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For those using mtn bikes as tourers

Old 03-18-09, 05:29 AM
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For those using mtn bikes as tourers

I've decided to set up my 1985 Stump jumper Sport as a dedicated tourer. Just wondering what the most comfortable handlebar set up would be. I had trekking bars on the bike, but didn't find them especially comfy. Has anybody tried the Delta ergo bar ends or aero bars for touring? I prefer to ride w/ my hands on the hoods of drop bars on my road bikes. Just wondering what the equivalent of that would be on a mtn bike short of putting drop bars on it. thanks!
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Old 03-18-09, 05:35 AM
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If you don't like the trekking bars I would bite the bullet and put drops on.
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Old 03-18-09, 08:16 AM
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Here we go again: the great 'drops vs. flats' debate. FWIW, given you don't like the trekking bars, three clear choices. If you like/want drops, a Stumpjumper of that vintage will almost certainly work (i.e. re. t/t length) with them: fixed. If you want some variation on flats, comes down to two clear choices, seems to me. Traditional flat-bars with very good barends, such as CaneCreek, or (my preference) Ergon grips w/integrated bar end mimic the 'flats/hoods' position (including different positions for wrist rotation) about as well as you're going to get. Alternatively, some variation on a 'swept' flat/riser bar (lots of kinds out there: North Road, albatross, On-One Mary, Thorn 'Comfort', Jones H-Bar. 'Bout it.
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Old 03-18-09, 09:22 PM
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+1 Ergon Grips. They completely eliminated my wrist pain as they provide palm support.

I use trekking bars with a pair of ergons and love em.

I'd urge you to give your trekking bars a second try. I'm a fan of diagrams so I whipped this one up to show you how I use mine:


Image A: I have mine with the "butterfly wings bowing downward, and tilted about 10 degrees(back to front).

Image B: Using Ergon grips elimated all my wrist pain after extended leaning on bars. Bar tape is a must around the rest of the bars.


The most comfortable positions for me are

1: Using the ergon grips (gives me extended comfort in cities when I need to keep my hands near brakes)
2: Wrapping my hands around the two sharpest curves closest to me (I find myself using this position the most for long distances, which feels most natural and is the most similar to gripping hoods)

When out of saddle or climbing I use:

3: grabbing the upward tilting bar end-like part(especially when climbing)

And when it's flat or downhill and I feel like tucking in I use these positions:

4: grabbing the curve farthest from me(palm facing down)
5: grabbing curve closest to stem (palm facing up), which is similar to grabbing aeros.

I did have to play around with the angle and position of my trekking bars and the ergon grips to get it just right though, but once I found the right position I was very happy with my multitude of positions. If you try setting up your trekking bars I'd suggest to adjust the tilt based on what feels most natural in your saddle using position 2. I find that distributing your weight evenly on your palms is key.

Of course, this is just one way to set up trekking bars. Some people set them up (in relation to mine) upside-down, backwards, or both. I saw someone with clip-on aero bars on his backwards installed trekking bars and someone else with clip-on mtb bar-ends mounted on the bars where I put my hands in position 5 to act like aero bars (I might try the ladder eventually). The great thing about trekking bars is their versatility: They're like combo mustache/flat bars, and if you play around enough you can find a position that works for you. It took me months to discover position 2 (the most comfortable to me) and position 5. Ergons were a godsend. If you get drops, ergons arn't an option, but if you stay with flats or trekking, I'd reccomend ergons with the built in bar ends no matter what.

Last edited by thehum; 03-18-09 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 03-19-09, 05:34 AM
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thanks a lot for all those great photos. You have the ergon grips w/o the bar ends, right? I'm really leaning that way. The main thing I don't like about trekking bars (other than the wrist issues which hopefully the ergons would take care of) is their width. I have really narrow shoulders so if the bars came in Tinker Toy size, they would probably be just fine for me, but as is, too wide for me to have my hands on the sides. I'm thinking if I went w/ the flat bars and got the Ergon grips w/ the bar ends that I could hack saw off some of the bar on both sides so that the bar ends would fit just right.
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Old 03-19-09, 07:33 AM
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Very good/useful info/illustrations above. FWIW, on this issue, you might want to hunt up the Thorn Cycles (U.K.) website (sorry, I'm no good with linkie-thingies), and take a look at the download brochure for the Thorn Sherpa bike. In that is a very good discussion of bar types (pros, cons) for touring. Other than that, I'll repeat my/the above Ergon recommendation: these completely resolved any issues I had (wrist fatigue etc.) with flat bars; ymmv of course, but they really do what it says on the tin
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Old 03-19-09, 10:39 AM
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thehum, I think you did a great job explaining yourself with the pictures, etc.

I have my trekking bars positioned a lot like yours and I like them a lot. I don't use the Ergon grips.

I often see pictures of trekking bars mounted at a pretty severe angle - the place where you have the brake levers low and the bend high. I think that might sometimes be the source of some people's problems with them.
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Old 03-19-09, 11:02 AM
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erbfarm, what kind of terrain will you be riding in?

I used to run a MTB touring rig, and my setup was flat bars with Ergon grips alongside big honkin' curved barends. Like so:



It was an amazingly comfortable setup, about as comfortable as drops. Zipties and maglite are optional.
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Old 03-19-09, 12:46 PM
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I went with simple bar ends on my riser mtn bike bars. They worked great 99% of the time. There were a few brutal headwinds where I really wish I had drops...

My wife 2nd's the Ergon grips. I love the mag light! We use leg headlights and had to use them on the bike once, it was not an ideal situation!
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Old 03-20-09, 10:40 AM
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If you really like riding on the hoods, why change? There are plenty of 25.4 drop bars out there if you didn't want to buy a new stem. The only reason it might not work is if you have a long TT on your MTB.

It's a good recommendation to check out the sjscycles site.

Last edited by aroundoz; 03-20-09 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 03-20-09, 10:55 AM
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Me, I'd put the on the narrowest straight bar that will accommodate all your equipment, cut as short as possible, with a good pair of foam grips and some Cane Creek Ergo bar ends.
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Old 03-20-09, 06:50 PM
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Thorn at www.sjscycles.com have drop-bar barends (yep, bolt-on drops for flat bars) that might suit you. You could use them as bar ends, leaving you existing brakes/shifters, or you could put hoods and brakes on them.

Otherwise try long bar-ends with flat bars, but trim you flat bars so your hands aren't too far apart. Most MTB bars are too wide. I'm not so keen on Ergon grips. I've tried the Cane Creek ergos, they're good, but I prefer long bar-ends. You can hold the "corner" where they join the flats (put some padding there), the straight bit, or crouch down a bit and grip the curved-in bit at the ends.

I'm considering flat bars with bar ends and tri bars for a MTB. Plenty of hand positions, but not much bar space for accessories.

Some people like Titec or Jones H-bars. They look pretty comfortable and versatile.

Last edited by Cave; 03-20-09 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 03-20-09, 07:19 PM
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I did a little monkeying around with my set up today and found that placing the bar ends that I have now on my flat bar 42cm apart is just about the right spacing. Then maybe w/ some ergonomically correct bar ends my problem would be solved.....here's hoping. The top tube on my Stump jumper is about 56 cm which is long for me. I'm currently using a Nashbar "comfort" stem w/ the flat bar, it's a tall stem w/ I think about a 90mm reach, although at a very upright angle so that is helping my long top tube situation.
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