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New bike question

Old 11-21-22, 07:55 PM
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frogshawn
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New bike question

I am having a new custom touring bike built and I am debating on which type of bars to use, drop or alternative bars? My current bike is a Rivendell Atlantis with noodle drop bars. I commute everyday on this setup and I have done multiple longs tours with no real issues. However I am getting older and I recently started having issues with my neck and shoulders. I have thought about converting the Atlantis to an alternative bar that would provide a more upright position. Any suggestions?
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Old 11-21-22, 09:28 PM
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I'm in my 50s and built up my touring bike about three years ago. I used drop bars for around 30 years and initially put them on my touring bike but I wasn't comfortable. Bike was a little to long for me with drop bars. Tried flat bars with bar ends, and ended up with butterfly bars. These allow the most positions and my default position of the outside edges is the most comfortable so far. On a tour its really nice to be able to get more upright.
There are a couple drawbacks. Due to the way these mount, if I am on rough terrain and need to have my hands near the brake levers, my hands are actually behind the steer tube and the handling is terrible. I suppose you could move the brake levers to the sides or top. The other thing is that I do sometimes wish i could get into the drop position to stretch a little and get more aerodynamic, especially when riding into a headwind.
Keep in mind that different bars will drastically alter the reach and your riding position.
A couple other things that really improved my comfort were raising the bars (my soma saga has an extra long steer tube) and lowering the seat slightly. Lower seat was more of a back pain issue and as i got fitter and more flexible it started to come up a bit.
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Old 11-21-22, 10:17 PM
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Koga Denham bars for sure. I wish they had existed when I built up my Co-Motion, I absolutely love them and would agree with Alee they are excellent for touring though most of my riding has been commuting and some longer rides but not so much with a lot of gear. I have plenty of drop bar bikes but I am finding I like a more upright position these days and I don't dislike my drops but I don't really use the actual drops that much but the hoods yeah and the Denham extensions are basically in my hood position.

Obviously the Koga's are hard to get in the U.S. but no fear Velo Orange is here with the new Crazy Bars. The original V1 Crazy Bars are what Alee based his Denham bars on and now VO is basing their V2 Crazy Bars on the Denham bars it is excellent.

I would of course talk with your builder and mention these concerns before they start brazing or welding or moulding or however they are joining the tubes or creating the frame and they might also have ideas and your bar choice could influence the geometry a bit.
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Old 11-21-22, 11:50 PM
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I've tried "L" shaped bare ends and they worked well, but still didn't like the straight flat bars, the went to butterfly bars and did not like how close they were. Now, mounted Surly Moloko. So far, so good
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Old 11-22-22, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
I am having a new custom touring bike built.......recently started having issues with my neck and shoulders

Any suggestions?
yes. experiment with new bar types on your current bike before you build a custom frame or buy components that may not work well with the bars you eventually go with.
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Old 11-22-22, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Koga Denham bars for sure. I wish they had existed when I built up my Co-Motion, I absolutely love them and would agree with Alee they are excellent for touring though most of my riding has been commuting and some longer rides but not so much with a lot of gear. I have plenty of drop bar bikes but I am finding I like a more upright position these days and I don't dislike my drops but I don't really use the actual drops that much but the hoods yeah and the Denham extensions are basically in my hood position.

Obviously the Koga's are hard to get in the U.S. but no fear Velo Orange is here with the new Crazy Bars. The original V1 Crazy Bars are what Alee based his Denham bars on and now VO is basing their V2 Crazy Bars on the Denham bars it is excellent.

I would of course talk with your builder and mention these concerns before they start brazing or welding or moulding or however they are joining the tubes or creating the frame and they might also have ideas and your bar choice could influence the geometry a bit.
The Denham bars looks very interesting and Alee has a whole lot of miles on them. I like that they don't have as much sweep as the Jones bars. I like my drop bars but rarely ever use the drops. Most of my time is spent just behind the hoods and on the flats. The new bike is going to have a 18spd Pinion drive and the builder said re-cabling a Pinion bike is a pain, so swapping handlebars won't be as easy.
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Old 11-22-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
yes. experiment with new bar types on your current bike before you build a custom frame or buy components that may not work well with the bars you eventually go with.
Good suggestion and that is part of the plan. I just wish the Atlantis had a threadless stem to make swapping bars easier. I did throw a Jones bar on my Salsa El Mariachi just to see how they feel.
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Old 11-22-22, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
Good suggestion and that is part of the plan. I just wish the Atlantis had a threadless stem to make swapping bars easier. I did throw a Jones bar on my Salsa El Mariachi just to see how they feel.
and now it does!

