New Bike

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by jacobxray, Apr 25, 2003.

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  1. jacobxray

    jacobxray New Member

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    I am looking into getting a new (and first) road bike. At the moment I only cycle to and from work and a few small rides on a 'commuter' style bike (SPECIALIZED SIRRUS A1). i am getting into the longer rides and this bike is probably no longer suitable (well it might be, not sure what i'll get out of a 'proper' road bike).
    So what I want advice on is what sort of bike should i be looking at. it will be a second bike specifically for road cycling (not racing though). I was thinking about spending about £400-£500.
    a second-hand bike might be OK, where's a good place to look?
    another possibility i guess would be improving the sirrus for longer rides.

    cheers
    jacob
     
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  2. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    jacobxray wrote:
    > I am looking into getting a new (and first) road bike. At the moment I only cycle to and from work
    > and a few small rides on a 'commuter' style bike (SPECIALIZED SIRRUS A1). i am getting into the
    > longer rides and this bike is probably no longer suitable (well it might be, not sure what i'll
    > get out of a 'proper' road bike).

    From what I've seen of the Sirrus range, it really ought to be fine so for the most part I'd save
    your money, at least until it demonstrates clear failings.

    > another possibility i guess would be improving the sirrus for longer rides.

    How long is "longer"? I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be completely at home on 100 km, for
    example. Easy ways to improve a bike for longer distances are (in no particular order):

    - better pedals, clipless, like SPD, with purpose designed shoes that lock onto them, make life
    rather easier over the long haul. The shoes, with a fairly stiff sole, are an important part of
    the equation even if you don't have direct attachment. Trainers over long distances == loss of
    power and sore feet too.

    - mudguards and mudflaps, so you don't get a stream of cack over you if the road is wet/muddy,
    enhance comfort considerably but are a non-issue if you'll only be headed out in fine weather with
    dry roads.

    - bar ends on the handlebars give you a choice of handlebar position which tends to reduce fatigue
    over longer distances (not quite as good as drop bars in this respect, but a big improvement for
    plain bars).

    - some luggage carrying facility, either a pannier rack and bag(s) or something like an SQR pack. If
    the bike frame takes the load rather than you c/o a rucksack then cycling becomes much, much, much
    more comfortable, and as a consequence a whole load more enjoyable.

    - bottle cage and bottle, if you haven't already got one you should have mounts on the frame. Easy
    access to fluids can make a big difference, and Camelbaks and the like are pretty pointless on the
    roads: just something else to carry and reduce your comfort while a bottle on the frame is cheap,
    easy and works very well.

    - good padded shorts (experiment with and without underpants, most people seem to find they work
    better without but not everyone). If it's chilly for bare legs use them underneath
    bikesters/tights or something else that moves with you to provide complete freedom of movement
    with no chafing.

    - gel padded mitts help take the ache out of your arms over a longer haul, fingerless ones for warm
    weather (colder weather, the insulation in the gloves will do quite a bit of similar work).

    - depending how you like the saddle, a new saddle. Some people love Speccy's Body Geometry saddles,
    I can't stand them... saddles are personal things and all about your shape vs. theirs. If you
    think yours is a pain-inducer over a longer ride try out some alternatives.

    - some tools, as if you have a puncture in the middle of nowhere it can be a real bore not having
    any! You don't need much, just a set of Allen keys, a puncture repair kit and/or a spare inner
    tube and pump is usually more than enough.

    The 'guards and rack would be useful on a commute bike in any case and the pedals will go on
    anything, as will the clothes, so it's not as if you're wasting anything with the above. If you want
    to get into longer distances still then something like a classic tourer (Dawes Galaxy or similar)
    gives you drop bars for more hand positions and slightly better aero, and luggage lugging built in
    to the design. An Audax style light tourer will give a better turn of speed without sacrificing all
    creature comforts to the extent a racer does. But for now I'd be very surprised if the Sirrus is
    really wanting for longish road rides. Looks to me like a nice bit of kit which has been sensibly
    designed for road use rather than pandering to fashion. You'll note most of the above suggestions
    are basically independent of the basic bike: it ain't broke, so no need to fix it!

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  3. Nc

    Nc Guest

    "Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > jacobxray wrote:
    > > I am looking into getting a new (and first) road bike. At the moment I only cycle to and from
    > > work and a few small rides on a 'commuter' style bike (SPECIALIZED SIRRUS A1). i am getting into
    > > the longer rides and this bike is probably no longer suitable (well it might be, not sure what
    > > i'll get out of a 'proper' road bike).

