First road bike - handlebar position problem

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Gingerbread Man, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Gingerbread Man

    Gingerbread Man New Member

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    I bought my first road bike. Its a 2002 TCR 3, though many of the components have been changed. I have been using a borrowed seatpost and saddle as it came without them (as pictured)


    [​IMG]

    I originally thought that the handlebars had been tilted down by the previous owner, but I have seen a pic of the original 2002 TCR3 and they are the same.

    The biggest problem for me is that the angle between the bars and the hoods is quite acute and is therefore uncomfortable for my hands. I havent seen this anywhere else. Other bikes seem to have the top of the bars horizontal and the hood/bar angle seems to be almost flat. I have tilted them back up but that makes it awkward to stay in the hooks.

    I dont understand this design at all.

    What to do? Keep the tilt downwards and move the hoods?

    Thanks for any advice

    (EDIT - my tilt "up" seems to be everybody elses "down" presumably because I am referring to the tops and they are probably referring to the drops).
     
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  2. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Unwrap the bars. Rotate the bars to the position you want. Reposition the brifters to the position you want. Rewrap bars. Tutorials for doing all that can be found here.
     
  3. Gingerbread Man

    Gingerbread Man New Member

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    Thanks for the response alienator. As a newbie, my problem is that I dont actually know where I "want" the bars and where I "want" the brifters - particularly with this design of bar.

    I expect everybody is different and I am of course willing to do a bit of trial and error but the design of these bars has me foxed. I would appreciate advice and suggestions I can take on board.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head, everyone is different in terms of their preferred bar design and setup. But a good starting place is to rotate the bars upward until the tops are horizontal, then do as Alienator suggests, unwrap the bars and shift the brifters down until the hoods are more or less in a straight line to the now horizontal bar tops. Alternately you could set the brifters so the tips of the brake levers are roughly even with the flatter bottom extensions of the drops which tends to put the hoods in a good place.

    The goal is typically to reach the hoods in a fairly neutral 'handshaking' position. IOW, your wrists shouldn't have to be cocked hard up or down to grab the brake hoods and ideally it should both be comfortable to rest both hands on the hoods in this neutral position or slide them back a bit and rest the heels of your palms on the flattish upper sweep of your drop bars.

    Start there, but you may still want to change things around depending on how much time you spend riding on the hoods, vs. bar tops, vs. halfway between on the sweep of the bars or how much time you spend deep in the drops and how it feels to operate the brifters from various positions.

    FWIW, if you can't find a good balance and comfortable reach from all the positions you use you might consider more of a classic bar curve instead of the fairly dramatic 'anatomic' curve on your current bars. Like a lot of folks I went to 'anatomic' bars way back when they came out but have long since gone back to classic drop curves for my bars and actually I strongly prefer the compact or shallow drop classic curve bars that are becoming more and more popular like: http://ritcheylogic.com/dyn_prodfamily.php?k=394053 They just seem to give the best balance of hand comfort and ease of control accessibility in all the conventional riding positions and I find I can both have a relatively low hoods position and still be very comfortable while deep in the drops and have no issues reaching or operating the brifters from either position. But bars and bar setup is a personal thing so YMMV.


    -Dave

    [edit]P.S. Looking at your bar shape again, they're pretty dramatically dropped and you probably won't get the top sweeps dead horizontal and don't really need to but try to get them flatter than they are now. Another old school approach is to have the bottom of the drops point on an angle towards your rear hub or at least on a line roughly intersecting your rear stays about halfway down their extent instead of pointing straight back at your seat clamp as they do now.
     
  5. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    The Campagnolo brifter instructions include some nice graphic guidelines for brifter starting positions on the various bar shapes. Unable to find that I've tried to duplicate here.


    For classic bars is similar to this (basline measure is that the bottom of the levers aligns with the bottom section of the bar), and if I'm understanding Dave correctly his recomendation as well:
    [​IMG]


    For compact bars, it was something like this (the curve of the hood follows the top horizontal of the bar) - and similar again to Daves advice: "But a good starting place is to rotate the bars upward until the tops are horizontal, then do as Alienator suggests, unwrap the bars and shift the brifters down until the hoods are more or less in a straight line to the now horizontal bar tops."
    [​IMG]



    Your bars are more like "anatomic", but trial and error and some of the recommendations above are likely (will hopefully) get you to a better place - I'm thinking a starting point for brifter position would more closely mimic the compact setup.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The beauty is that there is no reason that classic bars have to be positioned such that the drops are parallel to the ground. Like with brifters, position bars to get a comfortable/optimal position for your hands and wrists.
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I hear you, man. With "anatomic" bars, if you turn them up to make the top horizontal (or nearly horizontal), the angle of the drops forces the rider to uncomfortably bend the wrists. If you raise the levers as on a traditional bend, placing them above the most acute part of the bend, as danfoz suggested, the levers to stick out so far that you can't reach them from the drops.

    The beauty of the traditional bend is how it allows a variety of hand positions and a range of lever placements that are all effective. They do require a bit of wrist flexibility that all the pros seemed to demonstrate "back in the day." The new "compact" bends are cool because they are square, that is, the tops are nearly parallel with the drops. While the range of usable lever positions and rotation is small, they work extremely well for many people as long as tops, drops and levers are all set close to horizontal.

    Looking at what you have, rotating the bar up a couple of degrees and possibly raising the levers a few millimeters might get you where you want to be on top without rendering the drops totally useless.
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    All the foregoing is hopefully good information for people trying to make their bike feel just-right to them ...

    FWIW. 'I' am amongst the limited number of people who prefers having the Drops closer to horizontal than not ...

