Braking... hand fatigue

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ChrisAOnABike
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Braking... hand fatigue

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 08, 2012 15:13 pm

A bit embarrassed to even mention this, it makes me seem like such a wuss.

Anyway, I'm finding that repeatedly applying the brakes with my hands on the hoods leaves my hands getting quite tired. Braking to a stop on a long downhill with traffic lights at the bottom left me almost unable to press on the levers hard enough.

Obviously, in the drops it's more of a squeeze to apply the brakes, which is a lot easier, but I don't ride down there much. On the hoods, it's more of a press down, which seems to use different muscles, which tire very quickly.

Is this common? Will braking just get easier as I do more and more? Or should I be thinking about making changes somehow? (Not sure what would even be possible).
Is the gorilla tired yet?

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Pross
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Pross » Mon Oct 08, 2012 15:23 pm

Yes. I still get it when riding down longer steep hills late in a ride. Someone will no doubt tell you to not brake so much but on narrow, twisty, steep descents with the threat of oncoming cars it is sometimes necessary to use the brakes a lot more to keep speed low. I would practice using the drops more, as you've acknowledged yourself it is easier to brake in that position and you should also have more control of the bike.

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Mikey23
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Mikey23 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:30 pm

Yes me too ...

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unixnerd
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby unixnerd » Mon Oct 08, 2012 19:46 pm

I know it seems like a bad idea but descending on the drops is a better idea. Your centre of gravity is lower which helps cornering and you can get more braking power from the drops. Took me a while to convert but it's the only way to go.
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Cleat Eastwood
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Cleat Eastwood » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:03 pm

It is easier braking on the drops - but its something I dont really practice as I found on one occasion that it was slightly more difficult unclipping when I overshot a corner. So its hoods for me.

One of the reasons for braking on the drops, i read, was that on the hoods if you hit a bump your hands could jump off the brakes - at least on the drops your grip is more complete.
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Benrad
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Benrad » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:27 pm

I agree with all of the above. I commute to uni on my bike and don't like descending in the drops for that (although I do on a 'proper' ride) because us students don't tend to look hard before crossing the road, we just glance, and it's like I'm invisible if I'm dropped down. SO I got different brake pads so I don't have to squeeze so hard for the same stopping power. Worked for me so far. I know it's extreme but it is Sheffield so it's steep! I got the advanced road pads from edinburgh bike coop which are on offer atm too :) Also commuting with uni books makes me very heavy which I guess makes me more difficult to stop!

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Wacky Racer
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Wacky Racer » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:44 pm

I descend on the hoods, mainly for control, but I have no issue braking from there. I don't pull the brake lever with all fingers though, I only use the first and second fingers and feather the brakes. I think that brake set-up is important too, as you shouldn't need to have to squeeze too hard constantly. The only time I pull hard on the brakes is to stop in a hurry.
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andy46
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby andy46 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 21:47 pm

I brake on the hoods as I can't comfortably reach the brakes when in the drops, I am thinking of getting new bars to try and fix this.
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davoj
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby davoj » Tue Nov 13, 2012 13:15 pm

I also have trouble reaching the brakes on the drop so what kind of bar would you recommend guys?

Andy did you ever get a new bar?

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displacedaussie
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby displacedaussie » Tue Nov 13, 2012 13:28 pm

andy46 wrote:I brake on the hoods as I can't comfortably reach the brakes when in the drops, I am thinking of getting new bars to try and fix this.


Definitely do this as soon as possible. Being able to brake comfortably in the drops completely transformed my descending when I made this change to my bike.

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unixnerd
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby unixnerd » Tue Nov 13, 2012 14:34 pm

I also have trouble reaching the brakes on the drop so what kind of bar would you recommend guys?


You can adjust the brake levers to move them nearer to you. On some levers it's by an adjuster screw, other have a shim you stick on. Your bike shop will know.
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drlodge
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby drlodge » Tue Nov 13, 2012 15:44 pm

I prefer holding the drops when going down hill at speed, since
(a) I can apply more braking power with my hands in teh drops than when on the hoods
(b) I can move by ar$e further back on the saddle, and body lower, to get more weight lower down and over the rear wheel, which also aides braking

However, since I recently changed my old 600EX calipers to Ultegra dual pivot, there is a massive increase in braking power, so I now find it easier braking on the hoods, but still I have more control and power available when in the drops.

Just on Sunday, I was going down Ranmore Common Road at speed, carefully feathering my brakes in case a car was coming the other way (its single lane). There was a car, so I stopped, but the cyclist behind me went shooting through with a "sorry" since he didn't have enough stopping power. Glad he missed me, there was only just room for him to squeeze between me and the car.
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Fr Howie
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Fr Howie » Sat Nov 17, 2012 14:20 pm

Likewise. Descending on the drops, and fitting the shimy to bring the brake levers closer, but also fitting expensive brake blocks fixed my problem.

I upgraded my blocks from Shimano 105 to the Salmon coloured (wet-weather) Kool Stop brake block cartridge inserts (they fit the same brake shoe) on the front. They cost £8 and the brakes seemed twice as powerful in the dry and four times ore powerful in the wet - money well spent!

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Bobbinogs
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Bobbinogs » Sat Nov 17, 2012 15:21 pm

I did a 100 miler a few weeks ago which had just over 3,000m of climbing. The roads were very wet and strewn with debris from an overnight deluge. A few days later it wasn't the climbing that I had done that forced me off the bike but really painful tendonitis in my wrist brought on, according to the quack, by spending so much time grabbing brakes on the descents, either on the drops or hoods. Fortunately, the problem cleared up after a few weeks of avoiding outdoor riding, a few physio sessions and lots of awkward stretches but it does go to show that riders can pick up overuse injuries in a variety of places!

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ddraver
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby ddraver » Sat Nov 17, 2012 15:35 pm

You need some disk brakes ;)

I have a similar small hand problem though, what bars would people recommend?
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Monty Dog
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby Monty Dog » Sat Nov 17, 2012 15:45 pm

Make of lever, shape and position of bars are all factors. The first time I went to the Lakes I had to stop and adjust my brakes to allow me to pull the levers half-back before the brakes started biting to lessen the strain on my hands. Some Shimano STIs have wedges to allow you to adjust lever position for small hands. Most compact handlebars are designed to minimise the lever distance too. On long descents, avoid the temptation to drag and learn to use strong, progressive braking when you need it.
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cooper.michael1
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Re: Braking... hand fatigue

Postby cooper.michael1 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 23:43 pm

Monty Dog wrote:Make of lever, shape and position of bars are all factors. The first time I went to the Lakes I had to stop and adjust my brakes to allow me to pull the levers half-back before the brakes started biting to lessen the strain on my hands. Some Shimano STIs have wedges to allow you to adjust lever position for small hands. Most compact handlebars are designed to minimise the lever distance too. On long descents, avoid the temptation to drag and learn to use strong, progressive braking when you need it.


Indeed, I used to have big issues with Shimano STI's in terms of fatigue, as I have quite small hands. for the lest 3 or 4 years i've been using Campag, and the latest version of the Ergopower levers are fantastic in this regard. The lever body is much smaller the the Shimano levers, allowing much better braking from the hoods.


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