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Bullhorns advice

Old 04-28-20, 11:57 AM
  #1  
phile
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Bullhorns advice

hey guys so title says most of it.

i just did my first century last saturday (178 km, a bit shy of 111 miles), throughout the last third or so of the ride i realized i kept wanting to stretch /reach forward to get some relief on shoulders. been currently thinking of replacing drop bars with some longer bullhorns for this reason.


before my actual questions i currently ride a btwin triban 100 (road.cc review of bike) besides aesthetic upgrades basically stock with exception of a brooks seat and a rear rack.


now here goes what i've been wondering about since realizing i constantly just wanted to stretch forwards.


i'm currently thinking bullhorns as title implies but a longer stem is not out of the question.

while doing an admittedly very superficial and shoddy google it seems like bullhorns are at least length wise (sticking forwards) about as much as drops, am i mistaken?


if i get the bullhorns would that also entail having to replace brake levers? currently having a brain fart as to how brake levers look under the hoods and if possible to mount on the bullhorns.


any recs for some slightly longer bullhorns? as i said my main issue is wanting to stretch farther forwards from time to time.


would a longer stem do the trick?


as you can see i got quite a few questions with no real concrete thoughts besides just wanting to stretch farther forward from time to time on longer rides. so if i am missing anything out would also appreciate it
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Old 04-28-20, 04:28 PM
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I have bullhorns on my single speed. You can just install regular brake levers on them, but routing brake and shifter cables under the bar tape on bullhorns would be tricky.

But I will say that replacing drops with bullhorns will leave you short on hand positions. You may not notice it now, but especially when riding distances on the road I like having the drops down there to lean down and cruise. I also find technical descents on bullhorns to be a bit awkward too.

I would lean towards a longer stem. Another, cheaper option might be if you've considered moving your saddle back? For longer rides, sitting further back and slightly more upright might be more comfortable.
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Old 04-28-20, 04:33 PM
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Consider clip-on aerobars. Rest your arms on them when conditions are clear and you won't be doing any quick maneuvering.
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Old 04-28-20, 04:38 PM
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Make sure your fit is reasonable before buying anything. Leg extension to cranks, saddle fore-aft, etc. If you find that you need to lengthen the reach, try a longer stem.

A bullhorn with a long extension isn't really much different from using drop-bar positions with a longer stem, except that you'll have fewer positions available.
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Old 04-28-20, 05:48 PM
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Bullhorns have fewer hand positions; basically, only two. I have a nice set of bullhorns from a tri-bike and no idea what to do with them. Eventually I might put them on a single speed for casual group rides.

Drop bars offer a lot more hand positions, including duplicating one of the two hand positions of bullhorns -- leaning forward onto the brake hoods. You can extend the reach if desired by switching to integrated brakes/shifters or brifters (not quite the same thing but close enough). These usually have longer reach across the brake hoods, effectively duplicating the main hand position on a bullhorn. MicroShift has good integrated brake/shifter sets for less money than Shimano, SRAM, etc.

You can also adjust the reach by using a longer stem. That's an easy swap with most threadless systems -- no need to strip the handlebar with 2- or 4-bolt stems. (My older Ibis threadless stem has a single bolt and requires stripping the handlebar to install, but that's unusual nowadays.)

But stuff is gonna get uncomfortable on a longer ride anyway, especially for those of us who only occasionally ride long distances and don't work out a few times a week to improve our core conditioning for long hours in the saddle. I'm not sure I'd make any significant changes to my bike fit just to suit the final 25 miles of a century ride, unless it also improved the ride for the first 75 miles.

I did install shorter stems on my road bikes (90mm vs the original 120-130mm) to accommodate neck and shoulder injuries. But after a couple of years and improved physical fitness, I'm ready to revert to the original longer stem on at least one bike. While the more upright position of the shorter stem is comfortable, it's also less aero and more tiring on longer rides, especially with climbs and headwinds.
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Old 04-29-20, 12:09 AM
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Changing stems is certainly much easier than handlebar swaps, especially on taped drop bars. Stems are also pretty cheap (~$10 or less for aluminum take-offs). So you can get a couple of different sizes and experiment with what works.

Before you start swapping parts though, figure out what it is about your current position that’s causing the discomfort. The answer might not be what you suspect.

In my case, I had a hand numbness issue that was solved, not by raising the bars, but by a lower, wider setup.
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Old 04-29-20, 05:54 AM
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thanks to every one replying, which has led to following thoughts and questions.

1, is as far back as it will go
2. i understands bullhorns give you less hand positions but besides not having hoods all my preferred hand positions can be done on bullhorns, (it was my first century last saturday but i do ride a couple hundred miles a month)
3. any links to possible clip on aerobars available in europe?
4. likewise for longer stems.
5. and lastly just in case so i can compare costs some longer bullhorns also?
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Old 04-29-20, 07:14 AM
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Bullhorn handlebars were originally developed for special-purpose riding; time trials and pursuit riding on the track, where the aerodynamic benefits were felt to outweigh the lack of multiple hand positions. For extended rides like century rides, a dropped bar with multiple hand positions makes more sense.
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Old 04-29-20, 12:49 PM
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You might also consider a more traditional drop bar with a longer reach than the compact ergo bars it looks like your bike came with. A traditional bar would leave the flats where they are now for when you want a more upright position, but also move your brifters forward to allow you to stretch out, and leave room behind the brifters for an intermediate position.
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Old 04-29-20, 09:32 PM
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is it possible the frame is too small is the real issue, not the dropbar?
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Old 04-30-20, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
is it possible the frame is too small is the real issue, not the dropbar?
when i bought the bike i tried the next size up and it was definitely too big, that said earlier comment about drop bars being smaller was something i was honestly thinking about. I kept wondering if i was going crazy thinking mine seemed smaller than other similar sized bikes
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Old 04-30-20, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by phile View Post
when i bought the bike i tried the next size up and it was definitely too big, that said earlier comment about drop bars being smaller was something i was honestly thinking about. I kept wondering if i was going crazy thinking mine seemed smaller than other similar sized bikes
A 40-42mm ‘compact’ ergo drop bar seems to be the default for most bikes since the mid-1990s. ‘Traditional’ drop bars, from the pre-brifter era have longer ramps and deeper drops, since riding ‘on the hoods’ wasn’t as much of a thing with old-school brake levers.

Another option to try would be a wider modern bar, like a 44mm. I find that a wide, shallow flared ‘gravel’ bar, the Salsa Cowchipper works the best for the way I fit on my bikes.

Which brings us to the final point; that bike fit is a very subjective thing, everyone has different physiology, and we’re not all riding the same bike, so there’s no ‘one’ solution.
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Old 05-01-20, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by phile View Post
3. any links to possible clip on aerobars available in europe?
I'm not familiar with the online shops, but appears Profile Design is available. If you use the tops of your bars, you'll want something like the Airstryke II, which have pads that swing up. Otherwise, anything with some adjustability, cheap is fine unless you really care about weight.
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