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  1. #1
    Senior Member leegf's Avatar
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    Opinions on brake lever / hood positioning on handlebar

    Hi all,

    I'm seeking opinions on where my brake levers and hoods are positioned on my handlebar. I am hunched over a little more than I'd like when riding on the hoods, and I'd like to be slightly more upright. I believe the stem is already at its highest permissible setting, and I was also able to reduce the effect by sliding the saddle further forward. Can the levers be brought up any higher on the handlebar (and if so, by approximately how much), or do they appear to be in a good place?

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Senior Member KOBE's Avatar
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    Do you ride the hood or drops mostly? If you ride the hoods mostly, try rotating the handlebar back. This will bring the levers up higher and closer to the seat but will also make reaching the levers from the drops a little harder.
    75 Kobe Capri,'85 Bridgestone 400, '93 Mongoose 450, '03 Serotta Colorado III,'13 Black Mountain Cycles Cross

  3. #3
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    +1 - I rotate my bars so I have a larger "flat" area.
    You can kind of see it in this picture https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-u...o/IMG_6241.JPG
    I sold this bike... but I set up my bars this way.
    I like having the flatter area to put my hands on, even if it make the bottom of the bars point down. I never use that part anyway.

    My 2 cents, and that's about what it's worth.

  4. #4
    Aspiring curmudgeon icepick_trotsky's Avatar
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    Hood placement is largely a matter of personal preference, IMO. I agree with others that you could rotate the bars up, too. I like a single flat line across the top of the stem and the top of the bars. A shorter reach stem would also be an option.
    "Party on comrades" -- Lenin, probably

  5. #5
    Aspiring curmudgeon icepick_trotsky's Avatar
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    Also, be aware that moving the saddle too far forward can have adverse effects on pedaling comfort/power.
    "Party on comrades" -- Lenin, probably

  6. #6
    NT... Big Difference...
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    I start with a roughly "level" ramp section (on the same plane as the stem), and try to shoot for a relatively even transition into the hoods.

    I have a little section of wood that I can check the even-ness of the brake levers.

    Depending on the bike, I'll rotate the bars up a little bit.

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    Those bars have a pretty steep slope from the tops to the ramps where the levers go. So I'd definitely start by rotating the bars up a bit. (A lot of folks think it looks funny if you rotate them past the point where the flats at the bottom are at right angles with the head tube, but you might not care.)

    And there's nothing wrong with sliding the levers up the bars a bit too.

    Personally, I prefer a bar with very shallow ramps, so that the levers are just an extension of the ramps and sit at close to the same level as the tops. Take a look at these ones for an idea.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Your saddle is down low and pushed completely forward.... indicating that the bicycle may be a tad large for you. The stem is fully extended (raised) and the brake levers are already high up on the bars (not level with the bottom). Which would imply to me you might be resisting fully stretching out on the bike. Ether you're not committed to a road [style] bike... or again it's a tad large for you.

  9. #9
    NT... Big Difference...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    it's a tad large for you.
    While "Standover" isn't the definitive measure of bike fit- I think it gives a pretty good idea.

    That bike looks to be a 54cm/21" frame. I ride 21" bikes- and I'm 5'8". I'm eminently comfortable on the tops, ramps and hoods, but a bit less so in the drops- as I don't ride in the drops much (except going into the wind or doing a "go fast" thing). My wife is around 5'5" and she has difficulty on any of my bikes. I would guess that if you're in the neighborhood of 5'5" the bike is a touch too big for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
    a (dork disk) amounts to spitting in the moat around the mythical castle Superdorkadom, which is where all us bike riding fairy princesses imagine we live.

  10. #10
    Senior Member leegf's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the helpful comments, which is just what I was hoping for. The saddle is in fact low for me (i.e., the bike itself does fit), but this particular model has a funky expanding quill seatpost instead of a conventional seatpost with a binder bolt. So far I haven't been able to figure out how to raise it (when I try, the quill mechanism doesn't seem to want to expand and tighten and will only do so at the current setting), which leads me to wonder if it might not be broken.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member SJX426's Avatar
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    I agree about the saddle location. I always make sure that takes priority over the cockpit adjustments or the cockpit adjustments are dependent on saddle height and fore/aft location. That said, some recommend the drops be pointed in the general direction of the rear axle. This works well for me by leveling out the top of the bars. I then use the recommended approach of making sure the levers do not extend below the line of the flat drop portion.

    On C&V bikes this is often a compromise with the radius of the bar and the design of the lever. My preference is to be able to brake from both the drops and the hoods. Here is an example:
    [IMG]108_PaTrek by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]

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    Frankly, if the issue is that the handlebars aren't high enough, I think suggesting the OP get a smaller frame is not good advice. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with a "fistful of seatpost" on a vintage bike.

    If I was in charge I'd have him shove his seat back where it belongs and by a Technomic stem to get his handlebars up where he wants them.

  13. #13
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    If that was my bike the first thing I'd do is angle the bar upward as so many have already said. Partly it's aesthetics because I like the lines when the ramps (from forward bend to the levers) are parallel to the stem and TT. It also gives a nice hand position. As your bar is positioned it looks all droopy-nosed, sort of moping down the road like you lost your best puppy. I know, some people like 'em that way.

