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  1. #1
    MTG
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    handlebar question on this forum? saddle too

    hi all,

    New to these bike forums..learning lots. I just bought a Cannondale Fem Quick 3. The handlebars are not that comfortable on longer, slower rides. Is this a good place to ask about alternatives? I figure I have to do some internet homework before I hit the bike shop. I know about rise, backsweep etc..but how the heck do I know what will work?? An additional issue is that these almost-flat bars have only one place to put your hands and that leads to fatigue and even neck cricks.

    thanks
    Last edited by MTG; 08-09-10 at 09:37 AM.
    MTG
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  2. #2
    Senior Member OH~Treker's Avatar
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    I've found on my bikes that a pair of bar ends really help. They neutralize the grip and give more hand positions. I always wear riding glove too. Good Luck!!
    Don't point a finger....Lend a hand.

  3. #3
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    I'm not personally a fan of flat bars on road bikes; I find that it does not give me enough hand positions to stay comfortable. However, many people are happy with them.

    Two things to consider:

    1. Bar ends. Lots of people report they are happy with Ergon bar ends:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/?bra...s&node=3375301

    2. Trekking bars or "butterfly" bars. I put these on an old mountain bike I converted into commuting. I like it OK, still not as much as drop bars (for me). Advantage is you can inexpensively switch over from your flat bars to see if you like them; you don't have to invest in new brake handles, shift levers, etc. There are other brands as well; they also come in black:

    http://www.amazon.com/XLC-Multi-Func...1213221&sr=1-1

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Bar ends and gloves.

    On the gloves- They come in various grades and quality. I sort my gloves by going into a big shop with a good array of gloves when I still have some ache in the hands. I then find the gloves with padding in the place where the hands ache and confirm they are right by checking them out on a bike.

    Gloves are the only instance where I have bought gel. They were comfortable till the gel sack split.
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  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
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    +1

    Great thread; I forgot about that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    I imagine it's a lot like choosing a saddle, largely a matter of trying different ones until you find something that suits you. If you can manage to try out a few bikes with different bar styles that might give you some ideas. The first thing I'd try on your own bike is playing with any adjustability your existing bars might have (which could be none, depending on the bars). After that, try bar styles that don't require you to buy any other new components.

    What other people like isn't really that useful in figuring out what's comfortable for you, since it's such a personal thing. I've found that I am very comfortable with the flat bars people love to hate, and very uncomfortable with drop bars.

  8. #8
    MTG
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    Thanks all for the tips. Not sure what exactly is going to work. I did find an inexpensive handle bar with a 30mm rise I can put on and see it that helps at all. Gloves are an easy fix too. Additionally I am going to 'butcher my brooks' B-17 S saddle. The aprons are causing lots of discomfort and maybe once I can move around on the saddle it will help with wrist and hand issues. The saddle had been fine on the old bike-but switching to the new one seemed to change how I sat on it. 100 miles later and it was not feeling any better. Now that I am sore enough, I figured out exactly where it hurts..lol. Those aprons need to go and its not for aesthetics.
    MTG
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  9. #9
    Senior Member curdog's Avatar
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    I've also got a Quick and agree that the handlebar leaves a lot to be desired. Particularly obnoxious is the lack of hand positions. I did what another responder suggested and put on bar ends. This was a minor improvement, but I still don't really like. I don't really think there is an answer. Time will make the set up more palatable. I live with mine, but I only use the bike for relatively short errand runs.

    One other thing I did was flipped the stem, which seemed to help a bit.
    Last edited by curdog; 08-09-10 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Addition
    Cannondale Synapse, Electra Townie, Rivendell Sam Hillborne, Indy Fab Factory Lightweight, Co-Motion Cascadia

  10. #10
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Try this?



    It will surely give you more options for hand positions.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  11. #11
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    I have experimented a lot with positions on a bike since it took me awhile to feel comfortable with drop downs. Sizing a bike to your body is important. I'm 5'11" and I used to ride a 57cm. My legs are long, but my upper body is shorter so i was leaning over quite a bit to the bars and feeling stretched. I switched to a 54cm and the top bar is a bit shorter and fixed the problem. If you were racing you would want to be streched out in a low position, but for regular cruising you don't have to be. Look at the length of the stem holding the handlebars. If its 4 inches or so its a racing stem. A shorter one will cause you to sit up more. Greg Lemond wrote a book called "The Complete Book of Cycling" that gives quite an in depth look on how to fit a bicycle. I think once you fit right the drop downs will work for you.

  12. #12
    MTG
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    Lots of good ideas, will be doing some experimenting soon. This over 50 stuff is a pain. The body complains every step of the way anymore. Like Goldilocks-looking for everything to fit/feel/ just right. I modified the saddle and that is a step the right direction. I am beginning to think the bike is too long on top, even though its's a small(fem) cannondale. Just too stretched out when hands are on grips. I may cut a cm off each end to see what that does. The end grips might do some good as well. But mostly I am thinking I need more rise in the handlebars. If the wrists aren't complaining, then the neck starts feeling pinched-sheesh!
    MTG
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  13. #13
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    You know, it's kind of counter intuitive but it seems to me that lower bars are less numbing and stressful. I flipped the stem on my road bike a while back so the bars are lower and I swear they are more comfortable for greater distances.

    I also think that the "horns" that the brake hoods make on road bike bars so your wrists are in a vertical line instead of horizontal helps, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
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  14. #14
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Drop bars give you the most hand positions, and as I am forever pointing out, you don't set them up for riding on the drops (this puts the bars too high), you set them up for riding with your hands on the brake hoods (where they'll be 99% of the time). This can put your upper body in very close to the same position it would be in with flat bars, or you can use a longer stem or lower bar position to distribute more body weight to the front (a full racing position would be 40-60 front-rear weight distribution). The drop bars give you the option of going into the drops in headwinds; uncomfortable, but more streamlined. Be aware that if you switch to drop bars, you will also have to change brake levers, and there's often an incompatibility in cable pull for brakes and for front derailleur.

