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Thread: bar width?

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    bar width?

    So it seems the current trend is narrow bars. I assume because narrow bars can find holes easier and are more aero are the reasons behind this. However what about leverage when using your upper body to throw your bike back and forth? I have pretty decent upper body strength and throw my bike a lot when sprinting out of the saddle. While this likely applies more to the road than track, is there much leverage lost/gained by losing 3 to 5 CM of bar width? Plus I like to keep wide elbows to encourage people to come around me high. I have rode 40MM bars on the road and track forever, but I am thinking of going down to the 35 scatto this year for the gains in aero and position.

    Just curious if anyone has switched and felt they lost something because of it.

    Jamie

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    So it seems the current trend is narrow bars. I assume because narrow bars can find holes easier and are more aero are the reasons behind this. However what about leverage when using your upper body to throw your bike back and forth? I have pretty decent upper body strength and throw my bike a lot when sprinting out of the saddle. While this likely applies more to the road than track, is there much leverage lost/gained by losing 3 to 5 CM of bar width? Plus I like to keep wide elbows to encourage people to come around me high. I have rode 40MM bars on the road and track forever, but I am thinking of going down to the 35 scatto this year for the gains in aero and position.

    Just curious if anyone has switched and felt they lost something because of it.

    Jamie
    There is no "throwing back and forth" on the track.

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    I was a disciple of Rory O'Reilly, a long time ago. One of the tenets was huge gears. I raced, for a while, in a 114 inch gear. And I once beat a very competent racer to the line while standing up and throwing my bike back and forth like a road sprinter. The fellow who I beat made a comment to the effect that he'd never seen that before and never expected to see it again. And I put that down in print just to show Carleton that he doesn't know everything.

    WRT to the OP, I argue that you are worrying about a whole lot of nothing. When I was young and fast, I used 42 cm bars, just like on my road bike. That worked fine, just like it did for about a zillion other "endurance" track riders. Later, when I wasn't as young and wasn't as fit, and tried to hide it as short distance rider, I used 38 cm bars, just like all the other short distance guys. That worked fine too. Hmm...

    Short version: the width of your handlebars just isn't going to make a difference in your results. Find a pair that feels right to you (don't tell your girlfriend I said that) and then train your ass off. That's all there really is to it.

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    I am planning to show Carleton my bike tossing in person as soon as possible since we race on the same track (you are racing this year right?). So after I come around him with my bike all back and forth and stuff ...


    As for training, that is already in the works and is going very well, and I have many years of play under my belt so I know how to get that done. So in my off time I am nit picking equipment choices to figure out what I can improve. I already have the frame and wheelset that I want. I just decided on the tires for this years racing, so the big stuff that matters is all decided. Now I just need to decide on the little stuff. I have been using a steel nitto bar that weighs almost a kilo forever and am toying with the idea of getting a new bar with aero top. The only thing to figure out is the width and material.

    Jamie

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    So in my off time I am nit picking equipment choices to figure out what I can improve.
    Yeah, well, everyone needs a hobby, eh?

    IMO, if you are a distance/endurance/omnium rider, use the same alloy or carbon bars you use for road racing. If you are a sprinter, use a 38 cm. steel bar, or - if you're up-to-date - one of the one-piece carbon wunderbars used by the guys who don't have to pay for their own stuff.

    Then, get the hell off the internet and back to the gym where you belong.

    HTH!

    <edit> Did they ever fix the transitions at Alpenrose? I got to the point that I started referring to my wheels as landing gear. I'm still not sure if the locals thought that was funny or not...
    Last edited by Six jours; 03-15-14 at 02:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    <edit> Did they ever fix the transitions at Alpenrose? I got to the point that I started referring to my wheels as landing gear. I'm still not sure if the locals thought that was funny or not...
    They have done a bit of work. They fixed the primary transition issue over 15 years ago for the world masters games. They have done a few minor tweaks since then and I would say the track is very friendly to out of town riders now. The corners are still pretty tight, but it works and getting air is pretty much a thing of the past. I have to say that I really hated corner 1 during miss-n-outs and almost any corner in a sprint, but I also knew that out of towners hated it even more ... so I actually miss it now.

