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Old 09-11-17, 02:34 PM   #1
cyber.snow
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Opinion on Handlebars?

I recently started a thread on handlebars as I have built up a Salsa Fargo with a Jones Bar. I got a lot of advice from folks suggesting I go to Butterfly Bars. Then I did a search on a number of sites for the top touring bikes. Almost everyone of them had drop bars. The one or two that didn't have drop bars had flat bars. I know that I saw a touring bike at REI a few years ago that had a Butterfly bar. I have to wonder why, if Butterfly Bars are so good, the bike builders continue to put on drop bars?

It looks like the Butterfly kind of bars have a lot of places to put your hands, how is it for riding on gravel and forest roads? We ride a good percentage of our time on unimproved roads, if you can call them that, as we tour little gold and silver mining towns in the West.
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Old 09-11-17, 02:57 PM   #2
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Manufacturers usually put stuff on bikes that people expect so that they will buy. In North America drops are expected on road bikes with no difference being seen for touring. Off road flats are expe ted. In Europe it seems there is a perceived difference between road racing and road touring, cc tours not withstanding and people are more open to new concepts.

Butterfly bars also require mtb style brake levers and shifters and are more suited for simple conversions of mtb/hybrids. For a manufacturer to add butterfly bars to a road bike they would have to mess with all of that on 10-11 speed systems for a questionable return.

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Old 09-11-17, 03:02 PM   #3
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I must be because it cost mfr alot of expense to have two different style of handlebars. As I understand drop and butterfly uses complete different sizing. Mfr must realize the butterfly crowd is too small, to justify the expense of offering.
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Old 09-11-17, 03:07 PM   #4
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No.. bars are cheap and stems are too. Converting the road brake/shifters to mtb brake/shifters is not.

I have both bars for one bike and can swap them out in 5 minutes but.. I run mtb rapid fire shifter/brakes on the drops which most people would find odd. Swapping the bars is easy and each cost 20-25 dollars but it would cost an additional $100 or more to change the levers.

There are butterfly and dropbars that fit the same stem.

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Old 09-11-17, 03:29 PM   #5
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A little off topic - I built up a fix gear around a custom frame, intending it to be a bike I could ride any (paved) road fixed, stopping as necessary to change gears and cogs. I had some really wide track bars. Put levers with huge hoods (later learned they were V-brake levers). Great, great, out-of-the-saddle climbing setup, best I ever rode. And downhill with dual pivot calipers, the best, most predictable, least exciting stopping I ever had. But on the flat, esp into the wind, not so good. So I made up a second set with a second stem I had (the bike is quill). Standard narrow-ish road setup. Great except too much braking power for a fix gear. So I put some good sidepulls on. Nice. Now, to switch between flat and climbing, I detach the front brake caliper, loosen the rear brake cable clamp, detach that caliper and pull the handlebar, front brake and cables off. Stick the other "cockpit" in, hook up its brakes and go. 5 minutes. A completely different bike. Both "bikes" shine in their element.

Ben
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Old 09-11-17, 08:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
I have to wonder why, if Butterfly Bars are so good, the bike builders continue to put on drop bars?.
Butterfly bars are heavy, clumsy, and although they have many hand positions you are essentially on the same rotational plane, much like MTB flat bars. And, your cockpit choices for brakes and shifters are pretty limited. I have them on one bike but I regard them as an acquired taste, an oddity.
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Old 09-11-17, 09:29 PM   #7
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...and although they have many hand positions you are essentially on the same rotational plane, much like MTB flat bars.
What?

Butterfly bars, drop bars, flats with bar ends and bull horns all offer the same two basic hand positions. Either on the tops/flats which align the hands parallel to the coronal (frontal) plane of the body or on the Hoods/bar ends which align the hands along the sagittal (median) plane. The drops offer a lower stance still aligned with the coronal and butterflies offer an extended one along the coronal.

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And, your cockpit choices for brakes and shifters are pretty limited. I have them on one bike but I regard them as an acquired taste, an oddity.
I would say they are as limited as drop bar choices are. Are there more or less brake/shifter choices for either genre from which to choose?

