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  1. #1
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    Trekking bars vs just putting some barends on flat-bar bike

    My Trek 7.3FX has flat handlebars and I'm planning on doing a 4000 mile tour on it this fall. Obviously flat handlebars aren't going to work for that in stock form (Although the Ergo material they're made of with a nice big flat palm rest is a LOT better than anything else I've experienced)

    From my research I can't go to drop bars without replacing my shifters and brakes as well, so I'd like to avoid that if possible. So that leaves Trekking bars. However, I was wondering what the difference would be between installing a new set of trekking bars vs. just putting bar ends on the bike. Trekking bars don't really get you any lower, so as far as I'm aware their chief advantage of flat bars is more hand positions.

    Also, and this is probably an indescribably stupid question, but when installing drop bars, instead of having them point straight up, could you just have them point down at an angle? Then you'd be able to get down lower for windy stretches.

  2. #2
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    trekking bars do give you more places for your hands. I tried placing them so I could get a drop but it was not enough to do much good. I've tried bar-ends with a flat bar, trekking bars are much better and worth the cost. I've done a couple of tours on a bike with drop bars. I much prefer the trekking bars even when fighting a headwind. Here are a few pictures of my setup.




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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I have used both, a trekking and a flat bar w/bar ends, and will always use trekking bars for touring (if we are not considering a bike with drops). There are more hand positions available with the trekking bar, and besides you can't rest a bottle of drink across your bar ends. But hey, you might like bar ends better, it's really just a personal call.

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    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Trekking bars let you put your hands on the curved end of the bar, which I find comfortable. Bar end really don't -- they have sharp angles there. I had a flat bar with bar ends and switched to a trekking bar and would never go back.

    From a cost perspective the trekking bar, when on sale, is about $15 and I would think bar ends would run at least $10 or more. They are cheap and comfy.

  5. #5
    Freddin' it
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    I like the pictures I've seen on BF of people's trekking bar adaptations. My Trek 6500 MTB from the '90s has grip-shifters on the end of the straight bars. What would I need to do (relative to shifters) to use trekking bars? Anyone adapt their grip-shifters to trekking bars, or do you just change over to thumbies, adding to the conversion cost?

  6. #6
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agentbolt View Post
    I was wondering what the difference would be between installing a new set of trekking bars vs. just putting bar ends on the bike. Trekking bars don't really get you any lower, so as far as I'm aware their chief advantage of flat bars is more hand positions.
    As mentioned, yes, more hand positions. It also gives you more room for accessories like your cyclometer, lights, and mirrors.

    The primary benefit to bar-ends is that they are less expensive, easier to install, and don't change your current position. E.g. when you look at n4zou's setup, the brakes and shifters are set a few inches back from where they would be if he used a flat bar.

    Since bar-ends are pretty cheap, I'd recommend trying them first, wrap them in bar tape, and see how it goes on some long rides / tours. If it gives you enough positions you're set, if you feel like you need more then switch to trekking bars.


    Quote Originally Posted by agentbolt
    Also, and this is probably an indescribably stupid question, but when installing drop bars, instead of having them point straight up, could you just have them point down at an angle? Then you'd be able to get down lower for windy stretches.
    The idea is to keep your hands in the hoods as much as possible. Point the drop bars too far down and that position will feel uncomfortable. You don't need to go much lower than what a typical drop offers anyway.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    I'll echo that advice. I did use flat bars and bar ends for an 800 mile tour, and in all honesty, I was comfortable. Whether I would have been as comfortable for longer, I can't say. So I think from my experience it would make sense to try bar ends first from an expense perspective.

    Having said that, I do now have trekking bars and after fitting issues, I love them (you have to have the right stem!). If I was outfitting a bike for touring now, I wouldn't consider flat bars and bar ends -but of course that is assuming I have the money for a new stem and trekking bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    As mentioned, yes, more hand positions. It also gives you more room for accessories like your cyclometer, lights, and mirrors.

    The primary benefit to bar-ends is that they are less expensive, easier to install, and don't change your current position. E.g. when you look at n4zou's setup, the brakes and shifters are set a few inches back from where they would be if he used a flat bar.

    Since bar-ends are pretty cheap, I'd recommend trying them first, wrap them in bar tape, and see how it goes on some long rides / tours. If it gives you enough positions you're set, if you feel like you need more then switch to trekking bars.

  8. #8
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    If you go with the trecking bar you will probably need to get a longer handlebar stem as the position you'll be using most would be too close.
    My wife tryed it in '06 and ended up with shoulder pain, she went back to flatbar with bar-ends.

  9. #9
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
    I like the pictures I've seen on BF of people's trekking bar adaptations. My Trek 6500 MTB from the '90s has grip-shifters on the end of the straight bars. What would I need to do (relative to shifters) to use trekking bars? Anyone adapt their grip-shifters to trekking bars, or do you just change over to thumbies, adding to the conversion cost?
    Grip shifters will work just fine on trekking bars.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Here is a thread from a while back that has some good photos of handlebar set-ups.

    trekking bar pics?

