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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-08-05, 11:47 PM   #1
whiteshark
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how comfortable are track bars.

I was wondering if you guys with track bars could tell what you think about them. Are they comfortable? I really like the looks of track bars with big drops and was thinking of putting one on my cannondale criterium. Thanks.
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Old 05-09-05, 12:02 AM   #2
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They ride like a dream.
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Old 05-09-05, 02:18 AM   #3
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I'm curious about it too--I cant see how theyd be that comfy in a good solid climb, thats for sure.
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Old 05-09-05, 05:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteshark
I was wondering if you guys with track bars could tell what you think about them. Are they comfortable? I really like the looks of track bars with big drops and was thinking of putting one on my cannondale criterium. Thanks.
Chase
They are not that comfortable- again, it is fashion over function. Tracks bikes evolved into their design and geometry on the track (where the bank is the closest thing to a hill), not on the road. Track races are almost exclusively ridden in the drops- and the races are very brief. (Even modern six day races aren't even what they once were.) The seat tube angle of a track bike isn't even designed for comfort.

I wouldn't want to ride a hilly 80 miles on track bars... but I'm sure someone will chime in how they are completely comfortable on rainy double-centuries in the mountains. I'm a complete Philistine with no regard for my own "street cred," so you might want to take what I have to say with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, some find that track frame geometry isn't that comfortable, or that riding fixed isn't the easiest way to get from point A to point B. If you want to use them, keep your priorities in mind: do it to be cool. No doubt they look cool.
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Old 05-09-05, 06:32 AM   #5
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i am more comfortable in a nice set of bullhorns. That's just me though I know lots of folks who love their drops
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Old 05-09-05, 07:23 AM   #6
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Track bars tend to come in one width....narrow...so you may not find them comfortable if you have wide shoulders, especially on longer rides. I am fairly wide in the shoulders....I had TTT pista bars on my bike and loved them most of the time. On a ride/race through Holland a few years back I found I was getting numb hands and sore shoulders on the longer days in the saddle...3 hrs plus.
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Old 05-09-05, 08:52 AM   #7
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Please pay attention to what cavernmech wrote. Although there are wider track bars available, a lot of fellows don't pay as much attention to bar width as they should. Makes a world of difference if your shoulders and chest are open as opposed to closed in, as in "I CAN BREATHE!".

Forgot to add: Plus a lot of track bars are not bent for riding the tops. But you would never do that, right?
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Old 05-09-05, 09:28 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input guys. I live in a pretty hilly area so I guess they wouldn't be the best idea. I do ride most of the time in the drops but when I get to some killer hills, I definitely have to stand up.
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Old 05-09-05, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otony
Please pay attention to what cavernmech wrote. Although there are wider track bars available, a lot of fellows don't pay as much attention to bar width as they should. Makes a world of difference if your shoulders and chest are open as opposed to closed in, as in "I CAN BREATHE!".

Forgot to add: Plus a lot of track bars are not bent for riding the tops. But you would never do that, right?

You guys are absolutely correct about bar width, I switched from way too narrow bars to bars that actually fit me and vastly improved my times at the track. If you're looking for really wide ones, I found 44 cm Nittos(B123) at American Cyclery in SF about a year ago.

Last edited by luckycat; 05-09-05 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 05-09-05, 10:08 AM   #10
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I recently switched over to B123's on my track bike riding brakeless and I gotta say the Track drops are a LOT more UNcomfortable than the road drops I had on there previously. In Tallahassee there are some rolling hills and riding the tops are rather annoying since they curve from the clamp all the way to the drops. They weigh a ton compared to modern road drops and don't offer many comfortable hand positions. The only 2 I have found are with my hands close together right at the stem clamp and in the drops. The "hoods" part of the bars drop way to steeply and makes gripping the bar at that spot difficult because you gotta squeeze hard to keep from slipping down the front of the bar.

