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Old 01-04-14, 01:53 AM   #26
bici_mania
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I have not ever given any consideration to what is "correct". One thing that really, really gets under my skin is when the break levers are so high up that the tips of the levers are almost pointing forward. I cringe every time I see it.

I either position the top of the bars and the body of the break so that they are level with the ground. On some bikes I have had the bars slope down and forward so the bottom of the drops are level with the ground and the breaks are level at the leading edge of bend. My two favorites are below.





I experimented a bit with each and went with felt better with that particular bike.
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Old 01-04-14, 07:08 AM   #27
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I guess as long as they are not "Hobo" style inverted drops (as rootboy taught me to call them), you won't get too many sighs and groans from this forum....no matter how you wish to angle your bars or locate your brake levers..
Just for the sake of accuracy…I can't claim authorship of that one I'm afraid. I had never heard the term until it was used in the thread Chombi is referring to.
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Old 01-04-14, 08:28 AM   #28
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I set mine up with the tops of the bars parallel with the stem extension too. Roughly. Drop flats point at the rear brake. Or thereabouts. The slight declination feels more comfortable when in the drops. As do the flat tops, giving comfortable access to the levers.

That's what I do as well, but ideally this is a starting position that will have to be tweaked a little. Different brake levers, different bars, these things may make a big difference. Saddle height relative to bar, relative fore-aft positioning of saddle and bar, these things all matter, and may determine whether or not the rider likes the bike.

That said, I'm usually impatient to get the job done ( and the handlebar wrapped) so I usually just set it up as described and go with it.
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Old 01-04-14, 09:10 AM   #29
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That's what I do as well, but ideally this is a starting position that will have to be tweaked a little. Different brake levers, different bars, these things may make a big difference. Saddle height relative to bar, relative fore-aft positioning of saddle and bar, these things all matter, and may determine whether or not the rider likes the bike.

That said, I'm usually impatient to get the job done ( and the handlebar wrapped) so I usually just set it up as described and go with it.
Variations in bar bend and "throw" the projection forward from the stem and the brake hood/lever shape make a difference. I have a basic set up when using Cinelli #63 bars and Campagnolo levers, change the bar model and make, or change the brake brand and things move around. I mention that I never grab the bars for any length of time on the flat of the drop return. Hoods, tops and hooks for me. Mostly the hoods as I like to be at the ready to brake. I set my bikes up with more drop between the saddle and bars than many here, just the "old racers aesthetic" I guess. One day I will not have the flexibility to do this but for now vanity and styling wins.

I think many here would benefit from some side view images of themselves on their various bikes. Compare that with what bike and positions are most favored and then review how the various bike compare. I use a fit jig I made up to get my bikes aligned as to the position I ride, this has to be modified a bit as I don't "sit" on a Brooks saddle the same as a Cinelli for example so measuring the tip of the saddle behind the bottom bracket is not uniform. I think as one rides more you get more sensitive to the differences. I am now moving all my road bikes to Campagnolo or equal form factor pedals, keeps my feet located uniformly.
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Old 01-04-14, 09:26 AM   #30
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Drops parallel to the ground, Scooper's droopy-nosed saddle and dddd's backwards seat post look dorky to me, but I'm sure they don't care what I think and they shouldn't. What matters is what works for them.
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Old 01-04-14, 11:23 AM   #31
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I locate the first part of the bends in the same plane as the stem. This always look normal and is generally comfortable...for me. The above advice is different. And old Trek catalogs show the drops parallel to the ground which looks very dorky. What's "correct" (and yes I know it's highly personal, to each his own, whatever's comfortable, etc.)
There are just too many variables to be able to say one handlebar alignment will work for all riders and bikes. Correct handlebar alignment is the one that allows you to use the riding positions you want to use.
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Old 01-04-14, 11:29 AM   #32
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What matters is what works for them.
Quote of the day.
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Old 01-04-14, 11:31 AM   #33
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This is what I started with however I am now playing with hight and angle to find what is most comfortable and provides good leverage for braking with vintage Campy brakes.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:47 PM   #34
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This is how I set up flips.......put the handlebars in the stem......turn them over on a flat surface and align them in the same plane. Tighten the stem to hold the bars. Turn them upright and slip on the brake levers. Place the bottom of the drops on the bench with stem hanging off the edge; clamp them to the bench. Align the levers parallel to the bars with the bottom tip of the levers resting on the bench.

This isn't my personal preference, but it looks right in pics......
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Old 01-04-14, 01:05 PM   #35
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I've just realised I've got a (potentially vaguely interesting) example of different bar angle on the same bike over time, due to slight change in usage. BITD my Ron Cooper had Campag hoods and down tube shifters. Drops had a slight angle, pointing towards the rear brake bridge. I tended to ride on the tops predominantly, rarely on the hoods, and occasionally on the drops for fast riding and braking.



