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Do I need a new handlebar or stem???

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Do I need a new handlebar or stem???

Old 07-15-07, 07:03 PM
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ekimyel
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Do I need a new handlebar or stem???

I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable on my new cross bike. I don't feel comfortable when riding on the hoods. In the drops I'm OK, but on the hoods, they just feel like they are too far down on the bar or something. I don't feel like I have a real secure grip on them due to the angle of them. When I angle the handlebars up, then the hoods feel good, but in the drops my wrists feel all contorted. Do I need a stem with a higher degree angled up, or different handlebars? I was thinking about getting the Easton EA70 wing bar or the Ritchey BIOMAX II bar. But then I started thinking maybe it's not the bars as it could be the angle of my stem. Here is a pic of my bike. Thanks for any advice.

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Old 07-15-07, 07:38 PM
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In the drops I'm OK, but on the hoods, they just feel like they are too far down on the bar or something.
Your HOODS look low, try putting them higher.
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Old 07-15-07, 07:41 PM
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can I be the first to say "flip it"?
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Old 07-15-07, 07:58 PM
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I don't think that flipping the stem will help with his problem. It may be possible to use more aggresive position by flipping the stem but after replacing the handlebars with shorter reach.
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Old 07-15-07, 08:10 PM
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I know what you mean about too far out and too far down. My solution is Ritchey BioMax Pro II bars. I think Salsa makes something similar, like Short and Shallow or something like that. A nice compact bar that I think looks better than most bars on the market. Comfy too. Here's a pic of mine on my Jamis Quest. I also put them on my CX bike too. Just today (not in this pic) I tilted the bars up a bit more so that the bar up to the hoods is basically flat. Seems better.

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Old 07-15-07, 08:13 PM
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I was actually looking at that bar last night online thinking that could be a good option. Is this the BIOMAX II bar in this pic?
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Old 07-15-07, 08:31 PM
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Do the BIOMAX bars have a flat top, like the Easton wing bars?
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Old 07-15-07, 09:43 PM
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They do not have a flat top, they are completely round tubes. The bar in the pic is biomax II pro. I just saw a post of controltech formidable. Look at those.
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Old 07-15-07, 09:54 PM
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In the short term, rotate your bars up a little biit so the hoods are more angled up.
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Old 07-15-07, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by foomonkey
can I be the first to say "flip it"?
Its a cross bike... you want to be higher up than a normal road bike.

Well, you like the drops where they are so keep the bars the same. The next part sucks but its worth it. Unwrap your bars to the levers and push the hoods/levers up on the bar so they are higher up. Experiment/go ride around. When I rode Shimano, I had the hoods jacked all the way up so the bar and hoods made a smooth, flat transition. It may or may not be possible with the shape of your bars. Hood position is a pain to get right because you have to unwrap your bars. But you could ride around w/o it for a while until you get it right
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Old 07-15-07, 10:18 PM
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I don't think he should raise the hoods. Look at the line from the bar tops to the hoods. I think the hoods are up high enough relative to the bar, as there appears to be a good transition from bar tops to hoods. If he moves his hoods up further up the bar, there will be a sharp transition from bar tops to hoods. I think it's the bars, themselves.

Some people say loosen the stem clamp and rotate the bars back some to raise the hoods, but I disagree. Notice how the very bottom of the drops is parallel to the ground. I think he has proper bar rotation right now. Some people say it doesn't matter whether that part is parallel, and to some extent it is subjective, but I believe empirically that bars are generally designed to be positioned with that part parallel. They are designed so that when the very bottom part is horizontal, the drops where your hands go have the proper angle. If you have to rotate the bars back, you are compromising the drops position, and I think that's bad advice even though dispensed by some lazy bike shops who aren't interested in truly optimizing your setup. Different bars just have different geometry when in that angular position.

So the bar tops in that position angle down pretty sharply. Other bars are going to be more horizontal in that position. I went thru that on my Trek. I ended up swapping stock Bontrager for some affordable aluminum Ritcheys. They did not look to have any sort of "special" design, but they happened to have a more horizontal top when the very bottom ends were horizontal. That makes a more comfortable riding position, so your hands aren't trying to "slide down" at an angle.

Here are pics of my Trek and Litespeed, to illustrate what I think is a good bar setup. Bottom part remains horizontal, hoods up high for a comfortable hood position, while keeping brake levers about vertical. Bar tops have gentle downward dip and up to hoods.



