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Flared Bars (not sure they're for me)

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Flared Bars (not sure they're for me)

Old 04-30-23, 05:44 PM
  #1  
Noonievut
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Flared Bars (not sure they're for me)

I have Salsa Cowchippers on my Fargo and partly love them (the control I get on all types of terrain), but have had sore thumbs that feels like it's from the hoods being tipped in and the strange hand position when resting on the hoods. Tops and drops are fine, and overall I'm super comfortable on the bike and my neck, shoulders, back and arms all feel great. I've done about 10 rides (one long one with lots of mixed surface) and I'm wondering if I get used to it and my thumb pain goes away, or if they're not for me. Anyone go through the change to flared bars and did it just take some time?
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Old 04-30-23, 05:53 PM
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I've used a couple of flared bars and like them. Mine were both 12 degree whereas those are 24 degree. I can see that might make a difference.
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Old 04-30-23, 06:33 PM
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I splurged on an Enve G series handlebar a few years ago after trying one during a bike fitting session. I immediately loved it. I feel so much more comfortable and confident riding in the drops on that bar. I like it so much that I use one for road riding now as well.
I have mine set up so that the hoods are basically the same as my regular road drop bars - the only difference is on the drops. I'm not super familiar with the Salsa handlebars, but it would be worth playing around with the hood position before swapping bars. I will say that "getting used to pain" shouldn't be a thing anyone is dealing with when it comes to bike fits. If it's not working, I wouldn't expect time to make that better.
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Old 04-30-23, 08:11 PM
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Salsa Cowchipper has 24 degrees of flare and 12 degrees of spread from the front to the back of the drops; it is almost a touring handlebar? My Easton EA70AX has 16 degrees of flare without any spreading of the drop from front to back, and I think it is too much. The only reason I have not replaced it is due to a concern about whether a CF road bar is sturdy enough for riding gravel.

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Old 04-30-23, 09:02 PM
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I’m using Whisky Spano bars on my gravel bike. 12deg flare, and a compound curve that sets the levers a little more vertical. The bar is also flattened in some sections improve the comfort. They aren’t cheap, but I’m super happy with them. I did not like the Ritchey flared bars that were on my bike originally.
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Old 04-30-23, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Salsa Cowchipper has 24 degrees of flare and 12 degrees of spread from the front to the back of the drops; it is almost a touring handlebar? My Easton EA70AX has 16 degrees of flare without any spreading of the drop from front to back, and I think it is too much. The only reason I have not replaced it is due to a concern about whether a CF road bar is sturdy enough for riding gravel.
Why would that design be a touring bar?
As for whether or not carbon is sturdy enough for gravel, look at all the car on bars on the market. It's not like people are faceplanting left and right because of carbon bars.
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Old 04-30-23, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Why would that design be a touring bar?
Because it looks kind of like a Soma Sparrow mounted upside down?

Originally Posted by mstateglfr
As for whether or not carbon is sturdy enough for gravel, look at all the car on bars on the market. It's not like people are faceplanting left and right because of carbon bars.
Yes, there are many CF gravel handlebars, and I am sure they are fine in most circumstances. I am wondering whether a lightweight (200 g) CF road bar would be sturdy enough, because I have a few extras.
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Old 05-01-23, 04:42 AM
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Cowchippers are too much flare for me. I use the FSA Adventure compact bars on all of my bikes, including my road bikes. The 12 degree flare is just right for me and they are relatively inexpensive compared to other options.
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Old 05-01-23, 07:54 AM
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Nothing wrong with disliking flared bars. I know a lot people like them but I'm not a fan either. For me, I just wasn't happy with my lever reach in the drops. People are different, which is why there's so many options out there.

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Old 05-01-23, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Because it looks kind of like a Soma Sparrow mounted upside down?
Yes, there are many CF gravel handlebars, and I am sure they are fine in most circumstances. I am wondering whether a lightweight (200 g) CF road bar would be sturdy enough, because I have a few extras.
Oh. When you initially said 'a CF road bar', I took that to mean 'drop bar' since gravel roads are roads. Gravel bars are road bars. I also didnt realize you were wanting a sub-200g drop bar since that wasnt mentioned. From what Ive seen, most carbon bars with 0 flare(so 'road', I guess) are over 200g. Yes there are many under 200g, even if most are over that.

Well, now that you are asking if a sub-200g 0 flare bar is durable for gravel, I will happily step aside as I have no idea since that isnt something I have ever cared to look into and know nothing about. For what its worth though, I would think that if a pro is able to generate the power they need with various carbon road bars that are surely lightweight and those bars dont break(especially on cobble), then you riding around on an unpaved surface with the same bars will be fine.
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Old 05-01-23, 03:51 PM
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I have the On-One Midge bar on both my bikes. When I bought my latest one, it came with standard road bars which I couldn't switch out fast enough. Everyone's different, of course, but I ride enough mountain bike trails that I appreciate the extra "wrist room" when doing things like decending on rough terrain in the drops. I enjoy the hoods position on smooth terrain and pavement also.

