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sliiiiightly different bar diameters. will it matter?

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sliiiiightly different bar diameters. will it matter?

Old 06-08-21, 08:48 AM
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cyrano138
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sliiiiightly different bar diameters. will it matter?

I had a ride on my 87 Le tour last night and loved it since fixing it up. But the bars are bent a bit and boy I can't stop being annoyed by it. Plus it's probably not a bad idea to replace for safety. I measured, and they seem to be the standard 25.4.
I have an early 80s Fuji I got for parts that has nitro olympiade bars but they are just a hair wider. Looks like 25.6 or 25.7. will this matter? I hate to tear them both down just to find out that no, generally, you can't make that work.

Here's a photo of the le tour bars



Here's the stem gap. Looks a bit tight as it is.




And here's the nitto bars



Thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 06-08-21, 09:24 AM
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Itís really hard to measure these bar diameters accurately. My guess is the bars on the old Fuji are 25.4mm as well.
You can pry the stem open slightly if the bar is reluctant to go in.
Also I think itís safe to bend back the Ďheavyí aluminum bars. Ie. Bars that weigh 320g and more. There are T6 (hardened aluminum) type bars that weigh anywhere between 199g to 250g. Probably not advisable to bend these back. I just bent back a slightly bent bar myself.
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Old 06-08-21, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
Itís really hard to measure these bar diameters accurately. My guess is the bars on the old Fuji are 25.4mm as well.
You can pry the stem open slightly if the bar is reluctant to go in.
Also I think itís safe to bend back the Ďheavyí aluminum bars. Ie. Bars that weigh 320g and more. There are T6 (hardened aluminum) type bars that weigh anywhere between 199g to 250g. Probably not advisable to bend these back. I just bent back a slightly bent bar myself.
Thanks for the help
There's definitely a difference, at least in the caliper read. Tried measuring in a few different places and got the same .3mm difference every time.


I think if the nitto bars won't go in I'll just spend the money on a replacement set of the sakae bars. They seem pretty cheap and plentiful.

I would try bending then back but I honestly can't tell exactly how it's bent. The drop part of the drop bar on the left side is sticking out a bit. Could be twisted out, or could be bent out.

For thirty bucks I can probably save myself a lot of guesswork.
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Old 06-08-21, 10:20 AM
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Sheldon's website suggests that there was an "in-between" size of 25.8mm designed to be used in either ISO (25.4mm) or Italian (26.0mm) stems. It's probably doubtful that the Nitto bar was designed as 25.6/.7/.8mm, but that website does imply that it's safe to use a 25.8mm bar in a 25.4mm stem (meaning your Nitto bar would probably work just fine).
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Old 06-08-21, 10:20 AM
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.
...is there some reason you cannot use both the stem and the bar that it is now paired with from your donor bike ? Is it the wrong reach ?
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Old 06-08-21, 11:41 AM
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cyrano138
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...is there some reason you cannot use both the stem and the bar that it is now paired with from your donor bike ? Is it the wrong reach ?
Honestly I just think it's ugly as hell. If I were desperate and the diameter matched I'd use it.
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Old 06-08-21, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
Honestly I just think it's ugly as hell. If I were desperate and the diameter matched I'd use it.
...beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You can usually get away with .2 larger in bar diameter, but it's better not to, if you have a choice. The one thing you mentioned that is absolutely not a good idea is straightening your old bar. Those forged "bridge girder' look stems were trendy for a while. 3T made something similar for a while.
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Old 06-08-21, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You can usually get away with .2 larger in bar diameter, but it's better not to, if you have a choice. The one thing you mentioned that is absolutely not a good idea is straightening your old bar. Those forged "bridge girder' look stems were trendy for a while. 3T made something similar for a while.
That was someone else's suggestion. I wouldn't even know where to begin. I think I'll find a replacement sakae set
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Old 06-08-21, 07:52 PM
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A 0.4mm difference caused a problem for me. Check out my thread here.
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Old 06-08-21, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MidTNBrad View Post
A 0.4mm difference caused a problem for me. Check out my thread here.
Thanks for the input. I'm going to replace with same bars from eBay. I just have to measure width when I get home.
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Old 06-08-21, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
That was someone else's suggestion. I wouldn't even know where to begin. I think I'll find a replacement sakae set

