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flat bar w/bar ends vs road bike bar for touring

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flat bar w/bar ends vs road bike bar for touring

Old 02-24-11, 10:24 PM
  #1  
big50_1
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flat bar w/bar ends vs road bike bar for touring

I have an endurance road bike with road bars and a mtb w/flatbar and bar ends setup with road slicks for commutes. I'm finding the mtb w/the flat bar the more comfortable setup (hand position-wise) for longer rides. Maybe it's because I started with mtbs and put much more miles on them before getting a road bike. Any thoughts re road bar vs flat bars w/bar ends for touring?
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Old 02-24-11, 10:39 PM
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Only the obvious. If your tour will take you off road, then....

If it won't, then comfort (for you) trumps the better aero of road bars....
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Old 02-24-11, 11:58 PM
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I like road bars a lot better, but you should do what's comfortable for you! And if it turns out to be not that great, next time use the other one.
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Old 02-25-11, 01:23 AM
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Door#3..
Trekking bars on the Mountain bike, 1"center, formed of 7/8" OD tube,
so all The controls will slip right on.
the figure 8 bend offers even more hand positions
than straight bars and bar ends..

Instead of drops you have a far reach and a near grip.
and the sides, like bar ends, plus a 10:00 and 2:00 grip
somewhat like you hold a steering wheel.

I wrap a couple layers of foam padded tape on Mine..

typically the far grip is good at ducking into those headwinds ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-27-11 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 02-25-11, 05:20 AM
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What are the fit differences between the MTB and road bike? Essentially, if the fit is the same, there shouldn't be much difference in the comfort factor.

FWIW, I think bullhorn/cowhorn bars offer the benefits of both types of bars, but only if you don't intend to use the drops on roadbars (which obviously you wouldn't).

The MTB brake-shifter levers can slip on quite easily, and the real benefits for mine, are that the curve is another place to put the hands; it's not sharp and doesn't have any additional hardware; and the horn part is much longer than most bar extensions so there is more room for additional hsnd positions. You can also use them in place of road bars, but fitment of the road shifters/brakes is a little more complicated (but doable).
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Old 02-25-11, 08:27 AM
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I find drop bars more comfortable for all-day riding, but two friends who I regularly tour with are perfectly happy with flat bars. One regularly deals with numb hands; the other, not. I know someone else who likes drop bars, but experiences neck and shoulder pain from leaning over the handlebars. So do I, after riding for several days. But drop bars allow me postural variety, which makes touring more comfortable. This comfort outweighs any (temporary) upper body issues that I experience. Also, I really, really don't like numb fingers.

In other words, there is no "perfect" solution: all choices with respect to bicycle fit are trade-offs.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:23 AM
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Dropbars deliver a greater potential for comfort. If the bikes are setup similarly, riding the hoods on a dropbar should feel more or less the same as a flatbar. The most significant difference is that dropbars allow alternate handholds that not only change the orientation of your hands, but also change your posture - posture change spells relief. Here's a little experiment you can do:

Sit on your mtb and get someone to take a picture of your profile. Do this for all your possible handholds. Then take pictures of all the potential handholds with the dropbar/aerobar. Note the variety generated by the dropbars. Start adjusting the fit of your dropbar bike (raising the handlebars will probably be the best place to start) with the aim of getting your hood riding profile close to the comfortable profile you have on your mtb. You'll need to ride some serious distances and do a lot of adjusting to get it right, but in the end, I think you'll find that the dropbars deliver more.

Ultimately, go with what feels right.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:40 AM
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For no other reason than because of headwinds, I prefer drop bars. Being able to get that little bit lower has real value for my state of mind. I have WTB dirt drops that work in any offroad situation short of technical singletrack.
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Old 02-25-11, 10:09 AM
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I spend the bulk of my time on the off road forums since I enjoy riding off road a great deal. By off road, that doesn't mean "mountain biking" although many times singletrack is involved, it does mean more off pavement though. I do still enjoy road riding and I own several "road oriented" bikes. I use drop bars off road a lot. Granted they are not typical, they are Salsa Woodchippers, they have some width to them, some sweep or flare but properly set up they are with a doubt the most comfy of any bar I use. Ragley has a similar bar out now called the Luxy. Woodchippers give me the leverage to handle the bike and control it when needed. I can slip into the drops and ride comfy there, then switch positions to the top of the bar or even to the hoods. You can play with the tilt or angle to get the drop and flare of the bars perfectly suited to you. I'm building a Vaya touring bike (frame should be here next week) and Woodchippers are the only thing I would consider. They work with bar ends, or STI set ups. Others I know have them on their road and gravel machines and a few on their touring machines.

