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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 10-19-05, 11:18 PM   #1
mattface
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good stiff climbing bars?

I live at the top of a fairly steep hill. I used the old road drops on my conversion primarily because I wanted to get it built with as many on hand parts as possible, but tonight stomping home from the bar in the drops I could hear the bars creaking over the music playing on my MP3 player. That musta been some loud creaking.

Stomping is a necessary evil if I'm ever gonna get home on my fixed, so I'm thinking some pretty stiff bars might be in order. I've been thinking about bullhorns because I think getting on the ends of the bulls might be a better position for climbing, but even so they need to be really stiff.

Does anyone have any recommendations for bars for heavy climbing? A further consideration is that I would like to keep using the original stem if possible. I'm not sure what the bar diameter is, but it's early/mid seventies vintage, and the bolts are SASE so I'm guessing inch.
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Old 10-20-05, 05:40 AM   #2
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I prefer bullhorns for climbing . I never really felt that comfortable on the tops of drops when really getting into a good climb . I use the cheep Nashbar ones . Although they are slightly bent form a crash and sometimes feel a little noodlely on the really really steep stuff . They have not given me any problems or creaking . I will probably end up getting the steel nitto bullhorns one of these days anyway just to add a little stiffness.
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Old 10-20-05, 06:45 AM   #3
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Cut old steel road bars, or if you are feeling sacriligious Nittos, are probably the stiffest bullhorns you will find. Most of the ones they sell like Profiles and Syntaces are aluminum and kinda flexy. I had some old steel bars that I cut which were noticably stiffer. Also cut bars are shorter which adds to the stiffness. When you get out on the flat extensions of most bullhorns you notice the flex the most.
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Old 10-20-05, 06:55 AM   #4
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chop and flops don't have enough extension for my tastes, so I will probably go with proper TT bars (bullhorns).

I guess I need either steel bars or OS aluminum. I wonder if anyone makes an OS quill stem.
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Old 10-20-05, 07:50 AM   #5
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Creaking doesn't necessarily have anything to do with stiffness. I'd lubricate the clamp bolt at the bar clamp on the stem, clean off the bar and stem on the surfaces where they make contact, and even put a tiny bit of oil on the connection (your stem is going to clamp down well on the bars regardless). And is the creaking in your bars or is it sound coming from the headset, the front wheel, cranks, or especially your saddle? Noise travels around and can be a bear to track down.

If you still don't think you have stiffness, try the following:

1. Quill stem? It won't be as stiff if you have a lot of it sticking out of the fork steer tube.
2. Check your stem for stiffness. Often it's the stem that's actually generating a lot of flexibility. If the bars move a bit, remember that they absorb a lot of what otherwise becomes rather tiring or even painful road vibration. Ride a pair of steel Nitto bars on the road once, and you'll see what I mean. Also, try a 31.8 mm handlebar diameter rather than 25.4 or 26.0 -- the bike world is pretty much switching to 31.8 anyway, and it does make for a beefier and stiffer stem-to-bar clamp.
3. If you change your bars, there's a wide range in the aluminum alloys used. If you get bars like Deda 215 or Magic's, they're made with alloys that are very strong and stiff. Old bars like old-style Cinelli's, 3T's from the 80's, etc., are drawn from a very soft aluminum that definitely flexes more. But there's a trade-off. The stiffer alloys will crack if hit hard, while the older bars just bend; if you want to ride away from a fall, the latter is safer. And again, they transmit a lot less road buzz to you. I don't think there's any reason why someone has to ride Nitto steel on the road.
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Old 10-20-05, 08:16 AM   #6
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It might be the stem creaking. I'm, not sure how much of it is in the headset. it's not the seatpost that's for sure, because I'm never in the saddle when the bars are creaking. They do flex a lot though. I can see them move.
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