    As for me, I have a firm theory of resting my legs more than I train them ... so internet time is rest time ... but thanks for the help. Oh, and I am mostly an omnium rider, but I really like to give our local sprinters fits as much as I can.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    You guys are awesome

    Great to see you back, Six. I'll see you at the track tomorrow afternoon, jmikmi. I'll bee the fat guy on a white Tiemeyer (not waving my bars)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    They have done a bit of work. They fixed the primary transition issue over 15 years ago for the world masters games. They have done a few minor tweaks since then and I would say the track is very friendly to out of town riders now. The corners are still pretty tight, but it works and getting air is pretty much a thing of the past. I have to say that I really hated corner 1 during miss-n-outs and almost any corner in a sprint, but I also knew that out of towners hated it even more ... so I actually miss it now.
    Well, always good to have "home court advantage". I grew up at the old Dominguez track, which was a really nice track but held no secrets at all. The first time I rode Alpenrose the locals laughed out loud at me. I think it was the first time I ever caught air on a track bike and the expression on my face was apparently pretty amusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    Oh, and I am mostly an omnium rider, but I really like to give our local sprinters fits as much as I can.
    Goodonya, mate! My introduction to Leonard Nitz was at the San Diego track. I was hanging out with a couple of sprinters (one was the junior state champion at the time, IIRC) and listening to their big talk about what a loser I was for being a "roadie". A few minutes later we all watched Nitz (Mr. points racer) roll a 10.8 200. Which was roughly half a second faster than any of the sprinter boys had ever gone at that track.

    So what I'm trying to say is "Give 'em hell" - regardless of your handlebar width.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    You guys are awesome
    Well, jmikmi might be. I'm just an old fat guy with a bunch of stories no one cares about. FWIW, I never really went away. I've just been on the wagon, so had the sense to stay away from this forum. Now that I'm back on the sauce, well, that's your misfortune, isn't it?

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    One of the best road sprinters in the game...

    Sprinting the road:


    Sprinting on the Track (skip to 2:05)



    Less waving

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    But I am no Mark Cavendish! I need that bike wave to get up to speed, or at least that is how I do it. Seems to work for me, so I am still mixed ... leaning towards going narrow ... but still worried I will lose my station as the little guy with the widest elbows on the track. I like create my space on the track through fear and intimidation.

    Are there any other bars, other than the scatto that are flat topped and worthy of a sprint? The deda, nitto, easton and even the cinelli are all round top bars. Zipp ... the sprinter in me says that will be weak ... anyone race on those? The aero weannie in me says flatter is better, scatto is my only choice that seems worthy but it is on the narrow side. If the calendar would just flip to May I could be done with all this and just race, but for now I ponder equipment while resting for my next interval session.

    Jamie

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    Just bite the bullet and get Scatto's... you won't regret it!

    JMR

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    jmikmi, do you need your bars to have forearm clearance for standing starts or a grip area up top for Madison exchanges?

    Quote Originally Posted by JMR View Post
    Just bite the bullet and get Scatto's... you won't regret it!
    Yeah, they are popular among sprinters and enduros alike. They are the "handlebar of reference" these days. They are narrow, short, shallow, aero, carbon, etc... 3T got it right with these. The only people that don't seem to be able to make use of them are the Madison riders who need a grip area up top to hold during exchanges.

    Some people are even using them for Kilos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    do you need your bars to have forearm clearance for standing starts or a grip area up top for Madison exchanges?
    I have my kilo/pursuit bar setup done, I am looking for a bar for everything but madisons. I plan to keep my nitto steel bars in place for the madison, want a more aero bar for mass starts and sprints. The scattos are at the top and I would have bought them if not for the price and the width. Although the width is still a likely advantage, it is a change and change is bad ... and yes that doesn't make sense, but I was hoping for better options instead of only having a single choice.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    I have my kilo/pursuit bar setup done, I am looking for a bar for everything but madisons. I plan to keep my nitto steel bars in place for the madison, want a more aero bar for mass starts and sprints. The scattos are at the top and I would have bought them if not for the price and the width. Although the width is still a likely advantage, it is a change and change is bad ... and yes that doesn't make sense, but I was hoping for better options instead of only having a single choice.
    What width do you like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    What width do you like?
    40 c-c has been my bar of choice for years. So going to a 37 is not horrible, I am just trying to figure out in my head if narrow is really better or just a fad. I don't like to pay money for fads. And if narrow is better, why not just go all the way to the 35. While I don't like change, I really don't like to pay for change that doesn't work. However it always comes down to a case study of one ... me. I was just hoping to get some additional feedback from people here who might have made the switch and regretted it or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    40 c-c has been my bar of choice for years. So going to a 37 is not horrible, I am just trying to figure out in my head if narrow is really better or just a fad. I don't like to pay money for fads. And if narrow is better, why not just go all the way to the 35. While I don't like change, I really don't like to pay for change that doesn't work. However it always comes down to a case study of one ... me. I was just hoping to get some additional feedback from people here who might have made the switch and regretted it or not.
    People were asking "Are narrow bars a fad?" in 2010. 4 World Championships and 1 Olympic Games later have proven that they work.

