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Drop Bar Preferences?

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Drop Bar Preferences?

Old 11-14-11, 01:11 AM
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Drop Bar Preferences?

After spending some time on a buddy's bike while I waited for a new wheel set to arrive, I confirmed what I already suspected: the stock bars on my 08 Madison are way too big and uncomfortable. I want something with a shallower (relative to what I'm riding) traditional drop (i.e. not an ergo drop) and a short flat section up top.

My reasoning: the drops on my maddy are not comfy, so I rarely actually ride in them. The handlebars are also stupid long, even with a short stem, to the point that riding the hoods isn't particularly comfortable. Most often I grip the flats of the bars towards the back. This is fine and relatively comfortable (comparable to bull horns, I'm sure), but doesn't give me access to my brake levers. No big when I'm fixed, but in the winters I ride freewheel. As thats coming, I'm exploring my options.

My bike sees 99% of its use as a commuter, but I also ride for leisure/fun and fitness. That is where I actually want the drop option. The first thing to spring to mind was the Nitto Noodle. The swept back design should put the flats/brake hoods relatively close to my hands making that my "go-to" position, but shallower drops should facilitate using them when I want to be aerodynamic or whatever (i.e. vary my position for comfort).

Does this seem reasonable? Any suggestions for similar bars?
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Old 11-14-11, 01:27 AM
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Go to a bike shop and ask to see some "short and shallow" drop bars. That's not a brand name, but a particular style that doesn't have a lot of reach forward (short) and the drops don't go far down from the flats (shallow). I think Scrod just put some similar bars on his new build.


I have short-shallow bars on my road bike.
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Old 11-14-11, 02:27 AM
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They're called Compact bars, and they're exactly what you appear to be looking for.

I have them (in my case - PRO PLT Compact II) on my roadbike after a long session with a Retul fitter. I used to have traditional drops, but the angles meant that either the hoods were comfortable, or the drops. With the Compact, they're both accessible and comfy.

The logic behind traditional drops has been that in the drops - the aero position you'll want to race in - your hands are on the brake-levers, and only a short distance away from the downtube shifters. The hoods, however, were angled and not very useful - though they weren't useful anyhow. Nowadays with STI levers, people spend most of their time there (nothing wrong with that!), and need different handlebars to accommodate that. Compacts are shaped to create a seamless, flat section on the hoods, and then curve down sharply to still give you a good angle on the drops. They are shallower (as in, the drops are less aggressive), because it's assumed that: A) a modern rider on the hoods will set the hoods up as aggressive enough - traditional drops would then be far too deep for most, and B) If you're flexible enough, you can still get lower - but with your arms more relaxed.

Downsides? You won't reach the levers easily from the drops - but then again, that's not a big loss: A rider within the peloton doesn't have to be aero, and can stay on the hoods. The rider pulling the peloton - or the one breaking away solo - needs to be aero, but he doesn't need the brakes.
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Old 11-14-11, 03:54 AM
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If you didn't hate anatomic bends, Jenson has the fairly shallow EA50's with 26mm clamp on sale for $10. 40 and 44 cm only. Screamin' deal!

Reach/Drop: 75mm / 130mm
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Old 11-14-11, 07:11 AM
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FSA Compact Bar 125mm drop, 80mm reach

Definitely know what you want before ordering online.

Another option is to look at eBay for 80's handlebars. Theory back then was that narrower bars were more aero but in reality it compressed the rider's chest, making it harder to breathe. I've got some Cinellii Giro d'Italia bars in 38cm width that are just too small for me; I prefer a 42-44cm.
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Old 11-14-11, 08:56 AM
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i have the FSA compacts on all of my bikes, including 2 fixed gear bikes. i have them both set-up roadie style for comfortable training miles.

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