That said, I love the bars and stem I bought. I would never trade them for anything. They make my bike look faster than I could possibly ride it and while they weigh a lot, they are quite possibly the stiffest bars on the face of the planet. My whole cockpit just feels more solid now and I have a lot more confidence in my riding from the increase in stiffness and control. I bought em cause they look cool, then found out the greatest benefit is a stiff, solid, controlable cockpit that instills confidence in the rider. Many would say to not buy them since you ride on the road and hilly areas and function over form always or the fact that comfort needs to come first. Well I say, I'm 22 years old and invincible
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Old 05-09-05, 10:18 AM   #11
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I love track bars on my fixed. I have two brakes, so I alternate between the tops, hoods of the brakes, & drops. I especially like the drops much better than any other that I've used. I don't mide the shape of the tops, but that could be a problem for some. I have Nitto steel & I don't care about the weight as this is my fun training bike. I rode 102 miles on it yesterday very comfortably.
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Old 05-09-05, 11:32 AM   #12
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I think that when most people associate discomfort with track bars, its due to the width and stem height. If you have b123's, unless you are a very narrow shouldered person, you're not gonna be breathing right. I have some real wide soma bars, and they're awesome cause I get lots of leverage on climbs, and the extra width means there is actually some decent flats up on the top. The super low stem thing, while it looks rad, can make a taller rider very uncomfortable, very fast =p
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Old 05-09-05, 11:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrazieF00
The "hoods" part of the bars drop way to steeply and makes gripping the bar at that spot difficult because you gotta squeeze hard to keep from slipping down the front of the bar.
Have you tried rotating the bars back and up toward you? I usually ride on the shoulders of my 123's because the curve fits so well into my hands while keeping my wrists in a natural position.
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Old 05-09-05, 12:10 PM   #14
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I just got a set of 38mm B123's and I think they're pretty comfortable and I mostly ride the tops. I like the feel of the curves on my hand and don't like gripping really straight surfaces too much. I had some syntace bullhorns that I returned before getting these because I didn't like the straight part of the bullhorns. But to each his own. I would say flipped and cut drops or B123's are both pretty comfortable though I don't much care for regular road bars.
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Old 05-09-05, 12:20 PM   #15
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I don't like the feel of the flats curving away from me. (Actually I'm more used to the reverse: randonneur bars.) So keep this in mind when looking at track bars.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:01 PM   #16
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38mm bars? you have 3.8cm bars on your bike?! perhaps 38cm, which is what I have =P (just being difficult)
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Old 05-09-05, 01:05 PM   #17
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Do most of you guys perfer steel? I was looking at the 3ttt track bars, they are aluminum and pretty light. The nitto aluminum bars are pretty heavy(B123AA). Is aluminum to flexy? I am going to be doing some racing with this bike, so I have to watch the weight a little bit.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:06 PM   #18
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38mm bars? you have 3.8cm bars on your bike?! perhaps 38cm, which is what I have =P (just being difficult)
Actually it is a pixie bike.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:28 PM   #19
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Aluminum is flexy in a sprint but fine for longer races.

I prefer aluminum just because they're so widely available. I've never had steel bars, but I don't have a lot of complaints about aluminum except it flexes jumping off the line or going into a hard climb.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:39 PM   #20
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The aluminum Deda bars are very stiff. Big clamp diameter.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:45 PM   #21
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There was a Cinelli aluminum track bend back in the 80's that I loved to ride, even on the tops. The curve was noticable, but not the end of the world. That being said, er, written, quite a few track bars curve so much that the tops are essentially useless....to me, YMMV.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:52 PM   #22
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i really like the feel of riding on my b123s. when i'm on straight trajectories i generally have my hands right up against the stem on the "flats." for most turns and situations when i need quicker control, i ride on the keirin grips that i have slid up onto the curved areas on the top of the bars (the section where the bar starts to curve away from the stem and go into the drop). i rock the drops in high wind or when i'm sprinting down a hill or some such.

i've only been riding the B123s for a few weeks now, so this might just be due to my being a track drop novice, but i find it harder to do skids than with my insane nitto time trial bullhorns. when i'm riding on the curves (where i have the grips), i feel a little unstable when i pull my body forward and lock my legs. it might be due to the 39cm width of the bars as opposed to the 42 of the horns that i ride, but i think it's mainly due to the grip. I need to figure out how to do it better in the drops -- I sort of feel too low and have trouble pulling off the "nuts to the stem" maneuver.
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Old 05-09-05, 02:16 PM   #23
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I love mine. I'm a bit of a road hazard when I get in the drops, but dang am I fast!
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Old 05-09-05, 02:34 PM   #24
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I've been riding my b123s for about a year and I love them. When I take it easy, I ride in the flats next to the stem. When I'm riding a little more spiritedly, I ride where adamkell described right where the bars start curving away from you so that I have a little more control and an idea of the width of my bars. Then when sprinting I go down into the drops; I'll be the first to admit that I almost never use the drops, but I like that they're there when I need them. I like that my hands kind of slip off of the curves when I'm climbing because it reminds me that I need to get back into the saddle. I know madrid doesn't have the biggest hills, but the city was built on a slant and I live at the top, so my ride home is a series of moderate hills and although I find it exhausting I have never thought of changing my bars back to road drops, bullhorns or risers.

shants, I have found the best place for my hands when I skid is right where the bar curves down into the drops. . . I guess where the hoods would be but just a little further down. My hands don't slip because the bars are supporting my weight at the thighs and not at my hands. The only thing I use my hands for while skidding is to guide my bike. I never skid in the drops unless I am doing an in the saddle skid, but even then I get the. . . I'm going to flip over the bars feeling. I may be alone here but I like my drops more for skidding than any bullhorns I've ridden. The only bar that I have found to have an advantage over my track drops were my risers, because I could pull awesome wheelies with them.
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Old 05-09-05, 04:06 PM   #25
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b125s!!! not as deep as 123s, yet still curvaceous, all hot, all the time!
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