    Because 'I' really want to be able to use the DROPS as an alternate position when I am riding, I start by positioning the Drops in the fore mentioned almost horizontal position ...

    • I guess that the some of the difference in how I perceive the Drops is that I am often RESTING my hands on the ends of Drops rather than pulling up on them ...
    • regardless, it's one of the positions that I got used to using ...

    THAT means that the upper portion of the bar is wherever & whatever it is ...

    After that, I set my lever position ...

    AND, sometimes, I may have to choose a different length stem so that the "fit" is what I consider to be right-for-me.

    FYI. The FIRST time I saw a picture of a bike with some DEDA handlebars with the smooth transition between the bars & hoods I thought "I have to try that" ...

    Alas, what may be a great idea just isn't right for everyone ...

    With the Deda bars that I got (pictured below), the Drops were not parallel to the Tops & when the bars were set up with the Tops more horizontal than not then the Drops had an uncomfortable-for-me downward slope (at least, in my mind -- some of this is psychological) ... admittedly, this was-and-is a princess-and-the-pea variance since it isn't that great an angle when compared with how most people have their Drops set ... nonetheless, it always seemed like a compromise position ...

    [​IMG]

    Worse, though, for me was the not-so-ergonomic anatomic "bend" which didn't let me nest my hands where I wanted relative to the actual brake levers ...

    Eventually, I swapped out the bars for some Cinelli 65 handlebars that I had which have the 'right' forward bend which lets me comfortably reach the levers ... I knew almost as soon as the bars were wrapped that they wouldn't do in the long run because of the bend of the upper curve of the handlebars, yet they remain in place years later because I can live with them!?!

    [​IMG]

    Finally, here's an example of an 'anatomic' handlebar which I set up for MY comfort ...

    [​IMG]

    THAT's a long way of saying that if a person thinks that they know WHERE they want to place their hands, then it is probably possible to exclude some handlebar shapes ... but, choosing the "right" handlebar may not be as easily determined ...

    • It may be stating the obvious but 'I' didn't figure out the limitations of some handlebars until after I tried them because the grass looks greener ...

    BTW. Handlebar width may be an eventual consideration which may affect stem length.
     
  9. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I don't get on with the traditional bend. The new bends, compact or otherwise, help to give a rider a lot more options in bar placement. The progressive radius of the bend seem a better solution than the old style anatomic bars, with the flat section on the drops, which offered far less flexibility in positioning.
     
  10. Dr Lodge

    Dr Lodge New Member

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    FWIW, here's my setup, Ritchey Logic bars and Shimano 2300 brifters. I have the angles setup perfectly for me now - both the angle/position of the brifters but also the angle of the "straight" dropped section of the bars. The very end of the bar is in fact horizontal, the angle of the photo makes them look a bit pointy-upwards.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Here's a fairly traditional setup: [IMG ALT=""]http://www.cyclingforums.com/content/type/61/id/273834/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]
     
  12. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Obviously not yours, eh, alienator?

    Alfeng's compact bar and Dr Lodge's anatomic bar is pretty square. It looks like alf likes to reach down to the levers a bit. To each his own. My old Masi has a Cinelli 66, which is like alf's 65 but deeper. It works for me because I'm bigger than alf, but I like it only with traditional brake levers. Just the same, it requires more wrist flexibility, especially if you drape the hand over the front of the bar. I'd say any bar that slopes down to the levers lets you know right away if your position sucks.

    Alf's Deda bar, while not compact, is definitely a square bend. I'd enjoy using it, too, except I like continuous curves on the drops. The bar on my main bike is a Ritchey WCS curve, which is almost as compact as they come--short reach, with a bit more drop than most of the other compact bends. I like the way compact bars fit with older style STI levers, but I wish someone made one with a slightly deeper drop.
     
  13. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Very close, though: Campy brifters on 3T Ergonova bars. I've got the asymmetric setup w/ the bars slid about 5mm off center to the left to accommodate a right shoulder that has been traumatically modified, and my right brifter tips up a hair because of limited ROM in my right wrist. I didn't set up according to any standard for lever tips or summat. I set the bar rotation to provide the most comfort in the drops while maintaining the reach to the levers that I dig.
     
  14. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Yes ...

    While I certainly ride with my hands on the Hoods & Tops of the bars, when I think that I actually need to brake, I prefer to have what I feel is slightly increased leverage from having my hands on the forward bend of the Drops because (in my mind, at least!?!) it also allows me to more easily modulate the bike's braking ...

    BTW. As far as range of motion, sight unseen, when a previous injury or arthritis is not involved, I have to say that I suspect the bars and/or brake levers are not set up properly for the rider if wrist contortion is necessary to use the brake levers from both the Tops and Drops ...

    • THAT's the so-called fitter's fault, IMO -- either through a "professional" or self-inflicted fitting

    FWIW. Here are a set of Cinelli 66 bars on one of my bikes ...


    [​IMG]

    In the above setup, the Drops are intentionally in almost-the-same position as with the Drops of my Cinelli 65 bars on my Olmo, and vice-vera ... the difference is to accommodate the excessive amount of spacers (or, minimalist number of spacers on the Olmo) which subsequently bumped the stem to a higher lever ...

    If I ever get motivated, I'll swap the Cinelli 65 bars on the Olmo for a set of Cinelli 64 bars, BTW; but, THAT hasn't happened, yet.

    BTW. I suppose that I don't hate those Deda bars ... I just don't like them ... I would refer to them as "commuter" handlebars, but that might seem like a disparagement ...
     
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