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Old 01-14-07, 02:00 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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Drop bar question

One of the reasons I like my flat bar is how far apart my hands are on the bar, and when I've tested a drop bar bike, I find that while I can still get the same hand position on the drop bar, my hands are closer together. So my question is -- does anyone make wider drop bar handlebars?
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Old 01-14-07, 02:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
One of the reasons I like my flat bar is how far apart my hands are on the bar, and when I've tested a drop bar bike, I find that while I can still get the same hand position on the drop bar, my hands are closer together. So my question is -- does anyone make wider drop bar handlebars?
Depends how narrow the one is that you are trying. When I got the road bike this year, Initially I was worried about the narrow bars, but within one ride it was not a problem. Now today I found I had a tight headset on the MTB. 27" wide riser bars on this and the steering became very twitchy at speed. This was not helped by the tyres squirming under me either but I do not think a narrow road bar would be a problem. Getting the rest of the bike to go with it could be.
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Old 01-14-07, 02:41 PM   #3
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Don't know how wide your flat bars are,DG.....but see the "Nitto Noodle" at"

http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/handlebars_stems_tape/16111.html

Its name is derived from its curves and flares--it's plenty stiff. This is, for me, the best drop bar I've used and I've tried several. Nice flat ramp, a little curvaceous on the tops, traditional bend. The ultimate 48cm width is good and wide as drop bars go. I've settled on the 44cm on my usual ride but also use a 46cm on my go-anywhere, dirt road rb.

Last edited by CrossChain; 01-14-07 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 01-14-07, 02:57 PM   #4
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'Normal' is shoulder width. The roadies view is simple:
wider is slower. I've just gotten used to aero bars and
it took a while to make peace with them. The issue was
the absence of leverage and I learned to use balance
instead. The same would be true of drop bars vs. flat
bars (aka air brakes!).
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Old 01-14-07, 03:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
One of the reasons I like my flat bar is how far apart my hands are on the bar, and when I've tested a drop bar bike, I find that while I can still get the same hand position on the drop bar, my hands are closer together. So my question is -- does anyone make wider drop bar handlebars?
Really wide drop handlebars are 46 cm wide, about 20 inches. Typical flat handlebars are 24" wide. Mountain style handlebars with a drop center section are commonly 28" wide.
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Old 01-14-07, 03:10 PM   #6
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This is an old discussion, but one crucial to comfort. Put in 100 accumulated miles on drop bars and you will feel more comfortable with them. Especially if the bars are up near the level of your saddle. Not to impugn flat bars..plenty of people put in plenty of miles with them.

Still, the arm, hand and wrist position seems more "natural" to me, and therefore more relaxed over long miles. Leverage isn't so much an issue on the road except on hard, sharp climbs with a death grip on the hoods or sprinting for your life from that farmer's dog. Much extended climbing is done on the tops or with a relaxed grip on the hoods. With drops, the nice thing is: there are plenty of variations on hand position-- which can relax the arms, hands, wrists, slightly change the angle of the back, the shoulders, etc....and after a few hours those seeming little things help a lot.
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Old 01-14-07, 03:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
when I've tested a drop bar bike

NO! Don't do it!

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Old 01-14-07, 05:57 PM   #8
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DG-I measure out to a 42cm set of bars but ride 46's. It's not quite as aero having wider bars with your arms further away from your body but it just feels more comfortable to me. Bars are not that expensive even if you had to replace a set. I bet there are some great deals on eBay as well. I mostly ride with my hands on top of the bars and I bet I'm never down in the drops more than 2% of the time I ride.......
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Old 01-14-07, 06:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
One of the reasons I like my flat bar is how far apart my hands are on the bar, and when I've tested a drop bar bike, I find that while I can still get the same hand position on the drop bar, my hands are closer together. So my question is -- does anyone make wider drop bar handlebars?
Gary, it sounds like you are comparing the position on the tops to a flat bar position. I doubt you'll ever find a drop bar wide enough to duplicate that position. But if you get off the tops and onto the hoods, you'll soon find that to be a comfortable, secure position.

