Brake lever position on the road bike

Twinks

Über Member
Well after our ride over the moors yesterday my wrists are in agony today. Not surprising as I really struggled with the brakes on the long descents. I don't seem to have the handspan and the strength in my wrists and thumbs which have been smashed up a few times in the past in bad falls from horses. I had more leverage on the drops but couldn't maintain that position for more than thirty seconds, it was too painful. Does anyone know of anything I can do to sort this out or have I made a mistake in buying a drop bar.

By the way the bike is a Cannondale Womens Synapse sora which I have been really pleased with otherwise as it's a nice light little bike built for comfort rather than speed.

TIA
 

sight-pin

Über Member
Location
Floating about
I'm not 100% sure on this, but i think you can slot these into the gap that's formed when the brake lever is pulled, it stops the lever from moving right out. although it may be necessary to release the brake adjustment i little first to allow room.
Think that sounds as clear as mud on reading back. lol
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/specialized/slim-shim-brake-lever-spacer-ec015859
 
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Twinks

Über Member
thanks @sight-pin, I see what you mean but I still think I'm going to have a problem applying enough pressure. Have coped until now doing flatish rides out over Cheshire and Wirral and locally where although we have lots of hills they tend to be steep but relatively short. I think I need to sort this out though as at one point yesterday I was approaching a junction at the bottom after a long descent with many bends and really struggled to stop. Am wondering if flat bars could be fitted, does anyone know?
 

Saluki

I've run away with my friends to..
Location
...New Tealandia
Pop to your LBS and explain the situation to them. They might be able to offer some adjustment to you, or get some off those cross brake levers fitted on the tops of the bars. Hubster has them on his Whyte bike. I think that they are horrible but he loves them.
 
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Twinks

Über Member
Thanks Afnug, it's maintaining grip at that angle, have had no problem on my hybrid, though that also has discs.
 

Saluki

I've run away with my friends to..
Location
...New Tealandia
@Lilmo The vast majority of my wrist problems are from horses and I used to worry about braking on my bike but they seem to have strengthened up over time and riding.
I took up guitar 15 months ago and it's helped no end with strength and flexibility, to the point of being able to yaw on brakes should I need too.
 

KneesUp

Guru
I found that the pain in my hands reduced considerably when I raised the bars to be as level with the saddle as I could get them.

I also have cross tops. They work well but be aware that the levers are shorter than a dedicated flat bar lever so need a slightly stronger pull.

I ride a flat bar bike with drops, so there is no reason you can't ride a drop bar bike with flat bars if you want.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Yep cross brakes. A friend has the same bike and she has trouble too. IMO Shimano hoods are a really poor shape for smaller hands/shorter fingers, they are just too fat. SRAM are so much better for me, but I still have cross levers on a couple of bikes

You could also check the position of the hoods, rotate the bars towards you as needed
 

shouldbeinbed

Rollin' along
Location
Manchester way
Another vote for cross tops (aka frog leg levers) the modern ones are far better and can work as the only brakes you'd need on a bike, cheap to buy & dead easy to retrofit yourself if you're so inclined (fit a cable and redo the bar tape from the 'proper' levers) just be sure you get the right diameter clamp for your bars. An LBS shouldn't charge much to fit them otherwise. The only drawback of sorts is that they do limit what you can put on your bars, if you're into garmins and computers and mobile phone mounts or a bar bag you may need to decide what is most important to you.

Other than that, practice will help, injury dependent, and maybe you need to compromise out and out speed on downhills with a bit of earlier anticipation and braking to keep your speed within limits your hands can manage without hurting you before you suddenly find yourself having to grab handfuls of brake at the last possible moment.
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
Have you checked the position of the quick release rod? Just under the brake hoods. I'm sure it is in the right position, but I forgot to put it back after removing my wheels a few times and it makes a difference.

Good luck
Keith
 
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