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Old 04-20-06, 08:39 AM   #1
srrs
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how wide are your bars/shoulders?

So conventional wisdom says that you ride with your handlebars at the width of your shoulders, right? But I've heard that for touring, wider bars are better - to the degree that lots of people like moustache or other non-drop-type bars, which tend towards much wider.

I can see the reasoning for shoulder-width or narrower bars on a normal road bike, especially to zip in and out of traffic. But it seems like on a touring bike the extra width would be more comfortable, and make steering the weight of the bike w/ panniers easier.

So I was wondering, are your bars the same width as your shoulders? wider? narrower? Not traditional drop bars? Have you made a switch to wider or narrower bars? Was the switch a good decision? Why?

In my own case, I used to ride 42cm drop bars, (my shoulders are ~41cm) then switched to moustache bars. Now I'm switching back to drops, and because I'm used to the width of moustache bars, I ordered 44cm drops. I'm hoping that was the right decision.
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Old 04-20-06, 09:56 AM   #2
bikerlee
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Hi,
Loaded touring bikes and tandems benefit from wider bars, in my experience. The longer lever helps with the weight. I ride with wider bars on the tandem and tourer than my racing bike.
Regards,
Lee
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Old 04-20-06, 11:35 AM   #3
jcm
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I had 44cm (17"+) drops on my Trek 520. I ended up using 23" North Road bars. My shoulders are about 22" between rotators. The bike is much less twitchy in traffic and handles superbly on the road.
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Old 04-20-06, 12:20 PM   #4
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I first used to use 44cm Morphe bars - which see fine on day trips, but after a few days tour, I got hand pains.

When I built up a cross bike, I thought extra width would be needed for stability, so I tried 46cm Morphe bars, but those made the hand problem apparent on even short rides.

I now have 42cm Morphe bars on both my bikes. ( All bars were deliberately the same make and model - so I was only changing one parameter )

Holding the hoods predominantly from outside rather inside seems to have solved the hand problem and the grip also gives more positive control.
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Old 04-20-06, 01:09 PM   #5
srrs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraMan
Holding the hoods predominantly from outside rather inside seems to have solved the hand problem and the grip also gives more positive control.
how did you hold the hoods "from the inside?" you mean with your thumbs on the bottom? did the bar width change how you hold your bars?
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Old 04-20-06, 01:59 PM   #6
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With the wider bars, my weight seemed to push my wrists downward and inwards - so I was pushing the bar ends apart.

With the narrow bars, it is more like squeezing the bars with an inward pressure. This gives me a better feeling of control ( and comfort ).

The grip and thumbs are 'normal' just found that a slight change of grip position can make a big difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srrs
how did you hold the hoods "from the inside?" you mean with your thumbs on the bottom? did the bar width change how you hold your bars?
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Old 04-22-06, 12:05 AM   #7
wsexson
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Originally Posted by srrs
So I was wondering, are your bars the same width as your shoulders? wider? narrower? Not traditional drop bars?
My LHT has 46cm Salsa Moto Ace Bell Lap cyclocross drop bars. They are about 52cm at the ends of the drops. My shoulders are a bit over 50cm, so basically all bars are narrower than my shoulders at the hoods. I don't mind the 46cm bars on my road bike, but I do appreciate the extra flare on my LHT from time to time.
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