On my MTB, with 24" wide bars, the centers of my palms are about 20" apart. On my road bike with 46cm drops, the centers of the brake hoods are about 18" apart. The Nitto Noodle bars are the most comfortable I've used. They now come in 48cm if you really want something wide.
http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/handl...ape/16111.html
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Old 01-14-07, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrossChain
Put in 100 accumulated miles on drop bars and you will feel more comfortable with them. Especially if the bars are up near the level of your saddle.
Yes, I agree completely. When I first started riding drop bars on my Surly LHT, the bars were too low relative to seat height. A stem extension has them now level and the comfort is much better than my old MTB flat bars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrossChain
Still, the arm, hand and wrist position seems more "natural" to me, and therefore more relaxed over long miles. Leverage isn't so much an issue on the road except on hard, sharp climbs with a death grip on the hoods or sprinting for your life from that farmer's dog. Much extended climbing is done on the tops or with a relaxed grip on the hoods. With drops, the nice thing is: there are plenty of variations on hand position-- which can relax the arms, hands, wrists, slightly change the angle of the back, the shoulders, etc....and after a few hours those seeming little things help a lot.
Once again, yes, I'd read these claims before risking the drop bars. But turns out that these claims for variations are TRUE! Although I also learned that if my core trunk muscles are not in good shape, then my riding posture puts too much pressure on hands & wrists & shoulders (i.e. I'm not supporting my weight with my stomach muscles but slumping onto the bars). When riding now, I find myself switching positions as a habit about every couple of miles or according to the terrain. And there's every imaginable variation of drop bars and angles and widths available...
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Old 01-14-07, 07:19 PM   #11
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Old 01-14-07, 07:39 PM   #12
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Old 01-14-07, 08:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
One of the reasons I like my flat bar is how far apart my hands are on the bar, and when I've tested a drop bar bike, I find that while I can still get the same hand position on the drop bar, my hands are closer together. So my question is -- does anyone make wider drop bar handlebars?

Forget all the drop bar talk. Add some bar ends to your flat bar, or let LBS bolt them on. You can get another hand position and still have hands far apart to give you that feeling of control. I read those statements on drops providing so many hand positions, but for me, none of those positions are comfortable. I was looking at bull horns as a possible bar, but they too only come in 460mm. I gotta have a full 600mm/24 inch. By the way I also cut a flat bar to 21 inchs early on, using my copper tube cutter. I've already bought another 24 bar, but still need a new cutter. Should have used the sawall.
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Old 01-14-07, 08:06 PM   #14
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Since 1974 or so I used the 42cm Cinelli #66 (deep drop) bars; when I bought a complete cf Trek, it came with 44cm bars (I only measure my bars center-to-center) and actually found them more comfortable, so I switched out all my bars to 44 (except I still use 42 on the track - a bit easier to slip into non-existent gaps when you're at the back end of a miss-and-out). The wider bars give you a bit more leverage when you're standing on climbs, and on standing starts. They also make it easier to breathe, and I've found they give you more control these days when you're riding over ice and snow.

Wider is not necessarily slower. In the drop position, I don't think it makes much difference that your hands are out one or two more centimeters. Back in the old days, before aero bars, track pursuiters actually used narrower bars to cut wind resistance, but I think the difference is pretty marginal, and the disadvantage in comfort is outweighed by the advantages of wider bars.

Most road racers are now on 46- and 44cm bars, even guys who size better to narrower bars. Fashion?

On long rides, drop bars are way, way more comfortable than flat bars. They let you put your wrist in a more natural position, and they let you change the position. One of the thangs you learn to do as you become more experienced is to automatically change your hand position. My hands never get numb on the road (but they do on the track, as you're sitting in the drop position lap after lap, pushing about 1g into the bankings). Bikes also look a lot better with the drop bars, but this is subjective. If you get back pain using drops, swap out the stem for one that rises.

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Old 01-14-07, 08:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by lhbernhardt

On long rides, drop bars are way, way more comfortable than flat bars.
Gotta agree. I realize this is all highly personal and subjective, but rides of more than two or three hours on a flat bar bike--even with bar ends--are almost unbearable for me. For touring or all-day riding, I gotta go with drop bars. Nitto road or noodle bars seem to fit me just right.

But DG, if you're still here, none of this really matters--until you try some things for yourself and see what works out best for YOU.
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Old 01-14-07, 08:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
One of the reasons I like my flat bar is how far apart my hands are on the bar, and when I've tested a drop bar bike, I find that while I can still get the same hand position on the drop bar, my hands are closer together. So my question is -- does anyone make wider drop bar handlebars?
Gary, I believe you can go up to a 46cm drop bar. Don't know if anyone makes anything bigger that's widely available. Also, with drop bars, you get more hand positions, so the fatigue factor is a lot less. Your hands tend not to get as sore.

Steve
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Old 01-14-07, 08:37 PM   #17
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DeeGee,
While I'm not a huge fan of dropbars per se, I will defnitely agree with those who advise going to them (up high) for longe rides. Straight bars are torturous for me for anything over an hour. That includes variations of straight bars (comfort type).

I use both North Roads and drops on very long rides. I find that I need multiple hand positions with the drops, but I do remain comfortable. Mine are Nitto B115's, which have a 5" drop and a nearly horizontal drop grip section. So,with the tops/sweep level with the ground, the grips are nearly parallel. They are 45cm wide. I have tried the Nitto Noodle bar and can recommend that as well. It also has a shallow drop of 5".

Another option may be the On-One Midge bar. I have one but I haven't set it up yet. Very wide top section with a very shallow drop that actually flairs out like a North Road sort of.

With the North Roads, there is no need to move my hands at all. They are so basic and well thought out that I just set them level with my saddle and go.
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