrong?

Secondly is the gears, in order to shift down you have to sit up, reach over and press the button. Id much rather some downtube shifters than having to arch over the bars. Also shifting upwards the lever has to move so far that you lose all the stability on the bars. Am I doing this wrong also?

It has got me wondering whether I'd be much happier with some 2 finger XC brakes mounted further down and some downtube shifters.


Advice much appreciated,

Dean.
 

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Dean Carr said:
I have a Specialized Allez 2010 and I'm finding the controls very difficult to use. First of all is the brakes, the levers are facing forwards like all the other road bikes I have seen but the problem is that you need to really curl your wrists into position and can only just get your fingers on the levers. And I have hands bigger than most! Am I doing this wrong?

Secondly is the gears, in order to shift down you have to sit up, reach over and press the button. Id much rather some downtube shifters than having to arch over the bars. Also shifting upwards the lever has to move so far that you lose all the stability on the bars. Am I doing this wrong also?

It has got me wondering whether I'd be much happier with some 2 finger XC brakes mounted further down and some downtube shifters.


Advice much appreciated,

Dean.
Without seeing you brake and shift, it's hard to say that you're doing something wrong, but you certainly are having more problems than most, especially if your hands are on the larger side.

There are shims available that shorten reach to brake levers, so that may be an option for you. As far as the thumb shifter is concerned, they're not everyone's favorite, but you're also taking issue with the brake/ shifter lever, which is unusual.

Because rhe Allez doesn't have braze on bosses used for d/ tube shifters, you may want to consider bar end shifters, although there may still be sources for a clamp on system that allows the use of d/ tube shifters. Those options, along with the shims for the brake levers are probably the least expensive 'fix' for what you've described.
 

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Definitely strange. I can brake from the top hood position with my fingers or, obviously, from the curved drops.....just medium sized hands. The power from the top hoods is reduced but suffices for most braking that is not on downhills.

Same for shifting....from the top hood position or from the drops. There is NO WAY that downtube shifters come close to the efficiency of the STI shifters. Just keep practicing.

Here's a good description, with pictures included:

http://worldofbikes.com/articles/how-to-shift-shimano-sti-levers-pg109.htm


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Sounds like your bars might be pointed down too far. Try rotating them up a little bit.

A picture might help make sure we're all on the same page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have been studying it in the house and the problem is the distance the lever needs to move in order to shift, whereas with a MTB it's a simple thumb press or click with the 2300 STI's it requires a full finger motion with plenty of added wrist (no dirty jokes). The same goes for the brakes, the amount of distance to reach the lever is simply too far for it to feel comfortable or in anyway instinctive.

The pictures may not look very convincing but it is making the bike feel like it doesnt want to shift or brake at will. As you can see the amount of wrist flexion required for the gears and the amount of effort required for the finger tips which is caught at a weak angle.



 

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Some thoughts.

- As PJ352 said, try a spacer (I suggest the 8-degree one) to bring the levers in closer to the bars. Look at the "ST-3400 Reach Adjustment" box at the link and you'll see what we're talking about. Brake pad-to-rim distance most likely will have to be re-adjusted, but that's no big thing.
http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/t...001/SI_6LS0A_001_En_v1_m56577569830615004.pdf

- Your hands are "on the drops," but most people ride with their hands on the rubber hoods of the brake shifters most of the time. It's from that position they do almost all their shifting and braking. This only as an explanation why some people may not fully appreciate your issue.

- Moving the brake shifters down on the bars a bit will bring the levers closer to the bar. (To do that, you have to undo part of the bar tape and loosen the clamping bolt.) Of course, that would also move the top of the rubber hood down, which you may not want to do if you think you might change to "riding on the hoods" most of the time.
 

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I agree with wim on this. Pics sometimes deceive, but I see it as a simple reach issue, Your hands may be on the larger side, but your fingers (at least from the pics) don't look long, so the shims we referred to should work.

I also agree that relocating the levers further down on the bars may not be a good solution, because it would increase reach (and may make riding the hoods uncomfortable).
 

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I own the same bike (same color, even) and the problem has nothing to do with the sora shifters. Ergo bars aren't. They make it hard to reach the levers and even harder to reach the little downshift tab on the sora shifters. My hands also slide off them. They're wretched engineering abortions and should be banished from existence.

I'll try to take a pic if it's not clear, but the answer for me (short of buying new bars) was to tilt the bars way down. The "ergo" section that is normally about 30-45 degrees to the horizontal is almost parallel to the ground on my bike, and the end of the drops actually point back up. I did it when my hands started sliding off of the front of the drops (the ergo section) and as a side-effect, I can actually brake from the drops now. Before I did that, I didn't think that people used the brakes from the drops. It makes descending a lot easier.

If you do it, you'll probably need to move the shift levers a bit and re-tape the bars, so be prepared for that. The only downsides are that doing this moves your hoods down quite a bit…it gets annoying. It also seems to effectively lengthen the stem, so my hoods are a lot less comfortable. Also, if you have long thighs, you might bang your knee on the end of the drops. If that happens, either put it back or if it works otherwise cut them off.

And the ideal solution…just get better bars. I'm going for Deda Newton deep bars at some point, whenever i decide to spend the money.
 

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I had ergo drops on my LeMond for a long time - they were the OEM bar. When I finally bought new, compact drop bars, I kicked myself for waiting so long. On a road bike, I think getting the bars right is almost as important as getting the saddle right.
 
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