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  1. #1
    Clydesdale On Wheels
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    Handlebar Height Question

    Howdy:

    My utility bike (heck, my only bike) is a modified Specialized Hardrock mountain bike. Given my size and the loads I haul with it, it was definitely the better choice (for me) relative to a road or hybrid.

    It fits as currently configured, but it is an aggressive mountain bike position. Good for control, not so good for riding a long ways with a load, and hard on the arms after a while.

    I'd like to find a way to add a more upright & comfy position for the long straightaways to increase my endurance in the saddle.

    My first thoughts drifted toward the Nashbar Trekking Mountain Bike Handlebar
    (http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...1_10000_200388)
    mounted with the open end angled up towards my shoulders.

    Then, I thought maybe the above plus a stem riser
    (http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product..._200276_200460)
    and maybe an adjustable stem
    (http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...1_10000_200460)
    might do the trick and allow for both an aggressive control position and a more comfy cruise/haul position.

    Any ideas as to the likelihood of success with the above hardware?

    Ought I consider other options?



    My utility bike with big basket & trailer (have since installed rear panniers, too):
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3247/...7cbe3777_b.jpg

    Earlier image with milk crates:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3192/...59d28066_b.jpg
    Regards,

    jfruser

  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I like the adjustable stems, sometimes it takes me a while to find the most comfortable position. Also with the adjustable stem you can move it back down if you need to to accommodate a shorter rider or a more aggressive position.

    Aaron
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  3. #3
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    It seems as if you've pretty much answered your own question in the original post!

    I'll give my two cents though... I've used adjustable stems, and stem risers, and though they did raise up the bars for a more upright position, but they aren't pretty, and they can negatively affect the handling. A longer stem is really just going to move the bars away from you. You should probably start by figuring out how much you'd like to raise up the bars, and whether or not you'd like them to come back toward you as well. Then you can make the right decision about what to buy.

    "Albatross" or similar handlebars are very appropriate for a more upright position and the curves in the front provide a more aggressive position should you find that necessary.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
    It seems as if you've pretty much answered your own question in the original post!

    I'll give my two cents though... I've used adjustable stems, and stem risers, and though they did raise up the bars for a more upright position, but they aren't pretty, and they can negatively affect the handling. A longer stem is really just going to move the bars away from you.
    You need to review geometry. Raising your bars, but keeping them at the same extension from the steerer results in bars that are a shorter reach.

  5. #5
    Riding the road to PARADISE...RIP
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    Look at "North Road" bars. These are the style that were used on old English utility bikes, and are very good for upright riding. Trekking bars are nice for longer rides (lots of hand positions), but don't put you much more upright than straight bars (you'll need to angle them down somewhat if you want to open up the other hand positions, and that counters the shorter reach).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
    You need to review geometry. Raising your bars, but keeping them at the same extension from the steerer results in bars that are a shorter reach.
    I'm not sure that is always the case. I don't think raising or lowering the handlebars will significantly alter the distance from saddle to grips in any case.

    jfruser, a shorter and/or more upward angled stem will allow a more upright position. Switching from your riser bars to trekking bars will lower the position of your hands, the opposite of what you want to do. If you like trekking bars, get 'em, but it's not a solution to the problem you are having. A different stem and/or the stem riser should do the trick.

  7. #7
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
    You need to review geometry. Raising your bars, but keeping them at the same extension from the steerer results in bars that are a shorter reach.
    @dscheidt: Judging from your sarcastic remarks you didn't actually read my post. I clearly said that a longer *stem*, not a longer steering tube (what you'll get with a stem riser) will move the bars AWAY, whereas I acknowledged that stem riser will enable a more upright position. However, at your benevolent suggestion I've signed up for a remedial geometry class, so how's this?: The Specialized Hardrock has a 70 degree headtube angle. Using a stem riser to extend the steer tube 3 or so inches will result in a handlebar position that is slightly less than one inch closer. Whether that is a significant enough difference is something for Mr.JFRuser to decide.