    L.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    a different bar bend with a greater angle perhaps? http://www.velo-orange.com/milanbar.html ..
    (cruise the site for more options)
    more saddle setback shifts weight off your arms and onto the saddle, then try a shorter stem, too.

    Trekking bars offer multiple hand positions too, differences are fore and aft on the same plane, rather than up and down , so much.
    they are 7/8" tube so straight bar controls slide right on ..

    I wrapped mine with 2 layers of padded tape.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-10-10 at 11:42 AM.

  16. #16
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    If your going to stay with the flat bar, some fine tuning may be in order.

    Make sure that your bike fit doesn't put too much weight on your hands and arms. You should be able to remain in your riding position for a short while with nothing but your finger tips on the bar (all your weight on the saddle). If your saddle is tipped too far forward, you may find yourself having to support too much of your weight on your hands and arms to keep the butt from sliding forward.

    Do not ride with your brake levers level with the ground......they should tip down (rotate forward) untill they are parallell with your lower arm when you are in riding position. This will provide a more comfortable angle for the wrist.

    Move your hands often..........just because they are flat bars does not mean that you have to ride with the hand in the same place all the time. You can rest the hands by grasping the end of the bar from the side. You can move the hand in and out. Most importantly learn to relax the hands as it is not good to ride all the time with a death grip and the fingers always on the levers ready for a panic stop.

    As others have mentioned, riser bars with more rearward sweep 5 to 8 deg will probably be more comfortable........and they will be wider.

    As a last resort, a carbon bar may take that last bit of objectionable vibration out of the hands and be more comfortable.

    Ride a lot.......

  17. #17
    MTG
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    maddmaxx-thanks for the fitting advice. Right now I am thinking of a riser bar..mine is 20mm now, so a 30mm is next. I ordered a cheap one off internet just to try it. I am sure the flat bar has to go. I dont know how much the LBS is going to want to experiment on this. The riser bars will probably need different cable lengths...sigh. Also the wrist angle is off too..a bit more back sweep for a natural feel. And lastly..I think I my core is too weak!! Causing me to lean too hard into the bars...sit-ups inmy future-yuck!
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  18. #18
    wreckrider
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    i spent $500 putting drop bars on my flat bar despite lbs advice that the top tube was too long for drops. turns out they were right and ended up buying a well fitting road bike that minimized most of the wrist, elbow, butt problems. the real problem is that all bikes hurt somewhat. u just have to try to get to that point where the riding high outweighs the pain. it took me 9 mos of riding the flat bar for my body to adjust to drops. during that time i found that switching off hand positions to the end bars every 3-5 mins helped alot. good luck.
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  19. #19
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Changing flat bars to drop bars is expensive, and generally not worth it. Adding bar ends, as has been suggested is inexpensive and generally gives you what you want, more hand positions. If you don't have them, get some gloves.
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  20. #20
    MTG
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    I put new handlebars on and it has made a ton of difference in comfort. The new bars have a 30mm rise only 10 higher than what came with the bike and a 9 degree backsweep..again only a few degrees difference. But it all adds up to a more comfortable fit. Less weight on hands, and a tiny bit more upright-easing neck crick issues. Got about 50 miles on new bars. I think this might do the trick. If not, may try the 40mm rise bars..although I fear that I might need to add some cable length if I do that. So shortening the cock-pit seems to be the right direction to go for us with short arms. Maybe we should start a thread call 'Tweak my ride'. Easy ways to make big changes in the 'feel' of the ride. I know at some point you just deal with it and ride. But I do want do some longer tour rides and I know little things will turn into big things if you ignore it.
    MTG
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  21. #21
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I find that strengthening my core muscles allows me to hold up my upper body (with those muscles) without putting all my upper body weight on my hands. It has reduced hand strain tremendously.

  22. #22
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    A very timely post. Just got my wife N+1 Motobecane Cafe Sprint for urban rides. She didn't want drop bars, and the flat bars didn't cut it. She still wants a more upright position. I put on some MTB bars with a 1" rise and some bar end grips. Big improvement. If she still is unhappy this thread and the one below offer lots of great options. Perhaps a butterfly bar will do the trick. We'll see.

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  23. #23
    MTG
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    Changing the saddle can help alleviate pressure on hands/wrists as well. I tipped the nose of my saddle up a notch and that really helped to shift my weight back, making a surprising difference in pressure on the handlebars. I also use a brooks saddle and it is slippery and allows me to move around a lot on the seat. Of course it also allowed me to slide more forward than I needed to be as well. It is true-small adjustments can make a big difference. I decided to move the seat nose up another notch just to see what happens. Quickie test ride this morning. Its finally cooled off here a bit in NEO.
    MTG
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  24. #24
    wreckrider
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    yes, its really true. little changes can mean alot. i moved my saddle foward just a few mm and wow what a difference. now i know i have to have about 71 mm from the handlebars to the seat to make that good "cockpit" we're talking about. i moved the saddle on my 2 other bikes and had similar improvements. but hey, every action has a reaction. if u sit more upright u put pressure on ur sit bones and those longer rides start to really hurt the butt. so i think i've learned that the real solution is to have the most amount of handlebar positions as possible. that means eventually drops.
    For those adventurers who "wish to wander into the history of their lives" Don Q-Cervantes
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