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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 04-09-10, 10:44 AM   #1
jcoulighan
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Handlebar questions

My current handlebars are uncomfortable for me. They're old straightforward road drops, with almost no flare. When I'm in the drops, I'm constantly bumping my forearms against the top flats, where the curve begins. I have another bike with randonneur bars, which are more comfortable, since the flared drops put my wrists outside the flats. But they're a good deal wider than I'd like, and the drops are too shallow.

Basically, I'm wondering if anyone knows of track-style drop bars, with drops that flare outwards more than usual. Ideally, even with the flare, they would be pretty narrow (my current bar is 39cm by my measurement, and I'd like a new one which is no wider - even narrower would be better.)

I've been considering the Soma Major Taylor 38cm bars (see here) but I'm not sure how they're measured. Handlebar width is usually measured center-to-center at the middle of the curves, as opposed to center-to-center at the bar ends, right? Since the Major Taylors flare out so much, would this make them much wider than 38cm at their widest (i.e. if you measured the distance between the bar ends)?

If anyone knows the answer to that question, or has any other handlebar recommendations for me, it would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 04-09-10, 11:00 AM   #2
TejanoTrackie 
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If your forearms are hitting tops, that indicates that your position on the bike is incorrect and not that the bars are the problem. The only way this can happen is if you're body is way forward and your arms are extended straight upwards. The reason for the curvature of the tops of track bars is to permit riders to do standing starts from the drops whilst positioning their body forward and their arms straight upwards. When I ride my road bike on the drops, my arms are bent and my forearms extend backwards, avoiding contact with the ends of the tops. You may also rotate your bars such that the drops slope more downwards towards the rear of the bike.
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Old 04-09-10, 11:06 AM   #3
gitarzan
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You joined in June 2009 and that's your first post?
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Old 04-09-10, 11:45 AM   #4
jcoulighan
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TejanoTrackie - thanks, and I'm sure you're correct. I'm a hobbyist, not a racer, and I'm sure that my technique is poor. Nonetheless I'd like to change my handlebar setup - I ride in the city, so I'm often out of the saddle. When I need to accelerate quickly from a standstill, or slow down by standing on the pedals, or to get a better view of traffic, I'm up forward out of the saddle with my arms straight - and with the condition of the roads in my neighborhood, I'm often rattling around, bumping my forearms. Because of the environment I ride in, I can't really avoid it.

I used to live in the country, where traffic was less of an issue, and so I wasn't out of the saddle for quick bursts of speed quite so often. I had no problem then, and I was able to concentrate on maintaining proper technique. Nowadays I'm mostly commuting/joyriding in the inner city, under heavy traffic, with intersections every 300ft, so maintaining good technique is not only impossible, but also largely beside the point. I'm also aware that in the city it would be more practical to ride more upright, on the flats, or with bullhorns or riser bars, but I really enjoy being down low in the drops and I ride a bicycle as much for pleasure as for any other reason.

Last edited by jcoulighan; 04-09-10 at 11:48 AM.
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