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Old 05-01-23, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Phatman
Nothing wrong with disliking flared bars. I know a lot people like them but I'm not a fan either. For me, I just wasn't happy with my lever reach in the drops. People are different, which is why there's so many options out there.
I also no likie 'flare' bars. The stock bars which came on my Poseiden X and the Framed Basswood both were quite strong 'flare', the Basswood extreme.
The shift/brake levers are so tilted that it's very difficult to get a proper 2 finger grip, the the drops or flats, for braking, or to actuate a shift action, because of the extreme tilt.
My initial reaction was to go to std road conifg bars - but I resisted. Looked for the least 'flare' I could find. That got me to the ZIPP Service Course XPLR 70 & 80.
I bought an XPLR 80 in 44, and have it on the Poseiden X. It's noted at 5 deg 'Flare', but most importantly the axial rotation of the drops is very minimal, so I can set the Shifter/levers very close to my road position. That seems to work OK.
For the Basswood, I'm gonna put on a regular road bar and see how that works.
The stock Bars on the Basswood are really Extreme, in my view - don't know the 'flare' #, but the bars measure 46 cm across the tops behind the Levers and measure 58cm at the bar ends - CRAZY ! And they have an extreme outward rotation of the drops, which heavily angle the levers. Nasty, and uncomfortable.

Framed Basswood Stock Flare bars - way Tooo Much! Rotation/Flare, both

Haven't found a need for that width on any of the technical stuff I chose to do on the gravel bike.
The whole Flare/Spread/Outward sweep thing is really not well defined in the bike biz. WHen you see a 'Flare' number, what is it? The 'flare angle of the bar flats? What about the axial rotation of the drops? Where does that come in? IS 'Flare' the combo of both ? Seems there needs some better definition to what all comes into play on dropbar design.
Thread is prodding me to get the Basswood flare bar replaced and ride that a bit more... LOL!
Ride On
Yuri

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Old 05-01-23, 07:07 PM
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Thanks for the responses and perspectives!

Iíll start by saying that on technical terrain the advantages I get when riding in the (flared / wide) drops, at least on this bike, are superior in every way to my previous 7 or so gravel bikes. I fly down 20%+ loose gravel descents like it was nothing, and navigating single track very easily.

Iím really trying to get along with these bars so for now itís minor adjustments, ride and evaluate. Which is complete opposite of my usual knee-jerk reaction.

Tonight I changed the reach of the levers (brought them in a bit) and rotated the levers to a point that felt more comfortable (just standing over the bike; I have to ride and see how it goes).

Lastly, the part that is sore, left hand only, is the area between my thumb and first finger...like it was overly stretched and the tendons or whatís there, are inflamed slightly.

Fingers crossed it works itself out!
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Old 05-02-23, 01:25 PM
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If your hand is getting sore at the thumb you probably have too much weight on the hoods. With the hoods angled in you should be resting more of the hand on the outside of the palm as well, by the meaty part of the pinky. Try raising the bars a bitin addition to the rotation.
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Old 05-02-23, 06:35 PM
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IMHO, Cadex AR has an ideal shape for gravel.

CADEX AR Handlebar | CADEX US (cadex-cycling.com)

But it is $$$$ and I already have more CF handlebars than bikes.

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Old 05-05-23, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
IMHO, Cadex AR has an ideal shape for gravel.

CADEX AR Handlebar | CADEX US (cadex-cycling.com)

But it is $$$$ and I already have more CF handlebars than bikes.
Those Whiskey Spano bars mentioned upthread actually look pretty attractive to me, even though I haven't had much success with flared bars. The big issue I had with mine is that the lever ended up tilted more than the drops and so I had to bend my fingers backwards to reach the lever when I was in the drops. But if the lever attachment section is more vertical than the drop, then that won't be a problem. $280 is a bit rich for me though, and its also a lot of money to try something I might not like.

Hence why my gravel bike has the same EA70's that my road bike does.
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Old 05-05-23, 08:55 PM
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Just to chime in with another voice here, I've ridden a fair number of bars and my experience is that the amount of flare you like is mainly a matter of personal preference and what works for different folks also varies according to palm and finger size. And bar drop, reach, and shaping matter, and lever choice all make a difference too. Personally, I like bars with a very small amount of flare, and my three top favorite bars over time have been Sakae Randonneur, Salsa Bell Lap, and currently Cadex AR. Anything more than about 10į of flare feels like too much for my wrists when in the drops, but that's entirely a matter of preference and I know plenty of folks who like bars with more flare than that. If you're having discomfort, the best thing to do is try different bars, since that's really the only way you can figure what out what works best for you.
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Old 05-09-23, 05:17 AM
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I donít like the super flared bars either but I do like some flare.
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Old 05-09-23, 05:55 AM
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I like my Zipp XPLR bars - the hoods maintain a standard vertical control position but it's the drops that flare. Had the Salsa Cowbell before and didn't care for the flared hood, but it did help clear my rando bag better...
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Old 05-10-23, 07:59 AM
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Love mine

I find being in the drops descending is much more comfortable on rough terrain with flared bars.
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Old 05-10-23, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul
Cowchippers are too much flare for me. I use the FSA Adventure compact bars on all of my bikes, including my road bikes. The 12 degree flare is just right for me and they are relatively inexpensive compared to other options.
^^ this is what I was going to post. Super bargain! I have them on two bikes now, a Specialized CruX and a Trek 520.
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Old 05-10-23, 12:03 PM
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I used to not like any flare to my drop bars, coming from the road side of things. I now have some wide Cowchipper 2's and so far so good. The wider bars (at the hoods) help with large tire steering, which can flop a bit--what may be fine at 30mm is not at 40mm. For traditional road, zero or a couple degrees of flare is all I ever want. It looks right to me, keeps things narrower, and is easier to lean up against walls and things.
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