Have to stretch to reach brakes

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tonich
Posts: 18
Joined: 31 Jan 2018, 6:52pm

Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by tonich »

I am 5'' 11' with long arms but following a major refurb of my old Peugeot 1988 Triathlon, which involved replacing the old brake levers with new brake + shifter combination, I have been unable to place my hands on the hoods without feeling like I am overstretching.
My seat is as far forward as it will go and I have also tinkered with the handlebar height and the tilt but this didn't improve things.

This might be an unfortunate design limitation for an old bike.

Is there saddles with extra-long rails that will allow me to adjust the forward position more?
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cycleruk
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Location: Lancashire

Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by cycleruk »

Would a shorter stem help ?
To bring the bars nearer.
You'll never know if you don't try it.
gregoryoftours
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Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by gregoryoftours »

tonich wrote:I am 5'' 11' with long arms but following a major refurb of my old Peugeot 1988 Triathlon, which involved replacing the old brake levers with new brake + shifter combination, I have been unable to place my hands on the hoods without feeling like I am overstretching.
My seat is as far forward as it will go and I have also tinkered with the handlebar height and the tilt but this didn't improve things.

This might be an unfortunate design limitation for an old bike.

Is there saddles with extra-long rails that will allow me to adjust the forward position more?

I guess if you want to keep the same bike and your saddle is as far forward as it will go you need to try some or all of the following- altering the position of the stis on the bar, get a bar with shorter forward extension, get a shorter and/or higher rise stem. A photo would be good, preferably a before and after refurb.
tonich
Posts: 18
Joined: 31 Jan 2018, 6:52pm

Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by tonich »

[quote][/quote]

Hi
Apart from changing the levers, I have kept everything original and would love to keep it that way but would gladly change the seat.
Cheers for the idea
tonich
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Joined: 31 Jan 2018, 6:52pm

Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by tonich »

Here is an after photo

Q1aPLKiOS1-qT3fC5QbBJA.jpg
thirdcrank
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by thirdcrank »

I have a vague idea that in what I think of as the early days of triathlon ie when I first heard about it, some enthusiasts were keen to differentiate that form of the sport from what might be termed mainstream road racing. One of the innovations / gimmicks was extremely steep seat tubes. IIRC the rationale was something to do with the riding position being more akin to running. If that's a feature of your bike, the seat may be comparitive far forward already.
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PS Pic posted as I was typing
tonich
Posts: 18
Joined: 31 Jan 2018, 6:52pm

Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by tonich »

thirdcrank wrote:I have a vague idea that in what I think of as the early days of triathlon ie when I first heard about it, some enthusiasts were keen to differentiate that form of the sport from what might be termed mainstream road racing. One of the innovations / gimmicks was extremely steep seat tubes. IIRC the rationale was something to do with the riding position being more akin to running. If that's a feature of your bike, the seat may be comparitive far forward already.
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PS Pic posted as I was typing


Interesting! Guess I'll need to take up triathlon then! lol
Well, funnily enough, I've entered a Duathlon and was going to use the old bike.

What I don't understand is that I have had this bike since new and don't remember it being a problem before. That said, I was 30 years younger and it was a different saddle and brake levers.
peetee
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by peetee »

It sounds like you have had a few years off the bike. Don’t underestimate the changes in your flexibility. I am struggling to find a comfortable position after ten years out. I am still riding my old bikes but with shorter and more upright stems but it’s not enough.
The changes you have made to your bike have lengthened the reach. The modern gear/brake levers are considerably longer. Your hand position is now probably 2 or 3 inches forward of your old position at an age where it would probably be better suited 2 or 3 inches back from your old position. Getting a shorter stem might not be that easy. If memory serves those bikes were fitted with Atax bar and stem and they were available in a variety of handlebar diameters so replacing the stem alone may not be easy. That said, to give a good position it may be necessary to buy short reach bars too (those on your bike look a little on the long side too) so the more expensive option might be the only way to get a satisfactory result.
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pwa
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by pwa »

The stem could be swapped for a shorter one, bringing the bars 1 or 2cm closer. The bars could be swapped for ones that have less "reach" forward of the stem, which again could bring the levers closer by 1 or 2cm.

I don't know what size bar fits in that stem, but if it were, for example, 26mm, these would give you less stretching to do:
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/handlebars/ ... mp-silver/
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Tigerbiten
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by Tigerbiten »

I may be wrong but as daft as it sounds "having the seat fully forward" may be partly the root of your problem.
With your seat forward, you shift your CofG forward and you become unbalanced when you reach forward for the bars. This forces you into a more upright position with less reach.
With the seat a little further back, this shifts your CofG back meaning you can drop your shoulders further while staying in balance. This may let you reach the little bit further forward to the bars.
So when you do reach for the bars, how much weight is on your hands ??

Luck ........... :D
slowster
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by slowster »

Those levers look like they are in far too forward/low a position on the bars. The old rule of thumb was to have the tip of the lever blade no lower than a straight line extending from the drops or a bit higher, whereas your levers are much lower, and consequently the reach to them is much greater.

To begin with therefore undo the bar tape down to the levers, loosen the clamp and reposition them as high as you possibly can on the bars. You will find that there is a point at which you cannot move the lever any higher because the change in the bend of the bars will not allow it.

Doing that should make quite a lot of difference in your case, but neverthless as suggested by other posters it may be be worthwhile changing your bars and stem as well. I would suggest a Nitto Technomic stem, which as well as being made in lengths as short as 60mm or even 50mm, comes in 25.4mm and 26mm clamp sizes and in different shaft lengths (150mm, 190mm and 225mm), which gives you the option of raising the bars higher. Nitto also have a wide range of bars, and I would suggest you consider the M185 model, which is a 26mm bar shallow curve bar (similar to the old Cinelli 64 and Deda 215 shallow patterns) with single cable grooves (and so would be a good match for your STI levers).
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CJ
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by CJ »

I've never had any time off cycling, but I definitely NEED the handlebars higher and closer than I did 30 years ago.
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Brucey
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by Brucey »

tonich wrote:
My seat is as far forward as it will go...


this moves your Centre of Gravity (CoG) forwards and (somewhat counterintuitively) throws more weight on your hands, not less.

Modern combined shift/brake levers are physically longer than older brake levers and should be paired with

a) a shorter stem and/or
b) different handlebars (with a shorter forward reach)

if you want to retain an established riding position.

What you definitely shouldn't do is try and get comfy by moving the saddle forwards; this is almost invariably counterproductive.

If you need a shorter reach (and you might do) again you should get this by moving the handlebars backwards, not the saddle forwards.

cheers
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Paulatic
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by Paulatic »

The position doesn’t look too out of the ordinary yet:
I would recommend you
Try the saddle back
Level up the saddle , you must have to hold yourself up on that :)
Put the levers further up the bars
and then a shorter stem if needed
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Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Have to stretch to reach brakes

Post by Marcus Aurelius »

Most modern brifters come with shims that adjust the reach, they just slot into the bit between the top of the levers and the hoods. If you haven’t got the shims, they are easy to find on line.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shimano-Cyclin ... B00E4XBXW8

Something like this.
If it’s actually reaching the hoods / levers that’s the issue, you could try a shorter stem.
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