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  1. #1
    Chief Slacking Officer ms.gio's Avatar
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    What width should one go with when purchasing Nitto B123 track drop bars?

    Hi everyone.

    I usually ride my fixed gear on the road but I thinking of getting into track racing. I currently ride with bull horns (Syntace Stratos at 390mm wide) but I want to try riding with track drops so I can get used to feel. The problem in which I'm facing is how wide should the Nitto B123 track drops be? My shoulders are between 350mm and 355 mm wide. I thought of getting 39cm wide track drops for my bull horns are that wide but 39 cm seems too wide for me. Any suggestions? 34cm? 36cm?

    Thanks for the help. It's greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    nitto makes 34cm track drops?

    i suggest 36cm, but not for any particular reason. if you can, try 'em both.
    the hipster myth.

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  3. #3
    Chief Slacking Officer ms.gio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    nitto makes 34cm track drops?
    Yes, they do.

    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk
    i suggest 36cm, but not for any particular reason. if you can, try 'em both.
    I was thinking of possibly going with 36cm but knowing of how small my shoulders are I began to consider the 34cm.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member melville's Avatar
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    Wow! 34 and 36cm bars!

    I've always used TTT in a 40 (actually 37.5 c-to-c) and I'm halfway burly.

    The other way to think about handlebars is that they should be as wide as your hips, so that any hole you shove yourself into you can get through, like when you're at the back in a miss-and-out.

    If I'd had narrower bars when I was racing, oh the gaps I would have tried to shoot! Stick my wheel in, open it with my elbows, and through I'd go.

    Go with the narrow bars!

    Later

    Mel

  5. #5
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    narrow as you can....need to fit through tight gaps

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by melville View Post
    Wow! 34 and 36cm bars!

    I've always used TTT in a 40 (actually 37.5 c-to-c) and I'm halfway burly.

    The other way to think about handlebars is that they should be as wide as your hips, so that any hole you shove yourself into you can get through, like when you're at the back in a miss-and-out.

    If I'd had narrower bars when I was racing, oh the gaps I would have tried to shoot! Stick my wheel in, open it with my elbows, and through I'd go.

    Go with the narrow bars!

    Later

    Mel
    Of course if you're legs are toast from working anaerobically due to lung compression you'll want to not fit through gaps since you'll only being doing so backwards.

  7. #7
    park ranger
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    lol ^

    i would get 38cm or 36cm bars.
    well, how wide are your hips?
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  8. #8
    Chief Slacking Officer ms.gio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piwonka View Post
    lol ^

    i would get 38cm or 36cm bars.
    well, how wide are your hips?
    My hips are just as wide as my shoulders. They're about 35 cm wide while my shoulders are about 35.5-36cm wide.
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    A general rule of thumb is to get bars that are as wide as your shoulders, so 36cm bars would probably make the most sense.

    Of course it also depends on what you're going to be doing with the bars - i.e. racing, riding on the street, etc.

  10. #10
    Edificating dmotoguy's Avatar
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    my 42's are nice
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ms.gio View Post
    My hips are just as wide as my shoulders. They're about 35 cm wide while my shoulders are about 35.5-36cm wide.
    There was a study done a few years ago that looked at body measurements on racing track cyclists. It found that there were some extraordinarily uniform measurements in certain areas, one of them being shoulder width. If you measure from the head of the acetabulum (the ball in the shoulder joint, coming off the humerus or upper-arm bone) to the other head, it turned out that virtually every cyclist, regardless of build, ran within a centimeter or so of 39 cm width. If you were much burlier than average, it was because the arm from the ball to the humerus itself was longer or, for the most part, because of soft-tissue bulk (muscle and the like). Ever since the 60s and the original Italian cycling federation (CONI) manual, there were all kinds of practices and understandings presented as gospel but without any real substance, and this is one of them. The Japanese keirin manual copied most of the images and text from the CONI manual and propagated the same gospel (keirin, after all, got started in emulation of European cycling of that period, which is why keirin standards are so trapped in equipment of that period). The studies on body build show that there isn't necessarily a rationale, at least on that basis, for super-wide or super-narrow bars.

    However, here are a couple other thoughts: If your bars are a bit farther forward, you raise your rib cage up from around your diaphragm so your lung capacity isn't as constrained by your rib cage. This actually helps your breathing more than simply changing the angle of your arms (and in the process, increasing your aerodynamic frontal area). With your lungs released this way, you can in fact go to narrower bars (not crazy, but a bit narrower) and have a more efficient profile in terms of aerodynamics, maneuverability, and breathing.

    Second, people talk about wide bars as giving greater leverage. Well, your best leverage comes when you are pulling in the same vertical plane as you are pedaling. Reaching outboard to pull upwards is like trying to lift a heavy weight a couple feet out from your body -- you can't do as well as when you pull it up right next to you. Further, in a hard effort you are destabilizing the bike because your response when pulling on an outboard handhold is to tilt the bike over so at least you are pulling in the opposite direction from your pedaling. All of this causes you to rock the bike more and to ride more on the outside of your foot (or to supinate), neither of which is necessarily ideal.

    You're obviously thin, and you presumably can take advantage of your genetic aerodynamic advantage even more by not spreading your arms into the wind. No one can really tell you the right bar width without considering more issues than have been raised here (and without seeing you ride), but you most likely can compromise with a 38 cm or similar bar. A 36 is probably as narrow as I'd go. If you are trying to squeeze through holes, remember that it isn't just your hips (though you are blessed with narrow ones). Depending on the bike and pedals, you often need 36 cm just to clear your pedals through a gap. Going narrower, for all the reasons discussed above, may not really make sense.

  12. #12
    park ranger
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    Ms. Gio, maybe youd like a shallower drop bar.
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  13. #13
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    Here is another vote for narrow bars. I set up my track bikes with 40cm Cinelli 165 bars for track racing and my road bikes with 42cm Cinelli 166 bars--Cinellis measure center to center. I could easily have done fine with 38cm c-c bars (and I have wide shoulders that by today's standards draw recommendations for 44-46 bars) because a few years ago I set up an old favorite frame with a pretty 38cm I had on hand. I used it assuming it would feel to narrow compared to the 42s I was used to on road bikes, but I find I like the 38cm bars, perhaps preferring them to 42.

    Like others have said, shooting gaps is what track cycling is about, and it's not only for the super agressive--even if you're surviving at the back and fighting over getting on someone's wheel, you still need to negotiate tight gaps on the track. And when others are shooting gaps past you, you don't want your bars/hands sticking out there in that space--they won't reconsider shooting the gap; they'll just bump you. The aero advantage 11.4 mentions is noticeable and you'll feel it every time you're sprinting in a tuck which is most of what you do in typical massed start track league racing.

  14. #14
    Senior Member CafeRacer's Avatar
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    Most sprinters use 39-40cm c-c bars. Alot of track bars are measured outside to outside though. A narrower bar has slightly less flex and youll tend to bend your elbows outs instead of down like on the road witch is what you want.

    If your not going to side with sprinting you may want the versitillity of a road bar. Steel track bars arent the most comfertable thing in a 20 K points race. If I know at my local track im going to be doing a night of madison for example I swap the bar out for a stiff road bar.

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