Profile Design Threadless Size Converter (1" - 1 1/8")

https://www.amazon.com/Profile-Design-Threadless-Size-Converter/dp/B0028N14GQ

quill-to-threadless converter + threadless stem and go wild.
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Old 11-22-22, 09:56 AM
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I wouldn't change out drop bars on a new bike because I'm getting stiff, especially a custom bike. I'd look at longer head tubes and stem swaps to get the bars where I needed them first.
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Old 11-22-22, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
The Denham bars looks very interesting and Alee has a whole lot of miles on them. I like that they don't have as much sweep as the Jones bars. I like my drop bars but rarely ever use the drops. Most of my time is spent just behind the hoods and on the flats. The new bike is going to have a 18spd Pinion drive and the builder said re-cabling a Pinion bike is a pain, so swapping handlebars won't be as easy.
Nice a pinion is going to be pretty neat. I would give them a try first though but I think they are really really nice. Nearly the perfect bar. I like Jones as a company but those bars have far too much sweep and really put my hands at a quite unnatural position.

If you want to really do it nicely I would skip the extra stems and go to the Innicycle headset for the Riv. Having installed one and seen it I really like it, it truly works well and looks right and allows you to have a standard steerer tube but keep the old threaded fork but isn't just another quill stem without the handlebar holding. If they still make it the FactoryFive Titan stem that would also be a good option as it looks clean and can use 31.8 bars.
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Old 11-22-22, 12:23 PM
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Ah, we age. My last build used Soma Condor 2 handlebars. They have a rise, which gets them higher, although that's not why I used them - I mean, if all you want is high bars, they offer absolute giraffe-necked stems these days. I like the Condor 2s for their very shallow drops. No more riding on the tops and hoods only - I can ride in the drops for long stretches again, providing a different body position and some modest aero gain.

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Old 11-22-22, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I wouldn't change out drop bars on a new bike because I'm getting stiff, especially a custom bike. I'd look at longer head tubes and stem swaps to get the bars where I needed them first.
That is kind of what the builder said. He suggested PNW drop bars. The plan is to use the bike for more off road touring than I have done in the past. I know off road will not help with the stiffness, but I would like to get away from traffic as much as possible.
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Old 11-22-22, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
I just wish the Atlantis had a threadless stem to make swapping bars easier.
Not sure exactly what the issue is, but FYI there are quill stems with removable faceplates available.

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Old 11-22-22, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
I am having a new custom touring bike built and I am debating on which type of bars to use, drop or alternative bars? My current bike is a Rivendell Atlantis with noodle drop bars. I commute everyday on this setup and I have done multiple longs tours with no real issues. However I am getting older and I recently started having issues with my neck and shoulders. I have thought about converting the Atlantis to an alternative bar that would provide a more upright position. Any suggestions?
I toured on classic bend bars for years but recently switched to some flared shallow drop Salsa Cowbell bars. I like them a lot more. The ridiculously spacious hoods on the classic bars were simply dead weight. The deep drop was unnecessary because I tour with aerobars.
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Old 11-22-22, 07:52 PM
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I turn 69 next month. I find that raising my bars about 10 to 20mm over the past decade to be all the adjustment I needed.

I can't imagine pushing into a strong headwind without using the drops on drop bars.

A friend of mine never used the drops, he switched to bullhorn bars, as far as posture and feel, they are quite similar to riding on the hoods with drop bars.

