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Try out different bars?

Old 04-05-22, 08:04 PM
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kstephens
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Try out different bars?

Long story short - I'm getting older, and not sure if I still enjoy drop bars on a road bike. I don't really do fast rides anymore, but enjoy my own pace fitness rides that still allows me the flexibility to stop and have a quick conversation with a horse or something. My lbs (although I feel one of the best out there) still have to cater to their community so don't really carry much out of the norm in terms of road bikes and mtn bikes. I would like to try out some different bars before I make the plunge in re arranging my entire front, shifters and brakes....., but don't know how to do that. Looking at some alt bars or maybe a butterfly. If I go away from bar ends, I would rather have mtn bike triggers as opposed to brifters or grip shifters. Wait and see if I can try some out? Or Quit being a weenie and take the plunge.

Also, keep in mind one of my main goals this year is to get better at mechanics, meaning, I don't feel I am ready to take on this task alone..
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Old 04-05-22, 10:38 PM
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We can't help until you show WTH you have. It might be better if you just get another whole bike. I never made it around the block with drops.
My bars are all old style swept/ riser chrome steel, with IGH hubs. I had ZERO backaches on 2 tours, bike was 120 lbs with Rohloff14. My knees were just fine as well.

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Old 04-06-22, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by kstephens View Post
Long story short - I'm getting older, and not sure if I still enjoy drop bars on a road bike. ...
would like to try out some different bars before I make the plunge in re arranging my entire front, shifters and brakes....., but don't know how to do that. Looking at some alt bars or maybe a butterfly. If I go away from bar ends, I would rather have mtn bike triggers as opposed to brifters or grip shifters. Wait and see if I can try some out? Or Quit being a weenie and take the plunge.

Also, keep in mind one of my main goals this year is to get better at mechanics, meaning, I don't feel I am ready to take on this task alone..
Generically, more upright bars that have a much shorter reach are on bikes with a longer top tube. So, you might be a bit more upright than you planned.

A friend of mine used to use drop bars, but he never used the drops, he switched to bull horn bars that have similar hand positions to riding on drop bar hoods. Note the bar end shifters.

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Old 04-06-22, 05:57 AM
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Due to not using the drops much but liking to tops of drop bars, I went with bullhorns also on one of my bikes. For me, this was to inexpensively get from a MTB style straight bar to something that mimics drop bars.

Many bars you will be looking at will have you changing out the brake levers and shifters and probably the stem. With your 9-speed LHT (we are taking about the LHT is your profile, right?), due to 9-speed road and mountain pull ratios being the same, you can swap between the bar-end friction shifters and MTB style trigger shifters and they should sift without issue.

Before you purchase components for another set of bars, you should consider brake lever pull ratio and clamp diameter for shifters, brake and stem.

If you decide to "take the plunge," butterfly bars are a popular choice, but there are a lot of choices out there. You may want to consider something like the Nitto Albatross to retain the bar end shifters.

You could also just get a different stem to raise your drop bars and just primarily use the tops.

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Old 04-06-22, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kstephens View Post
Long story short - I'm getting older, and not sure if I still enjoy drop bars on a road bike. I don't really do fast rides anymore, but enjoy my own pace fitness rides that still allows me the flexibility to stop and have a quick conversation with a horse or something. My lbs (although I feel one of the best out there) still have to cater to their community so don't really carry much out of the norm in terms of road bikes and mtn bikes. I would like to try out some different bars before I make the plunge in re arranging my entire front, shifters and brakes....., but don't know how to do that. Looking at some alt bars or maybe a butterfly. If I go away from bar ends, I would rather have mtn bike triggers as opposed to brifters or grip shifters. Wait and see if I can try some out? Or Quit being a weenie and take the plunge.

