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Bars for Small Hands

Old 10-02-08, 07:42 AM
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kukusz
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Bars for Small Hands

I'm looking for a set of bars that will accommodate small hands better. Aluminum, 31.8.

Right now this is the winner:

3T Ergosum Pro



Any other bars out there that I should consider? I'm getting carpal tunnel in each hand from shifting and I think and something that promises to be for smaller hands sounds like a good idea. I am also considering changing to smaller shifters, but that is a ton more $ that I don't want to spend unless I have to. At this point, though, I have trouble opening a beer my hands hurt so much. Maybe it just means I'm finally getting the road rider physique?
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Old 10-02-08, 07:47 AM
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tekhna
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The FSA Omega or Wing Pro might be right up your alley.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:03 AM
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Look for anything that says "shallow drop" and "short reach." These 2 may not go together. Some short reach bars are mid drop, for example. You could also look at "compact" bars, which could be anywhere from short to mid in the 2 measurements. Also look for bars labeled as WSD. Unless you ride 44cm bars or something, you shouldn't have a problem finding the right size. The main downside to WSD bars for some is that the length of the drop bar isn't very long (doesn't extend back behind the tops as much as in your photo), but if you're riding way back on the back you aren't anywhere near your levers, especially with small hands, so while the aesthetics may be less manly, they shouldn't be a problem functionally.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:08 AM
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Bontrager makes a compact that Jared Nieters from Haymarket used this year - you're out in VA and maybe could contact him for some input. I have small hands and have been considering them also.

Another random thought - make sure your bike fits properly, possibly you have too much weight being supported by your hands from your riding position.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:12 AM
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kukusz,

I'm about to swap out my Deda Short&Shallow bars. You can give them a try, they might work well for you. I have large hands and have no idea why I went with shallow bars.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:14 AM
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http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ight=fsa+omega
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Old 10-02-08, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by tekhna View Post
The FSA Omega or Wing Pro might be right up your alley.
These look promising. Very similar to the 3TTT in the compact form.

Originally Posted by aicabsolut View Post
...so while the aesthetics may be less manly, they shouldn't be a problem functionally.
I'm not worried about whether I am riding WSD design or not. Seems like a lot of manufacturers are starting to have a shallow drop/reach combo, I will keep that in mind when comparison shopping. Thanks.

Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
Bontrager makes a compact that Jared Nieters from Haymarket used this year - you're out in VA and maybe could contact him for some input. I have small hands and have been considering them also.

Another random thought - make sure your bike fits properly, possibly you have too much weight being supported by your hands from your riding position.
I know Terry on Haymarket, so I can definitely chat to him about Jared. In terms of bike fit, it might be the case but honestly I am pretty light on my bars. I support my weight with my core mostly and have a very light grip on them as well, it's something I have worked on. That being said, I fit myself and it's definitely a possibility. The hand pain started before I switched to my new frame, though, and has slowly been getting worse.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
kukusz,

I'm about to swap out my Deda Short&Shallow bars. You can give them a try, they might work well for you. I have large hands and have no idea why I went with shallow bars.
You're like a one-stop shop now. Can you link me to the bars?
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Old 10-02-08, 08:43 AM
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I went with Deda Supernaturals, and I love them.
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Old 10-02-08, 11:06 AM
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I did some more searching, and those you posted are definitely shallow drop, but they're probably more mid-reach or so. If you're having problems when you're shifting at the tops, then you might look for something with that measurement closer to the 75-80mm range.

Such as:

http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqP...=25310&eid=367
(short reach, mid drop)

http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqP...=25317&eid=367
(short reach, shallow drop--these are what I use in a black finish) They also make a non-WSD version that is also short reach/shallow drop, just not available in quite as small a size, called the pro road ergo shallow drop bar or the roubaix ergo shallow drop bar.

This one is kind of in the mid range (mid to short reach/mid drop)
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/ro...3306.28.1.html

I thought Excel used to have more other than the FSA, but I couldn't really find them on the website.
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Old 10-02-08, 11:18 AM
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^^^ Thanks for the research, those all seem like good candidates though I feel now that the drop is too much and I will have a tough time shifting while in the drops.