Drops, flats, or off road drops...you have a lot of options and this doesn't take into account the trekking and other swept bars on the market. I'd suggest the Woodchippers though as a good alternative if you like drop bars but also like flat bars with a bit of sweep. Just realize they are not road drops and need their own set up. The flats off the drops usually need to be no more than an inch below your seat, usually higher or about where flat bars would be.
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Old 02-26-11, 07:58 AM
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Have you considered the Butterfly/Trekking bar option that was mentioned above? It's worth a look IMO
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Old 02-27-11, 03:11 PM
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Absolutely great info. Thanks. Something else must be at play on my bikes. The MTB set up for street feels solid when I get up on the pedals to increase speed some or go up a small hill. The road bike on the other hand seems tentative and less stable when I get up on the pedals. I don't have confidence in it.
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Old 02-27-11, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by big50_1 View Post
Absolutely great info. Thanks. Something else must be at play on my bikes. The MTB set up for street feels solid when I get up on the pedals to increase speed some or go up a small hill. The road bike on the other hand seems tentative and less stable when I get up on the pedals. I don't have confidence in it.
I agree with you on this. I use to ride my old cannondale road bike (20 years ago...)for hours on end and it was fine at the time. Got ripped off so I bought a mtn bike and really liked the stability and extra power and leverage I felt. My next bike was an old road bike that I put Scott AT3's on which were really nice, lots of hand positions but just a bit narrow for me, close to drops. Next bike was a flat bar road bike that road for a while stock, then I went with a riser bar and bar ends. I liked that even more. Lots of width, nice and stable but you do pay for it some with a head wind. But really I find that I can either move my hands in toward the stem somewhere or put them out on the bar ends and just bend my elbows a little more to tuck down. Just orderd a LHT frame and I'll be going either with the riser bar and bar ends off my current bike or the AT3's, or maybe something else, but not drops. Haven't made up my mind yet. I test road a fully built LHT yesterday before I orderd the frame and I wasn't fond of the drops. They felt two narrow.
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Old 02-27-11, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by big50_1 View Post
Absolutely great info. Thanks. Something else must be at play on my bikes. The MTB set up for street feels solid when I get up on the pedals to increase speed some or go up a small hill. The road bike on the other hand seems tentative and less stable when I get up on the pedals. I don't have confidence in it.
Probably nothing to do with the bars. Road bikes have different geometry and respond differently to rider inputs. And perhaps more importantly, different road bike geometries and frame materials generate different feels. If you don't like the way that road bike feels, try doing some test riding of other road bikes.
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Old 02-28-11, 09:01 AM
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I use Northroad style bars. I'm 47 and find my hands really suffer with any other bar. I also raised my stem, though, so my back is straighter when riding and there's less weight on the nerves in the centre of my palms. This also helps with neck and shoulder pain I get on the first few days of any tour, as the muscles set it, as my back is straighter. The only downside is this puts a bit more weight on the saddle - I use a brooks there, though, and this seems to help in that respect.
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Old 02-28-11, 10:03 AM
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For those that use butterfly bars, do you find that they flex much in the front where it is furthest from the stem? Looks like there isn't much to support them there.
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Old 02-28-11, 12:25 PM
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jayr-How are you setting up the LHT? Components? I looked at the web site and am not 100% sold. Gotte-What kind of Brooks saddle?
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Old 02-28-11, 02:11 PM
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jayr
For those that use butterfly bars, do you find that they flex much in the front where it is furthest from the stem? Looks like there isn't much to support them there.
Actually the bend is such, that front of the bar is closest to the stem,
the back side, is where you slide the MTB controls on the open end of them,

that is the part farthest from the center, stem grip, of the bar,..

Of course should you wish to make them the other way round ,
no one's going to stop you.

