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Old 04-29-08, 10:45 AM   #1
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Handlebar Questions: disadvantages with using shims and cutting down bars

2 questions on the stock noah's arc-like bars set up on a Specialized Langster Seattle.

Are there any disadvantages to cutting down the bars a bit to fit my shoulder width a bit better? I like the idea of going thru busy downtown streets with narrower bars. However, I am not sure if this is psychological but sometimes, I feel like I am getting some decent shock absorption when I grip near the end of the bars now. By trimming an inch on the ends, would I lose some of that?

Secondly, does anyone know if there are disadvantages to mounting a 26mm bullhorns on a 31.8 stem with the appropriate shims (ie: Problem Solvers 26>31.8 shim). It'd be nice if I can switch up the bars depending on the type of riding that I'll be doing.

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Old 04-29-08, 06:25 PM   #2
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1. If they are comfortable, leave them that way. On the other hand, if you feel like you have the arms or elbows stretched too far apart, cut them. Cut only 1/4 inch at a time. Better be safe than sorry.

As for the width vs busy downtown streets :
– In theory, unless the bars are almost twice wider than your shoulders, your elbows will be slightly wider apart anyways.

– While I don't always agree to the all "purist" ideas of vehicular cycling, I think that cyclists need to drive their vehicle responsibly. Since we tend to find that we should keep away from the door zone (i.e. ride 3-4 ft away from parked cars) and from sewer grades, and that cars should pass at least 3 ft away, I generally don't squeeze in between cars unless it's safe and unless I have at least 6 ft of space to do it safely and predictably.

As for using a shim : it should be equally rigid, but the more surfaces there are, the more squeaking there will be.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:49 PM   #3
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Why not just "choke up" on the bars until you find a width that feels good and cut them to that width. It seems silly to me to cut a bunch of 1/4" slices. Use the the piece you cut off of one side to mark for the cut on the other side. I've shortened a few bars. It doesn't hurt them.

I've used Nitto stainless steel shims with no problems and no noises, but never a shim as thick as you're talking about.
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