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Drop Bar width?

Old 09-20-19, 06:08 PM
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McMitchell
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Drop Bar width?

It seems the way drop bar widths are measured is not consistent? Sometimes it is hard to figure out how wide the actual bar will be. Apparently there is width at the hoods, width at the actual drops which may be quite different if the drops are angled out.....

I wonder what size drop bar a 5’8” dude (17” , 43.5cm shoulder width) should use? I am reading some who suggest as wide as 46cm. Not sure if this is measured at hoods or the width of the entire bar, angled drops included?
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Old 09-21-19, 07:57 AM
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Good question, I've assumed width was outside to outside and purchased them that way, but most of the internet searches show center-to-center measurements. At the hoods or ramp area. It probably depends on the specifications page that you're looking at.

It's generally supposed to be your shoulder measurements plus a hair more, a couple of centimeters. Some people, myself included, prefer narrower drop bars and my road bike in fact has 42 cm, outside measurement. I associate wider with a more relaxed posture and narrower with more aggressive and aerodynamic.
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Old 09-21-19, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Good question, I've assumed width was outside to outside and purchased them that way, but most of the internet searches show center-to-center measurements. At the hoods or ramp area. It probably depends on the specifications page that you're looking at.

It's generally supposed to be your shoulder measurements plus a hair more, a couple of centimeters. Some people, myself included, prefer narrower drop bars and my road bike in fact has 42 cm, outside measurement. I associate wider with a more relaxed posture and narrower with more aggressive and aerodynamic.
I am still stuck trying to figure out if flared/angled drop bars are measured from the drops or the hoods? I understand that many road bike guys like narrower handlebars, arguing that they may help with aerodynamics. I understand that Mountain Bikers May go very wide, Gravel & Cyclocross guys often like a little wider bars, arguing for the increased leverage. I cut the Riser Bar on my Cyclocross bike down to 660 from 720, which puts my hands at about 440.

I am converting a Cyclocross/Hybrid to more of a Gravel/Road bike. I ride paved roads covered with sand and gravel, also some fairly rough gravel roads. I have 700 x 40C WTB Nanos on my bike now. I might be able to get a little wider tire in the forks. I am using Stan’s NOTUBES Grail rims.
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Old 09-21-19, 05:26 PM
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if flared/angled drop bars are measured from the drops or the hoods?
Don't know. I'd assume measured the same but with a separare flare measure but I'd for sure verify that before buying one.
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Old 09-21-19, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Don't know. I'd assume measured the same but with a separare flare measure but I'd for sure verify that before buying one.
Thanks for the reply. Maybe I should not be trying to buy bike parts on Amazon? They seem to offer only a modicum of information on the parts they sell, which may be the issue.
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Old 09-21-19, 07:17 PM
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Most of the time, I see bars measured center-to-center at the ends. If there is flare to the drops, the customer should understand that the bars will be narrower at the hoods.
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Old 09-22-19, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Most of the time, I see bars measured center-to-center at the ends. If there is flare to the drops, the customer should understand that the bars will be narrower at the hoods.
That's my experience as well but I do know of at least one exception; the Specialized Hover Flare bars @ 12 degrees. They measure at the hoods; the flared drops are even wider. Ironically they don't list the C to C measurement at the drops for comparison to the hood C to C measurement.

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ho...flare/p/155205
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Old 09-22-19, 08:23 AM
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Wink

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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
That's my experience as well but I do know of at least one exception; the Specialized Hover Flare bars @ 12 degrees. They measure at the hoods; the flared drops are even wider. Ironically they don't list the C to C measurement at the drops for comparison to the hood C to C measurement.

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ho...flare/p/155205
These are the ones I have been looking at: They say they are measured at the initial bends, not the hoods or center to center at the ends, whatever that means? Apparently hands can reach across the bend in the bar, adding stability.


https://www.modernbike.com/ritchey-c...6cm-31.8-black

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Old 09-22-19, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by McMitchell View Post
These are the ones I have been looking at: They say they are measured at the initial bends, not the hoods or center to center at the ends, whatever that means? Apparently hands can reach across the bend in the bar, adding stability.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-Wr...&feature=share


https://www.modernbike.com/ritchey-c...6cm-31.8-black
It just occurred to me the expected use might determine where a manufacturer chooses to measure the bars. The old-school handlebars I ride were designed when people spent a lot of their time in the drops, so it would make sense to compare them based on the width at the ends. Newer handlebars are designed for people who primarily ride on the hoods, hence the shallower drops and shorter reach. And the width at the ends may never be a factor for them.