....my local co-op has a whole rack of "Road Champion" bars in that standard Asian bar diameter that they sell for 4 or 5 bucks each. they're all over the used parts stream here. I probably have ten of them out in the garage, in the slightly wider bar widths I favor. Not every bike needs Cinelli or 3t.
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Old 06-09-21, 12:03 AM
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You can calculate how much a difference the stem sizes will make, at least in part.

Circumference = πD
So, increase the diameter by 0.3mm, and the circumference will have to increase by π x 0.3 or about 1mm. So, your stem gap will have to increase by about 1mm.

So, spread it by a penny thickness, and the new bar should just slide in. Except that you may not be able to evenly expand the circle.
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Old 06-09-21, 01:45 AM
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cyrano138 one thing to consider is using a half round file or a wooden dowel with sandpaper and ream out your SR stem to the size of the nitto bar. i've done it for stems at 25.4 to fit 26mm bars. it's a bit of work to take off that much difference, so yours would be a piece of cake.
somewhere in the C and V forum is a thread of a member using the wooden dowel pretty straight forward and risk free. as well, there is a C and V thread on using a bolt, a nut, and a coin to spread the stem clamp making it much, much easier to install the bars. if interested in either prospect for your endeavor, i will find the links and post them. say the word
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Old 06-09-21, 07:49 AM
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Basically put a coin between the slot in stem. Scew the handlebar securing bolt against the coin - it widens the stem, easier to get bars in unscratched. Probably try to cover the exposed parts with tape or anti seize paste or something to avoid scratches. You can also slightly file the edges of the stem to make them less sharp and less prone to scratch bars.
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Old 06-09-21, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
cyrano138 one thing to consider is using a half round file or a wooden dowel with sandpaper and ream out your SR stem to the size of the nitto bar. i've done it for stems at 25.4 to fit 26mm bars. it's a bit of work to take off that much difference, so yours would be a piece of cake.
I’ve had an old quill stem that was a fraction of a millimeter smaller than the handlebar I wanted to put in it, even after I used a thick screwdriver to open its clamp as far as possible. I enlarged it a bit on my oscillating drum sander. (At that size it's more of an abrasive spindle than a drum, in my opinion.) Even with the power tool, it took more than a few minutes. But it came out fine, and I've been riding with it for a few years now.
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Old 06-09-21, 10:06 AM
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I may try the wooden dowel as I have all that stuff. I'm a little reluctant to alter any part of the bike when the replacement would be so, so cheap and easy to find. Same goes for the penny trick. But I may still. Looking over EBay now. How are the handlebar widths measured? Some sites say outer to outer and others say center to center.
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Old 06-09-21, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
cyrano138 one thing to consider is using a half round file or a wooden dowel with sandpaper and ream out your SR stem to the size of the nitto bar. i've done it for stems at 25.4 to fit 26mm bars. it's a bit of work to take off that much difference, so yours would be a piece of cake.
I did the same, but using a master cylinder hone and a drill. The key is to close the gap with a piece of aluminum of the appropriate thickness. You don't want an interrupted cut - the sharp edge of the gap will wear down the honing stone quickly.
The proper way would be to use a reamer.
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Old 06-09-21, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
I may try the wooden dowel as I have all that stuff. I'm a little reluctant to alter any part of the bike when the replacement would be so, so cheap and easy to find. Same goes for the penny trick. But I may still. Looking over EBay now. How are the handlebar widths measured? Some sites say outer to outer and others say center to center.
...the place where you can go wrong with any of the methods that involve cranking open the clamp portion of a cast or forged alloy stem (like the penny trick, or others) , is inducing enough stress on a cast or forged aluminum alloy part that it will eventually fail at one of those stress lines. I've never tried the sanding or filing solution, so can't speak to it. But I routinely pry the clamp portion open to insert the proper sized bar without scratching it, so you can get away with at least .2 mm. The failures seem to be limited to occasional insertions of something like a 26 or 26.4 bar in a 25.4 stem, reforming the clamp portion significantly larger