    Oh, and +1 to IanHelgesen's suggestion of North Road bars, which are quite similar to the Albatross bars I suggested, and somewhat less expensive.
    Last edited by WillJL; 06-09-10 at 05:46 PM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    I used a stem riser & got a used stem from my LBS that gave me a comfortable hand position.

  9. #9
    Clydesdale On Wheels
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    Lots of good suggestions. I sure do appreciate them.

    I did some digging on the Albatross bars and learned even more and I think I am quite taken with them.

    There is an even wider version made from steel that is much cheaper made by Nitto. Also, I saw some examples of folks setting up two positions on them: one back for casual cycling and one forward for more aggressive cycling. The use of reverse brakes in the bar-ends and interrupter brakes forward make this intriguing. This fellow has some good suggestions:
    http://perrybessas.com/vf-archives/mirror/?p=46

    I think I will get an adjustable stem & riser, too, to see what works best for me.

    So, the materials list looks like this:
    • Albatross Bars
    • Adjustable stem
    • Stem Riser
    • Reverse brake levers
    • Interrupter brake levers
    • Shifters (my current brake levers & shifters are a combo unit)
    • Old inner tubes (to wrap the bars)
    Regards,

    jfruser

  10. #10
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    Consider using handlebar tape. It works better than used innertubes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfruser View Post
    The use of reverse brakes in the bar-ends and interrupter brakes forward make this intriguing.
    I would double-check the pairing of the A-bars and inverse levers. I've heard you may need to do some reaming to get them to work.

  12. #12
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    Whether or not the Albatross bars can fit the reverse brake levers, I doubt you'll be able to find *long pull* reverse levers that will actuate your v-brakes. I'm almost certain that all the reverse levers on the market don't provide enough cable pull. I would just stick with your current shifter/brake lever combo. I'll also second qmsdc15 in saying that you should probably cover that inner tube in some sort of bar tape. Better yet, you could just use normal mtn bike grips from the end of the bars to the levers, and then wrap tube and then bar tape from the levers to the stem clamp.
    Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H.G. Wells

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  13. #13
    Clydesdale On Wheels
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    So, why do y'all suggest bar tape over old inner tubes?

    In truth, I also use a couple gel-pad-deals that go right against the bar and they get covered with tube, so I am not an inner-tube purist and am open to other materials.
    Regards,

    jfruser

  14. #14
    Gear Hub fan
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    Paul's makes interruptor brake levers that can be used with V brakes. I am using a set on a drop bar V brake bike currently. They actually have two pivot points available for the brake levers so can be set up to be used with V brakes or normal cantilever brakes.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  15. #15
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    So, why do y'all suggest bar tape over old inner tubes?

    In truth, I also use a couple gel-pad-deals that go right against the bar and they get covered with tube, so I am not an inner-tube purist and am open to other materials.
    I use inner tubes under cotton tape on my bikes because it provides just the right amount of vibration dampening without it feeling squishy under my hands. For me, squishy tape = sweaty hands. Also squishy tape, no matter the material, has a tendency to catch, rip, and tear on anything rough the bike is leaned against. Its life tends to be pretty short as well. If I needed padding for a particularly long ride, I supposed I'd opt for cycling gloves, but I've gone as far as 300km in a day without having to worry about it. I think that most people feel they need extra padding on their bars because they have too much weight on their hands due to a poorly set-up bicycle.
    Last edited by WillJL; 06-14-10 at 04:06 AM.
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  16. #16
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I have and love trekking bars. I have them installed in what they call the reversed position, with the open end facing front and slightly angled up. I also have the adjustable stem and a stem riser/extension. I decided that I needed to raise the handlebars, to deal with shoulder and upper back pains.
    I took me quite a few tries to hit the right combination, however, I am very happy with my current setup.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Fat Tire's Avatar
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    If you want a higher riding position, I recommend Dimension Cruiser bars, in Aluminum or black. As I recall, 4 inch rise 630mm wide, center-to-center. Mountain bike tubing, so you shouldn't need shims. About $18, plus about $12 shipping. And you can use the original stem.
    If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room!

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