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Handlebar help!

Old 07-20-20, 04:44 PM
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ciri
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Handlebar help!

Hi all, fairly new to the cycling world. I have a 2020 Giant Escape 3 that I love, except for the height of the handlebars. I feel like Iím reaching too far when riding, and often causes back pain and discomfort. Iíve considered a number of things - possibly a stem extender, but Iíve read that they can be dangerous. Another thought Iíve had is getting a different stem, maybe one longer ? I wouldnít want to extend the cables and stuff. Hoping for an easy solution. Maybe if I got new grips with bar ends that would make my ride more comfortable, being that my hands could rest somewhere higher than the handlebars and give my back a bit of a break. Any thoughts on what I could look into or advice? Thank you in advance.
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Old 07-20-20, 04:47 PM
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You feel like youíre reaching too far and thus are considering a longer stem?

I recommend a professional bike fit.

Last edited by indyfabz; 07-20-20 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 07-20-20, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You feel like youíre reaching too far and thus are considering a longer stem?

I recommend a professional bike fit.
I donít know what I need. These are some things Iíve read on forums and thought it could be applicable.
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Old 07-20-20, 05:02 PM
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Have you had this bike for very long? Have you ridden bikes often in the last few years, or is this your first bike in a long time?

I'm guessing that you might simply need a stem with a higher angle, which would raise the bars and bring them back to you a bit. Or a handlebar with a higher rise. Or both a higher angle stem and a higher rise handlebar.

This is one of those situations where I like easy to adjust old school quill stems better than the clamp on threadless steerer stems.
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Old 07-20-20, 05:07 PM
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At least go back to the dealer, where they should have an assortment of different length & angle, compatible stems..

Basic scheme: bike on the trainer stand ,
remove that stem, put on a different one, ride the bike on the trainer a while, then ask ; is that better?
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Old 07-20-20, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Have you had this bike for very long? Have you ridden bikes often in the last few years, or is this your first bike in a long time?

I'm guessing that you might simply need a stem with a higher angle, which would raise the bars and bring them back to you a bit. Or a handlebar with a higher rise. Or both a higher angle stem and a higher rise handlebar.

This is one of those situations where I like easy to adjust old school quill stems better than the clamp on threadless steerer stems.
Iíve ridden since I was 12, Iím 22 now. I used to ride very often for about 4 years then have recently gotten back into it with the purchase of a new bike. Iíve put 193 miles on it so far so I have rode it quite a bit.
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Old 07-20-20, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ciri View Post
Iíve ridden since I was 12, Iím 22 now. I used to ride very often for about 4 years then have recently gotten back into it with the purchase of a new bike. Iíve put 193 miles on it so far so I have rode it quite a bit.
Excellent. Potentially, young, strong, and flexible.

So, do you feel like you want your hands closer and higher to you?
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Old 07-20-20, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Excellent. Potentially, young, strong, and flexible.

So, do you feel like you want your hands closer and higher to you?
Yes. I think I would like a more upright position. I donít worry too much about aerodynamics, I casually ride and usually keep a pace of 16-18mph. I go on fairly long rides, usually anywhere from 10-25 mile rides. My neck and back start hurting only about 5 miles in. Could it possibly be in the positioning of my buttocks on my saddle, or my posture?
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Old 07-20-20, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Excellent. Potentially, young, strong, and flexible.

So, do you feel like you want your hands closer and higher to you?
Yes. I think I would like a more upright position. I donít worry too much about aerodynamics, I casually ride and usually keep a pace of 16-18mph. I go on fairly long rides, usually anywhere from 10-25 mile rides. My neck and back start hurting only about 5 miles in. Could it possibly be in the positioning of my buttocks on my saddle, or my posture?
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Old 07-20-20, 05:40 PM
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I think what you need is a 25-35 degree stem about 70mm long or maybe a riser bars with a little bit more raise to it.
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Old 07-20-20, 05:40 PM
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Is this your bike? https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/escape-3

The specs say that bike has a 15-degree, 31.8 stem.

It might be worth your time to find a good adjustable stem to see what bar position suits you. In this link are some photos that show you the versatility of an adjustable stem. I can't recommend that brand, you'll have to search around yourself unless someone else comes across with a recommendation.

