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Old 08-10-07, 07:48 AM   #1
Phil2
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handlebars and flex...?

do some handlebars flex more than others? i like to use relatively short and straight bars, so would i notice a difference among different materials? ideally, i'd like to get something that's a little more "bendy" to help eliminate vibration and wrist pain.
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Old 08-10-07, 08:17 AM   #2
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My road bars, oval concepts bars, are somewhat flexy. When I am standing up sprinting up a steep hill, I can feel a little bounce in them. If they flex at that time, and I can feel it, then they likely flex some at other times that I don't notice.
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Old 08-10-07, 10:10 AM   #3
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Modern bars are designed to NOT flex or bend. Aluminum will fail if subjected to repeated "bending" cycles, so aluminum bars are designed to be flex free. In theory, a thin, light carbon bar could be designed to be "flexy", but that would increase the chances of failure, something a good designer would avoid.

Steel tubes can flex forever without failure, so if someone wanted to design a "flexy" bar, steel is the material they would use. But, today, steel bars are used only on either "cheap" bikes, or on track bikes, and both of those uses call for heavy-duty bars.

If you want to reduce road shock, the easiest way is to buy a bike with a long wheel-base, such as 41 inches or 42 inches, with a steel fork that has the "reverse J" bend near the hub. In other words, you need a road bike from forty years ago.

With a "modern" roadbike, with its 39 inch wheelbase and "straight leg" fork, the best ways to reduce road shock are to move to 28mm or 32mm tires, and use a gel tape on the bars. And, several companies are making gel pads to put under the gel tape...sort of a "jello" bar.

On longer rides, using gloves with gel pads, and using a relaxed grip on the bars is helpful. Many folks have their hands way too tight, and that will cause discomfort over hours of riding.

Wrist pain usually means you have too much weight on your hands. Raise your bars so that the top of the brake hoods are level with the top of the saddle. That higher bar position will eliminate wrist pain, neck pain, back pain, and crotch discomfort.

If you and your bike have a combined weight of less than 190 pounds or so, you can inflate your tires to 10% or 20% less than the "Max PSI" stamped on the sides of your tires. So, if your tires have a "Max PSI" of 100 PSI, try 80 PSI in front, and 90 PSI in back. The slightly lower PSI level enables the sidewalls to flex slightly over rough pavement, and the tires will absorb much of the shock before it reaches your hands and body.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 08-10-07 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 08-10-07, 10:54 AM   #4
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thanks alan. i'll try the gel tape and gloves. i'm also looking into a more vertical stem to "raise the bar" so to speak.
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Old 08-10-07, 02:28 PM   #5
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Smaller diameter bars are more prone flex than newer OS bars.

The fizik gel bits seem to help on bars.
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Old 08-10-07, 03:15 PM   #6
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Most OM bars are steel- Aluminium are lighter and will give a bit- Carbon Fibre bars will flex but are prone to Break if Flexed too much.

However- I have the bars off my 94 Kona Explosif that I changed as they flexed a bit too much. Titanium bars.
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