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  1. #1
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    secondary handlebars?

    This may be an odd question. I ride with dropped handlebars. They're set so that when I do the elbow to fingertip test (elbow held against front point of seat) my fingertips fall 1.5 inches short of the handlebars. When I'm in the drops and I look down, the bar blocks the view of the front hub. This was the fit the mechanic who sold it to me prescribed. And it feels good. For the first 4 hours I ride. Then I get a pain at the base of my neck where it joins my back.

    I think that if I could shift my weight back onto the seat for ten minutes out of every hour, the problem would be solved. My solution, which came to me in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, is to clamp to the stem a set of handles that would swing up and lock into a position 2 inches behind the exisiting bar, then swing down and away next to the head tube when I didn't need them. This devise probably only exists in my dreams, but then bar ends and aero bars probably did in someone else's dreams at some early point. Does it sound feasible?

  2. #2
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in KC
    My solution, which came to me in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, is to clamp to the stem a set of handles that would swing up and lock into a position 2 inches behind the exisiting bar, then swing down and away next to the head tube when I didn't need them.
    Personally I wouldn't want to fuss with a mechanism like that while riding. You'd need some kind of a solid QR setup, which will require some leverage to clamp it in and out of place. You're looking at some serious pain if this setup isn't secure and fool-proof locked into place.

    Not to mention I have no idea how that'd affect the handling and will definitely slow you down for accessing brakes and shifters.

    I'd suggest you try clip-on aerobars first, on- and off-bike stretches second, and a pro fit 3rd.

  3. #3
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    For aerobars try the Syntace C2's - with the spacer kit. It pushes the pads up quite a bit - I found an ill fitting bike to work well for Brevet's this past season with the aerobars.

    The real solution would be to get fit professionally and find a way to be comfortable for the type of riding you do. This may mean a shorter / taller stem. Or an adjustable one. Low and away for fast days, up and closer for long rides.


    You can also try modifying your rig like Sheldon "Many Hand Postions" Brown. His site seems to be down at the moment - but he mounted 2 bars on 1 steerer - flat mountain bars up high, with an inline brake, and standard road bars.

  4. #4
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Maybe your bars are just too low? Try raising them up to the level of the saddle and see if that helps.

  5. #5
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    Thank you for the responses. I think the key is that I'm good with the current setup riding four nonstop hours before the problem arises. The bike shop fit was done carefully with a kit, not eyeballed. I'm comfortable with the handlebar position except in this one instance. I just need one more hand position, and I think I may have found my solution in the aero-bar idea. I need aero-bars in reverse. I think I may be able to get them by installing curved bar ends on the handlebars a few inches to each side of the stem, pointed up and back. Call them anti-aero-bars.

  6. #6
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    Oops. Just in case there exists someone even less informed than I am, bar-ends cannot, in actuality, be mounted in the middle of the handlebars unless the ends of the handlebars extend all the way to the middle, hence the name bar-"ends" and not bar-"middles". I'm learning, always learning.

    So, this morning I road my bike back across town to the shop: 20 miles, wind in face, red lights, neck pain. At shop, pointed at my neck and was refit with new laser-guided, body-scanning, computer-driven thing. Moved seat, swapped stem. Road home: wind at back, green lights, no neck pain, slight pain in knee (uh-oh).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in KC
    Thank you for the responses. I think the key is that I'm good with the current setup riding four nonstop hours before the problem arises. The bike shop fit was done carefully with a kit, not eyeballed. I'm comfortable with the handlebar position except in this one instance. I just need one more hand position, and I think I may have found my solution in the aero-bar idea. I need aero-bars in reverse. I think I may be able to get them by installing curved bar ends on the handlebars a few inches to each side of the stem, pointed up and back. Call them anti-aero-bars.
    The problem with these "fit kits" is that people think they are the be all and end all. This is not the case. Use them only as guidelines. If your body is telling you that you are not comfortable, do not ignore it for the sake of some law of averages fit kit.

    The fact that you are comfortable for 4 hours tells me that you're at least near to where your body wants to be. I suggest getting a Look ergostem and moving it about until your body is happy past the 4 hour mark.

  8. #8
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    I used to be able to ride a standard fit on a bike until....well...I got a little older and discovered that I had a burning hot spot near the vertebrae at the base of my neck.. It used to start at about 75 miles but eventually started at about 50 miles. I tried everything. I have syntace aerobars, I widened by handlebars which helped. I settled the problem by raising the bar to a less aerodynamic position and sliding my seat back a bit. The result is I am free from pain. I completed a 400 K brevet with little or no discomfort. good luck as that kind of pain can knock a rider out of a ride or take the fun away.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Interesting idea about the "extra bars" - but I think it's a pretty ass-backward approach.

    How about an "adjustable" stem. They may already exist. The device would be similar, if not identical to the "adjustable handlebars" found on many exercise cycling devices. One thing, you have to remember how critical your h-bars are - whatever is designed for use - must be 100% idiot proof..... pretty rare by today's standards.

    Too bad about your neck, road bikes have always been a combination of comfort and performance features, and you discovering the tradeoffs the hard way. Maybe try a real "comfy" setup for next year, and "ease into" a more aero position - until your neck bothers you.

