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Old 04-01-14, 09:49 PM   #1
Sealth
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Handlebar Types

Quick and dirty.

What is the specific purpose risers/drops/bullhorns were invented for, and how does their geometry accomplish this.
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Old 04-01-14, 10:09 PM   #2
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Serious or trolling?
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Old 04-01-14, 10:29 PM   #3
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Yes, serious. I mean what purpose does each respective handlebar type fulfill? I know risers are used on mountain bikes, but why are they used. Also, what are bullhorns for? Variety? Looks? I understand drops are supposed to be more aerodynamic, but is that their only purpose? What sparked the invention of these different kinds of handlebars? I want to know why certain types of handlebars have the geometry they do. Was it entirely random, and people just made different types of handlebars because they could?
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Old 04-01-14, 11:02 PM   #4
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Yes, serious. I mean what purpose does each respective handlebar type fulfill? I know risers are used on mountain bikes, but why are they used. Also, what are bullhorns for? Variety? Looks? I understand drops are supposed to be more aerodynamic, but is that their only purpose? What sparked the invention of these different kinds of handlebars? I want to know why certain types of handlebars have the geometry they do. Was it entirely random, and people just made different types of handlebars because they could?
risers give an upright position and fairly stable handling as they are generally wider, this is good for mountain biking and the terrain you encounter in that discipline, but also make for a comfy and stable urban commuting bar

drops come in varying shapes and degrees of reach and drop for different things. track drops have more drop for a more aerodynamic position, but compact road drops allow for a more comfortable, but still somewhat aggressive race-style position for longer rides

bullhorns, very similar to drops, certain shapes are more comfort based, certain shapes are more performance based.

most everything in cycling was developed by asking "what do we need out of x component for y purpose?", and then designing accordingly.
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Old 04-02-14, 07:22 AM   #5
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I currently have what I would consider a set of 'traditional" drop bars on my bike with aero levers. I have them rotated so that the ramps are near flat (making the drop portion useless) to reduce hand fatigue from leaning hard onto hoods. Having put some miles on them, I really don't understand how 'on the hoods' is a viable hand position for any extended length of time. 2-3 fingers on/around the hood with the bar between your pinky and ring finger? I know it works for a lot of people but either I'm doing this way wrong or I need to switch to something like RB-021's.
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Old 04-02-14, 08:21 AM   #6
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I currently have what I would consider a set of 'traditional" drop bars on my bike with aero levers. I have them rotated so that the ramps are near flat (making the drop portion useless) to reduce hand fatigue from leaning hard onto hoods. Having put some miles on them, I really don't understand how 'on the hoods' is a viable hand position for any extended length of time. 2-3 fingers on/around the hood with the bar between your pinky and ring finger? I know it works for a lot of people but either I'm doing this way wrong or I need to switch to something like RB-021's.
Your bars should be rotated so the drops are parallel with the ground, this means the end of the bar should be pointed toward your back brake.

The hoods should be positioned so they're flat across the top.

My road bike, for example:


When I'm in the hoods, my hands usually look like this. I find it to be very comfortable.
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Old 04-02-14, 08:38 AM   #7
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Your bars should be rotated so the drops are parallel with the ground, this means the end of the bar should be pointed toward your back brake.

The hoods should be positioned so they're flat across the top.
Thank you. The contour of my current bars just isn't compatible with the kind of transition between the ramps and lever hoods I want to achieve. I'm thinking some FSA Omega Compacts or just switching to bullhorns is in my future.
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Old 04-02-14, 10:16 AM   #8
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Thank you. The contour of my current bars just isn't compatible with the kind of transition between the ramps and lever hoods I want to achieve. I'm thinking some FSA Omega Compacts or just switching to bullhorns is in my future.
Right. To me, that transition from bars to hoods is an important characteristic of a bar. And if you want that transition to be flat, the FSA compact shape is one that works well.
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Old 04-02-14, 05:46 PM   #9
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Thank you. The contour of my current bars just isn't compatible with the kind of transition between the ramps and lever hoods I want to achieve. I'm thinking some FSA Omega Compacts or just switching to bullhorns is in my future.
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Right. To me, that transition from bars to hoods is an important characteristic of a bar. And if you want that transition to be flat, the FSA compact shape is one that works well.
The brake levers themselves dictate that too. I have a pair of Cane Creek road style brake levers and two pairs of Tektro road style brake levers. Although the Cane Creek is supposed to be a rip off of the the Tektro, they sit differently on the same set of bars to the Tektro (tilted up much more). Same applies in combination brake/shifter setups too I believe.
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Old 04-02-14, 05:54 PM   #10
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Moved to general cycling discussion.
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Old 04-02-14, 07:35 PM   #11
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I ride on the hoods 90% of the time with this type of setup on my various bikes. My mtn bike is annoying with the limited hand positions.


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Old 04-03-14, 11:50 AM   #12
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What is the specific purpose risers/drops/bullhorns were invented for
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Old 04-03-14, 02:53 PM   #13
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Bullhorns were created for time trial bikes back in the 80's to give a lower, more aero position.

Positioning drop bars: the tops should be parallel to the ground, and the top of the brake levers should carry this further so that you have a long, level area to rest your hands. This usually results in the ends of the drop bars pointing more towards the rear axle. You can also mount the levers a bit higher to suit, especially if the forward reach of the bars is a bit longer.

What's interesting is that drop bars were invented before the days of "ergonomics." To most beginners, it looks as though the natural position of your hands in drop bars should be in the drops. No! The natural hand position is on the top of the brake hoods. You only go into the drops if you're going hard and need to be aero. I spend less than 1% of my time in the drops. The downside of this assumption is that most people set drop bars too high. They set them so that they are comfortable in the drops. This is not correct; they should be set so you are comfortable on the tops of the brake hoods. This is why brake hoods today are designed so ergonomically. When you go into the drops, you are supposed to be a little uncomfortable! You'll get used to this, and the lower position will make pounding into the wind much easier.

You can always tell it's a beginner because they're riding in the drops at normal cruising speed. Experienced riders (well, experienced racers anyway) would be on the brake hoods in this situation.

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Old 04-03-14, 04:19 PM   #14
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Comfort and individual preference come into play for various bars.
Bullhorns are quite often used for stoker bars on tandems (keeps the stoker from sticking her head into the pilots butt!).
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Old 04-03-14, 04:29 PM   #15
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Old 04-03-14, 04:48 PM   #16
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It has always seemed to me that drops are pretty much a waste except for racing and expressing one's desire to look like a racer. The exception is on a 'relaxed geometry' bike like the Trek Pilot; the Pilot's drops were almost high enough to be comfortable for an alternative hand position.

Long rides beg for multiple bar positions to rest the hands and relax the back; that strikes me as the best reason for different configurations and accessories like bar ends and comfortable brake hoods. Most ideas that endure have a practical application.
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Old 04-03-14, 05:11 PM   #17
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Drop bars = lots of options for hand position. To each his own but I would not go back to anything else for road riding.

Straight bars were nice when I took shorter trips and went offroad. Hopping curbs and technical things required for mountain biking is much easier with the straight bars.
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Old 04-03-14, 07:44 PM   #18
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I really don't understand how 'on the hoods' is a viable hand position for any extended length of time.
If you don't understand, your bike doesn't fit. Either you need a shorter stem or bars (like the compact drop FSA bars you've mentioned) with shorter reach.
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Old 04-05-14, 10:59 AM   #19
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There are even more handlebar styles that most have ever considered:
These are 'tweener' bars. Legs/knees between the barends.


'Hamster' bars for the Captain and, for the Stoker..................................no bars, just hand grips.
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