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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-25-09, 09:19 PM   #1
carls82
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Shoulder Width vs. Handlebar Width

It seems logical to me that my handlebars should probably be at least as wide as my shoulders, but that's proving to be rather wide I think. I had a lot of problems with my elbows feeling terrible because I had them pushed out to the sides to compensate for the seemingly narrow bar installed on my Jamis. I am starting to think this is also what's causing my hands to get very numb on this bike. I've got my hands all sorts of cock-eyed with these bars, but I'm a bit concerned that finding a bar wide enough is going to be a problem. I pretty much need drop bars because I have Shimano 105 STI shifters, and I won't be able to afford new shifters for a flat bar. I'm assuming that's what would have to be done if I got a flat/wide bar.

So basically I guess what I'm trying to ask is if anyone here has exceptionally wide shoulders and has experienced problems as a result, and if so did you have any success in finding a bar that fit your needs besides a flat bar.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:21 PM   #2
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I went through the same thing. I went to a 46cm bar, and so far so good.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:24 PM   #3
carls82
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See, I was under the impression that your bar should generally be about as wide as your shoulders. My shoulders, end-to-end are 61cm wide...
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Old 05-25-09, 09:27 PM   #4
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Mine are ~57cm (just grabbed a tape measure and checked the in the mirror, lol). I dont know the shoulder to handle bar ratio that is ideal, but I got the widest bar I could find and let it ride.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:27 PM   #5
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Not end to end. But from the "point" on each side. It's a little out from where the pivot is. Poke around in your shoulder and you'll eventually find it. 61cm is really wide.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:33 PM   #6
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Ah, okay. See, silly me is measuring from edge to edge, not from the bones. As best as I could tell it was more like 52cm from point to point. So I'll have to find the widest bar I can find I guess.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:34 PM   #7
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Also, thank you.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:49 PM   #8
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Get a set of 48cm Nitto Noodle bars. Check here http://www.velo-orange.com/nimo177nba.html

I am broad shouldered like you and I love the Nitto bars
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Old 05-25-09, 09:49 PM   #9
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Last fall when I was still riding my Trek 520 I was in an LBS asking this very question, since I have broad shoulders and was feeling a little cramped in the chest when riding. The roadie salesman, whose shoulders and arms included are narrow enough to floss with, furrows his brow, pulls out a measuring tape, measures my shoulders, and says, "yeah, we could probably do 2 cm wider for you over the standard bar." LOL. I solved the problem entirely with a better bicycle.
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Old 05-26-09, 05:44 PM   #10
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I had the same problem with numbness and tried seat adjustments, cleat position on shoes (feet got numb too but fixed that with cleat position) but my stem was fixed on my 2001 Trek 1000. I went to the LBS and had them put on an adjustable stem. I can adjust the angle from stock to about 45 deg. It puts me in more of an upright position like on my mountain bike. The important thing is I am not stretched out and having to put extra weight on my hands causing the numbness.

Being 270lbs I still need to work on the core. I noticed in watching the Giro that the riders do not lock their elbows which is a sign of putting your weight on your hands and wrists. I try to remember to be relaxed and bend my elbows. That the more upright handlebards help out a lot. As I build my core I can drop the bars back to more of the traditional "roadie" style.
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Old 05-26-09, 06:49 PM   #11
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if you decide to go flat, this is as wide as anybody needs trial bike handle bars

im not fast enough to rock such a odd handlebar on a road bike. i opted to conform to society and use them for its intended use.

my .02 of useless knowledge.
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Old 05-26-09, 08:49 PM   #12
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Numb hands normally has more to do with rider positioning and how much weight you're pushing down on the bars with rather than the width. Try raising the handlebars a bit. If a guy's private parts goes numb with a seat is he told to go with a wider or thinner seat? No, he's advised to change the angle.

I'm broad shouldered to the point that all my dress shirts have to be custom tailored. The only problem I have with handlebar width is that the steering becomes increasingly difficult and over-corrective with smaller bars, but hand numbness has never been a problem, even during lengthy rides.
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