I think the FSA Wing Pro Compact are the current front runners - 125mm drop, 80mm reach. Seem like the best of both worlds.

Does anyone know if there is enough room on those bars for lights?

Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
Bontrager makes a compact that Jared Nieters from Haymarket used this year - you're out in VA and maybe could contact him for some input. I have small hands and have been considering them also.
These are probably the ones you are talking about?

http://bontrager.com/model/06244/en

Last edited by kukusz; 10-02-08 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 10-02-08, 11:59 AM
  #12  
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I'm a guy with small hands. I'm currently on ITM 330 bars. For shorter reach, the nicest bars I've tried are the 3ttt Morphe. Modolo Venus and Bontrager VR look like good options. My next bar is going to be either a Modolo Kaly or FSA Omega Compact.
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Old 10-02-08, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kukusz View Post
^^^ Thanks for the research, those all seem like good candidates though I feel now that the drop is too much and I will have a tough time shifting while in the drops.

I think the FSA Wing Pro Compact are the current front runners - 125mm drop, 80mm reach. Seem like the best of both worlds.

Does anyone know if there is enough room on those bars for lights?



These are probably the ones you are talking about?

http://bontrager.com/model/06244/en
^kukusz, not sure on the model. Jared has a blog accessed on www.gamjams.net that you could search, he was posting about them back in jan - march timeframe, iirc.
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Old 10-02-08, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
^kukusz, not sure on the model. Jared has a blog accessed on www.gamjams.net that you could search, he was posting about them back in jan - march timeframe, iirc.
Thanks again.

I found it, posting for future reference.

http://jarednieters.blogspot.com/200...ini-drops.html
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Old 10-02-08, 04:40 PM
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FSA Wing Pro Compact. End thread.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:47 PM
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I've thought a lot about this for myself. I don't think it's the handlebars. Rather, it's stem length, where on the bar you place your levers (how far up or down). A short reach bar won't do a thing for you, despite the name. It just puts the curves closer under the tops. What does that do for your hands except to place them too close to your body in relation to the bar tops? Most people with smaller hands don't have trouble reaching the drops with any handlebar assuming stem length is correct. It's the brake levers and shifters they have trouble with. There are some shorter reach brake levers available for this. Other than that, you can try installing the levers a little lower on the curve. This makes it easier to reach them. And, I would suggest avoiding any "ergonomic" bars in favour of one with a standard "Maes" curve if you have short hands.
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Old 10-02-08, 10:52 PM
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^^^

Interesting point, however if anything I have a short stem (100 mm) and short frame (53.5 cm effective top tube). I'm not super short (5'7.5"), just have small hands. Furthermore, I don't feel like I'm reaching, although my saddle to bar drop makes it comfortable to have an almost perpendicular back while either in the drops or on the hoods with forearms parallel to the ground.

I'll report back, I ended up committing to 3T Ergonova Pro, which seems to have a much tighter cockpit than what I have now. The stats seem to fall in between the FSA Wing Pro and the Bontrager compact (WSD).

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Old 10-03-08, 05:40 AM
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Regarding your carpal, there must be some other main cause of it (?). I had serious carpal, the tipping point was trying to pick up some luggage from between two chairs in an airport - something popped in my wrist and that was that. I did IT support for a while, on call for pretty much the whole day, and had to type furiously at times. I did so on a non-ergo keyboard. The angle of my wrists weren't right and ultimately this caused the carpal.

I had to switch keyboards to ergo ones (laptops are generally okay). PT for 6 months (2 days a week, electro something and then heat, plus stretching whenever I remembered) and it was okay. Since I typed a lot on a keyboard for a living I had to type. Now, as everyone here knows, I can type a lot with no problems.

Anyway, if the main cause of the carpal isn't handled, any bar will be uncomfortable.

For easier shifting you may think about making the throw shorter and making it with less pressure. DA electric (no pressure required) or Campy (short throw for big lever, thumb button is not really a lever). For Campy you have to go to the two upper ones, I think the rest have longer throws. Have to double check on that. If your hands are on the hoods the bar reach is not an issue. The new Campy is designed to brake from the hoods. I disagree with that in theory but if you can brake safely then, well, it's a moot point.