    Remember, the 3T Sphinx bars came out around the same time? Those didn't last. They could be considered a fad. Even if the UCI didn't all but ban them, many were enchanted by them and tried them but went back to normal bars. They are rare at local races where they are still legal.

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    FSA Wing Pro bars and some of the other AL road semi aero bars are a lot less money and not much less aero if you do not need the sprinter wrist clearance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    But I am no Mark Cavendish! I need that bike wave to get up to speed, or at least that is how I do it. Seems to work for me, so I am still mixed ... leaning towards going narrow ... but still worried I will lose my station as the little guy with the widest elbows on the track. I like create my space on the track through fear and intimidation.
    Sounds like maybe you don't really want a narrow bar, but feel like you should??

    If you like to stick your elbows out to create space, then a narrower bar to be more aero seems a little pointless. If you are still going to stick your elbows out the small aero benefit of the narrower bar will be float away on the parachute of your position .

    That aside, if you still want the pretty narrow bar, but are still concerned that you wont be able to flap your bike from side to side, you do mention that you have good upper body strength - that should negate any reduction in leverage from going narrower.

    A question - is your bike-flailing really for speed, or secretly part of your fear and intimidation tactic..
    "All this talk of climbing is making me feel kinda queasy..." -- Baby Puke

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    I also vote for the Scattos. I ride 40 mm on the road, and 37 with the Scattos (or is it 38? I'm old and my memory is fading). Carleton and others are correct, the Scattos have enough room so you can use them easily for standing starts. I found I had better 500 m times with the Scattos than I did with aero bars, due mostly to the improved start positioning and leverage.

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    I would not get the scatto's they will wreck your fit! They are also not necessary and are a common cleshay among people trying to buy speed. Especially for an enduro doing longer events it will close up your chest to much. Even for a sprinter hyper narrow bars are not necessary take Francois Pervis who is currently the fastest in the world. For a sprinter his shoulders are quite narrow yet he is not riding hyper narrow bars.

    Also think back to when Theo Bos had the 200m world record. He did that on Pro track bars which are 40cm. Hyper narrow bars are not essential to going fast. If I was in your situation I would go for a bar like the Cobra track bar sold on Euro Asia. They are 38 o-o and plenty stiff. I have ridden these bars to two state championship wins.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero Talent View Post
    I would not get the scatto's they will wreck your fit! They are also not necessary and are a common cleshay among people trying to buy speed. Especially for an enduro doing longer events it will close up your chest to much. Even for a sprinter hyper narrow bars are not necessary take Francois Pervis who is currently the fastest in the world. For a sprinter his shoulders are quite narrow yet he is not riding hyper narrow bars.

    Also think back to when Theo Bos had the 200m world record. He did that on Pro track bars which are 40cm. Hyper narrow bars are not essential to going fast. If I was in your situation I would go for a bar like the Cobra track bar sold on Euro Asia. They are 38 o-o and plenty stiff. I have ridden these bars to two state championship wins.
    Where did you come from with all of these lies?

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    So I see the 41 stuff has finally invaded track racing. Inevitable, I suppose.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    So I see the 41 stuff has finally invaded track racing. Inevitable, I suppose.
    The hilarious part is that mentioned Pervis' bars which are probably the most expensive sprint bars in the world right now. I think retail price is 400 or 500USD. Those bars are essentially copies of the 3T Scatto and come in 35mm (like Scatto), 37mm (like Scatto), and 40mm.

    STRUCTURE: CARBON
    SIZES: 350MM / 370 MM / 400 MM (CENTRE TO CENTRE)
    REACH: 83 MM
    DROP: 117 MM


    Look Cycle - AERO TRACK HANDLEBAR - Accessories - Track

    I'm guessing that Pervis didn't use the 40mm bars. From the looks in this video, I'd guess that he's using the 37mm.


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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Zero Talent, you want to go over all of the World Records (Elite and Masters) that have since been broken using narrow bars?


    ...and State Championship records, too

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