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why flared handlebars?

Old 10-31-18, 09:43 AM
  #1  
jackb
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why flared handlebars?

Looking at the Rivendell site, I noticed a bike that had flared drop handlebars. A few years ago I bought an REI tourning bike, the Mazama that had flared drop handlebars. I never bothered to question the reason for this variation in handlebar shape. Although I like the flared handlebars well enough, I do wonder what their purpose is. I'm sure better informed cyclists on this site know. What do you think?
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Old 10-31-18, 09:47 AM
  #2  
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Comfort, control, and more space for handlebar bags.
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Old 10-31-18, 09:51 AM
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Opens your chest to make breathing easier. also widens your base of support for more comfort/control
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Old 10-31-18, 12:40 PM
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Gravel bars, like the ones on your Mazama, allow for better control on poor surfaces since you can hold the drops and have a wider setup. That slows steering down for more stability. It also places the hands palm down which allows you to hold the bars softer and still maintain control(no death grip needed).
Unfortunately, gravel bars like the Mazama's, are tilted incorrectly. The drops are supposed to be about level with the ground, but they are often sold and used with the drops pointing down to the crankset and ground. The reason the drops are supposed to be level is that is the primary spot for your hands, which is also why a lot of bikes have tall stack heights- to allow the bars to be higher since the drops are the main hand location.

This ideal designed setup is obviously not used as often as intended since the hoods are where most ride.

To me, good bars allow for extended use on the hoods, drops, and tops. Too much flare and the hoods are no longer a useful spot for extended hand placement. The Salsa Cowchipper is an example of an ideal gravel bar for me- the hooks angle out so the drops are wider, but the drops are mostly still parallel with one another and dont then flare outwards. The hooks are really nice as the bend allows for the ramps to be used like on a traditional road bike so the hoods are for the most part level.
Best of all worlds.
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Old 10-31-18, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Unfortunately, gravel bars like the Mazama's, are tilted incorrectly. The drops are supposed to be about level with the ground, but they are often sold and used with the drops pointing down to the crankset and ground.
I prefer my dirt drops (Midge bars) angled, pointing at the rear axle.

But I think it depends on the kind of bar in question. It seems Cowchippers are usually set up with the drops closer to level, while the Woodchipper is usually very angled.



Last edited by tyrion; 10-31-18 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 10-31-18, 02:16 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I prefer my dirt drops (Midge bars) angled, pointing at the rear axle.

But I think it depends on the kind of bar in question. It seems Cowchippers are usually set up with the drops closer to level, while the Woodchipper is usually very angled.

Yeah, the angled drops allows the hoods to be usable. And with how a lot of the bends on flared drops are designed, it puts the drops at this odd forward position where your palms are facing sort of down and sort of forward when using the drops.
Midge bars were especially big on this as they were basically drop bars to be used in the drops almost exclusively since they are darn near moustache bars due to how much they flare.

on one bars-

But hey- as long as whatever bars used are comfortable in all the positions, thats what is most important. If someone's body geometry allows flared bars to be angled down hard and be comfortable on the ramps, hoods, and drops- then perfect.
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Old 11-02-18, 07:04 AM
  #7  
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Flared bars, like dirt drops, rotate the arm so that the elbow points outward more. This improves control on trails and, as mentioned, opens the chest more for better breathing. Consider the arm position with straight bars on mountain bikes which positions the elbows much more outward than drops.

John
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Old 11-02-18, 07:33 AM
  #8  
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For me, my Mazama allows my arms/wrists to come in at a much more comfortable angle on the hoods. Best handlebars I've ever tried, I'd buy a case to equip all my bikes if I could find one.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Unfortunately, gravel bars like the Mazama's, are tilted incorrectly. The drops are supposed to be about level with the ground, but they are often sold and used with the drops pointing down to the crankset and ground. The reason the drops are supposed to be level is that is the primary spot for your hands, which is also why a lot of bikes have tall stack heights- to allow the bars to be higher since the drops are the main hand location.
Agree with @tyrion, I vastly prefer my drops pointing at my rear axle. I spend little time in the drops, and when I do the angle is hardly bothersome.

Last edited by jefnvk; 11-02-18 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 11-02-18, 07:51 AM
  #9  
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I like flares for gravel/adventure riding. Wider hand positions on the drops allows more stability at speed over loose conditions while staying low. Additionally, the larger number of hand positions helps on long riders. The right of this photo is my drop-bar Pugsley with Woodchippers - I've used this bike for rides up to 140 miles in a day.



2017 Flithy 50 - Photo Credit Mark & Laura Broadwater
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Old 11-02-18, 08:47 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
For me, my Mazama allows my arms/wrists to come in at a much more comfortable angle on the hoods. Best handlebars I've ever tried, I'd buy a case to equip all my bikes if I could find one.



Agree with @tyrion, I vastly prefer my drops pointing at my rear axle. I spend little time in the drops, and when I do the angle is hardly bothersome.

Sorry- i think i sort of blurred my opinion and historical info on the bars together and made it sound like I personally disapprove of the setup that you and tyrion have.

I was moreso just saying that the bars were designed for the drops to be flat as that was the intended predominant riding position, which is also why bars level with the saddle is a common design feature of bikes that use those bars- it allows for the drops to be used more.

With that said, a lot of users clearly dont use the bars how they were originally intended because the hoods are more preferred by many.
My old bars were set up traditionally proper and the hoods pointed down and inward too much. I rode em for a few years and put up with it, but eventually decided to spend a bit of coin to get some bars that have a better bend for my style, and now the hoods are level and the drops are level. So much nicer.

I think with some of the bends that have come out in the last 4 years, bar brands have recognized there is a strong preference for flared drops but also hooks that allow brake levers to be placed level.

No setup is actually wrong and whatever works is best. I was really just citing why many of the bars are the way they are- what the original thinking and design was.
Its actually cool to see how something evolves due to user preference.
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Old 11-02-18, 08:57 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I prefer my dirt drops (Midge bars) angled, pointing at the rear axle.

But I think it depends on the kind of bar in question. It seems Cowchippers are usually set up with the drops closer to level, while the Woodchipper is usually very angled.
I used this to help with my Woodchipper set up: https://salsacycles.com/culture/my_woodchipper_set_up
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