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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 04-17-12, 12:05 PM   #1
Trunk Monkey
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Woodchipper bars on a CX Bike?

I know there is currently another "what bars?" thread currently. I read it and learned a couple of things. As far as I could tell from that thread there isn't much difference in the types of bars commonly used. I know that some people are big fans of the Woodchipper style bars made by Salsa. How common are these in CX? Are they still too "mountain bikeish" for any "real" cross rider to consider?

My application/background:

At first I was building a commuter oriented bike with strong leaning toward CX. But I realized I was wanting too much from one bike and decided to build 2. I'm currently doing a tour in the military so I have the extra cash and I enjoy spending my free time researching parts (most of this is pretty new to me). I buy a LOT of parts on eBay and I've had pretty good luck since I can afford to be patient. The first bike started as a Trek Fitness bike and morphed into a Soma Double Cross that still has riser bars and I'm thinking of adding fenders too. I've literally replaced every part on the Trek and now I just need to transfer those to the Soma. I'm giving the Trek to my wife after I reassemble it.

The second bike we'll call the "CX" will be built to be faster than the Soma with less extras but it will be used mainly for commuting when the weather is nice and I feel like getting around a little faster. I've already got a titanium fame and fork (something I really wanted) and I have a ballpark idea of what type of parts I want on the rest of the bike except for the bars. This will be my first drop bar bike so I really don't have any personal experience to go on. Definitely going the brifter route with whatever I choose.

Thanks for the input,
TM

Update... my bad I just reread the other thread I mentioned and the woodchipper bars are specifically discussed. I failed to see that the first time (although I do remember skimming other parts of the post). In that post it mentions that the WC bars are ideally suited for mtb geometry. Any input as to the negative I might notice if used w/ CX geometry? I'll go ahead and leave this post up in hopes for input specific to my app. Thanks again

Last edited by Trunk Monkey; 04-17-12 at 12:14 PM. Reason: read update
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Old 04-17-12, 01:06 PM   #2
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There are a few people locally who race CX with Woodchippers. One guy in particular has been outspoken about the advantages they offer in terms of handling. I dismissed him as a mountain biker.

To answer your question about bars and geometry, I think it's a question of reach. For a bike to fit well, the reach from the weight-bearing portion of the saddle to the primary hand position on the handlebars is the key measurement. With traditional drop bars, this is more or less effective top tube + stem length + bar reach. For mountain bikes with flat bars it's just effective top tube + stem length since the bars have no reach. Woodchippers have a nominal reach of about 80mm, which is similar to normal drop bars, but the typical hand position is on the drops, not the hoods, so they are effectively a little further back. I'd guess they fit somewhere between drop bars and flat bars. Probably with an appropriately sized stem they would work well on a CX bike.
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Old 04-17-12, 01:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Trunk Monkey View Post
I know there is currently another "what bars?" thread currently. I read it and learned a couple of things. As far as I could tell from that thread there isn't much difference in the types of bars commonly used. I know that some people are big fans of the Woodchipper style bars made by Salsa. How common are these in CX? Are they still too "mountain bikeish" for any "real" cross rider to consider?
Not to be rude, but if you're not going to be racing it (sounds like it's supposed to be mainly a commuter, what do you care what racers think? I get it though that if it was the best, you'd think that's what they'd be using, so asking about racers is sort of asking about whether experts think they work well. I am sort of curious about them as well, but I'm not really into bar end shifters at the moment and I'd heard woodchippers don't play as well with brifters (which is what I want to try next as I figure out what works best for me). I don't know where I'd heard that about brifters and don't remember all the reasons, but that might be something someone with experience with them can comment on and tell me I'm either misremembering or whoever told me that was full of it (or not).
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Old 04-17-12, 01:29 PM   #4
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I have both sizes of Woodchipper. I'm using a 42 on a touring bike and a 46 on a Monstercross bike. I'm 6' 0" and use a 44mm size FSA Compact on my road bike.

