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  1. #1
    Senior Member bismillah's Avatar
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    40cm vs 42cm vs 44cm handlebars

    I feel that my bars are a little too wide and I want a bit more compact, aero, position.

    What are the trade-offs/benefits to these bar sizes?


    I've heard wide bars are good for sprinting and breathing

    PS. I already used the search engine.

  2. #2
    AEO
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    Senior Member AEO's Avatar
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    entirely personal preference.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  3. #3
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    Generally, crit riders use narrower bars to be able to sneak into holes without hitting their bars, but it is usually a question of preference.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  4. #4
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    I run 41s. My shoulders are reasonably wide for my height (5'7"). I could go 42-43 cm easily, and I rode Cinelli 44s (c-c, would be 45 outside-outside). I found that the wider bars are nice for long, steady rides. For the "up close and personal" stuff I like the narrower bars. I used to swap bars for the winter but haven't done that for a few years.

    cdr

  5. #5
    The bus, Gus mrvile's Avatar
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    I run 40's. I held my bars up to my shoulders and the ends of the bars touch the ends of my shoulders exactly. I don't do any sort of specific riding, so my bar width preference is entirely dependent on my shoulder width.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    entirely personal preference.
    2nd this notion. Don't get locked into anything on a bike because that's what the pros use or because some formula says that's what you need. Those are places to start, not ironbound rules.
    Just for example, most formulas for bar width say I should ride a 44, which is wider than most off-the-rack bikes come with. I rode 44s or 42s for more than 30 years, and thought I was comfortable. When I built my midlife crisis bike from scratch, I saw a set of 50cm bars in a clearance sale at Nashbar and added them to a large order, figuring I'd put them on my singlespeed or something just to try them. When they arrived, I liked them so much I put them on my "real" bike and ordered another set for the SS. They look fine on a 64cm frame and are super-comfortable all the time.

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    hold em up to your shoulder blades and see if they match

  8. #8
    Still can't climb
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    entirely personal preference.
    i've used 44, 42 and a much narrower one that came wih the bike. I have liked and disliked all of them at one time or another.
    coasting, few quotes are worthy of him, and of those, even fewer printable in a family forum......quote 3alarmer

  9. #9
    On Tralfmadore saba's Avatar
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    I stick with one size across bikes. I like all of my components to match as close as possible including sizes of cranks, stems, bar width etc...Like to fit the bike around me not vice versa
    I was really into bestiality, sadomasochism, and necrophilia, but then I realized I was just beating a dead horse

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bismillah View Post
    I feel that my bars are a little too wide and I want a bit more compact, aero, position.

    What are the trade-offs/benefits to these bar sizes?


    I've heard wide bars are good for sprinting and breathing

    PS. I already used the search engine.
    The stuff about sprinting and breathing is basically nonsense. Narrow bars don't make breathing any harder. They do make you more aero, but by how much, really? Ride what you like.

  11. #11
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I think the 44's are wider.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rouleour's Avatar
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    44cm. Tues. and Thursdays

    42cm. the rest of the days.

    40cm. not a big fan!

  13. #13
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    I'll pipe up and say that depending on how comfortable you are in a field, narrower bars will give you a bit more of an option when snaking through gaps. Yes, the bars are not the widest part of the bike (you are, and your knuckles are usually on the outside of the bars), and, yes, it's only 2 cm at a time, but with a narrower bar I feel more comfortable going through smaller gaps (maybe 2-4 inches total clearance, or 10-20 cm). I'll tilt the bike slightly to narrow it up (just like stunt planes will tilt their wings to become "narrower" when flying, say, through the Arc de Triomphe), stand and turn my hips, even coast (pedaling makes my bike move just a touch more). My goal is never to contact another rider, no matter how tight it is, but still make it through the hole.

    If you race regularly you'll find yourself optimizing the bike for races, and this is one area where I've decided to optimize for races.

    cdr

  14. #14
    Lost AngryScientist's Avatar
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    another vote for personal preference. for some reason i cant fully describe, narrower bars just feel better to me.

  15. #15
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    At the moment I run 44cm bars, but they feel too wide. My hybrid drop bars hood width is 39cm and they are very comfortable so I am switching to 40cm bars. As said before, use what is comfortable.

  16. #16
    Senior Member nayr497's Avatar
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    My neck gets sore if the bars are too narrow. I have some 40/41 Deda Newton anatomical bars that are too narrow for me. If you'd like to try that size out, they are just collecting dust in my closet. PM me.

  17. #17
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    I've run 40's to 46's and I can feel a difference when out in the wind, with the wider bars. So if TT'ing is important to you or you ride solo in the wind a lot, consider narrower.

    OTOH, the leverage feel of wide bars is way better for steep climbs and some sprinting situations. If you sprint mainly seated and spinning, narrower could be fine. I like to stand and stomp, so the wider feels better to me.
    "have fun and be kind"
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  18. #18
    Lint Picker toshi's Avatar
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    I used to run 42s, but I moved to 40s. Wider bars add reach to the cockpit. I was just on the edge of my fit, and narrower bars made the difference. Wider bars put a little more stress on my upper back and neck, because there was a tendency for my head to drop down. When my shoulders are closer together this isn't an issue.

    The other things I thought I was compromising on (better breathing, more leverage) haven't really materialized... I think in the real world the idea of more leverage is mostly psychological (thought this isn't necessarily a bad thing). Look at track racers with super narrow bars -- they're out of the saddle all the time and generate massive power.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purp View Post
    hold em up to your shoulder blades and see if they match
    If they don't, something is wrong with your shoulders and you should get them looked at.

  20. #20
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Preference.

    I recently switch all my bars over to 44 compacts from 42 regular drops. I find them more comfortable. It's because I'm fat though.

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