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  1. #1
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    Handlebars... Too many to choose from

    I just recently got into road cycling after years of mountain biking. I picked up a Trek 1.5 with the triple up front and I have been loving it so far, but obviously I have been wanting to tweak some things especially with all of the after christmas sales going on. One thing I have been looking into changing are the bars. My local bike shop is having a pretty good sale on bars right now- some easton, 3t and some other good brands. The only problem is I have no clue what I am looking for I just know there has to be room for improvement over my Bontrager stock bars. I ride a good bit with a lot of nice climbs and pretty quick descents and I spend most of my time in the drops if that helps for what I need. I'll talk to the guys at the bike shop when I go back to look tomorrow, but I was going to see what everyone on here said first. Should there be a general dimension that I should look for, or is there a go to bar that everyone uses? Should I just go with what is on sale at my LBS or just wait it out and get something proven online?

    Thanks in advance for all of the help.

  2. #2
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    I prefer the bars with the wide/wing tops such as FSA Wing Pros, 3T Ergonovas, Easton EC90 Ergo's, etc. I have medium-large hands and they are very comfortable especially when on very long sustained mountain climbs.

  3. #3
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    I bought the Pro Vibe 7S because of the great reviews it got. It is a light aluminum handlebar, using the 7050 aluminum that you see from any product that is light aluminum. It's not far off from the weight of carbon. Every review I've read so far has been extremely positive with little to no negatives. Some reviews say they can't think of a negative as Pro Vibe 7S does and have everything they could want from an aluminum handlebar. Also claims that it is the preferred handlebar of some Grand Tour pros. Not that should matter, it's your comfort and fit, but that just shows it is a quality product that even pros depend on.

    I don't race at all, and not an expert biker. I have not owned carbon handlebars, I only have the stock handlebar it came with. What I can say is I love the compact II design. It's much easier to grip on the drop and it is light. The thickness on the top rail is great for climbing, very comfortable. They extend the 31.8 thickness the entire top. And it is stiff, but then the only other handlebar I have is very stiff too. Overall I thought it was a great purchase. Lucky for me I'm below average size. 40cm is the perfect size for me. Nashbar has it on massive sale. But I see great prices on Ebay also.

    I liked it enough that I bought the Pro 7S Vibe stem also. Got that off Ebay, free shipping for $35 brand new. Older model than the newest, but still nice. It's the same model that I read the reviews from though. Gotta love the Chinese ebay sellers, the best. Process and shipped for free in 2 days. No one but NewEgg I've found in the US can match Chinese Ebay for service, processing and shipping.

  4. #4
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    You go with whatever is the most comfortable for you. If there was a "best" one they wouldn't make all those different models would they?

  5. #5
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    I think you can buy from online for a lot less than what an LBS will charge safely.

    Really the only two things you need to worry about IMO is the drop design. Compact, round, ergo or anatomica. I found some compact handlebars two squishy, my hands felt squished and my palms couldn't grip 'em, that's me. Pro 7S is perfect for me. Anatomica was too straight and odd when reaching for the brakes/shifter. The other issue would be width. Just remember, narrower = more control, wider = less. You won't be able to turn as fast with wider width. Some go 2 cm more than the two bones on your shoulder, others go 2cm less. I went 2cm less. Some claim that narrower = more speed, more aerodynamic and your shoulders are naturally pulled inward more. I don't race so didn't matter much. I just found it easier on my shoulders and elbow than on a wider handlebar.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Unless you are trying to address a specific problem, you will be throwing away money. If you have an uncomfortable spot now, address it specifically with a certain bar. If you just want different name on it, permanent markers are cheaper.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MegaTom's Avatar
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    You say there's room for improvement on the stock bars.. so what don't you like about 'em? The right handlebar for you is the one that addresses that.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    Unless you are trying to address a specific problem, you will be throwing away money. If you have an uncomfortable spot now, address it specifically with a certain bar. If you just want different name on it, permanent markers are cheaper.
    Nearly everyone claims most important in a bike regardless of brand or material is the fit and comfort. Since handlebar is something you hold onto pretty much 100% of the time, just as you sit on your saddle, how can you possibly say that? Are you also saying that buying a saddle that fits you better is also throwing away money?