Overall, I like the Woodchippers. I use them differently than the FSA Compact on my road bike. I spend most of my time on the hoods of the brifters with the Woodchipper, where I spend more time on the drops with the FSA Compact on my road bike. Riding on the hoods always feel comfortable, I like having my wrist perfectly straight and the shape of the Woodchipper allows that.

The 46 is very wide at the drops for normal riding. The width feels stable when crawling along on singletrack, but I don't like having my hands and arm out-wide while descending at higher speeds.

The 42 avoids this problem and still offers added stability while on single track.

46mm wide;



42mm wide;

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Old 04-17-12, 02:31 PM   #5
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There are a few people locally who race CX with Woodchippers. One guy in particular has been outspoken about the advantages they offer in terms of handling. I dismissed him as a mountain biker.
I always get a kick out of that humor. I never owned an MTB, in fact the Trek was the first multispeed bike I ever owned. I did grow up on a BMX/Street bike many years ago though.

Thanks for the excellent explanation. I think I might try the WC bars. Just to clarify, the WC bars might need a LONGER than normal stem?

My brain tells me to wait to set the bike up and ride the thing a while (probably using a shorter stem since that seems to be my preference) and then decide what length stem would be ideal. My heart says "hey lets see if we can get a good deal on an awesome titanium stem on eBay." Finding shorter Ti stems seems to be tricky so the choice of WC bars might make it easier. Regardless the smart thing to do would be to buy the bars I want and get a stem that would position them perfectly. Now I'm off to find some WC bars on eBat, LOL.


Thanks so much
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Old 04-17-12, 02:41 PM   #6
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I have both sizes of Woodchipper. I'm using a 42 on a touring bike and a 46 on a Monstercross bike. I'm 6' 0" and use a 44mm size FSA Compact on my road bike.

Overall, I like the Woodchippers. I use them differently than the FSA Compact on my road bike. I spend most of my time on the hoods of the brifters with the Woodchipper, where I spend more time on the drops with the FSA Compact on my road bike. Riding on the hoods always feel comfortable, I like having my wrist perfectly straight and the shape of the Woodchipper allows that.
How do you like the STI levers on the Woodchippers? I feel like it'd be awkward on them, and I've mostly seen the Woodchippers and other dirt drops setup with bar-end shifters. I'm currently brainstorming about my Crux's setup for next season, and I'm thinking about Woodchippers, though I'll probably end up sticking with a compact road drop like last season.
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Old 04-17-12, 04:06 PM   #7
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Just to clarify, the WC bars might need a LONGER than normal stem?
In theory, yes, but that theory depends on how you use them. The bars seem to lend themselves to a wide range of riding styles and stem length is all about comfort. My main point was that with the right stem (whatever that may be) you'll be able to make it work. My suggestion would be to try them out with a stem you already have or one you can borrow or get for cheap. Then when you know what you want you can pull the trigger on a really nice stem. An adjustable stem could be a very handy intermediate choice.

I've collected a variety of stems for this exact purpose and am currently in the process of figuring out what kind of stem I want on two different bikes. I've crunched numbers comparing geometry of these bikes to the geometry of other bikes that are comfortable to get me in the ballpark, but at the end of the day only miles on the road are going to tell you what really feels good.
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Old 04-17-12, 07:47 PM   #8
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How do you like the STI levers on the Woodchippers? I feel like it'd be awkward on them, and I've mostly seen the Woodchippers and other dirt drops setup with bar-end shifters. I'm currently brainstorming about my Crux's setup for next season, and I'm thinking about Woodchippers, though I'll probably end up sticking with a compact road drop like last season.
The brifters work well with the Woodchippers, as well as when used with compact drops.
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Old 04-17-12, 07:59 PM   #9
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Just thought I'd throw in a bar I was looking at, you seen the 'midge'
From on-one?
There's an even more extreme version called the 'mungo' also.
I think brifters would not play well with the mungo though.
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