Freakishly small hands?

Wondering if anyone has any advice? I’m 5′ 2″ tall. I have a Giant Avail road bike. It’s specifically designed for women and I love the way it fits me BUT when I place my hands on top of the hood between my thumb and forefingers, my fingers only just reach the brake levers.  I don’t feel that I have good control for braking in this position and often move to the drops when going downhill or anytime I feel I may have to brake quickly. I prefer to ride up top which forces me to press my hands in hard to get better access to the brake levers. This causes pain between my thumb and index finger on long rides.

The problem has recently been exacerbated because I got new gloves  (Louis Garneau One Calory ERGO Air) which don’t seem to provide as much cushioning in that area as my previous ones (Pearl Izumi style #8602, black with white floral stitching on back of hand).

The easy solution is to get another pair of the Pearl Izumi gloves which are still available on

My question… is there a better long term solution? A brake system designed for smaller hands perhaps?



5 thoughts on “Freakishly small hands?

  1. Hi there! This is actually quite normal so you don’t have freakishly small hands 😛

    Have you already tried or looked into shims? Might need to search “reach adjustment shims” but that could help!

    • Hi Echo! Thanks for visiting and your suggestion. I asked at the bike shop and they suggested this too. I’m going to give it a try. I see how it would help in the drops but not sure about up top. The length of my fingers has me making contact with the levers close to the top where the shims are placed. I just wish I was gripping a little further down. I’ll report back on how the I make out with the shims solution. Happy riding!

  2. Hi, I came across your blog and this article caught my attention. I’ve started cycling a while ago with my husband. Lately I have a pain in both my hands, between my thumb and the rest of my fingers, it almost feels as if my thumbs want to fall off sometimes. I just realized it must be because I also struggle to reach the brakes. I hold the handles with my thumbs more in order to move my hands forward to get a better grip on the brakes going down hill, off-road. Have you found anything that work for you? Or will time make me used to this perhaps?

    • Hi M~ you may just have small hands like me. I did ask at the local bike shop and they suggested I add “spacers” in my brake handles. This just means you don’t have to press as hard to make contact/makes brakes more sensitive. I have not tried this yet. I do however try to remember to change the position of my hands often and stretch my fingers when the opportunity presents itself. This seems to help. Good luck!

      • I have just only seen your reply! Thank you. Not sure how I missed it. Yes I’m also moving my hands and shaking them a lot currently and the pain has subsided a bit. But I now have my own bike and think the breaks I have to pull sits closer to the handle bar. All the best to your hands!

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