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Flat bar commuting bike

Old 11-03-21, 12:39 AM
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Vixar
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Flat bar commuting bike

What is the length of your handlebars ? Please discuss differences between short ( < 55 cm ) and long ( > 60 cm) handlebars !
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Old 11-03-21, 04:30 AM
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bluehills3149
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I cut a couple of inches off each side. Longer bars have more control but narrow bars enable you to squeeze through narrow gaps better, like passing cars stopped at red lights. Can be easier to park too as protrudes less into passing people.
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Old 11-03-21, 04:43 AM
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Vixar
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Originally Posted by bluehills3149 View Post
I cut a couple of inches off each side. Longer bars have more control but narrow bars enable you to squeeze through narrow gaps better, like passing cars stopped at red lights. Can be easier to park too as protrudes less into passing people.
Thanks for the answer. I want control, but also something I can use better in narrow gaps, what would be the best compromise ? Also,what handlebars length do you have now ?
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Old 11-03-21, 06:22 AM
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Germany_chris
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My flat bar bike has Surly Moloko bars and I believe they 717
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Old 11-03-21, 06:58 AM
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Sorry to be a downer, but handlebar length is personal. Unless you and I have exactly the same shoulder width, arm, shoulder, and torso strength, ride the same bike with the same tires ant the same pressure on the same routes at the same time of day and ride in the same style (how aggressive are you in passing cars, how tight d you corner, howl late do you brake, how much risk do you take) then the width of my bars have no bearing on the width of yours. One of us might be a foot taller, six inches wider, 100 pounds heavier .....

For fun try taking a ride with your hands inside your current grips. Try riding with your hands two inches from the stem. See how the bike feels.

Other than that I cannot help.
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Old 11-03-21, 07:01 AM
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A lot of what bar width works best depends on what the rest of the bike looks like. An aggressively sporty bike with a long, low cockpit would typically run a narrower bar, while a more upright, relaxed bike does better with a wider bar. High, narrow bars feel weird, and low wide bars can be unwieldy to maneuver.

I don't consider a 630 mm bar to be "wide," unless you're going for the messenger-fixie esthetics, or a period-correct early 90's XC bike.
Unless you're riding through groups of pedestrians, 2" of bar isn't going to matter much for clearance, but you'll feel the difference at your hands, for better or worse.
I used to cut through traffic all the time on a bike with 680 cm bar all the time; it was a 650 cc Suzuki, but your mileage may vary.

Last edited by Ironfish653; 11-03-21 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 11-03-21, 08:14 AM
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Just start with the bars the bike comes with, and if you feel you can go a bit narrower, cut 5mm off each end. Rinse and repeat until you are happy.

What I fit has no bearing on what you'd be comfortable with.
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Old 11-03-21, 08:52 AM
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My urban flat-bar is a singlespeed, so I like the bars wide -- like 76 cm or more. I use long grips so I can place my hands narrower if I want to, or all the way out at the ends for sawing away on stiff climbs.There's plenty of room for a bell, lights, handlebar bag, etc., and since I use Ritchey Kyotes, I get an additional "hoods" hand position where the bar curves. I think the notion that you need narrow bars to slice in between cars is mostly a hangover from fixie messenger fashion of the early 2000s. I generally don't split the lane much, and narrow bars feel twitchy to me.
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Old 11-03-21, 08:56 AM
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I like to have the smaller one gives me more of a control








Last edited by rodymanners; 11-19-21 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 11-03-21, 09:23 AM
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whatever you choose, donít be one of those people who ride a bike with meter wide handlebars and their arms spread wide on congested/narrow urban cycling infrastructure. i donít know where youíre commuting but iíd suggest the narrowest bay which is comfortable for and gives you good control.
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Old 11-03-21, 09:34 AM
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As for all the other advice besides "use the width you find most comfortable," I'd ignore it. If you want meter-wide bars, and you feel they work best for you, do it. I you want your grips touching your brakes touching your stem, do that. Whatever fits your body, your riding ability, and your taste ....

I often ride with loaded panniers so I can be pretty wide .... I don't saw off half my panniers to fit in tight spaces, I just ride carefully.
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Old 11-03-21, 10:23 AM
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Familiar thesis: you can ride any bike to work. Trivial corollary: It can have any width handle bar. Including zero, if itís a unicycle
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Old 11-03-21, 11:33 AM
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My flat-bar (converted road bike to hybrid) bars are 22 inches wide.
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Old 11-03-21, 12:02 PM
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Whatever you choose, don't be one of those people who tell other people what width of a bar to use. In general, we're talking about a few inches of difference, which is hardly enough to matter in terms of manuevering around people or objects.
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Old 11-03-21, 01:07 PM
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If I recall correctly, my 700c hybrids have 780mm handlebars and my 20-inch folding bikes have 580mm handlebars. The ones on the hybrids never felt too wide and the ones on the folders never felt too narrow. It's one of those things that the less you think about, the better. Which is why I hadn't bothered to get off my favorite couch and go measure them for this post.