Just so we know what we are talking about here's a set with areos on.


Last edited by Happy Feet; 09-11-17 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 09-12-17, 02:54 AM   #8
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Just because the bike sells with drop bars, I did the research to see what it would take to convert from a flat bar set up to a drop bar. Buying from my LBS (on line is cheaper) I need:
Handlebar. $65
Right 11S shifter/brake. $150
Left brake. $60
Rear derailleur. $150
Stem. $75
Tape, etc. $40
It seems that MTB derailleur and Road shifters are not compatible. I am not sure that I would feel comfortable with drop bars or the Butterfly going down a steep gravel road.
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Old 09-12-17, 04:13 AM   #9
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I disagree about the hand positions on butterfly bars. The advantage is that you can stretch out by holding the forward curve, or sit up and relax by holding the back part of the bar. It may not be for everyone, but I think they can be more versatile than either drop or flat bars.
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Old 09-12-17, 05:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
Butterfly bars are heavy, clumsy, and although they have many hand positions you are essentially on the same rotational plane, much like MTB flat bars.....
maybe.....

there are so many shapes and sizes and styles of flutterby bars available,
and no reason you HAVE to mount in the same plane.

can mount with the opening to the rider, or to the front....

can mount with the plane of the bars horizontal, or inclined to
almost vertical, depending on shape.

can also cut off unneeded sections...

can also mount bar-ends and/or aerobars....
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Old 09-12-17, 06:12 AM   #11
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the big advantage of them for rough roads etc , as you mentioned you'd be riding on a lot, is that the wide aspect of them gives you more leverage, so easier on loose surfaces.
Yes, the brake levers are in more and you have to move your hands in to brake, but for non braking and climbing, being wider will be easier and feel more secure than drops for you probably.

as I've suggested in the other thread, spend 25 bucks and slap some on your bike, all you'll have to do is loosen the brake and shifter units and slide them onto the new bars.
The trekking butterflys that I have bought are non oversize clamp diameter, so you'll have to buy a new stem for that, but there are lots of inexpensive ones that work perfectly fine--the length may be tricky to know what is best, but if you have a good sized local bike store, buy the bars there and they probably have some stems kicking around for you to try.

try them and live with them, its really the only way for you to know, listening to strangers on the internet telling you stuff can only go to a certain point. Ride them and see.

cant recall if I mentioned other time, but double wrapping them with old drop bar tape works fine.
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Old 09-12-17, 06:56 AM   #12
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if you buy a bike with drop bars and bar end shifters and want to convert to something flatter, try inverted mustache bars. your brake levers will fit the bends and your bar ends will fit in the bars. origin8 makes a set called the tiki bar for about 20 bucks. they are very light and i think offer plenty of positions. kind of makes your bikes into a raliegh sports with great gears and a terrific framset.
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Old 09-12-17, 07:08 AM   #13
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Inverted moustache bars! Interesting! I have a 650b conversion that has moustache bars and I really would like a bit more height but the stem is maxed out. Just last week I was thinking about inverting them!
Anything else you can tell me?
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Old 09-12-17, 08:02 AM   #14
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Just me but...
I find butterfly bars to be a poor substitute for drop bars for touring (or just about any kind of riding). I might consider them if wanting to convert a flat bar bike that had mtb style shifters and levers if I didn't want to change the levers, shifters, and stem.
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Old 09-12-17, 08:11 AM   #15
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As far as going down gravel roads. My butterfly bars feel the same as mtb flat bars and the controls are the same.

Drops are usually narrower and, if interupters are used, they are mounted inboard requiring an even narrower grip. Less leverage on gravel. Not the same at all.

I just did a tour with another fellow using a road bike and the only place I could out pace him was downhill on the gravel sections. Ah.. my fleeting moment in the sun
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Old 09-12-17, 08:20 AM   #16
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I like drop bars for having distinctly different hand grip and back angle riding positions AND the best brake/shift control access from multiple positions (incl. option of interrupter/cross levers).

I sometimes single track my gravel bike and riding the hoods provides plenty of leverage for me.... more importantly, with the exception of hill climbing, I find if I really need handlebar leverage - I also need my brakes.

