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Old 08-03-05, 07:06 AM   #1
Dieter
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What is correct angle of the handle bars?

English is not my first language but I'll try to explain this the best I can...

How do I decide the correct angle of my "steering wheel"? Is this what you call the stem? Handle bars? Anyways, I am talking about where you put grip tape!

Should it be sloping downwards or sit in a horisontal position? I couldn't find any info on this on the Sheldon Brown page...

Also, how can I determine if its to short/low for me? Just by looking at ride/comfort, or can I get a guestimate by some quick measurements?
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Old 08-03-05, 07:11 AM   #2
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First of all, they're handlebars.

Next, there is no "right" or "wrong" way to do it, only what makes you comfortable. There are some general guidelines to get you started though. Do you have a road bike or an off-road bike?
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Old 08-03-05, 07:16 AM   #3
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Its a road bike. Has the original handlebars that came with it: It's a Trek 5000.
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Old 08-03-05, 07:22 AM   #4
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I've seen documentation that says the lower, flat portion of the drops should be between 0 and 5 degrees above parallel to the ground. Not sure why that's a magic number. But I agree with previous posters, it's mostly a guideline. You want to be able to use all parts of the bars (tops, hoods, bends & drops) comfortably and safely, and be able to reach and work the brakes when you need them.
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Old 08-03-05, 08:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieter
Its a road bike. Has the original handlebars that came with it: It's a Trek 5000.
Another general guideline for road bars that I've heard is to point the ends of the bars towards the rear dropouts. Of course this doesn't take into account the fact that all road bars have a different geometry. I prefer bars where the top section is fairly flat, while still having an angle that allows me to ride in the drops comfortably. I've seen other's bikes with fairly severely downward sloping top sections. It's all about personal taste and comfort. For any given set of bars, I'd put priority between the tops and the drops on where you ride the most.
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Old 08-03-05, 08:10 AM   #6
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This, through experimentation, is what works for me. I loosened the handlebars and then (sitting on the bike) put my hands on the drops and let the bars rotate to he most naturally comfortable position for me. Retighten the bars and you're done.
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Old 08-03-05, 08:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juicemouse
Another general guideline for road bars that I've heard is to point the ends of the bars towards the rear dropouts.
Obviously there are no 'etched in stome' rules, but rotation past the ends of the drops pointing at the rear brake caliper starts to look goofy.
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Old 08-03-05, 09:47 AM   #8
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A friend of mine is a physical therapist who is also a triathlete and does bike fitting as part of his work. I recently went to see him about getting my aerobars and bike set up properly and he adjusted the angle of my handbars. He said his default preference is that when riding on the hoods the hands be at a straight or neutral angle, not angled up or down with respect to the forearms, since this is the least likely to cause problems for most people. Individual differences may allow variation in this without problems.

Chris
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Old 08-03-05, 09:50 AM   #9
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No such thing as correct angle. Ride what feels best.
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Old 08-03-05, 10:27 AM   #10
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I have my handlebar set to have the bottom flat section sit pretty much horizontal, not pointing down more than one degree.
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Old 08-03-05, 10:53 AM   #11
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There are two things to adjust - the angle of the bars and the position of the brake levers on the bars. Try experimenting with both. For the correct distance from seat to bars the "rules" I have heard are - 1 In normal riding position the bars should hide the front hub, 2 The seat to bar distance should be the length from elbow to finger tips + hand width, 3 Whatever is comfortable. Handlebar height should be about the same as the saddle or slightly lower, but if you want to make everyone think you are an incredibly fit and fast rider it should be much lower than the saddle.
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Old 08-03-05, 09:48 PM   #12
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On my touring bike, I've got them set so that a line extending from the ends of the drops sort of splits the difference between the brakes and the dropouts. Took a little bit to get it dialed in, I basically would ride for a few minutes, rotate them up a bit, see if that felt better. I also had to adjust the position of the brakes to get them in a natural position for me. Took me a bit, but now all the positions just seem to fall into place, Tops of bars, Hoods, Drops all just feel "right".

The toughest thing for me was to get the brakes set at the same height. ParkTool.com has a good techique, use a ruler along the bottom of the drops and make sure that the same amount of brake lever hangs below the ruler, or if you have them a bit higher, that there is the same amount of distance between the lever and and ruler on each side. Don't forget that brake levers not only can move up and down, but they can rotate left and right on the bar. Again, your mileage may vary.

Hope this helps,

Steve W.
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