    You'll never know just how to setup, unless you "rest" your neck first. (for a good long time)

  10. #10
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    Look makes a stem that is fully adjustable, for both angle and reach.

    Forget the model number, but they are out there if you google for them.

  11. #11
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    Now that my bike's fit has been adjusted, I don't need any add-ons to the handlebars for a higher, closer hand position, but if I did maybe something like this http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=13626&brand= could work (swung up instead of down, but with those pointy ends away).

    Now that my handlebars are higher, I might try these Cane Creek add-ons for their intended purpose: to give me a lower, tucked postion for riding into a steady wind. Has anyone used them? How would they compare with the usual aero bars?
    Last edited by Jim in KC; 09-19-06 at 09:43 AM.

  12. #12
    Sua Ku rollin's Avatar
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    Jim - I'm glad you've sorted your problem. I've had a similar problem which I posted on the road forum - I have flipped my stem back up - all seems well now. I have a 100mm 7 degree stem and was considering a change to an 80mm. Advice on the forum was to flip the stem up and give it a go...

    Can I ask what stem change did you make?

  13. #13
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    Rollin, I don't have the old stem since the shop kept it in the swap, so even if I can measure this new one, I can't tell you how much it differs from the old. Trek 520s come with a 17 degree stem, but this is the second time mine has been switched.

    But what's more important to me is that the adjustment put the handlebars even in height with the seat, and at a distance equal to the length between my elbow and fingertip. I don't know it those proportions are universal, but they sure have worked in my case.
    Last edited by Jim in KC; 09-26-06 at 01:40 PM.

  14. #14
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in KC
    Rollin, I don't have the old stem since the shop kept it in the swap, so even if I can measure this new one, I can't tell you how much it differs from the old. Trek 520s come with a 17 degree stem, but this is the second time mine has been switched.

    But what's more important to me is that the adjustment put the handlebars even in height with the seat, and at a distance equal to the length between my elbow and fingertip. I don't know it those proportions are universal, but they sure have worked in my case.

    The Trek 520 I have, and the one's I have seen in stores seem to have a really low rise stem for a touring bike. I'm still struggling with mine to make it as comfy as my long distance machine. I can't figure out why they sell them like they do! I've swapped 2 times already. Going to get an adjustable sometime soon. (the Trek is the grocery getter and foul weather rider!)

  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Here's the set up you need:



    See http://sheldonbrown.org/thorn/index.html for the whole story.

  16. #16
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Here's the set up you need:



    See http://sheldonbrown.org/thorn/index.html for the whole story.
    That was the image / description I was a lookin fer...

  17. #17
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    I'm following up my question about speed bars with my new experience of them. These are add-on bars that attach to the handlebars on either side of the stem and angle down to provide a pair of handgrips about four inches below the handlebars. None of my cycling friends have seen them before. It took me a few miles to get used to them and adjust to balanceing the bike with my hands low and closely centered.
    They provided a lower, tucked position that pushed me back on the seat. My route included long stretches of straight highway. Once I was rolling along I could drop comfortably into this tucked position for several miles at a time. Of the 90 miles I rode, I probably spent 25% of the ride that way.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Cheshire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Here's the set up you need:



    See http://sheldonbrown.org/thorn/index.html for the whole story.

    Umm...isn't that practically asking to lose your teeth?

  19. #19
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    No. I'm not actually close enough to bite the handlebars. Remember, I moved my handlebars up to the level of the seat for a more upright position. On these lower bars I'm still able to comfortably view the road ahead. The speed bars are on level with the lowest part of the drops, but in tight to the center.
    Last edited by Jim in KC; 10-02-06 at 05:58 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Cheshire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in KC
    No. I'm not actually close enough to bite the handlebars. Remember, I moved my handlebars up to the level of the seat for a more upright position. On these lower bars I'm still able to comfortably view the road ahead. The speed bars are on level with the lowest part of the drops, but in tight to the center.

    I was referring to the picture I quoted.

    Your setup sounds really nice...reminds me that I really, really need to schedule a fit for myself, as I'm having a very similar (if not the same) problem you had with pain. It caused me to retire my road bike for the time being and put slicks on my hardtail...needed the more upright position. I'm still tinkering with saddle fore/aft position on the hardtail...do they do mountain bike fits as well as road?

    You don't have a picture (or link to a picture) of those speed bars, do ya? Sounds interesting.

  21. #21
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheshire
    I was referring to the picture I quoted.

    Your setup sounds really nice...reminds me that I really, really need to schedule a fit for myself, as I'm having a very similar (if not the same) problem you had with pain. It caused me to retire my road bike for the time being and put slicks on my hardtail...needed the more upright position. I'm still tinkering with saddle fore/aft position on the hardtail...do they do mountain bike fits as well as road?

    You don't have a picture (or link to a picture) of those speed bars, do ya? Sounds interesting.
    These?



  22. #22
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    Those are them, bmike. Thanks. And I should mention that one thing that made the speed bars work for me was the bar end shifters on the bike. Once I was accustomed to the balancing with one hand on the speed bars it was an easy few-inch reach to shift while maintaining that tucked position.
    Last edited by Jim in KC; 10-03-06 at 08:04 AM.

  23. #23
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    Cheshire:Umm...oops(insert small red face).

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