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Old 09-12-17, 08:45 AM   #17
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OP is in Idaho, that is what the world looks like where they look.

Know the European bike market , product managers, for their Trekking/touring bikes assume their buyers have different preferences..

Often touring Europe, Drop bars are a sign the rider is American.. or perhaps, British .






.....
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Old 09-12-17, 08:54 AM   #18
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One added benefit: hands on the back, front of the trekking bars acts like a brush guard if you bikepack into brushy singletrack.

and Using my Cyclists rain cape, it drapes over the front of the bars, with out snagging on brake levers, etc.
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Old 09-12-17, 08:58 AM   #19
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I think the responses highlight the problem of asking what is the "best" bar. People use all varieties to tour successfully so it really comes down to subjective opinion. One can talk objectively about the physical characteristics but in the end most people are remarkably adaptive at making most things work and there is a strong social pull towards fitting in with the crowd or what's "hot" or "cool".

As noted earlier, the easiest and cheapest thing for the OP to do is switch from Jones bars to butterflies. It will cost <$50 probably and he can sell the Jones as many people want them. See if that works. If not, start specing out a drop bar conversion. It's a cost effective plan. Asking what other like isn't a good solution because, everybody likes something different and you just get more confused and paralyzed by indecision.

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Old 09-12-17, 09:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
I am not sure that I would feel comfortable with drop bars or the Butterfly going down a steep gravel road.
I've done it, IMO they are every bit as stable as drops (if not more), my hands are placed quite a bit wider. Ride within your limits at all times, and you'll never have issues

Wait for Nashbar to have a 25%ish off sale, and you can pick up a stem and their butterfly bars for about $26 plus shipping and tax. Not a lot of cash to lose, if you don't like them.
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Old 09-12-17, 10:25 AM   #21
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Went to Amazon and ordered a set of Butterfly Bars in 31.8mm and a 1 1/2" rise flat bar and extension. Looks like they will both be at the house when we get back from Prague...by the way, perfect weather for riding, but stay out of old town...crazy with pedestrians and traffic.

Anyway, will take off the Jones Bar and give both a try. There is a 5 mile 7% climb on a gravel road behind my house that leads up to Boulder Reservoir. I will ride up the forestry road, then down the single track to the street. Second test will be a 45mile ride around Payette lake. Hopefully I will know which one I like. Can you think of anything else to try?
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Old 09-12-17, 10:49 AM   #22
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Can you think of anything else to try?
Before you put the controls on, try flipping the butterfly bars around in a few different directions to find which orientation you like best. There is no "correct" way to install them, some like the humps up front with a rise, some like them with a dip. Same goes for the gapped end, some like it pointing forward, and some back.

Also note you may need a bit longer/shorter stem than normal to get the butterflies to fit your reach properly, as the main grip areas will be either brought in or extended out from a normal flat bar.
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Old 09-12-17, 11:45 AM   #23
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Try finding some non sticky bar tape so you don't have to scrap it every time you change the bars. Once you decide on a final option you can upgrade.

A cheap solution is an old bike inner tube with the stem cut out used like bar tape. You can watch videos of how to do it on youtube.
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Old 09-12-17, 12:46 PM   #24
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Horses for courses. Its a matter of personal taste and flexibility. Personally I like being able to get low and stretch my back out to varying degrees, but many people find that very uncomfortable. I also happened to spend a lot of time on racing bikes with huge drops that many people absolutely hate.

Spatially speaking in terms of vertical distances, drops have more options for changing the angle of your drop/reach. In terms of changing the width of your arms, I guess butterflies are better.

The one advantage that I don't think can be argued is that most road-touring components/controls are made for drop bars. I can reach the brakes from the drops just as easy as from the hoods, while climbing out of the saddle, etc. I think the safety advantage of that is huge.

It may also easier to mount a bar bag, depending on which butterfly bars you get, which I reallllly like having while touring because it simplifies a lot of things on the bike.
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Old 09-12-17, 12:54 PM   #25
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Jones bars have lots of grip options. Start there. Go with what works for you. I like mt riser bars with a good sweep and bar ends, lots of hand options.
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