  9. #9
    Senior Member MegaTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
    Nearly everyone claims most important in a bike regardless of brand or material is the fit and comfort. Since handlebar is something you hold onto pretty much 100% of the time, just as you sit on your saddle, how can you possibly say that? Are you also saying that buying a saddle that fits you better is also throwing away money?
    Addressing a specific problem would include fit and comfort. If the current handlebar fits and is comfortable, and is not broken, and meets the needs of the rider in every other way (Assuming there isn't something that the OP is leaving out here).... then what is there left to address that a new bar would fix?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaTom View Post
    Addressing a specific problem would include fit and comfort. If the current handlebar fits and is comfortable, and is not broken, and meets the needs of the rider in every other way (Assuming there isn't something that the OP is leaving out here).... then what is there left to address that a new bar would fix?
    How would he know if there isn't a better fit and comfort if he doesn't shop around and try some handlebars? If you only ride stock, how do you know that is the best fit?

    I would agree that if he discovers his current provides the same level of comfort and fit as the aftermarket parts, then it's a waste of money if he just wants bragging rights that he has a 3T Ergo whatever blah blah bs than his bontrager.

    But you also would throw away cosmetic? My handlebar definitely was an improvement. Both hill climbing on top and grip on the drop. But I got the stem to match the handlebar.
    Last edited by zymphad; 01-07-14 at 05:47 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
    Nearly everyone claims most important in a bike regardless of brand or material is the fit and comfort. Since handlebar is something you hold onto pretty much 100% of the time, just as you sit on your saddle, how can you possibly say that? Are you also saying that buying a saddle that fits you better is also throwing away money?
    Read what I wrote again. Slower this time. If you have a specific fit complaint, and something isn't working in your current bars, then ask that question. We can offer meaningful solutions. If you want bars just to get bars, then it is easy to waste money. Just like on saddles. Just like on wheels. Just like on shoes especially.

    OP, sometimes just moving where your shifters are mounted by fractions of an inch, and how the bars are rotated, can make a massive difference. If you are just looking for different bars, Dead RHM02 are cheap compact aluminum bars with aero tops.

  12. #12
    Senior Member MegaTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
    How would he know if there isn't a better fit and comfort if he doesn't shop around and try some handlebars? If you only ride stock, how do you know that is the best fit?
    Do you not know your body well enough to figure out whether you're comfortable or not? If one is unsure of their fit on the bike, you'd be better throwing your money into a pro fitting instead of randomly buying handlebars without even a goal in mind.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigJeff's Avatar
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    Rotate first...

    move shifters....

    change bar tape...

    flip/slam stem.... (unflip/unslam stem....)


    rotate bars more/less move shifters....


    but changing the bar itself is a far later step.

    A carbon seat post is better money spent.

  14. #14
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    I just assumed that it was like mountain biking. The first thing I changed on my Trek Session was a more aggressive bar from truvativ. I just assumed that I would want a more aggressive and\or better fitting bar than what comes stock from Trek. It is pretty obvious that the bars I have right now are wide open for improvement. They are pretty wide, the reach to the shifters/brakes are weird and forced (could be solved by moving them slightly, but it is really an odd maneuver at the moment) and weight(??). I like my saddle just fine and that's where the majority of complaints with the 1.5 are, but the bars just seem to be far too conservative. I just didn't really know what bars to even begin to look at- didn't want to start the normal forum fight about wasting money or whatever. The bike has been great so far, but if I could pick up a pair of good bars for dirt cheap on the big sale at my LBS I just figured it was worth a shot if anyone had any suggestions. Thanks to those who gave some good suggestions. I'll see if they have any of those when I go back tomorrow.

