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Old 01-12-09, 04:33 PM   #1
kawasakiguy37
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Best handlebars for Touring?

Ive been upgrading an old touring bike (1980s Lotus excelle) and Im now in need of fenders and handlebars. I have drops on it now, but I want something more unique looking that will still be good for touring. So far Ive been looking at mustache and butterfly styles, is there anything else (no straightbars please!)? Which of the two do you guys prefer? Finally, wheres the cheapest I can get a shiny (non black painted) version of each? I want to only handlebar tape part of the bars.
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Old 01-12-09, 04:51 PM   #2
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I prefer drop bars by far. I used to like flat bars, but after using drops for awhile I now find the flat bar position to be rather uncomfortable. Go figure.

You can also put Fizik bar-gel pads on your drop bars (or any bar that uses tape) for extra comfort, they're working well for me.

I wouldn't worry about "looking unique," I'd go with whatever offers you the hand positions that work for you.
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Old 01-12-09, 04:53 PM   #3
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Bullhorns are nice, like drops but simpler. For me, I only use the bottom of the drop bars to look cool when I pass someone else.
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Old 01-12-09, 05:02 PM   #4
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Ok so lemme get this straight. You're mostly interested in a look here, specifically one which is unique, and shiny. Hoi polloi concerns like comfort, ehh, not so important. And you don't want to pay for it.

I have just the thing for you. Get a set of Origin-8 Gary handlebars, which are cheap knockoffs of On-One midges, which are quality knockoffs of the mythic WTB Dirt Drops. Then get a pack of sandpaper and shiny them yourself.

Or, if you dig the moustache bars, you can get a quality steel pair unpainted with a nice clearcoat at Nashbar. $25.

Last edited by Thasiet; 01-12-09 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 01-12-09, 05:12 PM   #5
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You might take a look at ...

Nitto Noodle bars. I used to ride Cinelli 66s -- great big drops. The Nittos have a smaller drop, and the bars are configured to have long ramps behind the brake hoods, where my hands seem to like to spend the most time.

Flat or mtn. bars just don't work for me. Think about how your hands naturally hang at your sides. Palms aft? or facing into your thighs? That's what you want to look for. Bar-ends are a solution to an unnecessary problem. Ditch the mtn. bars.

If I hadn't given my mtn. bike away, I'd have drop bars on it by now.
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Old 01-12-09, 05:32 PM   #6
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I hate to hijack this thread, but how does BF:Touring feel about trekking bars, aka these:



Maybe it's just me, but drop bars always seem too low (even with the stem extended further than it should be :S) for me to really use all of the possible positions while still remaining comfortable.
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Old 01-12-09, 08:43 PM   #7
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Has anyone here tried touring with swept-back bars like the North Road style or Nitto Albatross? Bars like that give a more natural (palm-toward-inside) position that flat bars, but not an option to drop down out of the wind.
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Old 01-12-09, 08:48 PM   #8
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Though I have never tried them myself I read this review and am intrigued. They certainly qualify as "more unique looking".

http://www.roadcyclinguk.com/news/ar...N=1788&SP=&v=1

You should also be able to get plenty of hand positions, which I think is pretty important for touring.
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Old 01-12-09, 09:50 PM   #9
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I like the trekking bars, although I've never used drops. The wife uses them tilted down a little for a more aero position that lets her take weight off her hands. I keep mine pretty flat, since my bike is quite a bit smaller then I need it to be.
Toss in some Ergon grips and it's a good setup.

The bars are on http://www.nashbar.com, the Ergon grips I got from http://www.treefortbikes.com/
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Old 01-12-09, 10:12 PM   #10
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Has anyone here tried touring with swept-back bars like the North Road style or Nitto Albatross? Bars like that give a more natural (palm-toward-inside) position that flat bars, but not an option to drop down out of the wind.
Yes, I've used them alot. North Road's that is. The mention of natural hand position is well worth exploring in the case of North Road's. These bars are probably the most numerous type in the world. There's a good reason:

Stand with your hands relaxed at your sides. Look down and notice the the natural wrist pronation (rotated position). Humans aren't apes. Our hands don't hang straight down with thumbs at our seams (ala MTB straights). Nor do they hang with the thumbs pointing ahead (ala drop bar hoods). It's sort of an angle.

Now raise your arms to a handlebar position. Surprise, no change. That's the position of North Road bars. Properly set up NR's along with a good general bike fit, around a weight bearing saddle, can be extremely comfortable on very long rides.

EDIT: Wind Happens. When it does, I never seem to be able to gain much comfort, whether I'm using drops or NR's. Wind just sucks. The only way to relieve the constant counter pressure is to have a partner up front, blowing a hole in it.

Last edited by jcm; 01-12-09 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 01-12-09, 10:17 PM   #11
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randonnuer bar (Harris cyclery, Nitto $50.00)

swan stem (goose-neck) " $15.00

"Grap-on" or simular handlebar padding

good pair of bicycle gloves =

Good to Go!
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Old 01-12-09, 11:35 PM   #12
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Putting a set of cyclocross levers on a Nitto drop bar with lots of padding is my favorite. Now you can ride on the tops and still have the brakes at your fingers, or you can ride on the "normal" brake hoods, or ride on the drops. The widest Nitto bars give you plenty of space on the tops and are very comfortable for looong days. You get decent control on bad dirt roads (not so hot for honest singletrack) and the drops are way better than an albatross bar for gnarly decents.
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Old 01-13-09, 12:01 AM   #13
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My two cents worth...