    Second, I'd reposition the levers on the bar. Some here in C&V say there is a "correct" way to do it, and I've found that works for me. Hold a straight-edge ruler against the lower edge of the drop, and the lever should just touch the ruler. It looks like that would lower your levers a bit, but if you angled the bar upward it would still end up higher.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Yes, +1 on rotating the bars up on the stem clamp to provide a more upright position. You can alsso use "randonneur" drop type bars that provides a slight lift at the ends of the bar as long as the lift provided is enough for you..
    Other than not having the stem "slammed" down, how you have the bar and levers on the stem in your pic is pretty much "full-on race" position. that was prescribed by most bicycle guide and instructional books back in the 70's and 80's, meant to provide the most aerodynamic psotion on the bike for races. Unless used to riding the resulting deep drop, it will not be comfortable for most.
    Just do not over-rotate the bars as it eventually starts affecting braking, as it will be harder to get your hands on and operate the brake the levers when the bars are rotated up too much. Plus, I'm sure you don't want to be accused of riding a bike with "hobo" bars....

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sir_Name's Avatar
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    All good points. I'd emphasize not to adjust the reach with seat position. Get the seat where you need to for comfort and efficiency, then get the bars/levers to work for you. Might take a new stem as others mention.

    When I'm setting up a bike I'll take whatever tools I need to adjust the contact points and go out for a ride circling my house (don't wrap the bars yet). Ride for a while paying attention to fit, dial in seat height and fore/aft, then address the bars/levers. One adjustment at a time in small incriments so you can discern the effect of each adjustment and whether I'm getting warm or cold. I'll usually do this over the course of a couple or a few days. Getting off the bike to get fresh and 'reset' my perception before hopping back on the next day seems to help me get a feel for the fit and previous day's adjustments. Repeat then finish with a long ride before finalizing adjustments and wrapping the bars. Takes a bit of time, but good fit is worth it. If you have another bike that fits well, measure contact points and start from there. Saddle position first.

  16. #16
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Rotating the bars up will raise the position of your levers but could be an issue when you ride in the drops. I personally prefer to have the drops nearly level, as in your photo. A better option might be some different handlebars. The Soma Highway 1 bars do not ramp down as much, have a shorter reach, and less drop than most bars. I have these bars on several bikes and really like them. See the photo I've attached of my Soma Saga, which has their Highway 1 bars.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Try setting up the bars, levers, cables and saddle exactly like the Trek in post number twelve to start and then adjust from there. I think that's pretty much the ideal setup for most of us.
    Last edited by Grand Bois; 01-22-15 at 01:38 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by leegf View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm seeking opinions on where my brake levers and hoods are positioned on my handlebar. I am hunched over a little more than I'd like when riding on the hoods, and I'd like to be slightly more upright. I believe the stem is already at its highest permissible setting, and I was also able to reduce the effect by sliding the saddle further forward. Can the levers be brought up any higher on the handlebar (and if so, by approximately how much), or do they appear to be in a good place?

    Thanks!


    Love your Peugeot !!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leegf View Post
    ...... The saddle is in fact low for me (i.e., the bike itself does fit), but this particular model has a funky expanding quill seatpost instead of a conventional seatpost with a binder bolt. So far I haven't been able to figure out how to raise it (when I try, the quill mechanism doesn't seem to want to expand and tighten and will only do so at the current setting), which leads me to wonder if it might not be broken.
    I've never seen one of those myself... but have read about them Here. I had thought that was a (limited) paramount feature... but apparently also French.

    Such a thing as a quill seat post?

    Getting the saddle in the right place would be the 1st step. Best of luck. It's a nice looking bike.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    Try setting up the bars, levers, cables and saddle exactly like the Trek in post number twelve to start and then adjust from there. I think that's pretty much the ideal setup for most of us.
    +1 (even if that sound just too easy).

  21. #21
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    I've never seen one of those myself... but have read about them Here. I had thought that was a (limited) paramount feature... but apparently also French.

    Such a thing as a quill seat post?

    Getting the saddle in the right place would be the 1st step. Best of luck. It's a nice looking bike.
    I have fabricated those from a Laprade post, a wedge from a 1 1/8" stem and a very long Nitto stem bolt. This one is on a Bridgestone Kabuli Submariner. I've also made them for the Peugeot that used them. Changing the saddle height is a PITA because you have to remove the saddle. There is also some chance of bulging the seat tube.


  22. #22
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Looking at his picture (magnified) it would appear that his stem has the rear exposed bolt.

    bolt.jpg

  23. #23
    NT... Big Difference...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    I have fabricated those from a Laprade post, a wedge from a 1 1/8" stem and a very long Nitto stem bolt. This one is on a Bridgestone Kabuli Submariner. I've also made them for the Peugeot that used them. Changing the saddle height is a PITA because you have to remove the saddle. There is also some chance of bulging the seat tube.

    That's a great solution!
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
    a (dork disk) amounts to spitting in the moat around the mythical castle Superdorkadom, which is where all us bike riding fairy princesses imagine we live.

  24. #24
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Frames too big for you.

    1. If any flutted seat post has the flutes inserted in the frame the frames too big.
    2. See 1.
    3. If your seats jacked way forward the frame is too long or your stem is too long. Or both.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    Try setting up the bars, levers, cables and saddle exactly like the Trek in post number twelve to start and then adjust from there. I think that's pretty much the ideal setup for most of us.
    The pictured bike shows the saddle pointing toward the stem. I know this is getting to something of a trend, but why we're copying the fixie kids is beyond me. My shoulders ache just looking at that pic.

    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    Frames too big for you.

    1. If any flutted seat post has the flutes inserted in the frame the frames too big.
    This just isn't true. Go look at pictures of road racing bikes any time prior to about 1965 and you'll see that for most of the history of road cycling, the amount of seat post showing in the OPs bike is just about normal.

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