Last edited by FiftySix; 07-20-20 at 05:45 PM. Reason: typ-o
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Old 07-20-20, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ciri View Post
I donít know what I need.
Which is my I recommend a fitting.
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Old 07-20-20, 08:54 PM
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A good bike fitter will evaluate you, your flexibility, and any issues you are currently having.
They will then determine how to best configure the bike to you.
Lastly, fit can change over the miles, meaning you'll might need a tune-up once in a while.

As a 56 year old fat guy, I felt really silly and highly apprehensive going for my first ever bike fit. WOW, money very well spent.
During assembly my left leg was attached wonky. I didn't know and the warranty long since expired. A simple twist of the cleat fixed my knee pain.

Barry
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Old 07-20-20, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You feel like youíre reaching too far and thus are considering a longer stem?

I recommend a professional bike fit.
By "stem extender," I thought the OP meant a steerer tube extender, based on the comment they heard they were potentially dangerous.
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Old 07-20-20, 11:14 PM
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Like others said, would recommend a professional bike fit. Go back to the bike shop where you purchased the bike from and ask if they do bike fits. If you didnít buy it at a local bike shop, call your nearest one and ask for the same, or if they recommend any. Most, if not all, Major USA cities will have a variety of fitters to choose from.
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Old 07-21-20, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ciri View Post
Yes. I think I would like a more upright position. I donít worry too much about aerodynamics, I casually ride and usually keep a pace of 16-18mph. I go on fairly long rides, usually anywhere from 10-25 mile rides. My neck and back start hurting only about 5 miles in. Could it possibly be in the positioning of my buttocks on my saddle, or my posture?
Adjust your saddle and try moving it forwards if you haven't already, this is the simplest solution to move into more upright position (albeit, only a little bit more upright).

One thing that can bring you to more upright position (by a large degree) is the beach cruiser handlebar.

A higher stem that is rotated backwards (facing you) is another solution (but let's hear about the experts here concerning safety) that can make more upright by a large degree. However, this solution can look weird and may attract attention from other cyclists.

A non mechanical but very simple solution is to strengthen your core muscles (use your core muscles instead to support your upper body weight instead of using your hands)

And finally, neck and back pain is very likely caused by wrong bike fit (for example, your saddle might be tilted nose down too much). If you can afford professional bike fitting, then go for it....BUT, if you like to do your bike fitting yourself, you can also do it browsing through youtube videos concerning bike fit like this example:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr4...L1xJb4A/videos
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Old 07-21-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post

If you can afford professional bike fitting, then go for it....
Yeah, considering what bike fittings go for here and if I was 22 years old and had a new bike with a retail price of $420.00, I'd probably do everything I could to set up the bike myself.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:25 AM
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I view that slightly different...
The price of the bike does not really matter.

The financial balance comes with the amount of hours/miles you wish to spend on that bike.
A fit is a lot of leisure/hobby dollars to spend if you ride a Just few times/miles a month.

I ride a lot and have already spent 45% the price of my used 2011 road bike on two fits this year.
I viewed a fit as an Highly expensive luxury I really didnít need. I was wrong.
Those fits have allowed me to continue riding, else my knee issue would have stopped me within weeks.

Maybe a fit is not an option for the OP, but some onsite help might be. Either a store, a fellow cyclist, an iPhone app, some pointer in the right direction.
I think as enthusiasts we immediately go to the ďget a fitĒ option.

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Old 07-21-20, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Adjust your saddle and try moving it forwards if you haven't already, this is the simplest solution to move into more upright position (albeit, only a little bit more upright).

One thing that can bring you to more upright position (by a large degree) is the beach cruiser handlebar.

A higher stem that is rotated backwards (facing you) is another solution (but let's hear about the experts here concerning safety) that can make more upright by a large degree. However, this solution can look weird and may attract attention from other cyclists.

A non mechanical but very simple solution is to strengthen your core muscles (use your core muscles instead to support your upper body weight instead of using your hands)

And finally, neck and back pain is very likely caused by wrong bike fit (for example, your saddle might be tilted nose down too much). If you can afford professional bike fitting, then go for it....BUT, if you like to do your bike fitting yourself, you can also do it browsing through youtube videos concerning bike fit like this example:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr4...L1xJb4A/videos
I would second the recommendation to check out Johnís videos (bikefitadviser), but I will point out that he would NOT encourage any saddle adjustment to compensate for handlebar position issues.

