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Narrow drop bars?

Old 02-10-11, 01:54 AM
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Narrow drop bars?

Tested out a couple old schwinns. A le tour and a varsity deluxe. Le tour fit a hell of a lot better but it felt like i was leaning too far down at the bottom of the drops. Also The bars seem extremely narrow. There is maybe 4 or 5 inches between my hands when i grabbed the horizontal top of the bars and it felt very unstable. This was my first time ever riding with drop bars, i am used to commuting with my mtb (flat bars). Are all drop bars like this and it takes getting used to?
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Old 02-10-11, 02:24 AM
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In my limited experience, older road bikes like the ones you tested have narrower bars than newer road bikes. I believe the ideal width would have your hands about shoulder width apart while riding in the drops.

Note too that modern road bikes have better designed brake levers for riding on the "hoods". When riding in this position your hands will be farther apart than when you're riding on the "tops", - which was what you were doing. Most people on newer road bikes ride primarily on the hoods.

I don't know how hard or easy it would be to find wider bars for those Schwinns but there are different widths available. There are even drops bars designed for offroad use which flare out at the bottoms. For the most part though, any drop bar is going to be narrower than a MTB bar and will take some getting used to.
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Old 02-10-11, 07:26 AM
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Whatever Is Comfortable

I have used wide bars (44 cm c-t-c) and narrow bars (38 cm c-t-c), and thought that I liked the wide ones better. Then after riding last winter on my wide-set modernized Fuji Royale, I began riding a narrower set of randonneur bars on my touring bike. My steel road bike has narrow bars.

I eventually decided to replace my carbon road bike bars to narrow, too, because I became accustomed to these. I have broad shoulders, but found that I'm more comfortable at around 40 cm. So, all of my bikes (except the touring) have this width now...

It's a matter of preference and comfort. Plus, the narrower bars give you a slight aero advantage, even on the hoods. Phil
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Old 02-10-11, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by kikoraa
Tested out a couple old schwinns. A le tour and a varsity deluxe. Le tour fit a hell of a lot better but it felt like i was leaning too far down at the bottom of the drops. Also The bars seem extremely narrow. There is maybe 4 or 5 inches between my hands when i grabbed the horizontal top of the bars and it felt very unstable. This was my first time ever riding with drop bars, i am used to commuting with my mtb (flat bars). Are all drop bars like this and it takes getting used to?
Yes, it will take some getting used to, but not long. Try various hand positions -- I spend most of my time on the hoods unless there's a headwind, then I'm in the drops.

You may prefer wider drop bars, however.
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Old 02-10-11, 01:35 PM
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I like narrow drop bars. They fit my preferred riding position and don't get in the way.
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Old 02-10-11, 02:06 PM
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Chromoly Sprinters bars are narrow .. jostling for position on the velodrome ,
Track can get crowded during the race.
as both riders want to be at the front.
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Old 02-10-11, 02:26 PM
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The first time I rode with drop bars, they felt very "twitchy" and unstable compared to the flat handlebars I was used to. IMO that's normal, and you get used to it.
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Old 02-10-11, 02:48 PM
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Another option is a set of North Road (3-speed, sit up and beg, upright-- you know what I mean) bars, on a longer stem and flopped upside down. Works great, I find this very comfortable. It also generally puts your hands in line with the stem, which I think makes for more stable steering, but YMMV.
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Old 02-12-11, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by GRedner
The first time I rode with drop bars, they felt very "twitchy" and unstable compared to the flat handlebars I was used to. IMO that's normal, and you get used to it.
"Twitchy" is just another word for "responsive", at least the way I see it. When I get on my MTB these days, I feel like I'm driving a bus. Its bars are so much wider than the drops on either my road bike or commuter (or even the flat bars my commuter used to have).
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