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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 04-12-13, 01:00 AM   #1
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New Bike..New Questions on Drop Bars

Picked up a Ridley X-BOW today and so far after a few miles I have some questions about drop bars. I've been on Woodchipper II's from my Fargo which flare out at the bottom and have fit perfectly from the beginning. The stock ones on the X-BOW seem longer at the top from the stem and the distance between the drop and top is very short. It leaves me feeling stretched out and my hands cramped when in the drops. It's not bad, just different.

So, how do you find what drop bars fit best and how do you know to change out the bars or shorten the stem? Or change the height of the bars? How does it affect the handling of the bike? Or just get Woodchipper bars?

Coming from two steel bikes with wide tires to an aluminum skinny bike is a totally different feel. I don't feel any faster despite the lightness of the bike,it's just a bumpier ride. I think I have the fit correct, it's now making the small adjustments. I don't plan on racing..that would be a disaster, just doing the road and simple trails. I'm not sure how it would handle single track.

Also does bar tape and hood covering make a difference in grip and comfort?

I was looking at a "Jake the Snake" but the size he put on was a 56..which is what everyone puts me on and never feels right and even though the specs and price were better because it was last year's model the X-BOW seemed to fit better. I was surprised when he put me on a 51 but according to their site it puts me at a medium.

Excited about my purchase..I hope. Now to just get the little things right.
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Old 04-12-13, 03:34 AM   #2
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They are different types of drops which require different setups. The woodchippers are dirt drops designed to be ridden in the drops most of the time. The ridley will have the bars set lower so the hoods are your primary riding position.

I would start by measuring the cockpit length and saddle to grip drop (the drops) of the fargo. Then set your cockpit on the Ridley to get the same dimensions to the hoods. You may need to adjust from there, but it is a starting point.

Last edited by c_m_shooter; 04-12-13 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 04-12-13, 10:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bethany View Post
So, how do you find what drop bars fit best and how do you know to change out the bars or shorten the stem? Or change the height of the bars? How does it affect the handling of the bike? Or just get Woodchipper bars?
Drop bars have three specs that you should be familiar with:

1) Width. Usually measured center-to-center (but sometimes edge-to-edge) across the lower, horizontal portion of the bar.

2) Drop. The distance between the top of the bar and the bottom of the bar

3) Reach. This is the distance from the top bar to the front of the curve

If you know the specs for your current bars, it then becomes easier to shop for a new set of bars. In your case, it sounds like you want a bar with more drop and less reach. In general, reach doesn't vary too much from one bar to the next. I use 3T drop bars. In their product line, there's only a 12mm difference between the bar with the shortest reach and the bar with the longest reach. If you need more that 10-15mm of reach adjustment, you'll probably have to swap the stem.
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Old 04-12-13, 01:03 PM   #4
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I would second the advice given by shooter and sstorkel. I would add that if your looking for a more "road" type handle bar that are a cousin to Woodchippers, take a look at Salsa's Cowbell. That is what I have on my Road Bike and I really like them.
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Old 04-12-13, 01:12 PM   #5
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If you like the shape of your new bars it's easier to change out the stem to bring everything closer. Stems can be pretty inexpensive too, just get used ones that don't clash with your bike on ebay. Keep in mind stems also have an angle associated with them.

I recently switched bars because I wanted a shallower drop and less reach so that sort of thing is possible too (but requires retaping the bars, ergo, more of a pain)
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