    [...]

    > > another possibility i guess would be improving the sirrus for longer rides.
    >
    > How long is "longer"? I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be completely at home on 100 km, for
    > example. Easy ways to improve a bike for longer distances are (in no particular order):
    >
    > - better pedals, clipless, like SPD, with purpose designed shoes that lock onto them, make life
    > rather easier over the long haul.

    One suggestion is to get SPD pedals which have a clip one-side and a flat pedal the other. Thus you
    can ride with either special cycling shoes or ordinary ones for shorter trips.

    > - some tools, as if you have a puncture in the middle of nowhere it can be a real bore not having
    > any! You don't need much, just a set of Allen keys, a puncture repair kit and/or a spare inner
    > tube and pump is usually more than enough.

    I recommend Park-Tool glueless patches, which are £2 for six in my local bike shop. No more messing
    with glue, waiting for it to go tacky, etc..

    I don't know what tyres are on the Sirrus, but might be worth considering something smoother and
    high pressure for longer rides.

    NC.
     
  4. Dr

    Dr Guest

    "jacobxray" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am looking into getting a new (and first) road bike. At the moment I only cycle to and from work
    > and a few small rides on a 'commuter' style bike (SPECIALIZED SIRRUS A1). i am getting into the
    > longer rides and this bike is probably no longer suitable (well it might be, not sure what i'll
    > get out of a 'proper' road bike). So what I want advice on is what sort of bike should i be
    > looking at. it will be a second bike specifically for road cycling (not racing though). I was
    > thinking about spending about £400-£500. a second-hand bike might be OK, where's a good place to
    > look? another possibility i guess would be improving the sirrus for longer rides.

    Isn't a Sirrus essentially a road bike with flat bars? Fit bar ends. Perhaps get a longer stem if
    you want to be more stretched.

    I have to declare myself as a drop bar sceptic. I have both types and 20 - 30 miles is as much as I
    can stand with the drops so I do my longer rides on a mountain bike with skinny tyres.

    The problem I find with the drops is that riding position conflicts with brake access and
    manoeuvrability. I want a stretched riding position but I don't want *more* stretch to the brake;
    they seem remote even with a relaxed position. On top of that the "more hand positions" concept
    seems to be more theoretical than practical.

    David Roberts
     
  5. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    DR <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > The problem I find with the drops is that riding position conflicts with brake access and
    > manoeuvrability. I want a stretched riding position but I don't want *more* stretch to the brake;
    > they seem remote even with a relaxed position. On top of that the "more hand positions" concept
    > seems to be more theoretical than practical.
    >

    Sounds like too long a top tube/stem on the bike or the wrong drop bars. Your comfortable riding
    position should be on the brake hoods with next to the stem being a more upright and relaxed
    position. Try playing around a bit with stem length etc.

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  6. Velvet

    Velvet Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > DR <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >
    > > The problem I find with the drops is that riding position conflicts with brake access and
    > > manoeuvrability. I want a stretched riding position but
    I
    > > don't want *more* stretch to the brake; they seem remote even with a relaxed position. On top of
    > > that the "more hand positions" concept seems to be more theoretical than practical.
    > >
    >
    > Sounds like too long a top tube/stem on the bike or the wrong drop bars. Your comfortable riding
    > position should be on the brake hoods with next to the stem being a more upright and relaxed
    > position. Try playing around a bit with stem length etc.
    >
    > Tony
    >
    > --
    > http://www.raven-family.com
    >
    > "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    > Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
    >
    >

    I had/have this problem. I'd bought the right sized frame (so I understood) going by the inside leg
    size, and once I had it, it appeared to fit along the top tube based on the fingertips/elbow nose of
    seat/stem thing, yet when I got it fitted properly (using www.bikefit.com or .co.uk ideas, I think?)
    the top tube was actually at least a couple of inches too long. We've made some progress on that
    (stem with less reach) but short of buying another (different, this was the smallest they do) frame
    and moving everything onto it, I'm compromising.

    The bars on it were too wide, too - so the hands were again reaching along a further line than they
    needed to.

    Imagine it like a series of geometric shapes, and the relationship between changing the saddle
    height/fore/aft position, bar reach, bar width, bar height starts to become clear when related to
    length of arms.