  15. #15
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    I already went with some really good Sram tape, but that didn't really help with any of the issues above or add much comfort over the tape that was on there. Also, I got the bike used for a good deal so I freed up some funds to tinker with what I wanted to on the bike when I got it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    The biggest improvement I ever made to my bike was shallow drop handlebars. And I never even thought of my old handlebars as being a problem.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  17. #17
    King Hoternot bianchi10's Avatar
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    If you spend time in the drops, I find the first thing to look at is forearm clearance. When you are in the drops, some bars tend to hot your arms or make it difficult to comfortably be on the drop bars. I'll recommend ritchey, 3t ergonova's and FSA Kforce compact bars.

  18. #18
    Senior Member buffalowings's Avatar
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    It it ain't broke. Don't fix it.

    I have no problems with the stock compact bars that came with my bike, but jenson had Easton EC70 bars for $60. Really hard to resist, but if I bought them, they would have fit worse than the stock bars (ergo bars and small hands do not mix).
    Noooooo! My thread!! -_________- http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/896498-Do-you-pack-quot-heat-quot-while-cycling

  19. #19
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    While we are here... What is the difference between compact, anatomic, ergo, etc....

  20. #20
    Senior Member buffalowings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdoran View Post
    While we are here... What is the difference between compact, anatomic, ergo, etc....
    anatomic and ergonomic bars are pretty much the same thing. standard/normal bars have none of the ergo forming stuff. While class compact bars have less drop then traditional bars.
    From the sound of it, I wouldn't recommend buying an aftermarket bar yet, because it doesn't seem like you know what you want to improve and what can offer those improvements.
    Noooooo! My thread!! -_________- http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/896498-Do-you-pack-quot-heat-quot-while-cycling

  21. #21
    Senior Member GuitarBob's Avatar
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    If you're like me, once I get an idea in my head about wanting a change, it won't leave me along until it's changed.

    Like a few others, once I tried compacts (FSA Omega, which has a round rather than flat profile near the stem) I knew that I found what I was looking for.

    Here's a site with useful information on different shapes:

    http://ruedatropical.com/2009/03/roa...-bar-geometry/

  22. #22
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    For me, the key to comfort is a neutral wrist, as in wrist in line with forearm, when I am on the hoods and when in the drops. So I buy bar shapes that let my wrist not be kinked in the drops. I mount the bars with no shifters, get the reach and drop I want via the stem and headset spacers, and make sure the drtops are comfy without a stupid artist kink. For me, compact and traditional have curvature that works with my hand size and needed position. Ergonomic bars always fit wrote ng in my hand.

    Then I mount the shifters far enough up the bar so that my wrist is in line on the hoods. Some people go for looks, I go for comfort. Then I check for brake reach in the drops. Part of hood comfort for me is rotating the shifters inward.

    This is why all of say this is a process. On flat bars, I do no rise, 3 angle in one plane, I rotate that downward, and cvut tyhed bar the shortest that my shifters, brake levers, and grips will allow. I know no one else who does this. Bars for any bike are personal.

  23. #23
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    Thanks for all of the help guys. I'll probably hold off on bars for now unless I really just can't take it anymore as I begin to ride more and more.

  24. #24
    Senior Member BigJeff's Avatar
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    Oh well... let's skip the fit adjustment discussion and go straight to "what's hot or not" and plan on being able to transfer your bling bits to a mew frame in the future.

    http://www.bikebling.com/Road-bike-h...=229&maxprice=

    Check out the Shimano PRO Vibe, only 190g with a decent price, but the Cinelli and Deda bars are sexier.

    get a stem and seat post to match. Even a 1.5 can totally be transformed by components.

  25. #25
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    Ride the ones you have for a while and figure out what you don't like. My current road bike came with ergo bars. I like to ride with flat tops that transition right into the hoods and the ergo bars didn't really allow for that and have the drops be useful in the same position. I rode them for a while and somebody here suggested FSA Omega compact and i think they're great. Even switched to compact bars on my commuter.

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