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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 06-23-08, 01:27 PM   #1
Urethane
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Best Bars for CX?

Hi...I'm building up my first CX bike and was wonding which bars are best based on shape and materials...any specifics which are best, ie, aluminum vs. carbon, std (round) vs. wing?

I know it's a matter of what we're used to for the most part however aspects such as carbon's dampening vs. fragility I'm sure are a factor as no one enjoys snapping a bar mid-race even if it gives your hands a break.

Any experience/feedback would be most appreciated!
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Old 06-23-08, 02:55 PM   #2
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I've not tried these, but they have a cult following over here in the UK - On One Midge Bars:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=82928

http://www.roadcyclinguk.com/news/ar...N=1788&SP=&v=1







As you can see, very different to regular drops. Riders here use them for mountain biking and single speed road bikes as well as cyclo. Control and shock absorption are said to be outstanding. I'm told they're quite like the design of the bars on early randeour bikes, when even a lot of the TDF took place on unpaved roads. I'm planning to put them on my Sirrus hack-bike, and then if I like them on the Cotic Roadrat or Uncle John I'm ordering later this year.
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Old 06-23-08, 03:04 PM   #3
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The typical idea would be a flared and shallower bar. Idea being (I guess) that aerodynamics is relatively less important in cross vs road. The typical example is the Salsa Bell Lap bar:


I run a Salsa Short n Shallow bar, very similar but no flare, I am happy with it.
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Old 06-23-08, 03:59 PM   #4
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As you can see, very different to regular drops. Riders here use them for mountain biking and single speed road bikes as well as cyclo. Control and shock absorption are said to be outstanding. I'm told they're quite like the design of the bars on early randeour bikes, when even a lot of the TDF took place on unpaved roads. I'm planning to put them on my Sirrus hack-bike, and then if I like them on the Cotic Roadrat or Uncle John I'm ordering later this year.
On-One Midge bars are fantastic, but the trick is to mount them up as high as possible, almost to the point that the drops are at a level equivalent to where you'd usually ride the flats.


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Old 06-23-08, 08:43 PM   #5
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I have a set of 44 cm Bell Laps as everyone I talked to loves them. I am racing though and find them too wide. I am planning to ride the same bars that are on my road bike this season. Traditional bend al. Ritchey WCS 42 cm bars. I hope i do not miss the flare of the Bell Laps.
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Old 06-24-08, 05:20 AM   #6
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On-One Midge bars are fantastic, but the trick is to mount them up as high as possible, almost to the point that the drops are at a level equivalent to where you'd usually ride the flats.
Yes. One of the things that seems to win people over is that riding in the drops becomes the dominant position, and it's incredibly secure and ergonomic, due to the flare built into the bars. Getting up on the hoods becomes the equivalent of using extensions on MTB bars - a very high leverage position for out of the seat sprinting, but not one you use for long. The other thing to say is that the flaring makes Midges very wide - about 54cm???
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Old 06-24-08, 05:46 AM   #7
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I don't think the Bell Laps are actually all that shallow ... compare the drop w/ some other bars and they look pretty standard. This year I'm going to try out the FSA Wing Pro Shallows. Last year I used some of the Ritchey Pro Biomax II bars. Both of those are shallow bars w/ various funky shapes to make things more comfortable (in theory).
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Old 06-24-08, 06:48 AM   #8
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fwiw, i like regular old road drops. one size wider than on my road bike. it's very much a matter of preference.

my recommendation would be to find some cheapo bars and stems and experiement.

edit: also fwiw, i would not race with carbon bars. this is a really contentious topic and i really don't want to open up a carbon vs. no carbon debate, but for handlebars i don't see the reward (some vibration dampening and a few grams of weight) to outweigh the risks (more abrupt failure mode). plus i don't want to spring for a new pair of carbon bars every time i crash.

Last edited by dirtyphotons; 06-24-08 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 06-24-08, 07:17 AM   #9
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Bars are very personal. What works for one person may feel like crap to another. You rarely see wacky bar set-ups IN races.
When I'm putting a cross bike together for someone, I tell them to use the same bar as they do on their road bike. The biggest issue I had when going back and forth between the road and CX bikes was the difference in the bars. Same bars on both bike...no issue.
Some folks can't tell a difference though, and short reach/shallow drop CX bars work fine for them.

Get a bar that works for YOU!
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Old 06-24-08, 11:04 AM   #10
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Bars are very personal. What works for one person may feel like crap to another. You rarely see wacky bar set-ups IN races.
When I'm putting a cross bike together for someone, I tell them to use the same bar as they do on their road bike. The biggest issue I had when going back and forth between the road and CX bikes was the difference in the bars. Same bars on both bike...no issue.
Some folks can't tell a difference though, and short reach/shallow drop CX bars work fine for them.

Get a bar that works for YOU!
damocles I just bought my first cross bike, I am setting it up with the same controls as my road bike but with less of a drop. Is this how you set yours up?
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Old 06-24-08, 12:14 PM   #11
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damocles I just bought my first cross bike, I am setting it up with the same controls as my road bike but with less of a drop. Is this how you set yours up?
Adam Myerson has some advice:
http://www.cycle-smart.com/coaching/...rossbike1.html
that can be distilled as (1) run the saddle anywhere from road bike height to 1cm lower and (2) flip the stem up.
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Old 06-24-08, 01:10 PM   #12
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When I was building my bike up last summer I was debating changing bars and getting carbon ones. After looking into it a little deeper, I found I was going to pay 3 or 4 times more for a carbon bar that does not way any less than the aluminum bars i was already running. Racing for an hour, I wasn't worried a whole lot about any vibration issues, the race is going to hurt one way or another anyway. I'd personally stay away from winged bars, the awkward hand position, plus mud and wet conditions spells disaster in my mind if you need to use the tops of your bars for anything. I liked the little bit of flair in the bell laps because it made it easier for me to grab the end of the bars once the bike was on my shoulder....

just my opinion, I think most of what is said above from others is good advice
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Old 06-24-08, 06:34 PM   #13
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Adam Myerson has some advice:
http://www.cycle-smart.com/coaching/...rossbike1.html
that can be distilled as (1) run the saddle anywhere from road bike height to 1cm lower and (2) flip the stem up.
That's pretty much how I'm going. I'm going to leave the stem 'unflipped' as I will have 1.5cm more stack height. If that doesn't work then I'll flip it.
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Old 06-24-08, 08:02 PM   #14
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Great advice...thanks everyone!

I'll post pics of it when completed.
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