you can even make your set-up vertical , for up/down, if you wish.
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Old 02-28-11, 02:19 PM
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I tour with flat bars and bar ends. Added the bar ends on the last tour and really like them. Ride drops on my road bike but couldn't imagine using them on tour as they are not comfortable to me for long periods (I'm not very flexible - neck and back issues). Trekking bars look very interesting to me though. I might get some one of these days.
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Old 02-28-11, 03:00 PM
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Stripping down my beloved Schwinn SSGS flat bar road bike that I just cracked the frame on. SRAM x7, forte alum seatpost with B-17, Ultegra/open pro rear wheel stock junk front that I can't wait to replace but can't justify doing it yet either, Schwalbe 700x32 marathons, unknown stock brake levers and V brakes but they work well, truvativ cranks with performance mtn clipless pedals. I ordered the LHT with the same shamano BB that the built one comes with and a cane creek HS. Stem not sure yet. I have my stock 130 7 deg and a 130 17 deg. Will depend on how everything fits. Bars will either be the performance carbon riser bar with bar ends or a butterfly type bar if I can find a nice wide one. I really like the idea of the butterfly bars but I'm 6'3 210 so things that fit normal sized guys tend to be smallish for me. The risers are 680mm wide with Ergon grips and it's carbon which is nice to suck up some road harshness.

What was it about the built LHT that you didn't like? The one I test road Saturday was really nice. I was sold in the first half mile. Other than the bars and bar end shifters I thought it was a fantastic ride. Smooth and surprisingly agile and resposive, all Deore XT. I guess I just expected it to be a little slugish compared to my more agressive framed Schwinn, but it wasn't at all. If I had the money I'd have bought the built one and had them convert the bars for sure. Come to think of it one other thing I didn't care for was the canti. brakes. Been a while since I road anything but V brakes and the canti's don't compare, at least these didn't.
Still a really nice bike.

Last edited by jayr; 02-28-11 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 02-28-11, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
jayr
Actually the bend is such, that front of the bar is closest to the stem, the back side, is where you slide the MTB controls on the open end of them, that is the part farthest from the center, stem grip, of the bar,..
Yep, that back side where the MTB controls go is the part I'm wondering about. Is it flexy at all? Do you notice it move when your pulling hard on a climb or standing up? Seems like a lot of unsupported bar hanging out there to be putting a lot of weight on.
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Old 02-28-11, 04:34 PM
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I Tend to climb in the saddle and have my hands on the sides or front corner
of the bars, anyways.
the comfortable reach, riding along, is there.


don't know what product you have in mind , or how the setup is going to be..
my bars are from ITM , 'synergic', a discontinued model.. 2 D shaped wings..
curved to the front.

On the back are Magura, HS 33 Hydraulic rim brake levers, and the Rohloff grip shifter.

the weight goes into pushing the pedals..
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Old 02-28-11, 10:56 PM
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jayr-I haven't ridden the LHT. But just looking at the specs, other touring bikes seem similar. But again, the proof in in the riding. Have you thought about a 26" setup on the LHT?
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Old 03-01-11, 11:07 AM
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Didn't test ride any other bikes. Finding touring bikes to test ride is pretty difficult, add in the fact that I need the max size frame of most makers and it's near impossible even in a large city like Sacramento with a bike hub like Davis near by. I've never been able to buy a bike that I test road. Always had to check out the smaller version of what I wanted and special order. I felt pretty lucky to find the 60cm LHT to test ride. Had to order the 62 frame and hope it's going to work out for me. Based on the 60 I think I'll be fine. I think most of the bikes in that same catigory and price point are probably pretty nice and will do the job. At some point I think it boils down more to what goodies you want on your bike. I went with the LHT because I know from others experience it's a good quality bike that will stand up to whatever I'll throw at it, I could get the frame size I needed in a week's time, and all my current parts will swap easily. I did check out some other touring bikes but some were set up for disk brakes, some don't seem to sell just a frame, they don't sell a large enough frame or the frame cost more than the LHT.
Not really into the 26" with the 62cm frame. I think it would be pretty goofy looking. Plus I'm stripping my old bike that's already 700c so I'm going to stick with that. I won't be going to any remote places where I can only get 26 inch tires so that's not too much of a concern for me.
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Old 03-01-11, 11:26 AM
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I just never found drop bars comfortable at all, quite the opposite: my hands/wrists would hurt after riding on the hoods for a while and I find the drops utterly useless for normal riding. For touring a butterfly touring handlebar is hard to beat and I've done 30+ mile rides with flat MTB bar with Ergon grips without any discomfort at all. What matters more than the bar itself is your position and weight distribution and overall geometry and quality ride of the bike itself.

You need to try and figure out what works for you. Just because something works for others well it doesn't mean it'll work for you.
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Old 03-01-11, 03:06 PM
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As stated, you might try trekking bars on the MTB. It's a $25 experiment (at Nashbar or Harris).

For a road bike, you might try aero bars as well. They may offer less control when you are in them, but it's a damned comfortable way to cut through wind, IMO.

Anyway, use whichever bike you feel more comfortable with. If that's the MTB, go for it.
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