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Handlebar width

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

Handlebar width

Old 04-22-12, 06:41 PM
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Handlebar width

I have a hunch that my handelbars may be a bit narrow for me. Basically it feels like my arms are angled in a little bit from shoulders to grips. But it's hard for me to tell objectively as I can't really watch myself ride from the front.

I've looked up the specs of my bike and the handlebar width for my size isn't listed. But adding to my suspicions is that I'm riding a ladies specific geometry in a size small and I have relatively broad shoulders, at least for a lady.

Anyway, what's the proper method of measuring my handlebar width and what's the best way to test different widths or find out what's the best fit for me?

What I don't want to do is keep swapping handlebars along with readjusting brifters and tape and stuff to find something I finally like.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:49 PM
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The best way is to go to a local fitter, and get fitted. They can try different handlebars and you will be able to tell when one feels right. For me, I started with 42cm and ended up with 44cm.
My wife uses a 40 cm on a 51cm Ruby and she also has broad shoulders since she used to be a competitive swimmer. Any competent bike shop should stock different handlebars and fit you to a properly sized one.

Note that going to a wider handlebar also changes the reach slightly.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:17 PM
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Keep in mind when buying that some of the manufacturers measure from the center of the bars and some the outer edge, so a 44 would be a 42. Also a "general" rule of thumb is that they should be as wide as your shoulders but as fitting rules go YMMV.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:26 PM
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Measure the distance between the little "pits" or "indentations" just inside your shoulder joints. That should roughly be your handlebar width. Remember that the more narrow your bars, the more aero your position will be. Wider may give you more comfort.
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