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Old 07-15-07, 10:30 PM
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Is that a size 49? Can I see bigger pictures of that? I'm actually contemplating on getting one of those later in the year. Please post a review whenever you feel like to. Thanks
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Old 07-15-07, 11:06 PM
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As most of the time done riding in hoods, the traditional theory of bottom of the hoods in-line with the bottom of the handlebars does not apply anymore.
Towlie, your Litespeed hoods ARE higher than OP's, like they should be.
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Old 07-16-07, 12:07 AM
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Looking at your bike I would assume that you are a smaller rider. One thing to consider is the drop of the handle bars. If you have small hands then you are better to go for a shallow drop in the bar. Another thing to take into account is if you think your hoods are too low then raise them and see how it feels. There is no “right way” to set up a bike as it all comes down to personal preference and comfort. I personally opt for Campagnolo hoods that I set quite low. I do this because I climb a lot and standing up and like the feel of having the hoods low. For me if they are set too high I feel like I’m riding a chopper. Consequently I have small hands and have a shallow drop in the bars. Works for me. Others would not like it. I’ve noticed that a lot of pro riders that sprint like to set the bars as low as possible for their final sprint but ride on the hoods (which are set really high) for the rest of the time. As I’m a rodie I like to be comfortable in the drops.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mrbubbles
Is that a size 49? Can I see bigger pictures of that? I'm actually contemplating on getting one of those later in the year. Please post a review whenever you feel like to. Thanks
Yes it is a 49. There are some giant pics in this thread.
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=319756

I haven't put many miles on this bike yet, so in a month or so, I'll post another update on how I like the bike. I must say though for the money, even if I decide I don't like it, the parts alone are worth the price.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:31 AM
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Towlie, thanks for the detailed advice. I'm looking for a setup like yours. I just think it's the geometry of the bars that came stock on this bike. May work for some, but not for me.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ttopaz
Towlie, your Litespeed hoods ARE higher than OP's, like they should be.
Oh, you're probably right. Main thing I wanted to emphasize is my opinionated opinion on not rotating bars back from the neutral position, and the fact that some bars just have a more drastic downward angle or longer section on the tops that are awkward to graps. I often wonder why they don't make bars completely horizontal on the tops when the bottom drops are horizontal too. I'm sure there's a reason.

Also note, my red Trek above has older Ultegra levers, and my Litespeed has newer Dura-Ace. The newer Dura-Ace (and probably the newer Ultegra) both have nice, high/tall hoods, which I think was a recent design change to make the hoods more comfy. I feel like I dip down lower on the Trek setup, and it's a less secure position than the hoods on my Litespeed.
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Old 07-16-07, 10:31 AM
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Just rotate the bars in the stem until the front of the shifter blade is vertical.
If you move the shifter higher up on the bar bend, you will increase the reach to
the brake levers while in your drops. You don't want to do that.
In fact, I suggest moving the shifters lower on the bend and rotate the entire
handlebar until the ramp to the hoods is near flat.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BlastRadius
rotate the entire
handlebar until the ramp to the hoods is near flat.

...and, hence, completely ruin the drops position, IMO. This is what I was talking about above -- when you rotate the bars back, you are totally compromising a key position -- the drops -- to compensate for ill-designed bars or hasty hood placement. That's what kinda stuff bike shops used to tell me to get me out the door.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BlastRadius
Just rotate the bars in the stem until the front of the shifter blade is vertical.
If you move the shifter higher up on the bar bend, you will increase the reach to
the brake levers while in your drops. You don't want to do that.
In fact, I suggest moving the shifters lower on the bend and rotate the entire
handlebar until the ramp to the hoods is near flat.
This is what happens when one just looks at the photo and not reading the post.
OP wrote:
When I angle the handlebars up, then the hoods feel good, but in the drops my wrists feel all contorted.
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Old 07-17-07, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ttopaz
This is what happens when one just looks at the photo and not reading the post.
OP wrote:
Originally Posted by OP
When I angle the handlebars up, then the hoods feel good, but in the drops my wrists feel all contorted.
OK, guilty... I didn't read past the first few sentences.

OP's problem may be his position on his bike if having the bars rotated up a bit makes his wrists feel contorted. He could lower the saddle and move it back to get a lower position. That way when he's in the drops, his wrists are not contorted by because his arms are coming down into the drop at so steep an angle. Also, he should be bending is elbows so that his forearms are nearly parallel with the road while he's in the drops. In the end, maybe classic bend bars are the best choice for him.

Extreme, but illustrates what I mean.
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Old 07-20-07, 09:52 PM
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I don't know why they made Lance naked in that pic. I don't like to see a man on a bike, naked, or a man anywhere naked for that manner. Speaking of which, one of my top 10 pet peeves -- make that top 5 -- is old men who stand around naked in the locker room. Even worse, the old men who stand naked under the automatic dryer in the locker room to dry off.
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