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Drop Bars, how wide should they be?

Old 12-06-06, 12:23 PM
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Drop Bars, how wide should they be?

Compared to the body, how wide should drop bars be to be ideal for touring? ALSO, how long should a good wheelbase be for loaded touring?

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Old 12-06-06, 12:43 PM
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Ideal for what comes into it. Some people use very wide drops like 60 cm for better offroad control More comonly tourist seem to be using something in line with the popular rondoneur sizes. There are only a few widths offered, so I just slot myself in based on my relative breadth. I'd like to know a formula, for this also, but it is one of those subjective fit areas makers tend to cop-out on.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidARayJaxNC
Compared to the body, how wide should drop bars be to be ideal for touring? ALSO, how long should a good wheelbase be for loaded touring?
I've been riding 44cm forever. I used to ride a randonneur bars but they have been a little hard to find. Recently I got a pair of Salsa Bell Lap bars in a 46cm and really like them. The width makes for lots of hand space on the tops and the slight flare to the drops make them nice for controll. And they don't cost that much - around $25. I like them a whole lot more than the Ritchey Pro Biomax that they replaced. Those just never felt comfortable to me.
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Old 12-06-06, 05:41 PM
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I think those are the bars I currently have also, I'm real broad in the shoulders and I find them fine for road riding. On trails I have the odd squirely moment, I;m planing on experimenting with some 60cm bars, but I don't really expect them to be an improvement. Just something different to try.
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Old 12-06-06, 08:51 PM
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I have sme 14 in c-c bars. they seem really small, and I was wondering, what could these be used for? a track bike?
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Old 12-06-06, 10:15 PM
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I read somewhere that drop bar width should about match shoulder width to allow adequate chest expansion for maximizing your air intake when you breath.
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Old 12-06-06, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jabowker
I read somewhere that drop bar width should about match shoulder width to allow adequate chest expansion for maximizing your air intake when you breath.
Actually that seems to be more of a recomendation for racing so your arms don't "widen" your profile and create more wind resistance than is necessary. My understanding is that Greg LeMond liked bars a bit wider than shoulder width, but that has gone out of favor with racers. For touring, a few extra cm can open up your chest for easier breathing and provide greater leverage for better control. I like a wider bar on our tandem and LHT touring machine, and a bar that is about equal to my shoulder width for my performance road bike.
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Old 12-06-06, 10:54 PM
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The one fitting that I had the fellow had me hang my arms to my side in a relaxed state and then start swinging them in front of me. After about 5 or 6 swings he had me stop with my arms in front and he measured them between the palms and said that is the width the bars should be. I used his measurements and have been very happy with the fit. I guess another method would be to measure from shoulder to shoulder on the outside.

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Old 12-07-06, 12:03 AM
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I heard the shoulder width measurement too and used it on my LHT. Coming from a MTB with wide flats and bar ends, the 42cm drops seemed TINY! I think I even went a cm too small (bloody center to center vs end to end measurements). I eventually got used to them after a couple weeks on tour but I always wished I'd gone a bit larger. I think that I would have enjoyed 44 or even 46cm bars more. Aerodynamics are the last thing on my mind, haha.
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Old 12-07-06, 05:22 AM
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The best wheelbase for a touring bike depends on your size and load.

You need your own centre of gravity to be not too close to the rear hub, a problem for tall riders with long seat-tube/posts.
You also need adaquate heel clearance for panniers which depends on crank length, shoe size/style and pannier design. 43cm seem to be the one-size fits all choice for seatstays and it is OK for Med riders.

The position of the front wheel is determined by a mixture of crank length and wheel diameter to avoid toe-clip overlap and top tube length.
You shouldnt really define a bike by its wheelbase, this is an outcome of design decisions, not an input.
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