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Shoulder-width, bar-width and how to measure.

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

Shoulder-width, bar-width and how to measure.

Old 10-08-11, 10:02 PM
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Violet
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Shoulder-width, bar-width and how to measure.

So I've seen written a few times that handle bars should be as wide as your shoulders. Makes sense, but my question is... how do you measure shoulder width? Is it the width between your shoulder blades? Or the width if your shoulder bones at the top of your arm?

If it's the latter, then apparently I need a drop bar 52cm wide... which are simply not available. I have broader shoulders than average but I didn't think I was anything too out there.
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Old 10-08-11, 10:30 PM
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Take your bars off the bike and your shirt off. Walk in front of a mirror and hold the bars at the drops and bring the top of the bar up to your chin (kind of like flapping your arms like chicken wings). As your shoulder muscle starts to pop up you'll see exactly where your shoulder/arm joint is. That's where you'll want the drops to line up with. I did this and 42cm bars are perfect.
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Old 10-08-11, 10:41 PM
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By the way, that's not a scientific or professional way of determining your bar width. I just happened to have some bars laying around and my shirt off at the same time. I wanted to see how they lined up with my shoulders so I went in front of a mirror. I had just gone from 44cm bars to 42cm bars because the 44s seemed a bit wide. Standing in front of a mirror confirmed my suspicions.
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Old 10-08-11, 10:44 PM
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small woman - 38
mid woman, small guy - 40
lge wo, md to LG guy - 42
Xlrg guy - 44
Yeti or Sasquatch - 46

scientypically speakin...
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Old 10-08-11, 10:47 PM
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That works too..HAHA!
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Old 10-08-11, 10:49 PM
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When I'm riding on my hoods, my wrists tend to rotate outwards and move the pad of my thumb out from the base of the hood too. Isn't this an indication that I should look at a wider bar, to straighten out the load? Conversely, if they were rotating inward, wouldn't that indicate too wide a bar?

Yeah, I know, I'm not supposed to be putting any force on the bar at all. Sue me.

KeS
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Old 10-08-11, 11:00 PM
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I want to see you try to measure your shoulder blades

Its about being comfortable and not closing up your chest by having a bar that's too narrow.
IDK the 'correct' way to measure. I feel comfortable on a 44 which is pretty close to outside to outside of my shoulder but that is kind of a tough measurement to take accurately. From edge shoulder bone to the other pulling tape across my collarbone is 39cm. IDK if any of that helps you
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Old 10-08-11, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
small woman - 38
mid woman, small guy - 40
lge wo, md to LG guy - 42
Xlrg guy - 44
Yeti or Sasquatch - 46

scientypically speakin...
for a road cyclist, yes

Actually, measuring more accurately just now by using a marker, I'm a svelte 50cm, probably 49cm if you take into account the flesh around the bone and the thickness of the marker. I have seen 48cm bars around, so I'll try them. Otherwise I'll have to go for flat bars, since they come a lot wider.

I have 44cm bars but I feel very cooped up.
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Old 10-09-11, 12:03 AM
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How tall are you?
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Old 10-09-11, 07:11 AM
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I went from a 44cm to a 46cm and the difference was huge. (for me)
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Old 10-09-11, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ilovecycling View Post
How tall are you?
182cm tall.
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Old 10-09-11, 06:26 PM
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when i got fitted, the guy held the bars up to the top/back of my shoulders behind my neck...so i think it's the width of the tops of your shoulders in line with your arms. which makes sense, because that's about the width of your hands if you reach your arms out straight.

you really just have to ride on them and see how it feels, though. my old bike had 44 cm bars. never thought much one way or another until i got a new bike that theoretically had 42 cm bars. it felt so much better and i realized that the 44s had been too wide. but it still wasn't perfect...and when i got fitted, we realized the "42" bars were really more like 40, or maybe 42 measured from end to end. my current bars are 42 cm center to center and they're perfect.

what do you have now? how does it feel?
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