Also, keep in mind one of my main goals this year is to get better at mechanics, meaning, I don't feel I am ready to take on this task alone..
impossible over the internet and your specific shape, flexibility, etc etc etc, but do be very aware that different dropbars have quite different dimensions and shapes--ie, compact dropbars have a much shorter distance from tops to where the hoods go, as well as much less distance from tops to the drops area, Also, the drop area can be much farther back towards you than others.
We're talking 2,3,4cms or more difference from one dropbar to another in all these areas.

so combined perhaps with a shorter and or higher up stem that already moves the bars to a closer or higher position, this can completely change your riding comfort.
There are also compact dropbars that have that extra rise in the design of the tops, a gull wing thing going on, surly makes one, and other brands do also, reasonably priced. Google them for visuals.

but really, impossible to say for us strangers.

also, re different mtb type bars, there are tons of options out there, but yes, you'll have to get into buying trigger shfters and the right brake levers for the brakes that you have on your (maybe) LHT.
I love dropbars on my surly, but they are positioned so that I personally can ride them day after day after week and be very comfortable and efficient, but thats me and my bike setup.

I also ride mtb bars, and am fond of one that angle back towards me with a certain degree of bend . I ride one bike with traditionalish mtb bars with probably a 10 or 15 degree backsweep, and another bike with Jones bars with a 45 degree sweep, which is cool also. Both bikes allow for a bar height in relation to my seat that I like, ie same as seat and or higher in the Jones case, and I like both.

you've got lots of options, but internet strangers can only tell you so much and everyone will have an opinion frankly......
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Old 04-06-22, 07:45 AM
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OP should separate his two problems, working first on learning how to replace a handlebar, shifters, cables, and taping. That is mostly just taking stuff apart and putting it back together. I don't think he is going to find someone to hold his hand on the journey he is contemplating. Get the mechanical skills first.

The handlebar and stem issue just takes money. I'm old too and am going thru it with one bike. I was sort of happy with a Nitto Moustache bar and upright stem. It is certainly beautiful but a little too upright and there are some limits on hand position and too much reach.. I switched to an upright suspension shockstop stem and 31.8 carbon bar. I am probably going to get a flat top carbon bar just for the more comfortable hand position (flat vs round puts less pressure).
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Old 04-06-22, 08:02 AM
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Trying out a bunch of different kinds of handlebars on a single bike? It's a good way to spend a lot of money, and get a lot of experience as a mechanic, switching out stems, bars, shifters/brifters, and cables, and then adjusting everything before you think, "No, I think I'd rather try something else."

I'd suggest making a day trip to the nearest large city -- from western Kentucky, maybe Nashville, St. Louis, or Louisville? -- and hitting up a bunch of bike shops for test rides of whatever they have in stock. If you can do it in the middle of the week that'd be even better, since the shops' crews will have more time to work with you. And (if they have relevant models in stock) the bikes you ride will be set up and ready to ride, so you won't be trying to compare different bars with a day (or a week) between rides as you change everything out and re-adjust.
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Old 04-06-22, 11:03 AM
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Thanks for the input - Just looking to make some changes, but don't really want to go blindly purchasing things to try. My mechanic skills are not the worst - I can do most things on the bike myself to get by until I can have a pro make it perfect. I will likely just put this on the back burner and wait until I have the time to finally take the plunge and buy a frame-set to build up myself.
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Old 04-06-22, 11:40 AM
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You can use whatbars to compare handle bars. might be kinda helpful, probably not though since doesn't sound like you know what you will like at this point.
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Old 04-06-22, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kstephens View Post
Thanks for the input - Just looking to make some changes, but don't really want to go blindly purchasing things to try. My mechanic skills are not the worst - I can do most things on the bike myself to get by until I can have a pro make it perfect. I will likely just put this on the back burner and wait until I have the time to finally take the plunge and buy a frame-set to build up myself.
If your goal is to build up a complete bike later, a couple things you might want to plan on having a mechanic do is install the headset and the bottom bracket. I built up most of my own bikes, yet I still have a mechanic press the headset cups in, in part because I have not bought the tools for that. I install my own bottom brackets, but the tools are larger and more expensive, you might find you only use them once.