If you do a lot from the drops then you need the short reach etc. I haven't found a short reach that made me feel comfy with reach + braking. If it was short reach I felt uncomfortable with brakes. I find non-ergo lever the best (i.e. "round"). Then I can adjust things by sliding the levers up and down. I have size M hands without Paganini fingers, and my wife is the one for whom I was checking on short reach bars. She eventually settled on a round deep drop bar, and no, she doesn't race.

good luck with your wrists,
cdr
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Old 10-03-08, 07:47 AM
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cdr:

Thanks for the insight - you are likely correct that my carpal tunnel type pain stems from working at a computer. Recently I've been trying to approach it from all fronts, by changing my workspace and also adjusting my bars as well.

Upgrading to campy or electric DA will be a last attempt, however I'm hoping that the cause is the computer and just gets worse on the bike.

The UK company I ordered the bars from said they are out of stock for 6-8 weeks, so I think I'll be going with the FSA. As the price is about 65 bucks shipped, it's at least a cheap experiment.

One last question - you mentioned that braking is awkward from short reach bars, how about standing and shifting while sprinting?
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Old 10-03-08, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Longfemur View Post
I've thought a lot about this for myself. I don't think it's the handlebars. Rather, it's stem length, where on the bar you place your levers (how far up or down). A short reach bar won't do a thing for you, despite the name. It just puts the curves closer under the tops. What does that do for your hands except to place them too close to your body in relation to the bar tops? Most people with smaller hands don't have trouble reaching the drops with any handlebar assuming stem length is correct. It's the brake levers and shifters they have trouble with. There are some shorter reach brake levers available for this. Other than that, you can try installing the levers a little lower on the curve. This makes it easier to reach them. And, I would suggest avoiding any "ergonomic" bars in favour of one with a standard "Maes" curve if you have short hands.
Not true.
I wear men's small gloves (my knuckle width makes women's gloves a problem for me), if that gives you an idea on my hand size. My fingers aren't stubby or anything, but my hands are probably average to short fingered (long finger gloves in the right size tend to be a tiny bit long at the fingertips). My bike came with standard 42cm deep drop ergo bend bars. I could do OK from the hoods, but hood placement on the bars was hard to get right. I could not brake from the drops without a lot of effort to get a finger wrapped around the levers. Shifting with the harder throws of the outside shifter of 105s (the inner ones were ok) was also difficult. Obviously, not being able to hit the brakes from the drops was a safety issue for me, so I changed to WSD bars (short reach/shallow drop and narrower). The difference in the reach was amazing. I had no need for shims or adjustible levers. Now the only thing that I still need to tweak (because I've been lazy) is the hood position such that it's a little more comfortable to sprint. My bars are rotated up a little high to make the position at the hoods more comfortable on my wrists, though what I need to do the next time I change bar tape is to move the hoods higher on the bars and then rotate them down.

Anyway, the point is that because the bends are higher up, you can find a sweet spot on the drops where you can get to the levers easier without really choking up on the bar. With short reach, the degree of bend is also different, so that it's easier to position the hoods such that the levers are closer to the bar, and thus within the reach of smaller hands.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by kukusz View Post
cdr:
...
One last question - you mentioned that braking is awkward from short reach bars, how about standing and shifting while sprinting?
I should clarify. Short reach bars made braking awkward - I'd bottom out the lever pretty easily, esp combined with a reach shortening kit. Shifting etc was fine.

I prefer my round bend bars to any ergo bar I've ridden (or test ridden). I haven't tried any of the new carbon odd bend bars (rounded ergo, or ergo'ed round) except for showroom type stuff.

cdr
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Old 10-03-08, 08:55 PM
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There is nothing about a so-called WSD bar that brings the lever closer. It can't be any closer than the design of the lever itself allows it to be. If it ends up closer, it's just because of how low or high you happened to install the lever, and how you angled the bar itself (horizontal or angled). Before you buy a new bar, you should try to play around with a combination of bar angle and lever mounting. On a standard, maes type of curve, the lever is much easier to reach from the drops if it's not mounted too high (you want the tip of the lever in line with the bottom of the curve), and you don't want to angle that drop part too much. There are a lot of gimmicks out there that can make you spend money for nothing. I have relatively small hands myself, so I'm not just speculating about this.
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