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What width handlebars?

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What width handlebars?

Old 06-14-06, 10:39 AM
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What width handlebars?

I'm in the process of picking out parts for my upcoming custom Don Walker roadbike. Looking at handlebars I realized that there are at least 3 common width's available. Wouldn't it make sense to use the most narrow bars? Seems like it would reduce your drag.
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Old 06-14-06, 10:42 AM
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how wide are your shoulders?
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Old 06-14-06, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pathdoc
I'm in the process of picking out parts for my upcoming custom Don Walker roadbike. Looking at handlebars I realized that there are at least 3 common width's available. Wouldn't it make sense to use the most narrow bars? Seems like it would reduce your drag.
Put your hands straight out in front of you palm to palm, take a deep breath.

Now put your arms out to the side and take a deep breath.

Obviously not a scientific demonstration but it convinced me to go with a wider bar. (Every once in a while when I'm crossing through crowded midtown NY traffic, I regret my choice. Never when I'm really riding though.)
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Old 06-14-06, 11:20 AM
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Narrow bars are more aerodynamic but may cause breathing difficulties with some people. Overly wide bars cause excessive air resistance and worse, cause locked elbows and splayed out arms.
By convention, bars should be about the same width as your shoulders (ie the center of your shoulder ball joint).
You can als get variations in drop radius and curve style.
See 3ttt, Nitto and Modolo for various non std styles.
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Old 06-14-06, 12:17 PM
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Although I'm a short guy 5'5" I'm pretty wide at the shoulders. I am 19.5 inches (49.5cm) wide, outside edge of each shoulder.
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Old 06-14-06, 12:26 PM
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Check out Flyte Bicycles Fit Guide (Step 4). Get the bars that fit. It'll make breathing easier.
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Old 06-14-06, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by pathdoc
Although I'm a short guy 5'5" I'm pretty wide at the shoulders.
so you look a little bit like this?

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Old 06-14-06, 12:43 PM
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Yep that's me.
I'll need to measure my current bar.
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Old 06-14-06, 01:12 PM
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Wider bars also help climbing and sprinting . . . big time.
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Old 06-14-06, 01:19 PM
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I've read a few things on various websites ... and all 3 mentioned measuring from center of shoulder to center of shoulder (front shoulder.) So, if you do that ... sounds like you might be around 44 or 45? If so, you should try the 44's from that estimate. The bike I had ridden since 1992 has 38.5cm bars ...yes, can you believe it?!? Now, my new bike has 42's on it ... and I am already use to them and like them better. I think it has helped me. And, I'm short also at only 5' 6.5".
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Old 06-14-06, 01:25 PM
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I made the move from 40 to 42 initially as an accident - one bar was measured e-e while the other was c-c and I had simply ordered the wrong bar for my bike. On the wider bar, I did feel odd for a few moments, but within 10-15 minutes, I was (and still am) very much so enjoying the change. I even tried a 44 recently (of the same bar model), but felt that was a bit too wide - I felt unstable when climbing, for example. I agree, though, that it certainly opens the chest a bit and makes climbing and sprinting easier. I have no plans to return to a narrower bar, despite the supposed aerodynamic advantage which, for my riding style, has to be minimal at best. As for measuring the shoulders... meh.... while it may provide a starting point, a trial (and error in my case ) of the larger bar may be the best way to go. Just be sure you order the right bar width!

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Old 06-14-06, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by pathdoc
Although I'm a short guy 5'5" I'm pretty wide at the shoulders. I am 19.5 inches (49.5cm) wide, outside edge of each shoulder.
I think it's best to measure from acromioclavicular joint to AC joint. That way you are closer to the true width of your shoulders. After all, you don't reach with the outside of the shoulders. I like relatively narrow bars, I use the Salsa Short 'n' Shallow in 38 cm. It was an adjustment from the original 40 cm, but in the end it was better. But I'm female, so I have narrower shoulders.
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Old 06-14-06, 02:09 PM
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AC joint to AC joint is 40.6 cm.
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Old 06-14-06, 04:10 PM
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Then 42's would be your size
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Old 06-14-06, 04:23 PM
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Go wider. You can always grab the bar near the stem to get narrow on a wide bar, but you can't grab air beyond the edge of a narrow bar.
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Old 06-14-06, 04:31 PM
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I'm 6'-3" with 48cm shoulders. My bar is 46cm, looks like an airplane wing, but feels great. Go wide.
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Old 06-14-06, 05:29 PM
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Take it from me, don't go too narrow. The handlebar on my Bianchi is way too narrow and I am not riding right now because my left shoulder is killing me after a long ride on the weekend.
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Old 06-14-06, 05:33 PM
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I went for a 46cm on a bike (normally run 42s), and I really like the feel. If you’re not using it for a racing application where aerodynamics is important, you might want to try the wide bar. It feels stable and helps with climbing.
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Old 06-14-06, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pathdoc
AC joint to AC joint is 40.6 cm.
I would try a 42 cm to start out with. See how you like it. If you have any discomfort, you can always go down to a 40 or up to 44 (and we can do a biopsy and order a battery of IHC stains ). If you're doing a lot of street or track riding and squeezing through cars/other racers, then narrower bars may be best. However, for comfort, I would try a 42 first and go from there.
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Old 06-14-06, 09:25 PM
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My current bars are 42's and they feel just about perfect. 42's again.
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Old 06-14-06, 09:42 PM
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My current bars are 42's and they feel just about perfect. 42's again.
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