There are a lot of good youtube videos on bike mechanic stuff, and there are a lot of bad ones. I think you can assume that any from Park Tools will be very good. And ones that are produced by a business in bicycling, like Art's Cyclery are usually pretty good too. Ones by someone in their basement are hit and miss.
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Old 04-06-22, 03:54 PM
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I needed to go the other way, from a flat bar to being able to ride the hoods. But instead of tossing everything I just bought SQLabs grips and innerbar ends. I have a thread here. It'll let me keep everything else I have, although I also am going to change the stem and that will require removing one side since the existing stem clamp is a closed loop.
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Old 04-06-22, 06:04 PM
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I wanted to try a different set up for what I would be using as a casual, around town, jump on it and ride bicycle with a more upright position. I mounted a mustache type bar and bar end shifters with flat bar brake levers. I like the way it came out and I enjoy riding the bike. It was good timing for me due to dealing with acute prostatitis for the past 6 weeks, and will need to use a bike that has the upright positioning. I played around with quite a few different set ups, and now have the bars positioned with a rise instead of a drop.

I have a couple of other bikes that I am considering changing one of them to Velo-Orange Porteur handlebar. One is Lemond Poprad and the other is a Lemond Tourmalet. If I do that, I will use the 9 or 10 speed brifters that the bikes already have. That is just to keep from having to spend more money than I care to on the project. https://www.ebay.com/itm/194873977162?

The bars have been inverted now to having a rise instead of a drop
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Old 04-06-22, 08:02 PM
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KS -

On my first x-country trip I tried out a bunch of different bars.
The results were not good.
Hope yours are better. - - J
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Old 04-06-22, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
KS -

On my first x-country trip I tried out a bunch of different bars.
The results were not good.
Hope yours are better. - - J
muy bien senor
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Old 04-06-22, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
KS -

On my first x-country trip I tried out a bunch of different bars.
The results were not good.
Hope yours are better. - - J
NICE! I may keep this quote.
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Old 04-06-22, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kstephens View Post
Long story short - I'm getting older, ..
I really wouldn't mess around concerning your hands.
permanent damage is possible. It happened to me.
I've ditched drop bars in the 90's because of this.
It was so bad on my cross country ride I made a big pillow on my drop bars with duct tape and foam padding.
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Old 04-06-22, 10:29 PM
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I went to flat bars about 12 years ago, then recently, the flats with bar ends were starting to be uncomfortable. This winter, mounted Surly Moloko. I have not done a long tour yet, but day rides show promise
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Old 04-07-22, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Generically, more upright bars that have a much shorter reach are on bikes with a longer top tube. So, you might be a bit more upright than you planned.

A friend of mine used to use drop bars, but he never used the drops, he switched to bull horn bars that have similar hand positions to riding on drop bar hoods. Note the bar end shifters.
excuse my ignorance (pretty new to sport since I quit riding in the 80’s) but wouldn’t the ergonomics of the bullhorns be pretty similar to riding on the hoods?

this interest me since I’m thinking of going the other way from a hybrid to a drop bar……perhaps I’m too old. Lol
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Old 04-08-22, 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
excuse my ignorance (pretty new to sport since I quit riding in the 80’s) but wouldn’t the ergonomics of the bullhorns be pretty similar to riding on the hoods?

this interest me since I’m thinking of going the other way from a hybrid to a drop bar……perhaps I’m too old. Lol
Yeah, I think that is what I said.

I am 68. I lost about 15 percent of my body weight about 12 years ago. Before then I really did not like drop bars, used the drops maybe 5 percent of the time. But after weight loss, I used the drops much more often, found them quite comfortable. Right now, I am half way back on that weight and the drops are less comfortable, but assuming I can get rid of some of this extra weight I anticipate that the drops will be fine. I set them so that the tops of the bars are about even with the top of saddle, or many a half inch lower than the saddle.
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Old 04-08-22, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Yeah, I think that is what I said.