Interesting idea to reach down with the fingertips to the drops while on the ramps... I could see it adding some stability, but then you also don't have a firm grip on the top or bottom part of the bar.
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Old 09-23-19, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
It just occurred to me the expected use might determine where a manufacturer chooses to measure the bars. The old-school handlebars I ride were designed when people spent a lot of their time in the drops, so it would make sense to compare them based on the width at the ends. Newer handlebars are designed for people who primarily ride on the hoods, hence the shallower drops and shorter reach. And the width at the ends may never be a factor for them.

Interesting idea to reach down with the fingertips to the drops while on the ramps... I could see it adding some stability, but then you also don't have a firm grip on the top or bottom part of the bar.
I think the idea behind shallow drops has more to do with a desire for a less “radical/aero” position. Certainly one might cover the smaller distance in less time. We might think of these bars as offering a greater variety of less radical hand positions (inside the hoods, on hoods, in drops, hands covering the drops. It might also be easier to reach a bar end shifter or even a more typical MTB shifter.
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Old 09-23-19, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by McMitchell View Post
I think the idea behind shallow drops has more to do with a desire for a less “radical/aero” position. Certainly one might cover the smaller distance in less time. We might think of these bars as offering a greater variety of less radical hand positions (inside the hoods, on hoods, in drops, hands covering the drops. It might also be easier to reach a bar end shifter or even a more typical MTB shifter.
I think we're on the same track, just expressing it differently. With compact drops, the various hand positions are closer together, so if you primarily ride on the hoods, going to the drops doesn't drastically change your position. And vice versa, if you primarily ride in the drops, going to the upper positions doesn't have you sitting way up all of a sudden. It works for a lot of people whether they want to be riding low/aero or upright.
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Old 09-23-19, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I think we're on the same track, just expressing it differently. With compact drops, the various hand positions are closer together, so if you primarily ride on the hoods, going to the drops doesn't drastically change your position. And vice versa, if you primarily ride in the drops, going to the upper positions doesn't have you sitting way up all of a sudden. It works for a lot of people whether they want to be riding low/aero or upright.
Yep, how you get there depends on your use case. Whether you set the height based on the hoods position compared to a tradition drop(results in a higher drop position) or based on the lowest trad drop bar position(lower hoods and tops position). Then you get into gravel compact drops that are designed to be ridden primarily in the drops and then everything changes again!
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Old 09-26-19, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I think we're on the same track, just expressing it differently. With compact drops, the various hand positions are closer together, so if you primarily ride on the hoods, going to the drops doesn't drastically change your position. And vice versa, if you primarily ride in the drops, going to the upper positions doesn't have you sitting way up all of a sudden. It works for a lot of people whether they want to be riding low/aero or upright.
Agreed!
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Old 09-26-19, 10:15 PM
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I've never thought about how the old "rule" plays with the new drops that are angled out. That rule was that the ends of the drops should match the width of the balls of your shoulders. in other words, the bare bars with no plugs should fit exactly over the shoulder balls. I heard this many times in my racing days 40 years ago. That puts the rider at a place with enough width for deep breathing and bike control but narrow enough to be decently areo and enable one to be able to slid between riders. If you wanted more control, 2 cm wider. I raced a 39 cm bar; having skinny shoulders.

In recent years I have gone wider on my fix gears, 42 on most and probably 44 on my two road climbing setups. (That's out of the saddle climbing in typically way too high a gear. Then spinning sometimes crazy RPM and trying to control the bike coming down.)

I"m another who loves having the hoods directly over the drops. I do however prefer a generous bend at the tops, not the almost square that is popular now so one can rest their forearms on the tops. I bang my forarms against the square corners riding out of the saddle climbing and sprinting across intersections. I now have a couple of bikes set up with pista bars with the very generous bends and love them.

Ben
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