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Do you fiddle with your bars all the time?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Do you fiddle with your bars all the time?

Old 10-22-07, 09:29 PM
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Do you fiddle with your bars all the time?

It's not that it's frustrating, or anything. No, it's not that. It's just that I'm getting the feeling that there's no perfect bar height or position out there, but rather, there's something of a range of positions that work for the individual rider.

Does that sound right?

Recently I tilted my bars up by a centimeter to bring my Campy brifters higher so that my wrists are straighter on the hoods (perhaps Shimano offers a slight advantage in that regard? <shrug>). And wow, what a difference that makes in comfort. It's like I'm on a whole new bike again, which is fun.

Then tonight I decided to go out for a jaunt through the empty streets, but before pushing off I lowered my bars by a full 2 cms. Again, I felt like I was on a new, racier bike, as my wrists were even more comfortable on the hoods due to the slight change in angle. Whether I'll be putting more weight on my hands and/or straining my neck on longer rides remains to be seen.

Still, I suspect that down the road I'll tweak the bars yet again, and think, yet again, voila! That's the ticket!

Do any of you set'em and forget'em?
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Old 10-22-07, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau
Do any of you set'em and forget'em?
Yeah, just suck it up and ride 'em for a few months. If you constantly adjust them, they'll never feel right.
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Old 10-23-07, 06:58 AM
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I still struggle with a position that's comfortble on the drops and on the hoods. I almost want to invent some kind of bar or stem where you can adjust the pitch of the bars a few millimeters on the fly. Weight and stiffness might suffer, but for a lot of riders it might make long rides a bit nicer.

I also can't decide whether my stem is too long or too short. I know that when moved my bars down 2cm and forward 5mm, my back seemed to feel better. Considering I'm barely over 6' (about six feet and one-half inch and shrinking) and ride a frame with a 60cm top tube, one would think that I'd need a stem that was on the short side. Right now, I'm thinking of putting on a 110mm stem, however.
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Old 10-23-07, 07:17 AM
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Yeah, I went through a period of lowering my bars this summer. I haven't moved them since I ran out of spacers 3 months ago.

I make a lot of adjustments during rides to maintain balance though.
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Old 10-23-07, 08:20 AM
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mine are dialed in and I'm not touching them!
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Old 10-23-07, 09:15 AM
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Got my fit dialed in....I think...Spent the better part of the season adjusting saddle height, fore/aft, bar position. I'm pretty happy with what I have now and don't plan on making changes. One thing I have found is that I really like the short reach/drop bars that I have on my Roubaix. I always found that on my old bike that I was never perfect everywhere...Always either felt to stretched out on the hoods or too short on the bars, too low in the drops or to high up top. Now everything is bang on and I actually am able to use all hand positions comfortably, depending on the situation...

It's to the point that I'm eyeing a new CAAD9 framed bike to add to the stable and I'm certain I'll be adding the Specialized bars to the bike....
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Old 10-23-07, 09:21 AM
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I build the bike and I never adjust fit-related items again.
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Old 10-23-07, 09:25 AM
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You can slide the brakes up or down the curve of the bars, too. So there's even more adjustments available. I adjusted my brakes and bar angle after riding for a few weeks, and haven't changed it since.
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Old 10-23-07, 09:35 AM
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I had the same problem, but I also had an adjustable stem. It seemed like I could never find the right position. Then a bit of bad luck actually solved my problem. One of the bolt holes stripped out while I was adjusting the stem again. So, I replaced it with a fixed stem. No adjusment, nothng to think about. Once I got the bar angle set properly, I was done.
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Old 10-23-07, 09:49 AM
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Just adjusted the bars for the first time in almost five years. I think in those five years the stem bolt was only loosened once, and that was for headset maintenance.
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Old 10-23-07, 10:54 AM
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I play with mine a bit. I've recently decided to get rid of the ergo bars on my bikes and go with traditional drops which I'm much happier with.
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Old 10-23-07, 11:01 AM
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Nope. I've ridden the same position for years. No reason to change it...
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Old 10-23-07, 11:07 AM
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On every new project build I'll make a few adjustment changes within the first few days til I settle into a position I like.
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Old 10-23-07, 11:31 AM
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Truthfully, I can't get to them because I wear bibs
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Old 10-23-07, 11:32 AM
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Oh, wait a minute that's bars. No fiddling there, where's the pleasure.
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Old 10-23-07, 11:35 AM
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I'd never had a problem whatsoever until my most recent bicycle. I've been switching stems, which helped. I've been moving the hoods around, with mixed results. Yesterday, I finally swapped bars from the 44 width stock bars to an old set of mine with 40 width.

I'm the type that can get used to about anything, but I finally gave up trying to get used to the 44 width after 1200 miles. It's probably the case that I've been cutting my teeth on 38/40 width my whole life, 44 is just too radical a change for me. I've been having wrist problems, lately, which was the final straw. I know it's the bars. I honestly didn't think handlebar width would make or break it for me, despite hating the width as soon as I put my hands on the bars. I gotta learn to trust my instincts and act on them more often.

So, in conclusion, find a setup that works and stick to it. Unfortunately, for me I tried too hard to stick with the stock setup on a new bike, but hopefully returning to familiar territory will get me back in my comfort zone.
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Old 10-23-07, 12:02 PM
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I set them as far down as they go.

Adjustments are only to to the vertebrae in my lower back.



Note that the above sentences were not met to convey advice or guidance.
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Old 10-23-07, 02:12 PM
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each of my bikes is set differently, i find fit to work better for me if i adjust the bars instead of the saddle.
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Old 10-23-07, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
I set them as far down as they go.

Adjustments are only to to the vertebrae in my lower back.



Note that the above sentences were not met to convey advice or guidance.
That is the direction I'm headed.
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Old 10-24-07, 06:49 AM
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I've also been obsessive over having the ends of my bars perfectly parallel to the ground, but just recently I wanted to see what kind of feel I'd get from rotating them a bit, first with the ends pointing at the rear brake, then the rear cluster, then in between. It is going to take more than a few rides to see which of the four setups I like best, each has its pros and cons when on the hoods and in the drops.
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