25 years on, same bike (spruced up a bit!)/same bars with modern shifters, as it is now. The brakes are easier to operate from the hoods, I change gear from the hoods, and therefore spend more time riding on the hoods for sustained periods (especially through urban traffic). As a result, I find it more comfortable to have them angled a little further round so that there is a flatter transition from the tops to the hoods. SRAM levers work very well with Cinelli Campione Del Mondo bars! So the drops are now more sloped, but in line with just a little further down the rear stays below the brake bridge.

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Old 01-04-14, 01:53 PM   #36
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PhilPub, Thanks for the comparison! If I every update, this will be the inspiration as I have the same bars with the same Campag levers.

I have always determined angle by comfort in the drops and on the hoods. PhilPub first pic is an example, though mine are higher up on the bars. Those bars are too large a radius to get the old levers to be comfortably used down and up.
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Old 01-04-14, 02:25 PM   #37
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just as Important to me, and mentioned in the original question, is brake lever location. And I think they are a bit too low in that pic of the Frejus I posted. That can be a compromise though. Too high, so they're very comfortable for riding the hoods, where I spend most time, could make them hard to reach in a panic stop in the drops. It's a balancing act for me.
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Old 01-04-14, 02:56 PM   #38
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Since I started this....here are my bikes.

Most frequently ridden:



Sunny day bike:

I had never heard about the idea of pointing the drops to the rear brake, etc.

I raise the levers so the bottom of the levers are about 1/2" above the bottom of the drops. A poor measurement technique since I'd imagine lever length varies from maker to maker. I believe a measurement that locates the lever bodies would be more suitable (for non-racer types anyway).

I have a pretty messed up lower back and riding on low hoods irritates it.

And here's what I really have a hard time looking at. Just looks wrong to me.
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Old 01-04-14, 03:09 PM   #39
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This photo from Andy Pruitt's Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists shows hands on the hooks of the drops with straight wrist and fingers on the brake levers. In describing this hand position, he says "Grip the low section of the bar near the curves ("hooks") for descending or fast, flat riding. This grip also provides the most powerful braking because you can pull on the levers with several fingers while opposing the force with your thumb wrapped around the bar."

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Old 01-04-14, 03:16 PM   #40
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↑ I have massive hands, I reckon I can handle that with the levers moved up some!
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Old 01-04-14, 03:37 PM   #41
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Got to agree that comfort trumps any kind of "rules".

Having said that, if comfort requires mounting the levers too far up or down the bend, it probably points to a fit or physical problem.

Here's where mine end up. I ride on the hoods at least 80% of the time and this position delivers all-day comfort.

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Old 01-04-14, 08:02 PM   #42
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...And here's what I really have a hard time looking at. Just looks wrong to me.

What I think is good about this Trek is the really massive change in reach/drop between the tops and the hooks.

Not really made for riding on the hoods, except for when climbing/sprinting, outta the saddle.

But for having a good aero position with the drop position being down and somewhat foreward, there is a generous, back-easing "recovery-mode" boost in height when bringing your hands up to the tops.
Perhaps these bars could use a bit more forward reach, but that might make the lower bend radius uncomfortably small. The earlier Varsities came with just this style bar in an uncomfortable smaller diameter of steel tubing, and with very thin, hard tape.

Riding on the hoods on this Trek would mean hooking your thumb over the hood, which would seem to only be useful and comfortable for a shorter time, as when quickly leaning forward a bit just to allow some speed adjustment using the brakes, but without having to reach all the way to the drops. I'm thinking slower downhill descents or for intermittent use in conditions of peloton traffic.

But again, the hoods as-is would appear to be a fine grip for sprinting if the bike is well-adjusted to the rider. It's usually good to have the hoods lower than the bar top when leaning forward heavily during a sprint. The rider's upper body being so angled (both forward and down) where their hands are. Too much bend in the elbows is strenuous when really honking up a steep switchback for instance.

And what a sharp-looking bike, I would love to have that bike handy for tomorrow morning's ride, looks like it might totally fit me as is, with but a change of pedals.
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Old 01-04-14, 08:14 PM   #43
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This is the way the PO had the bars set up:



This is the way i have it set up now with slightly different bars with shorter radius:



So I looked at a couple of more pics and found this one which was the latest setup. The major difference are the levers, Universal that came with the Mod 61 CP.

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Old 01-04-14, 08:32 PM   #44
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I think we should get together for a ride come nice weather. I'm in Burke, you're in Alexandria...
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Old 01-04-14, 08:35 PM   #45
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That would be great! PM me.
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Old 01-04-14, 10:46 PM   #46
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Old 01-05-14, 11:29 AM   #47
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Old 01-05-14, 11:55 AM   #48
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Old 01-05-14, 12:19 PM   #49
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I'm definitely Good for Everything. Just ask me.
But Rivendell's saying you might have 'fat hands"??
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Old 01-05-14, 04:36 PM   #50
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The neat thing about that picture chart is that it shows quite a few no-cost sizing tweaks that can be done easily, at the last opportunity, to get your bike fitting right for your type of riding.
At worst, a re-taping of the top half of the bar might be needed, 10-15 minutes, at least if you don't have to fight with twine!
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