As for the passing between things notion, as you ride more, you'll eventually start to get a feel for how much clearance between objects you have to work with. As you switch bikes more and more often, you'll eventually learn to subconsciously adjust your judgment of clearances according to different handlebar widths and it becomes second nature. The key thing you need to remember here is to not allow yourself to grow overconfident to the point where you start taking unnecessary risks, no matter how good it makes you feel about yourself for having dodged bullet after hairy bullet. If the gap between that city bus piloted by the underpaid single mom and the black minivan driven by the exhausted, half-asleep 50-something looks like it might be too narrow, it probably is. There's no shame in stopping and waiting, but there's plenty of pain, guilt and shame the injury and embarrassment that result when a speeding elbow meets an immovable side view mirror.
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Old 11-03-21, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Whatever you choose, don't be one of those people who tell other people what width of a bar to use. In general, we're talking about a few inches of difference, which is hardly enough to matter in terms of manuevering around people or objects.
Not a chance, I'm here to learn, I'm in no position to tell people anything.
Anyway, after I tried today several bikes from my friends, I realized I don't like narrow handlebars at all (poor control), so I ordered a 640 mm Zoom. Thank you all !
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Old 11-03-21, 02:18 PM
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I'm with Maelochs. I sawed mine down because I felt they were too wide to be comfortable that spread out. Weaving through traffic is a separate issue than general riding comfort.
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Old 11-03-21, 02:20 PM
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I'm with Maelochs. I sawed mine down because they were too wide and I felt too spread out on the grips. Weaving through traffic is a separate issue.
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Old 11-03-21, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
If the gap between that city bus piloted by the underpaid single mom and the black minivan driven by the exhausted, half-asleep 50-something looks like it might be too narrow, it probably is. There's no shame in stopping and waiting, but there's plenty of pain, guilt and shame the injury and embarrassment that result when a speeding elbow meets an immovable side view mirror.
Don't bother asking how I know this .....
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Old 11-03-21, 03:34 PM
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If the cops can lane split at high speed on their R1200GS that is three feet wide at the mirrors, you can manage whatever on a bike.
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Old 11-03-21, 04:09 PM
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My main commuter bike is a fixed gear bike. I have flat bars with ergon grips and bar ends. My flat bars measure 53 cm wide.
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Old 11-03-21, 04:43 PM
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Wide for technical trails if you prefer, other than tight single tracks between trees. Narrow for most other riding. I'd prefer 50cm wide if I can get 'em, or trim to that width, but usually settle for the 55cm.

Wide bars are vulnerable to being clipped by mirrors on brush-by passing trucks and cars (and they will), and clipping other riders on narrow MUPs or group rides. Seen all those scenarios the past few years as some cycling acquaintances installed those ultra-wide bars on their fixies because it looks way cool. I've been clipped a couple of times on our stupidly narrow MUP -- it's just a standard suburban sidewalk, 4' or 5' wide, paved over the former gravel utility easement. Neither of us fell but that unexpected wobble adds to the cardio workout.
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Old 11-03-21, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Wide bars are vulnerable to being clipped by mirrors on brush-by passing trucks and cars (and they will), and clipping other riders on narrow MUPs or group rides. Seen all those scenarios the past few years as some cycling acquaintances installed those ultra-wide bars on their fixies because it looks way cool. I've been clipped a couple of times on our stupidly narrow MUP -- it's just a standard suburban sidewalk, 4' or 5' wide, paved over the former gravel utility easement. Neither of us fell but that unexpected wobble adds to the cardio workout.
literally the only near-crashes i've had with other cyclists in the last 4,000 miles have been bikes coming the other direction on narrow paths (golden gate bridge, sausalito-larkspur MUP, golden gate park, etc) with handlebars so wide that there's no way in hell they could only use half the path. not suggesting anyone get bars that they're not comfortable riding on, only that if they choose very wide ones, they should avoid routes in which they take up more than half the available width!

the OP may not have such situations on their commute or other venues, in which case the issue is moot.
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Old 11-03-21, 11:12 PM
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Just for commuting. I go with my shoulder width: 54 cm.
Remember that most drop bars are narrower than that
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