Shimano Ultegra STI ST-R8070 - Stroke vs Reach
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  1. #1
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    Question Shimano Ultegra STI ST-R8070 - Stroke vs Reach

    I took my bike in to my LBS because my rear brake lever could be easily pulled all the way into the handlebar which I hate. If I brake with one finger while the others are still wrapped around the handlebar, the back-side of the STI levers can dig into the fingers that are on the bar. I'd like my brakes setup so there is a nice gap between the lever and handlebar (room for my fingers!) when the brakes are applied.



    My LBS bled the rear brake and and adjusted nothing, hence not resolving the issue I asked them to fix :-(

    I see that there are "free stroke" (Shimano definition) and "reach" (Shimano definition) adjustments on the brake levers, but I'm not understanding the difference between the two. Page 145 of the Ultegra R8050 manual shows how to adjust the "reach" while page 147 shows how to adjust the "free stroke"... but in both cases, the manual shows both screws move the brake lever closer or further from the bar (which is where I got the picture above from).

    Does "free stroke" actually adjust the distance the brake pistons are from the rotor where as "reach" just moves the brake lever?

    Every video I've watched involves adjusting both screws with little explanation as to why there are two screws to begin with.
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  2. #2
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Reach adjusts where the lever sits normally. People w/ larger hands/longer fingers would generally adjust the levers so they are further from the bar. Mess around w/ the reach screw, you'll see what it does.

    Free stroke doesn't ever seem to make much difference to me but yeah...supposedly it changes where in the lever travel the pistons start moving.
    #promechaniclife

  3. #3
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    Since its only on one side its most likely still a bleed issue. Even with the reach adjusted as close to the bar as possible, the lever should not touch the bar. On my R8070's there is a good half an inch between the lever and the bar even when squeezing hard, and I do have the reach adjusted inward.

  4. #4
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    I found it really hard to get the rear brake as firm as the front when I did my last build with hydraulic brakes no matter how much I bled the brakes or jiggled the rear brake line to get air out.

    In theory, the hydraulic fluid should not compress no matter how much there is, but I wonder how much give there is in the brake hose itself? I.e., since the rear brake line is 2x longer than the front brake line, could that account for why the front brake usually feels firmer / has less travel in the brake lever? In the automotive world, the brake lines are either metal or wrapped in stainless steel to reduce the amount that the brake line flexes under load.

  5. #5
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    I've definitely experienced that it takes far longer to get all the air out of the rear line, but when it's all said and done I can't detect any difference in lever firmness or travel between the front and rear. Since you mentioned cars - if you happen to have an automotive vacuum brake bleeder I've used that on my bikes with great success. You end up wasting quite a bit more fluid than with the usual cup/syringe method but I've found it gives you a great bleed.

  6. #6
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    Yep, those disc brakes sure are awesome! This is one of my primary day-to-day issues with discs. I was never able to get mine bled/adjusted to avoid the problem described in the OP. Ended up selling that bike and will never go back until I have no other option (which sadly seems inevitable
    Well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion man. - The Dude

  7. #7
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldChipper View Post
    Yep, those disc brakes sure are awesome! This is one of my primary day-to-day issues with discs. I was never able to get mine bled/adjusted to avoid the problem described in the OP. Ended up selling that bike and will never go back until I have no other option (which sadly seems inevitable
    Oh please...just stop w/ this crap. You do know what stops your car, right?
    #promechaniclife

  8. #8
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    I think I'll just take mine to a shop to have them bled, they are spongy & it sounds like you need a gallon of fluid & eq to really do it right.

    I used those auto hoses on the other bike and it works GREAT!
    BANNED

  9. #9
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    If you can't get your brakes bled w/ a few ounces of fluid at most you should definitely be letting someone that knows what they're doing handle the job.
    #promechaniclife

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