Fitting Your Bike - How to choose randonneur bars
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06-29-13, 02:52 PM
I would like to swap out the original equipment, vintage drop bars on my 1976 Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2 (Panasonic frame, all Japanese parts originally; modernized to 700c, 10 speed cassette, compact crank, upgraded derailers, etc., etc.). I use the bike for a combination of daily 20-mile fitness rides at a leisurely 11 or 12mph, as a grocery getter with racks/panniers front and back, and for light, multiple-day, long distance touring. I am 50, 5ft 10, weight 155 and can no longer stretch out as flat as in my youth. I have destroyed the beauty of this bike with a very high Nitto Technomic stem with a very short reach, and this allows me to set it up quite comfortably for my aging neck and shoulders. Right now, comfort for both short distance and long distance is most important. I have no interest in maximizing my aero efficiency. I want comfortable bars for long rides and tours. Oh, I ride on some bike paths and rail trails, too, with rougher surfaces (I squeezed a 38mm tire on the back end of the old girl and a 35 up front, so I can take on virtually any surface). Anyhow, I'd like to try rando bars, and need advice on brand and width.
All I can find online are Nitto 132 and 135 rando bars and Velo Orange rando bars. The Velo Orange bars range from 42 to 48cm, in four increments. Without being able to try several bars, what is a rule of thumb for starters? I wear a size 37 suit jacket and wear a 32 shirt sleeve. I don't have long monkey arms or broad he-man shoulders. I'm an average 5ft 10 155 pound man.
Please advise on bar width, and mention if there are other manufacturers of rando bars that I have not come across. Thanks.
06-29-13, 04:06 PM
I like the Velo Orange bars. I think for you, the big thing is that since rando-style bars flare out at the drops, the top part can be a lot narrower than you expect. (Handlebars are usually measured from center-to-center at the ends.) My 42cm VO Randos measure about 38.5cm wide c-t-c at the frontmost part of the hooks, and about 34.5cm wide at the middle of the ramp sections. You may want to order the next size up (or two) if you plan to spend most of your time on the hoods.
Image from this wonderful page: http://ruedatropical.com/2009/03/road-drop-bar-geometry/
Hope this helps!
06-29-13, 07:33 PM
Generally you want the grip positions to be at the width of your shoulders, but it's not always clear how to measure that. And I don't think I've seen a criterion I believe. I've ridden a lot with 40 cm Nitto Noodles and a 42 Nitto Rando (the one with a lot of flare). I feel the 40 Noodle is a lot better than a 42 Noodle. The width at the hooks as ThermScott describes is 37.5 cm for mine, and that feels very natural as I ride - I really like it. However I have nto found a decent technique for measuring my shoulders.
But I think my desired width is about 37 or 38 cm, and I like to ride on the hoods and the hooks, so I want another pair of those Nittos.
Next issue for me is whether if I convert the levers to Ergos and install by Berthoud GB 25 bag, will there be room for my thumbs? I'm not sure yet. It depends on the relative positions of the flare, thumb keys, and the widest area of the bag (side pouch flaps).
The more I work on configuring this Terraferma 650B Rando, the more impressed I am by the old constructeurs in France!
06-29-13, 08:26 PM
I'd like to try rando bars,
rando bend , like Nittos come up and back a bit for tops , then a long ramp.
relatively level, is a good setup..
the hooks angle out some , then the drops come back parallel..
long ramp and brifters which themselves are long are not the best combinaton.
But, using A regular brake lever and Bar-end shifters is better.. [my experience/opinion]
and because the drops flare out on the way down, the width measured onthe open end, is much wider than
the width of the upper part of the bars..
My '86 Specialized Expedition had Nitto supplied Rando bars, they were called a 46, [cm]
but the upper was actually a 38.
07-01-13, 05:05 AM
I have a customer that I am building a frame for that has been shopping for handlebars for a while. We tried a couple of the ones on the market but they weren't quite right. I made a prototype (that still wasn't quite right for the application) but from there we came up with a few more ideas. Here is one of the rejects.
If you like this sort of thing, VO is working on something. They have released a few "spy" photos.
30 742 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankthewelder/9183203104/) by frankthewelder (http://www.flickr.com/people/frankthewelder/), on Flickr
Yes, I cut the brake lever and it's partially welded.
Hey RW, nice bars! I have tried to send you a private message but I havent made enough post to do that. Sir, I was a fitter/welder all my life but am retired now and dont have access to welding equipment. Would you be interested in building a set of touring bars I have been working on if I set you the plans?
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