I'd like to adjust the reach (distance from the drop bars to the brake levers) on my Ultegra 6510 levers. The Shimano instructions don't mention the ability to adjust this at all, which seems odd to me, since even basically junk mountain bike levers are adjustable in this way. Is there a way to adjust this on these levers? Is it "normal" for road levers to not be reach adjustable, or is this just a Shimano thing? From searching around a bit, it looks like you can use "Specialized Slim Shims." Is that the way people typically adjust the reach? Anyone have any better "home-brew" way to make them adjustable?
The Specialized shims are probably what you will end up using, however, before ordering them up, see if there is anything you can do by changing the location of the levers on your handlebar.
Drop handlebars can be adjusted in a multitude of ways. You can adjust the overall angle and slide the levers forwards or back to compensate for a change of bar angle, to keep the hood position where you are used to it being. Sometimes you can push the levers mounting position forwards/down, to interact differently with the curve of the bar to give a shorter reach. How exactly this works with your bike depends on how 'anatomical' or 'track style' your bars are. This will involve a lot of adjustment of bars, levers, cables and tape, but it is something you may want to investigate.
Alternatively go with the Specialized shims or simply rely on the fact that you can always reach your brakes if the threat is scary enough and slacken them off a bit so that, once you have got the lever, you are not working it with your fingertips to effect useful braking.
I've never seen brake levers that WERE adjustable (*), other than by sliding the unit up/down a drop bar, and that's probably not what you want.
The shims sound like your best bet, though I would think it's also possible to shim up at the bar/lever mount point, at the expense of affecting the brake hood fit.
After shimming (however you do it) be sure to check that the brakes don't drag and the levers don't "bottom out".
(*) However, you might look and see if any of the sites specializing in women's bikes has something. I checked the Terry site and didn't see anything, but I think there are a few other sites specializing in women's stuff.
I had a similar problem on my bike and used shims. But I'm pretty sure they weren't "Specialized" branded ones. I was told they were supposed to come with the brifters but most bike shops don't put them on. Check with the bike shop you got the bike at to see if they have some lying around and perhaps you can get them for free. I agree that it's kind of odd that there's no reach adjustment, and only 1 size of brifters. My hands aren't that small. I would wonder how a woman with small hands would be able to reliably reach the brake levers at all, give how little room there is for adjustment. Biking in cold weather with gloves adds even more complication to the problem.
Most new levers are adjustable. Check out this video: