Small hands can not reach ultegra di2 brake lever

Few days ago, I bought a new GIANT roadbike-LANGMA with the Ultegra di2 (ultegra hydraulic brakes) system, even if the reach is adjusted to minimum distance. The brake levers are still not reachable for my wife(she is 157cm in height and has small hands). Any suggestions?

This is not really applicable for you since you are dealing with Di2, but Shimano does make a set of 105 hydraulic/cable brake/shifter that is designed for small hands.

Right -
Left -

I am not aware of anything additional from that perspective (specifically Di2 options).

It may be possible to find a new handlebar with a different bend that effectively keeps the levers closer to the bar. Also consider the positioning of the hoods on your current (or future) handlebars. Sometimes you can roll them up or down to alter the spacing to the levers.


If she can ride on the hoods then the setup will need to be adjusted, smaller bars and or stem.
You can also adjust the reach of the lever distance from the drops if that’s where she is battling

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  • Per the comment in the OP (and quoted below), it looks like they already made the maximum adjustment (to the minimum reach distance) and it is still not good enough.

In that case…ignore me
Note to self, read properly

Post a picture of the bars from the side so we can see where you’ve mounted the brake lever.

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my bike have to stay at bike shop for some ultegra di2 setup until this weekend
until then I will post more pictures here :slight_smile:

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Shimano does make a small hands version for ultegra too. but it was just released very recently hence it might not be available yet.

I think its labelled as 8025. Mechanical though.


Cool. I hadn’t heard about the Ultegra versions.

Not sure what the pricepoint is on the carbon option but the layup looks pretty nice…


My partner has small asian hands. She’s had to experiment with different bars to get a confidence inspiring reach. Canyon do some new bars that help with this, but unless you’re on a Canyon I won’t bother linking to those.

Angle can help too, pointing the hoods inwards can give a little closer reach.

Really wish manufacturers would take this issue more seriously, it comes up time and again on various forums, and I know for a fact it’s more widespread that is posted about. Women who have this issue tend not to post about it online and complain. They just sort of live with it. Usually their partners who kick up a fuss once in a while.

This weekend we will have our final test ride again to try to brake. If still can not make it to reach brake lever. I am considering change the whole system to “SRAM Force” or “Shimano Ultegra small hand R8025”.
So far the best practical way on google is using SRAM system, because it is most friendly for women with small hands.

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before bike shop adjust the saddle:

after bike shop adjusted the saddle (2 cm) closer to handle bar:

it seems better now, and bike shop recommanded us try braking when downhill, practice braking only in city is not enough.

Can you brake without problems when you‘re in the drops? I should adjust my break levers and I have huge hands but still always drag the levers a bit when going downhill because I‘m not that good a decender. This might also help you get more confidence while breaking.

From those pictures, regardless of lever reach, I would rotate the bars up so your wrists are not extended the way they are. Notice how your elbows are straight. You want that on-the-hoods position to be a lot more relaxed, your hands rotated to move your thumbs towards you; this will automatically relax your elbows and shoulders. I would venture that the stem could be shorter as well, but that’s harder to tell from the pictures.

Okay hold on a second here. I think there may be a misunderstanding. There are two different things to understand:

  1. Reach to the handle bars - This is effected by the length of the top tube, setback of the saddle, reach of the handlebar, length of the stem, and hip angle (the farther you lean forward the easier it is to reach the hoods)

  2. Finger Reach to the brake levers - This is effected by the design of the brake levers, adjustment of the “reach” and “free stroke” on the brake lever, and the position of the hood on the handlebar.

These are two different things that require different ways to address them if they are an issue. Meaning sliding the saddle forward is going to have no effect on having short fingers that can’t reach the brake lever.

Can you tell us which one it is?

I google this issue for a couple of days and I have watched this video.
Here is what I think.
Free stroke can help shorten the reach distance?? Yes, I think the answer is yes. But if I shorten the free stroke distance, there might be another problem:
The spokes of the wheels have to be adjusted by bike shop more often.

Short free stroke distance means that the spoke status have always be very good.
So I did not consider adjusting my di2’s free stroke.

I know what you are talking about. 1 week ago, my opinions were the same as you.

But I was wrong, my wife’s “Finger Reach to the brake levers” really was influenced by saddle position.

Saddle position does not influence the “Finger Reach to the brake levers” of “myself”.
It is weird, I do not know why my wife and I are different.

The next step in intergrated handlebars.

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how do you come to that conclusion? I’ve never heard about a correlation between the free stroke adjustment and wear on spokes? What do you mean exactly?

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