His videos will instruct you to start by making sure your foot is in the right position on the pedal, then adjust saddle height, fore-aft and tilt to get the hips and legs in the right position relative to pedals and bottom bracket and only then tackle remaining issues of reach and bar height.

I would also agree that a swept back bar may be a good option, but that will require all new housings and cables and possibly a longer stem depending on how far back the bars reach.

Otto

Last edited by ofajen; 07-21-20 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 07-21-20, 09:21 AM
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All you need is a bar with about 30+ degree sweep and 2" rise. What you have is what I call a broom handle. ZERO flexibility for hands or posture.
Forget the fit. One girl blogger got 4 fits to see what happens. They were ALL different. LOL
My custom has a 610 mm TT and old style chrome bars with 70d sweep and 2 1/2 rise. ZERO back pains. Yesterday I rode my 78 lb tour bike 107 miles with my SA RD5w. Only thing sore was my bum. LOL

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 07-21-20 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 07-21-20, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
All you need is a bar with about 30+ degree sweep and 2" rise. What you have is what I call a broom handle. ZERO flexibility for hands or posture.
Forget the fit. One girl blogger got 4 fits to see what happens. They were ALL different. LOL
My custom has a 610 mm TT and old style chrome bars with 70d sweep and 2 1/2 rise. ZERO back pains. Yesterday I rode my 78 lb tour bike 107 miles with my SA RD5w. Only thing sore was my bum. LOL
A fair point. Bars with 2Ē rise and at least 30 degree sweep should resolve the reach issues, particularly the North Road/Albatross style with 70 degree sweep which has room to move hands about 7 inches from back end to forward bend. However, this change will require new housings and cables at least and maybe a change in stem length.

And you can do a fair job on saddle adjustment for this type of riding position just by the numbers: saddle tilt exactly level, keep the saddle all the way back in the seatpost and saddle height (center of bottom bracket to top of saddle measured up the seat tube) at 0.883 times PBH (pubic bone height).

Otto
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Old 07-21-20, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
I would second the recommendation to check out John’s videos (bikefitadviser), but I will point out that he would NOT encourage any saddle adjustment to compensate for handlebar position issues.

His videos will instruct you to start by making sure your foot is in the right position on the pedal, then adjust saddle height, fore-aft and tilt to get the hips and legs in the right position relative to pedals and bottom bracket and only then tackle remaining issues of reach and bar height.

I would also agree that a swept back bar may be a good option, but that will require all new housings and cables and possibly a longer stem depending on how far back the bars reach.

Otto
I agree with changing cables. Most new cruiser bikes seem to use the same housing as straight handlebars so think the OP can use the same housings for cruiser bike handles.

When I started caring more about bike fit, bikefitadviser channel seems to be the most educational so far and glad you agree! I didn't follow them to the letter though, some of my unique requirements takes my adjustments beyond the recommended range (I did textbook adjustment for the saddle height though). Fortunately, I have fair amount of flexibility and all is well, no discomfort of any sort.

Last edited by cubewheels; 07-21-20 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 07-21-20, 10:23 PM
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Here's a pic of an escape with perhaps 100 or 150mm riser bars. Note the cables are getting pretty stretched.

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Old 07-22-20, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bluehills3149 View Post
Here's a pic of an escape with perhaps 100 or 150mm riser bars. Note the cables are getting pretty stretched.
Hopefully, @ciri doesn't need a handlebar that tall.
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Old 07-22-20, 07:56 AM
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"A fool learns by experience. A wise man learns by other people's experience."

I'm a fool because I always try to figure things like this out for myself. If you're working from home, unless you figure out what you think you need, order it on line, wait for the parts to come in, see if it will fit and finally see if it will work. If it doesn't, you get to go through that loop again. Sometimes the result winds up looking goofy too. In my case, I could usually make that work because I always had a big box of spare bike parts that I could pick from.

On the other hand, if you take it back to the shop where you bought the bike, they may have a stock of stems in various lengths and angles for you to try. If they like you, you may even be able to talk them into giving you a cut rate deal.
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