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Old 04-01-13, 04:02 PM   #1
Chitown_Mike
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Hood position

Since I am not sure where these should have gone, I am curious to know where others have put theirs. I recently (before winter) took off the suicide brake levers and installed some single lever versions with hoods since riding in the old hoods hurt. Well upon seeing everyone with their fancy-shamcy newer rides (I say that with nothing but love ) I see the brake hoods positioned farther "up" or turn up towards the sky. Mine are currently "level" wit the top of the handle bars.

I did take the bike out for some rides after I changed the brakes but didn't put a lot of miles on it. I also "mirrored" the position of the old hoods. But curious to know why you, yes you, have them positioned the way you do? Is it solely a comfort thing? Actually how they should be? Am I doing it wrong?

Here is how they sit:






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Old 04-01-13, 04:49 PM   #2
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Hood positioning is probably different with the shape/size of modern integrated levers, but since I don't use those I can only speak to my choice in hood position for regular aero-style brake hoods.

There are a few things I aim for: Having a smooth transition from the top of the bar onto the hood, and having the bottom of the lever in an even line with the bottom curve of the drop, and making sure the levers are as near vertical as possible.

I don't want some odd angular transition from the bar making it uncomfortable for hand positioning.
Aesthetically the traditional setup was to have your levers end at roughly the bottom curvature of the drop; not only is it a clean looking line, but on old-school bars it sets the levers up for a comfortable reach when you're in the hooks.
Speaking of aesthetics, levers should be (nearly) vertical. OMG, I could scream every time I see a bike with cobra fangs and the drops pointed at the cranks because someone rotated the bars to raise the hood position, instead of properly raising/spacing their stem.
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Old 04-01-13, 05:46 PM   #3
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As Clifton mentions, there are a few factors to consider... the top of the bars should be level, which means that for MOST modern bars the bottoms will have about a 5 degree angle from horizontal (so barely noticeable, not the aforementioned cobra fangs)

The hoods should mostly give you a nice level place to put your hands, so they're probably going to end up near the top of the rounded portion of the drops. Moving the drops up and down will also affect how far from the bars your brake levers end up, although some are adjustable (e.g. SRAM)

Last time I changed bars, I went for a few rides before I taped up the bars to make sure the hoods were where I wanted them. Bring an allen key with you when you're riding and adjust as necessary.

Take a picture from the side and post it in here.
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Old 04-02-13, 06:52 AM   #4
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I still go by the old rule of thumb that the bottom end of the brake lever should be in line with the drops. IOW, if you put a straight edge along the drops, the bottom tip of the brake lever would just touch it. Even though that rule was devised before the days of "brifters," I find it still gets the "on the hoods" position right for me. YMMV.
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Old 04-02-13, 10:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies....pics to follow shortly.

Anyone have pics of their current setup from the side? I took the road bike to work today so I will snag pictures on lunch, but I noticed I have my seat too high, too far forward, and too tilted! Which is surprising because I put several hundred miles on it after changing the seat end of last season.
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Old 04-02-13, 12:00 PM   #6
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See pictures above for the position it is currently at.
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Old 04-02-13, 05:34 PM   #7
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Here's a horrible picture of my bike but it's from the side while I was building it. I ended up moving the shifters up just a little bit on the bars, but you can see roughly where they are. It looks like yours are too low, but the bars look pretty good where they are.

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Old 04-03-13, 04:33 PM   #8
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My bar is set just like yours, but my hoods are 1/4-3/8" higher up the curve toward the bar tops.

not fangs, just up a bit. numbness caused me to tweak the position of the hoods a bit (and i liked my position/comfort when in the drops as it was)

it's a hassle to mess with the tape, so take the advice of the other poster who wrote to leave the tape off, take a 10 miler with a 3mm hex wrench and adjust until you like it - then you can tape it up!
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Old 04-03-13, 04:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike View Post
Thanks for the replies....pics to follow shortly.

Anyone have pics of their current setup from the side? I took the road bike to work today so I will snag pictures on lunch, but I noticed I have my seat too high, too far forward, and too tilted! Which is surprising because I put several hundred miles on it after changing the seat end of last season.
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Old 04-04-13, 08:11 AM   #10
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Thanks for the pic! That helps me out a lot (as well as anyone else that posted a pic)


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My bar is set just like yours, but my hoods are 1/4-3/8" higher up the curve toward the bar tops.

not fangs, just up a bit. numbness caused me to tweak the position of the hoods a bit (and i liked my position/comfort when in the drops as it was)

it's a hassle to mess with the tape, so take the advice of the other poster who wrote to leave the tape off, take a 10 miler with a 3mm hex wrench and adjust until you like it - then you can tape it up!
I should have done that because I taped the bar with new tape towards the end of last season and it's brand new tape!

But luckily I got some nice Bontrager tape that doesn't adhere to the bar itself, it has a grip line on the back but it doesn't actually stick, so at least I'll be able to unwrap and rewrap it to adjust the hoods. I knew I should have ridden it before setting the tape in place. Live and learn!
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Old 04-04-13, 07:03 PM   #11
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Old 04-05-13, 08:04 AM   #12
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Thanks for the tips as well as pictures!

