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Old 07-05-09, 09:00 AM   #1
tsl
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Fitting-Reach to Bars: What Are My Options?

I have two bikes. I'm having trouble getting a comfortable reach for both riding the hoods and when down in the drop.

On my daily ride, with a 100 mm stem, the reach to the hoods is OMG perfect! I can ride the hoods comfortably for any distance. When I need to get in the drops, say strong headwinds, I feel cramped, to the point where it's hard to breathe. I can manage no more than a mile before I have to come up for air. Descending, I can't get as low as I'd like.

On my fun ride bike, with a 120 mm stem, the reach to the drops is OMG perfect! I can ride the drops into headwinds for miles and miles. My core muscles give out long before my breathing does. Descending, if I got any lower, I could chew the tires. Riding the hoods, I'm way too stretched-out. I have to back off and ride the ramps or even the upper bend, which of course puts the levers out of reach.

I'm hesitant to switch to a 110 mm stem on both bikes. I'm afraid it will be a compromise where nothing feels right on either bike.

Are there any other options?
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Old 07-05-09, 11:33 AM   #2
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I think I'm off your topic, but have you considered something like the On One Midge. Haven't used it myself, but I understand it's designed to for the drops to be the normal position, with the hoods being the alternate position. I know it would be an expensive experiment, but thought it was worth tossing in.
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Old 07-05-09, 02:38 PM   #3
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Thanks, Nermal. I think the 58cm wide kills it for me. My current bars are 42cm wide.
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Old 07-05-09, 07:46 PM   #4
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if you don't like experimenting with different stems yourself, invest in a bike fit from a fit pro.
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Old 07-05-09, 09:34 PM   #5
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When I had to get some new bars I had a problem very much like you describe on your second bike. Before the new bars I could ride on the hoods for hours and everything was fine. If I got in the drops it was for ten maybe fifteen minutes tops. When I got the bike back after having new bars put on it I thought something special had happened because the drops felt great but for some reason the hoods weren’t as comfortable as they once were. The bar was pretty level in the drops and looking at an older picture I noticed the old bars were tilted more in the drops than the new bars. The problem was the bike shop mounted the bifters more forward than they were on the old bars and I was leaning too far forward when on the hoods. Try moving the hoods up a bit towards the top of the bar on the bike that feels good in the drops. If that works set the second bike up the same way as the comfortable one.
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Old 07-05-09, 09:39 PM   #6
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invest in a bike fit from a fit pro.
Oh, that's where I'm heading, without a doubt. I learned a long time ago that I'm not skilled enough to fit myself. But I'm hoping to have some options to work over with the fitter, and I'm hoping to be able to tell if the fitter is just blowing smoke.

What I'd really like to know if what I'm asking for is doable. It seems that it may not be possible to have a longer reach to the drops and a shorter reach to the hoods on the same bar.

In other words, how do I get the same reach to the drops as with my 120mm stem, while at the same time having the same reach to the hoods as with the 100mm stem?

Is there some combination of bar shape, bar rotation, lever position and stem that will help accomplish that?
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Old 07-05-09, 09:43 PM   #7
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Try moving the hoods up a bit towards the top of the bar on the bike that feels good in the drops. If that works set the second bike up the same way as the comfortable one.
That's sort of what I was wondering--if moving the levers back towards me was a way to help get where I'd like to be.
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Old 07-05-09, 10:33 PM   #8
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That's sort of what I was wondering--if moving the levers back towards me was a way to help get where I'd like to be.
moving the levers around on the bars, and changing the angle of the bars, are the first things I'd try. Grant Petersen has written about some of those options on the Rivendell site, www.rivbike.com. Just rotating the bars up slightly made a significant difference for me.
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Old 07-05-09, 11:54 PM   #9
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Is the seat to bar top height the same on both bikes? Also do they both have the same bars? In other words are the basic seat to bar dimensions the same for both bikes other than stem length?

With some searching I believe that quite a range of road bars are available, some with less forward sweep and with various drop heights.

On the bike that you like the on-hoods riding position you might try rotating the bar in the stem so the drops are further forward a bit and the bar ends pointed slightly down. Easier and cheaper for testing than replacing stems.
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