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Old 11-22-22, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
Good suggestion and that is part of the plan. I just wish the Atlantis had a threadless stem to make swapping bars easier. I did throw a Jones bar on my Salsa El Mariachi just to see how they feel.
Yes, threadless stems do make it much easier to swap bars, up to a point. With some flat bar designs you are using mt. bike shifters and brake levers, which may or not be compatible with road components, thus you kind of need to settle on a bar and whether or not you are using road levers and derailers, or a mt. bike groupset.
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Old 11-22-22, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
Good suggestion and that is part of the plan. I just wish the Atlantis had a threadless stem to make swapping bars easier. I did throw a Jones bar on my Salsa El Mariachi just to see how they feel.
Look again at the Innicycle headset, I listed in one of my posts in this thread. Would solve your issues as it will allow the same fork but give you a threadless 1 1/8 steerer tube you can put a stem on and swap in and out easily you can leave it at that height or cut it down as needed.
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Old 11-23-22, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
Good suggestion and that is part of the plan. I just wish the Atlantis had a threadless stem to make swapping bars easier. I did throw a Jones bar on my Salsa El Mariachi just to see how they feel.
With a threadless stem adapter as mentioned in Post #8, you can also flip a threadless stem over to gain a bit more height for the handlebar.

Cheers
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Old 11-23-22, 07:18 AM
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Appreciate all the feedback. I would say drop bars are my default preference. That is what I am used to and overall I think they do look better. I will have to work with the builder to ensure the reach and height of the bars are where they need to be at.
I did get the Jones Bars installed on my Salsa El Mariachi and my first impression is that it is definitely different. I am not sure about the 45 degree sweep. They do get the bars up higher and I like that. I will have ride on them a little more before I can come to a solid opinion.
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Old 11-23-22, 10:19 AM
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DNR but the type of bars should not necessarily dictate whether you are more upright. You can set up either type of bars to be the appropriate height to provide upright position.
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Old 11-24-22, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
DNR but the type of bars should not necessarily dictate whether you are more upright. You can set up either type of bars to be the appropriate height to provide upright position.
Great point. I talked to the builder and he said he could get the bars wherever I wanted regardless of the bar types. Thanks
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Old 11-24-22, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by frogshawn View Post
Great point. I talked to the builder and he said he could get the bars wherever I wanted regardless of the bar types. Thanks
It may be best to have plenty of steerer tube and spacers above the headset so you have lots of options. And as you age, it can be nice to raise the bars higher too.

In the photo I am using a 17 degree stem, it does not look too obnoxiously high when I used it in the horizontal orientation. And I can raise the bars a lot higher later if I want to. This photo is about a decade old.



Thr above photo is about a decade old, I have the bars about an inch higher and about 10mm less reach now. A more recent photo below.



Side note - if you plan to use a handlebar bag, you can lower it with a send stem the way that I did in the second photo.
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Old 11-24-22, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
DNR but the type of bars should not necessarily dictate whether you are more upright. You can set up either type of bars to be the appropriate height to provide upright position.
+1

My retired mountain bike had its flat bars positioned an inch or so below the saddle with a long stem. My current touring/gravel bike pictured below has drop bars with the tops and hoods 2 inches above the saddle with a short stem.

Keep in mind that the lower "drop" is just a once in a while position for ducking a headwind or for stability on a fast descent. Most of my riding is up high on the hoods or at the ramp section approaching the hoods. With cross-top brake levers I often do steep descents from the tops.


Bruce Gordon Rock & Road with quill > threadless adapter

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Old 11-24-22, 07:09 PM
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I am 65 yesterday and i switched from drops to the Denham bar this summer before going touring on some BC railtrails which can have very mixed surfaces. I am totally happy with my choice. The Denham bars gave me much more control on the gravel and sandy spots. I thought i would miss my bar end shifters but found the trigger shifters to be very capable. Just switched my wifes tourer to Denham bars this week.
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Old 11-28-22, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by garryg View Post
I am 65 yesterday and i switched from drops to the Denham bar this summer before going touring on some BC railtrails which can have very mixed surfaces. I am totally happy with my choice. The Denham bars gave me much more control on the gravel and sandy spots. I thought i would miss my bar end shifters but found the trigger shifters to be very capable. Just switched my wifes tourer to Denham bars this week.
Do you have any pictures?
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