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View Full Version : Left shifting trouble - small hands - how to solve?


pdmtong
09-29-2009, 10:42 AM
My almost 10yo daughter is fitiing just fine on her 44cm specialized dolce but her hand isn't big enough to shift the chainrings - her hand is just too small to throw the lever across the entire travel needed to shift. The lever is a 2007 9-speed tiagra model 4400

Can anyone recommend a solution for this? the right shifter is not a problem, since you don't need to move it acorss it's full travel to shift a cog or two.

Is there a way to shorten the shifter throw (like campy QS)?
Is the throw adjustable with the more expensive left shifters?
Is this just the way it is (and if so, what are some safe techniques to take your hand off the bar to shift?)?

I know there are shims to adjust the brake reach for smaller hands, but never thought about the throw being a problem until now

Thanks

thwart
09-29-2009, 11:05 AM
Perhaps staying in one chainring for most of her riding is the most practical answer, until she grows a bit. The cyclocross folks do it...

Daughter (age 20) and I spent some time training for a challenge ride, the Dairyland Dare, earlier this year. She was new to road bikes, and was very comfortable spending 95% of the time in the smaller front chainring; never really needed the bigger chainring for anything other than downhills. She had the hand strength, but the hassle of the shift was her issue (and the bike was set up correctly, no overshifts or chaindrops occurred). For some reason, Dad nagging her about using the entire gear range of the bike wasn't very effective... :rolleyes:

She became proficient at pedaling faster cadences, which I figured was a good thing. I stopped nagging.

And... made it up all those nasty hills on the big ride without getting off the bike, or even doing the 'paperboy' thing. :beer:

shinomaster
09-29-2009, 11:07 AM
Bar-end shifter?

salvatore
09-29-2009, 10:24 PM
I have a tiny cam-type device installed on my Ergopower levers to shorten the brake reach, and in turn I've shortened the shift paddle with some wire. It is a neat system because the cam can be opened to restore the lever to normal operation. May sound a bit confusing... sorry. If you're interested I can take some pics??

rwsaunders
09-30-2009, 12:09 AM
http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=9987&page=SHIMANO%20ULTEGRA%20ST-R600%20ROAD%20SHIFTERS

salvatore
09-30-2009, 12:26 AM
Sorry... I thought we were talking Campagnolo.

EDS
09-30-2009, 08:46 AM
My almost 10yo daughter is fitiing just fine on her 44cm specialized dolce but her hand isn't big enough to shift the chainrings - her hand is just too small to throw the lever across the entire travel needed to shift. The lever is a 2007 9-speed tiagra model 4400

Can anyone recommend a solution for this? the right shifter is not a problem, since you don't need to move it acorss it's full travel to shift a cog or two.

Is there a way to shorten the shifter throw (like campy QS)?
Is the throw adjustable with the more expensive left shifters?
Is this just the way it is (and if so, what are some safe techniques to take your hand off the bar to shift?)?

I know there are shims to adjust the brake reach for smaller hands, but never thought about the throw being a problem until now

Thanks

SRAM or Campy.

rahill
09-30-2009, 09:06 AM
http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=9987&page=SHIMANO%20ULTEGRA%20ST-R600%20ROAD%20SHIFTERS

It's not the reach of the levers, that's relatively easy to adjust with shims, spacers, whatever. It's simply that Shimano front shifters require the entire shift to be made in one throw. Our 11 year old has the same issue - small hands have difficulty with that shift.

I've been tempted to try a Campy front shifter since those ratchet and could allow smaller hands to take several "pushes" to get the chain to move. Friends went to Campy stuff on their daughter's bike (partly) for this reason.

RABikes2
09-30-2009, 09:15 AM
Bar-end shifter?
I have a bar-end shifter on the left on my Legend Ti. The right shifter is normal. Works like a charm. Recommend it highly for your daughter.
Ritaann

djg
09-30-2009, 10:58 AM
It's not the reach of the levers, that's relatively easy to adjust with shims, spacers, whatever. It's simply that Shimano front shifters require the entire shift to be made in one throw. Our 11 year old has the same issue - small hands have difficulty with that shift.

I've been tempted to try a Campy front shifter since those ratchet and could allow smaller hands to take several "pushes" to get the chain to move. Friends went to Campy stuff on their daughter's bike (partly) for this reason.

Same thing here -- my just-turned-12 daughter is mostly treating her bike as a single ring setup. I might try campag (I've got extra 10 speed levers and some other parts), but she's doing fine and growing pretty fast right now, so we might just see how things go.