    I've also learnt to set stuff in an order: saddle height first, then adjust the fore/aft to get the
    knee/crank position right. Then the bars have to be adjusted to fit in with that - if it means
    making the stem a shorter reach forward to bring the bars back, if you drop the bars you'll lengthen
    the reach again, so I found it a lot easier with a similar stem, but set a few inches higher -
    whereas having dropped the stem back and made it a shorter reach has had an equivalent effect, it's
    not quite as pronounced.

    In hindsight, if I buy another bike, I will be getting the frame that fits me - probably going back
    to the place that did the bike fitting on the jig - so I can get the one thing that's impossible to
    adjust to fit, fit from the start! That'll include top tube length!

    My brakes are a lot more accessible now that the stem is a shorter reach, and that the bars aren't
    so wide. Equal to the shoulders, the bars should be.

    Oh, and not all bike shops are created equal when it comes to sizing. Place I bought mine from did
    an initial sizing when I picked it up, and didn't see any problems at all.

    Har har.

    Place that fitted it properly commented that there was a bike, and a bird, and other than that they
    weren't quite sure what was going on. Weight was all over the place, far too stretched out along the
    top tube, too cramped up between knees and stomach because of it, and the arms were a bit of a wind
    catcher, being more triangular rather than parallel...

    I know which one was right, and it wasn't the first.

    Velvet
     
  7. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Velvet <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > I had/have this problem. I'd bought the right sized frame (so I understood) going by the inside
    > leg size, and once I had it, it appeared to fit along the top tube based on the fingertips/elbow
    > nose of seat/stem thing, yet when I got it fitted properly (using www.bikefit.com or .co.uk ideas,
    > I think?) the top tube was actually at least a couple of inches too long. We've made some progress
    > on that (stem with less reach) but short of buying another (different, this was the smallest they
    > do) frame and moving everything onto it, I'm compromising.
    >

    Have you looked at different drop bars, some put the brakes further forward than others depending on
    the shape. They can add to the range of adjustment you have just from the stem.

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  8. Velvet

    Velvet Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Velvet <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >
    > > I had/have this problem. I'd bought the right sized frame (so I understood) going by the inside
    > > leg size, and once I had it, it appeared to fit along the top tube based on the fingertips/elbow
    > > nose of
    seat/stem
    > > thing, yet when I got it fitted properly (using www.bikefit.com or
    .co.uk
    > > ideas, I think?) the top tube was actually at least a couple of inches too long. We've made some
    > > progress on that (stem with less reach) but short of buying another (different, this was the
    > > smallest they do) frame and moving everything onto it, I'm compromising.
    > >
    >
    > Have you looked at different drop bars, some put the brakes further
    forward
    > than others depending on the shape. They can add to the range of
    adjustment
    > you have just from the stem.
    >
    > Tony
    >
    > --
    > http://www.raven-family.com
    >
    > "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    > Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
    >
    >
    >

    Yes, they changed the drop bars at the same time, they're not as wide, and have a slightly smaller
    diameter 'drop' part on them, so the brake levers are a little more in reach for the fingers (I can
    actually reach them with fingertips now when down on the drops, whereas before that was nearly
    impossible).

    Velvet
     
  9. DR <[email protected]> wrote:
    >The problem I find with the drops is that riding position conflicts with brake access and
    >manoeuvrability. I want a stretched riding position but I don't want *more* stretch to the brake;
    >they seem remote even with a relaxed position. On top of that the "more hand positions" concept
    >seems to be more theoretical than practical.

    This is because nearly everyone has drop bars too low, and then has to ride on the hoods nearly all
    the time, and lacks a decent upright position for hills, when it is more important to keep the upper
    body upright to use your full lung capacity than to remain aerodynamic.

    I have mine above the saddle, and ride in the drops on the flats and downhill; my position on the
    flats is similar to that of a rider with too-low bars on the hoods, and downhill I can fold up my
    elbows if I want to. Then, I can be very upright on the hoods (actually on the bar just behind the
    hoods, which is unusually flat on my Nitto Noodle bars) uphill, and breathe more easily; and since I
    don't live in Holland I do get to alternate hand positions very frequently. Brake access is more
    difficult from the uphill position, but of course going uphill braking is not so great a concern.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  10. Dr

    Dr Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote
    > DR <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >
    > > The problem I find with the drops is that riding position conflicts with brake access and
    > > manoeuvrability. I want a stretched riding position but
    I
    > > don't want *more* stretch to the brake; they seem remote even with a relaxed position. On top of
    > > that the "more hand positions" concept seems to be more theoretical than practical.
    > >
    >
    > Sounds like too long a top tube/stem on the bike or the wrong drop bars. Your comfortable riding
    > position should be on the brake hoods with next to the stem being a more upright and relaxed
    > position. Try playing around a bit with stem length etc.