Are you really planning on touring with this bike, or do you just want to do local rides with a touring bike?

The reason I ask is this. If you're going to really get out there in the great outdoors, sooner or later you're going to run into some hellacious headwinds, the kind you didn't know existed. You're going to wish you had the drops when it happens. Drops are never comfortable, but they serve a purpose. They will get you through the winds when nothing else will. You're going to be a long way from home, and probably more than a few miles from the next campground, and you're just going to want to get through the day.

The drops will help make that possible.

Just my humble opinion. I hope this helps.
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Old 01-13-09, 01:18 AM   #14
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Dunno how you've got your drops setup gordo, but MY drops are sublimely comfortable.
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Old 01-13-09, 02:36 AM   #15
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My drops are fairly comfortable, but I want something that is both unique and offers many hand positions. The trekking bars are what I referred to as butterfly, which Ive heard are very popular in europe specifically for the purpose of touring. The bike will be used daily as a commuter and on long tours (longest probably being from san francisco to orange county area).
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Old 01-14-09, 03:59 PM   #16
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You can try the Nashbar "trekking" bars. add their gel pads under bar wrap and you can get a comfortabele setup. If you use a bar mirror, look at the Zefal "SPY" mirror or the mirror at the Adventure Cycling Store. I just changed to the ACA from the Zefal, but haven't had the bike out yet.
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Old 01-14-09, 04:26 PM   #17
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Yea, I think Im going to go with trekking style bars + upgrade to a brooks b17 (in honey). Matching handlebar tape should make it functional and classic.
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Old 01-14-09, 04:46 PM   #18
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Drops are best. I use Trekking bars only as an improvement over flat bars (and they are a huge improvement over flat bars). But drops are the best.

Switching from flat bars to Trekking bars on a mountain bike allows you to reuse all of the controls (shifters and brake levers). Switching back and forth between drops and Trekking bars (or flat bars) usually means replacing the controls, which can be costly.

Keep the drops. Add gel pads under the bar tape, and you are set.
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Old 01-14-09, 05:10 PM   #19
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Drops are best. I use Trekking bars only as an improvement over flat bars (and they are a huge improvement over flat bars). But drops are the best.

Switching from flat bars to Trekking bars on a mountain bike allows you to reuse all of the controls (shifters and brake levers). Switching back and forth between drops and Trekking bars (or flat bars) usually means replacing the controls, which can be costly.

Keep the drops. Add gel pads under the bar tape, and you are set.
That sums it up for me, except I don't use gel pads.

For me nothing matches drop bars for comfort. Wanting "something more unique looking" seems like a pretty weak reason for choosing bars on a bike if you plan to tour any substantial distances, but if I had to use something else I would try bull horns.

Another choice that some like are various aero bar setups.
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Old 01-14-09, 06:48 PM   #20
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Drops really arent all that comfortable for me anyways, I never use the lower part while touring anyways.
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Old 01-14-09, 07:37 PM   #21
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Yea, I think Im going to go with trekking style bars + upgrade to a brooks b17 (in honey). Matching handlebar tape should make it functional and classic.
Hi kawasakiguy37,

If you mean Brooks leather bar tape, I would not recommend it. First it has huge lumps every inch when installed. I blame that in part on a terrible case of Ulnar nerve damage a few years ago. Second they became ugly quickly. They did not weather well at all. Do give the stitch on elk hide from Velo Orange a look.

Tom
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Old 01-14-09, 09:37 PM   #22
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Bars

I rode the Southern Tier (3150 miles) using Albatross type bars and was very comfortable. I have two touring bikes. One with the Albatross bars and one with Butterfly bars. I like both and have nothing but good to say about both. It is all about comfort and specifically what is comfortable for you. Although most people use drop bars from what I have seen.
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Old 01-14-09, 10:18 PM   #23
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Yea I definitely did not want brooks handlebar tape, theres some real cheap tape that can be had that matches or the stitched one. I just wouldnt want to screw up the stich...and I think thats only for drop.

edit: Im thinking now of getting some mustache handlebars and a set of cheap aero bars, the aero bars which I could take off for commuting.

Good plan or overkill? Are nashbar aero bars the best value ( I want cheap )

Last edited by kawasakiguy37; 01-14-09 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 01-14-09, 10:49 PM   #24
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but I want something more unique looking that will still be good for touring.
You either go for looks, or put something tohether that is appropriate for touring. In my opinion, the only thing besides drops that works at all for touring is a "trekking" bar.

Long distance bikes, though everyone likes a good looking ride, are all about practicality.
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Old 01-14-09, 10:59 PM   #25
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Hi kawasakiguy37,

If you mean Brooks leather bar tape, I would not recommend it. First it has huge lumps every inch when installed improperly.
Second they became ugly quickly when not maintained
Tom
Fixed that.
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