On your bar width question, in practical use and the feel of the bar as you ride, whether you measure c-c or edge to edge makes no difference.
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Old 06-09-21, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
On your bar width question, in practical use and the feel of the bar as you ride, whether you measure c-c or edge to edge makes no difference.
I'm at a difference of about 0.3 I would say. After looking on eBay it's not quite as easy as I thought to replace, so I may try the penny trick. If it seems like I've got to be prying it open too much I will just bite the bullet and pay the eBay markup. I'm also going to post in the classic in vintage trade thread to see if anybody has a set of these bars flying around. I need 25.4 mm 41 cm width (c,c).
I was asking about the width because I want to order the same size that I have now, and I don't know what size I have now unless I know how they're measured. I realize a centimeter may not make much difference so it's not the end of the world.
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Old 06-09-21, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
How are the handlebar widths measured? Some sites say outer to outer and others say center to center.
There doesnít seem to be a consensus. It should be C-C, but some will measure to the outside edges. Itís nice when the manufacturer or seller specifies. I just know that I prefer 38 and can make do with 40, measured either way.
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Old 06-09-21, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
... Not every bike needs Cinelli or 3t.
Amen.

Do they have any 25.4, 40-41 cm? I am not stopping as many on eBay as I hoped (except a few going for 40 bucks plus 20 shipping)?
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Old 06-09-21, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
Amen.

Do they have any 25.4, 40-41 cm? I am not stopping as many on eBay as I hoped (except a few going for 40 bucks plus 20 shipping)?

...do you care about anything besides the width and the stem clamp diameter ? They come in all shapes (regular curve, shallow drop or bigger drop, anatomic bend, grooved for cable wrapping, black or silver, etc.. For 40 bucks plus 20 for shipping, you can almost pay for new. (But I am out of touch with retail pricing. )
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Old 06-09-21, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...do you care about anything besides the width and the stem clamp diameter ? They come in all shapes (regular curve, shallow drop or bigger drop, anatomic bend, grooved for cable wrapping, black or silver, etc.. For 40 bucks plus 20 for shipping, you can almost pay for new. (But I am out of touch with retail pricing. )
Silver, aluminum, regular curve, no grooves for cables, basically the standard ten speed bars that would have been on an 80s Schwinn.
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Old 06-09-21, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...the place where you can go wrong with any of the methods that involve cranking open the clamp portion of a cast or forged alloy stem (like the penny trick, or others) , is inducing enough stress on a cast or forged aluminum alloy part that it will eventually fail at one of those stress lines. I've never tried the sanding or filing solution, so can't speak to it. .
i've used the bolt/coin trick several times since i've learned of it. it's not a problem as long you open the clamp up just far enough. i'd purchased a kalloy dirt drop riser stem not too long ago and couldn't get it around the bends of my nitto bar due to the "fatness" of the clamp. the bolt/coin trick works fantastically. i do it any time now i have to install a quill to a bar. makes it so much easier freeing both hands to make the installation. plus, nothing gets scratched up...stem or bar
i've also filed out stems on at least three different occasions. i only had an issue one time where the stem clamp didn't file out evenly. took off more material towards the edges of the clamp than in the middle and made for some rocking with the bars. i think, though, it's because i'd used a cheap ars file from harbor freight and it dulled out quickly. the other times i'd used a good one from kobalt.
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Old 06-10-21, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
Silver, aluminum, regular curve, no grooves for cables, basically the standard ten speed bars that would have been on an 80s Schwinn.

...I'll look, but it might take a while.
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