I am 68. I lost about 15 percent of my body weight about 12 years ago. Before then I really did not like drop bars, used the drops maybe 5 percent of the time. But after weight loss, I used the drops much more often, found them quite comfortable. Right now, I am half way back on that weight and the drops are less comfortable, but assuming I can get rid of some of this extra weight I anticipate that the drops will be fine. I set them so that the tops of the bars are about even with the top of saddle, or many a half inch lower than the saddle.
I am thinking this is most of my problem as well. Took a short break (several year) from cycling, and packed on the weight - then hit rock bottom with covid - which although was not life threatening for me, it greatly compounded other health issues. But honestly, working on myself will have a much greater impact than different riding positions (I think..... - even when doing longer rides when I was more fit -I rarely used the drops). I am content for now - I have time to figure this out. I am retiring in five years now, and plan to turn my current weekend/short week tours into longer, more adventurous rides as well (along with a couple planned hikes). Currently I need work on putting on the miles for now - drop some more weight, and likely start to incorporate some yoga and more stretching.
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Old 04-08-22, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by kstephens View Post
Currently I need work on putting on the miles for now - drop some more weight, and likely start to incorporate some yoga and more stretching.
regular riding is the key for me, and along with it, regular stretching. I find no matter the length of riding, the being regular thing is the key thing. I commute a lot by bike specifically for this reason, also is just good for the head part too, but I really notice how regular riding is the kicker.
Stretching imo should be gradual and not to overdo it, but like riding, if you can incorporate it into a routine, then it becomes easy and being regular, really helps you identify and listen to your body and it makes a huge difference as we get older (most of us biking internet touring forum folks are old geezers)

re bars and comfort
the Jones bars I have were kicking aroiund in the garage for years, until last summer I decided the only way to know if I would like them is to live with them on a bike regularly, so I stuck them onto my commuter bike. They are the riser model, and on that bike they are a bit higher than the seat ( old bike with a quill stem so I can actually change height easily) or levelish.
After living with them all last spring until fall, I found I really like them, and put them on my fatbike for the winter just because I like them so much.

I was really surprised how much I like the upright riding position, still love dropbar setups I have, but the jones setup I have (stem, frame, riser, all those details) is fun to ride. When things are fun, we do them more.

bottom line, if having higher or different types of bars makes you ride more, thats the ticket, especially if you will greatly benefit from the regular exercise\mental health aspect of regular riding.

I work with older people, and my parents are older, and thats the most important thing in life, is to keep moving--start out slowly, and it can be small amounts, but regularly being active is the most important thing in life, in my opinion of course.
At least its something we can control, other stuff can be out of our hands medically etc, but walking a dog, riding a bike regularly, whatever is going to be always positive.

all the best with getting the bike more enjoyable.
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Old 04-08-22, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by kstephens View Post
I am thinking this is most of my problem as well. Took a short break (several year) from cycling, and packed on the weight - then hit rock bottom with covid - which although was not life threatening for me, it greatly compounded other health issues. ....
From what I hear about Covid, a lot of people that have long covid or even just borderline long covid have real trouble getting enough oxygen. Before you spend much money you might just try to figure out if you are physically able to ride up a hill, or even walk a bike up a hill.
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Old 04-08-22, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
From what I hear about Covid, a lot of people that have long covid or even just borderline long covid have real trouble getting enough oxygen. Before you spend much money you might just try to figure out if you are physically able to ride up a hill, or even walk a bike up a hill.
Fortunately, I recovered from most of the lingering side effects and so far I can't tell if I will get back to the cardio level I once had, or if it will be something I need to deal with down the road. My health was at an all time low prior to getting covid - so it was definitely a wake up call fo me. I had some lingering effects that gradually tapered off after about 6 months. I am about 18 months out, and as far as I can tell the only thing that did not return to close to "normal" was my hearing and tinnitus. But I also spent years following the grateful dead and phish around - so I can't put all that on Covid. The good news I feel I have made a shift towards a healthier lifestyle. I've lost 40 pounds in less than a year, and Im back on the bike.
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Old 04-08-22, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sloppy12 View Post
You can use whatbars to compare handle bars. might be kinda helpful, probably not though since doesn't sound like you know what you will like at this point.
I used whatbars to get more upright bars for my MTB,basically making it into a hardtail beach cruiser. When you are riding,hold your current bars with one hand and try to determine where your other hand would need to be, to be in the upright position you want. Then use whatbars and some creative bar measuring to take your best shot for that position.
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Old 04-08-22, 11:07 PM
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I just put a set of Denham bars on my Long Haul Trucker. I never rode in the drops so why not have some different hand positions? Can not say what it is like because recent surgery has kept me off the bike.
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