I adjusted them last night and rode this morning, only problem was I had my rear mountain bike tire strapped to me so I couldn't get on the hoods without having the tire push against my helmet......taking the wheel to the LBS to get it looked at and didn't feel like driving my car on such a nice day in Chicago. So I will get a chance perhaps this weekend to test out hood position.
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Old 04-05-13, 08:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
As Clifton mentions, there are a few factors to consider... the top of the bars should be level, which means that for MOST modern bars the bottoms will have about a 5 degree angle from horizontal (so barely noticeable, not the aforementioned cobra fangs)

The hoods should mostly give you a nice level place to put your hands, so they're probably going to end up near the top of the rounded portion of the drops. Moving the drops up and down will also affect how far from the bars your brake levers end up, although some are adjustable (e.g. SRAM)

Last time I changed bars, I went for a few rides before I taped up the bars to make sure the hoods were where I wanted them. Bring an allen key with you when you're riding and adjust as necessary.

Take a picture from the side and post it in here.
While I agree with you about the tops being level, you'd likely get an argument from roadies on that. I like mine level





The Dean's shifters were a little high and I've since moved them down.
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Old 04-05-13, 10:13 AM   #14
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All these fancy bikes and their ergo-designed handlebars.....is there no love for 30 year old ram horns that are just plain old "C" shaped!

I have come to the conclusion that my hoods are as high as they can go without them looking super goofy since my bar is stock and has a smooth bend to it so as it moves up it starts to stand up too much and gives that cobra fang look. I will have to post pictures later of the move.
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Old 04-05-13, 01:11 PM   #15
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All these fancy bikes and their ergo-designed handlebars.....is there no love for 30 year old ram horns that are just plain old "C" shaped!

I have come to the conclusion that my hoods are as high as they can go without them looking super goofy since my bar is stock and has a smooth bend to it so as it moves up it starts to stand up too much and gives that cobra fang look. I will have to post pictures later of the move.
Nope. But my bikes are the only ones with the ergo handlebars. The other 3 bikes posted all have "C" shaped bars.
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Old 04-05-13, 01:53 PM   #16
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Nope. But my bikes are the only ones with the ergo handlebars. The other 3 bikes posted all have "C" shaped bars.
Hmmm...you're right. Why does mine look so "smooth" in the hooks whereas everyone else looks more like yours cyccommute?
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Old 04-05-13, 03:42 PM   #17
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Vintage and vintage-style hoods are angled different than new, integrated ones. I have both.

I recently updated my 1987 Cannondale with new, vintage-style levers (non-integrated, just levers). They are made to create a level transition from top of the bar to the top of the hood, as others have said.

My 2013 road bike has the newer, slightly-angled-up, hoods you noted. If I mounted my old bike's hoods at the same angle, the brake levers would be angled out at the bottom, far from vertical! If I slid my new bike's levers down so the hoods made a level, horizontal transition from the bars, then the bottoms of the levers would point BACK, toward the rear of the bike. They've just evolved.

That said, set your bike up how you like it, and don't worry about it. I adjusted my bar about 5 times when I replaced the hoods, until I dialed in what feels best to me. Who cares how it looks?
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Old 04-07-13, 10:12 PM   #18
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here is what I use it doesn't really have a drop bar but you can pivot the bar down a little whitch I did later the bars on the bike I had original on there wer flat bars and I wanted a little drop to them the way the bike looked with original bars are on the trainer and the after affects u can tell there is a little drop to them I got a 3 mph gain with new bars and can ride a lot longer also but here are the pics
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Old 04-07-13, 10:44 PM   #19
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While I agree with you about the tops being level, you'd likely get an argument from roadies on that. I like mine level
I'm not sure I really understand your point - I said they should be level and you said you like them level and then you post 3 pictures with your shifters decidedly north of level. I mean... your bars look reasonably level but the shifters are higher than I'd put them. Whatever works for you though.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:34 PM   #20
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I'm not sure I really understand your point - I said they should be level and you said you like them level and then you post 3 pictures with your shifters decidedly north of level. I mean... your bars look reasonably level but the shifters are higher than I'd put them. Whatever works for you though.
You were talking about the tops of the bars not the shifters. Most roadies will argue for having the drops on the bars level with the ground which is more like Chi-town Mike has them than with the tops level and the drops at an angle. I agree with you that the tops of the bars should be level but most roadies would disagree with both of us.
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Old 04-09-13, 11:31 AM   #21
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It depends.

A classic rounded bar shape (Cinelli 64/66) suggests lower placement to keep the levers vertical and hoods at a comfortable angle.

Deeper drops (CInelli 66) suggest lower placement so the levers end closer to where the drops do and they're in a good position to use there.

A higher bar top suggests a lower location.

I'm still running a Cinelli 66 deep bar. The top is somewhat below seat level for an upright position, hoods at a comfortable all-day location, and drops at a decent aerodynamic height.

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Old 04-09-13, 12:10 PM   #22
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Mine are tilted up a bit for that previously mentioned smooth transition. I don't worry about reaching them from the drops. I don't ride too much on the drops and on the hoods comfort is more important.
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Old 04-09-13, 01:34 PM   #23
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Mine look a lot like Yo Spiffs, but I can and do brake comfortably from the drops with this slightly angled-up position, and I can actually ride on the hoods now (it was excruciatingly painful on my old bike, to the extent that I'd move to the hoods only to shift (STI) and then go back to tops or drops). Classic (Velo-Orange remakes) C-shaped bars, but not deep drops.

It's all about comfort -- I'd have hand pain on your bars, although not as bad as my old bike, from my hands not being able to take my weight tipped forward at all.

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