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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 06-23-11, 07:42 PM   #1
Brutal.Roadrnr
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Quick evaluation on my bars and brakes

I am used to a MTB and these just don't feel right. They might be in need of adjustment but I can't figure if they do or don't or what direction to adjust.

Submitted for the wisdom of the Clydes and Athenas...

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Old 06-23-11, 08:17 PM   #2
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Look fine to me.. Mine are nearly identical, maybe rotated down just a little bit (the whole bar). Think we even have the same red tape Coming from a mnt. bike it'll take some getting used to.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Brutal.Roadrnr View Post
I am used to a MTB and these just don't feel right. They might be in need of adjustment but I can't figure if they do or don't or what direction to adjust.

Submitted for the wisdom of the Clydes and Athenas...

That looks about right. Some people have the drops more parallel to the ground.

The stem looks really short and may make things somewhat cramped (unless you have a short torso and/or long top tube).

The stem also looks like it might be a 58 or 65 degree stem instead of the traditional 72 degrees which would put the bars a bit lower than you'd normally get.

Sadle positioning fore/aft and tilt also affect how you sit on the bike and how much weight ends up on your hands.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:58 PM   #4
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Being used to a MTB, it'll probably take awhile to get used to them.

My personal preference (your comfort will cause you to take mine & everyone else's opinions with a grain of salt):
  • I like the top of the brake hoods (black) to be parallel to the ground. You would need to unwrap the bars and loosen the brake levers & slide them down the handlebars a little bit.
  • I also like the drops of the handlebars (red) to point more toward my rear brake. Yours appear to be pointing to the ground more.
That being said, what Drew said about the stem & saddle is correct as well.
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Old 06-24-11, 05:22 AM   #5
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I'm not real clear what it is that you feel needs to be adjusted. The position of the levers? The action of the brakes?
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Old 06-24-11, 06:50 AM   #6
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I'm not real clear what it is that you feel needs to be adjusted. The position of the levers? The action of the brakes?
That is the thing, I don't know what needs to be adjusted I just have a 'feeling' that something isn't right. The hoods are too high, or maybe the bars are on backwards, I don't know I have had virtually no experience with road bikes and you are the closest thing to a Roadbike Yoda I have right now.

I did just adjust the bars tilt a bit so the drops are facing towards the back and I have a ride coming up in a few mins, we will see how that affects it.
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Old 06-24-11, 07:09 AM   #7
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That is the thing, I don't know what needs to be adjusted I just have a 'feeling' that something isn't right. The hoods are too high, or maybe the bars are on backwards, I don't know I have had virtually no experience with road bikes and you are the closest thing to a Roadbike Yoda I have right now.

I did just adjust the bars tilt a bit so the drops are facing towards the back and I have a ride coming up in a few mins, we will see how that affects it.
What you've got there looks correct, basically. There's always room to adjust things a little bit to tweak fit. The bars are on correctly and are facing the right direction. The "drops" should be at the bottom, and can be anywhere from dead level flat to pointing down a little bit, like about half-way between the saddle and the rear hub. The lever position rule-of-thumb that I was always taught was the bottom tip of the brake lever should be about in line with a straight-edge laid along the bottom of the drops. You pic looks like you're pretty close to both of those metrics.

There's no way riding a bike with drop bars will feel even remotely like riding a flat-bar bike. It may just be a case of needing a little time to get used to it. Keep in mind that drop bars give you several different places for your hands - feel free to move your hands around and try them all:

1. There's the flats on the top of the bars - hands on either side of the stem - that's your most upright posture, but it has a couple of downsides, namely you can't reach the brakes from there, and as your hands get closer to the stem you may find the bike a little harder to control.

2. There's the spot right where the bars begin to curve forward - you can hold them there, with your palms facing the center of the bike. Again, a fairly relaxed, upright posture but no immediate access to the brakes.

3. Then there's riding on the brake hoods - put your hands on the gum rubber hoods of the levers. They'll fit very nicely in the joint between your thumb and first finger. Still pretty upright, but starting to reach forward more than you may be used to. From that position you control the brakes with the first couple of fingers on each hand.

4. Hands in the crook of the bars right behind the brake levers. This is the first of the two "tuck" positions and gets you a more aero profile for cutting wind resistance, but still gives you immediate, full-fingered access to the brakes.

5. Hands down on the flat bottom part of the drops. This is usually reserved for all-out hammering, when you're confident you don't need to grab the brakes quickly.

Those are all just general descriptions of how you can use road bars. As you play around with them you'll find what works best for you and use it. Remember to keep a little bend in your elbows - if you lock them, every little bump in the road will go right up into your body - use your arms as shock absorbers. You'll be less fatigued at the end of a ride, and you'll be more relaxed in your bike handling, too.

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-24-11, 07:09 AM   #8
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To me, I think they look ok. If the hoods feel too high (and I'm guessing you're doing most your riding with your hands on the hoods) the easiest thing to do is to rotate the bars forward. Go for a ride, rinse wash and repeat until you think you have it just right. You then have two choices, leave it as it is, or measure from ground to the top of your hoods for a reference point. Once you have that measurement, return your bars to how they are pictured above, unwrap your tape, loosen your brake levers, and move them further down your bar until you hit your reference point. Re-wrap and enjoy your road bike.

It could also be that you just need more time on it. Road bikes feel weird for awhile until you get used to them. Once you're used to your road bike, the mountain bike will feel like a school bus.
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Old 06-24-11, 08:48 AM   #9
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Looking at them makes my neck hurt. Also, for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, they make me feel lopsided.
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Old 06-24-11, 10:06 AM   #10
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I tilted the bars down just a bit, it felt better this morning on my 30 mile ride.

The brakes are a little hard to depress with my hands on the hoods but I suspect that is normal.

My left elbow keeps locking on me and getting sore...

Otherwise though it didn't feel as alien, thanks for all the info guys it was extremely useful, I now have a clue as to drop bars!
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Old 06-24-11, 11:07 AM   #11
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The pointers above are all right along the lines of what I was going bring up. These are the general rules that I've used for initially setting up drop bars:

- If you lay a level from the flats at the top of the bar to the top of brake hood, your should be on center bubble.

- If you place a ruler against the bottom of the drops, the bottom of the brake lever should be even with that line.

- The drops should be angled such that the brake levers are as near to vertical as comfortable.

Of course, those are just starting point measurements; generic guidelines to get things set before doing your own tweaks to the positioning.
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Old 06-24-11, 01:15 PM   #12
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I tilted the bars down just a bit, it felt better this morning on my 30 mile ride.

The brakes are a little hard to depress with my hands on the hoods but I suspect that is normal.
It's normal for brakes of that vintage.

Modern dual pivot brakes have more mechanical advantage so they take less strength to use from the hoods.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-24-11 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 06-24-11, 01:49 PM   #13
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The drops should be parallel to the ground.
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