Brakes, Gears...............Pick one.

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Panter, 28 Sep 2007.

  1. Panter

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Morning all :biggrin:

    I had my first proper ride this morning on my new SCR3, and first proper ride on a road bike.

    It feels very weird and twitchy compared to the MTB, I was wobbly as hell too and a tad scared in the traffic but I guess I'll get used to it.

    Anyway, it seems to me that if I ride on the hoods I can change gear but braking is very weak and certainly not good enough to stop quickly, if I ride on the drops I can brake fine but can't reach the gears.
    Have I got the bars angled wrongly or is this the way it is and something I need to get used to?

    Any advice appreciated.
  2. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    There's a couple of things you can do, although you are constrained a little by the choices Shimano has already made for you. They consider their SORA shifters to be used only by beginners who don't want to change gears when down on the drops. So here goes:

    1. Best option, but very expensive and impractical - change the gear shifters to any other model or make. You have the only shifter with this 'limitation'.

    2. Cheapest - learn to switch happily from drops to tops and even to brake harder when on the tops. It is possible.

    3. Or - add some Cane Creek 'cross levers' so you have full brake access when up on the tops. This makes a lot of sense around town.
  3. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Thanks Tim, much appreciated :biggrin:

    Option 1 is unfortunately out of the window at the moment. I've spent way too much so far on the "free" cycling hobby. I fear it would end in an even more expensive divorce if I started binning bits aon the shiny new bike and replacing them already.
    Maybe next Year as an upgrade, once the dust has settled :biggrin:

    Option 2, I'll keep working at it. Its frustrating that I won't be able to change gear on the drops, but I guess it'll teach me to plan well ahead if nothing else.

    Option 3 Looks very nice. I think I'll get some of these as they do look very usefull. My town riding is actually pretty limited, but I'd feel a lot safer having these on the short bit that I do.
    Are they as easy to fit as they look?
  4. Paulus

    Paulus Started young, and still going.

    Hi there Panter, You say that by riding on the hoods you can change gears but not brake very easily. I would say to you that perhaps that you should maybe persevere with trying to brake whilst your hands are on the hoods. Once you get the hang of getting your fingers around the levers and braking, the muscles in your forearms will get stronger and it will become much easier. It won't take long. Good luck.
  5. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I switched from flats to drops in July and it's taken me the entire summer to get used to it. Admittedly I'm a chicken, but persevere...things will get easier quickly, I promise!
  6. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    That's encouraging :biggrin:

    I'm going to keep at it, and then make a rash decision next Week :biggrin:
  7. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Give it a bit longer. I really wasn't sure I liked my new bike when I got her, the change between the new bike and my tourer completely threw me. But after a month I was away!!!
  8. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Ok, I'll give it a month then. :biggrin:

    I'm easily led, does it show? :biggrin:
  9. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Like the others have said, it's just a matter of getting used to it. I can lift the back wheel when I apply the front brake, and Tarzan I ain't.
  10. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Change of brake-pads might be cheaper, Salmon Koolstops were found to be waaaaay better than the original Ultegra ones which were pretty useless. Means much less force is needed on the levers. Far better in the wet as well.
    As others have said, give it some chance before making any hasty and expensive decisions. A few set-up tweaks may help.

    Sora operates like Campagnolo Ergo-levers IIRC, and Campag owners seem to manage with the gear change on the drops issues (or if they don't they keep quiet about it!)
  11. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Shimano copied everything except the ergonomics. Whereas both gear lever and button fall to hand with Campag when riding on the drops or the hoods, the 'button' is so high on the Sora changer that only a freak can get their thumbs up to it from the drops.

    But after riding the bike a bit more you will find that it's not an either / or situation. You will find you are quite stable riding with one hand down on the drops while the other momentarily moves to reach the shifter. It's not really different to those tourers with bar end shifters, or those who like to ride 'on the flats' of their drop bars or even those dinosaurs who still have down tube shifters. Some 'work around' will be second nature in no time.
  12. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    My bike has down tube shifters (and for a little while I had a ping bell on the handlebar stem) - either required taking a hand off the bars to operate them. Going from drops to hoods is probably less problematic, I'd have thought, because you have your hand off some part of the bars for less time.

    The key for me seemed to be to try to anticipate gear changes a little, so that I'm not removing one hand at a point where both are needed to keep the bike under control.

    I've seen a few SCR's around town lately (the students have bags of money, it seems) lovely bikes.
  13. woohoo

    woohoo Veteran

    Agreed. I bought my son a "last year's" SCR2.0 for £385. It's a lot of bike for the money and nice to ride, apart from the anatomical handlebars; I hate all of these. On my own bike I fitted the shallow Deda Newtons to allow me to get the hoods level and still be able to reach the brakes from the drops (I've got small hands). If I was using the SCR, I would fit shallow Deda 215s (the same shape as the Newtons but in the 25.4mm handlebar size.)
  14. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Thanks peeps.

    I did a 25miler this morning, it was daylight and I wasn't fighting with 70mph traffic so I felt a lot more confident.

    I can brake reasonably well on the hoods, I just didn't have my hands far enough forward but when the pads wear out I'll certainly try some Koolstops.

    I think thats a pretty accurate assesment :biggrin: I tried as hard as I could but just cannot reach that thumb lever.
    For some reason I'm very wobbly when swithching to the drops (coming from MTB's I 'spose) and when changing back to the hoods but its all very new to me at the moment and I'm sure it'll come.

    I can't help thinking those Crosstops will be a usefull accessory though, my commute does get a bit hairy in places and the more braking options, the better.
    Maybe I should leave it untill I'm more confident in the existing set-up though, just so I don't skirt around the issue.

    Thats an awesome price :biggrin:, just shows what bargains you can get at the moment. I must admit I'd have snapped that up too although I'm very pleased with mine so far.

    Well, I've got big hands but I must admit its quite a reach to get my hands around the bars properly. I assume that reach is adjustable? I'll check on the park tools website and see how its done.
  15. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    My only bike was a straight bar hybrid until a month or so ago, at which point I got the drop bar Nigel Dean tourer that's my current commuter/little trip to the shops/long ride/well everything bike

    My personal experience is that switching from one to the other will be something you get used to fairly quickly (as will moving one hand up while leaving one on the drops). (I suspect my bike is probably a bit less twitchy than a true road racer though).
    I can remember having something like that ages ago on the first racer I ever used (bars that could be operated from the top bar of the handlebars). The problem, as I recall, is that you spend all your time on the top of the bars then, because going to the drops still seems a bit iffy, and there's no reason to if all your controls are accessible (still had to deal with downtube shifters though :biggrin: ). If you're a bit more self disciplined about training yourself to use the drops than I was, it might not be a problem :biggrin:
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