    Hope this helps

  11. #11
    Wheelosopher mikelkhor's Avatar
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    Actually, I prefer both ... flat bars with bar-ends when I'm not touring and doing only short 1 day rides, and trekking bars for anything over 3 days. Flat bars let me ride faster, esp when I'm riding just to stay in shape,while the trekking bars let me ride more upright and more relaxed. After all, you're not really into speed once you're fully loaded and on the road.

  12. #12
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    So is this an easy mod to do?
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  13. #13
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    For bar ends try out a pair of Ergon GP5. Gives you 3 positions to ride on, and very comfy overall.

  14. #14
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    Trekking bars may be the most comfortable thing ever, but dang are they ugly. I'll stick with bar ends--that fits my 90s era mountain biking mental image of what a bike should be.
    Last edited by seat_boy; 09-11-13 at 06:34 PM.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAMAMRA View Post
    So is this an easy mod to do?
    Quite. Took me about an hour, bar wrapping included.
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  16. #16
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    Hello, I use Profile Designs "Brief" barends.

    They add two more hand positions and let you stretch out a bit. These are all I have ever used for touring and they're very comfortable.

    Good Luck.

  17. #17
    Senior Member asmac's Avatar
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    I tried trekking bars and wasn't a fan. They felt cramped and my xt brakes and shifters mounted very awkwardly. I'm using fsa swept-back metropolis bars but am looking to switch to Jones H bars which provide a lot of positions while mounting hardware normally. http://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bar.html

  18. #18
    djb
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    IMAG0370.jpg

    as mentioned by others, there are "flat" bars that arent flat, ie have a bit of rise PLUS a bit of a sweep back as my inexpensive bars shown from above. There are some sweepback bars that are quite pricey, but there are cheap ones such as mine that arent as fancy (weight) or have less sweepback angle.

    I found the slight angle to the grips position to be an improvement over straight bars, plus the old style barends are still useful for climbs and for headwinds (I have mine set up almost horizontal, not sticking up like some people put them on)

    This could be an option instead of trekking bars if you dont like the look of trekking bars.

    really though, the only way for you to know is to try both setups.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Trekking bars don't really get you any lower, so as far as I'm aware their chief advantage of flat bars is more hand positions.
    the bars just are... you, by using the forward bend of the figure 8 bar and bending your elbows , outward.
    can hunker down into that headwind with the same posture, if that is your desire.


    another benefit when I wore my Rain Cape, Trekking bars have nothing to snag the hand loops ,
    like is possible wit bar ends ..

    but, as bar ends go, consider Ergon GR5 they are an integrated composite bar end
    and comfortable handgrip .. the single bolt clamps both , relative to each other and on the bar..

    Where trekking bars don't fit, Like my Brompton M3L, I have Ergon GR3, grip/end sets..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-11-13 at 09:39 AM.

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The setup on my Koga WTR taken and posted, several years ago.. (some alterations since ,
    but the bars remain)

    http://www.cyclofiend.com/working/20...clark1008.html

  21. #21
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    You just need to try it and see if it works for you....Lots of people happily use that setup.

    Seats,pedals and handlebars are personal choices really......what somebody likes or hates makes no difference to you.....unless that somebody is your twin brother/sister....Even then there's probably a difference.

    Sort of trial and error.....Personally I wouldn't put drops on anything I own,I hate them...But they are real popular for a reason,they work for lots of folks.....I'm the odd man out in this case.
    Last edited by Booger1; 09-11-13 at 12:09 PM.
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  22. #22
    Avoid trauma Lake_Tom's Avatar
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    My Trek 930FS had flat handlebars with bar ends. The bar end position was way too wide. Upon reflection, I could have cut the ends of the handlebars off. However, I converted the bicycle to drop handlebars. I changed the cantilever brakes to Avid Shorties and still don't get good braking with the Cane Creek brake levers that are designed for cantilever brakes.
    I smell the spring in the smoky wind.

  23. #23
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    I was also looking for an alternative to flatbars on my mountain to offroad touring bike conversion. Trekking bars are the cat's meow for some but not me. Using barends did help a bit but the fact of the matter is that flatbars are meant for mountain biking use and not the sustained riding found in touring.

    My solution came from Surly. Can't tell you the name or model number but these swept flatbars work for me. You'll note that I have taped the curves to give me an alternative and wind cheating position. These are zero rise bars but they can also be had with a small rise if that floats your boat. No numbness or hand pressure for me now. Al

    Surly Bars 001.jpgSurly Bars 002.jpg

  24. #24
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    Is that what's called an Albatross Bar? Sort of like a North Road, with less angle.
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  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Albatross is what Riv bike calls the ones they sell
    its similar to north road sorta , but a Nitto Product , and so not cheap.

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