    I think I have fiddled and persevered enough. Drops don't work for me. I wanted to emphasise to the
    OP asking about a new bike that there are dissenters in the ranks.

    For the record, the seatpost to stem distances on my bikes are: ~ hack w. flat 68cm - too short so
    bar ends essential for reach. ~ mtb w. flat 73 cm and saddle fully back - bar ends give the extra
    hand positions ~ road bike w. drop 69 cm and saddle fully forward.

    Given the saddle positions the difference between mtb and rb is therefore something like
    8cm overall.

    David Roberts
     
  11. Dr

    Dr Guest

    "David Damerell" <[email protected]> wrote

    > to. Then, I can be very upright on the hoods (actually on the bar just behind the hoods, which is
    > unusually flat on my Nitto Noodle bars) uphill,

    I think you have mentioned before that you are from Reading? Were you on the ride from Asda to
    Sheffield Bottom last Wednesday?

    David Roberts
     
  12. DR <[email protected]> wrote:
    >"David Damerell" <[email protected]> wrote
    >>to. Then, I can be very upright on the hoods (actually on the bar just behind the hoods, which is
    >>unusually flat on my Nitto Noodle bars) uphill,
    >I think you have mentioned before that you are from Reading? Were you on the ride from Asda to
    >Sheffield Bottom last Wednesday?

    Not as such, no.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Distortion Field!
     
  13. jacobxray

    jacobxray New Member

    Joined:
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    thanks for all the advice. i think i will simply adapt the sirrus for now. i guess a lot of it was just 'image'. it just doesn't look the part with the big muguards etc.. i love it as a bike btw, although i know a few people who've had to replace the back wheel after only a couple of 100 miles as it tends to buckle.
    looks like i'll just get the bar end things and some clips. saved me a couple of 100 quid, so thanks again.
     
  14. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    jacobxray wrote:
    > thanks for all the advice. i think i will simply adapt the sirrus for now. i guess a lot of it was
    > just 'image'. it just doesn't look the part with the big muguards etc.

    If "looking the part" requires me to get covered in a stream of cold, dirty water for several hours
    if I'm riding on wet roads then I'm rather glad I don't!

    > i love it as a bike btw, although i know a few people who've had to replace the back wheel after
    > only a couple of 100 miles as it tends to buckle.

    Make sure all the spokes are intact and reasonably taut and that it's true (just spin it and check
    the brake block clearance is effectively constant). If not take it to the LBS for some tweaking and
    it should be fine thereafter.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  15. Dr

    Dr Guest

    "DR" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:...
    > "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote
    > > DR <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > >
    > > > The problem I find with the drops is that riding position conflicts with brake access and
    > > > manoeuvrability. I want a stretched riding position but I don't want *more* stretch to the
    > > > brake; they seem remote even with a relaxed position. On top of that the "more hand positions"
    > > > concept seems to be more theoretical than practical.
    > > >
    > >
    > > Sounds like too long a top tube/stem on the bike or the wrong drop bars. Your comfortable riding
    > > position should be on the brake hoods with next to the stem being a more upright and relaxed
    > > position. Try playing around a bit with stem length etc.
    >
    > I think I have fiddled and persevered enough. Drops don't work for me. I wanted to emphasise to
    > the OP asking about a new bike that there are dissenters in the ranks.

    > For the record, the seatpost to stem distances on my bikes are: ~ hack w. flat 68cm - too short so
    > bar ends essential for reach. ~ mtb w. flat 73 cm and saddle fully back - bar ends give the extra
    > hand positions ~ road bike w. drop 69 cm and saddle fully forward.

    > Given the saddle positions the difference between mtb and rb is therefore something like 8cm
    > overall.

    As a postscript, I have now replaced the single pivot brake with dual pivot. The easier brake action
    means the hands are more relaxed while braking and thus the bar position is less of a compromise.
    Nevertheless, I don't understand the oft mentioned "more hand positions" bit. There is nothing to
    them that makes me want to replace my flat bars for more leisurely riding.

    David Roberts
     
  16. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sun, 11 May 2003 14:29:05 +0100, "DR" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Nevertheless, I don't understand the oft mentioned "more hand positions" bit. There is nothing to
    >them that makes me want to replace my flat bars for more leisurely riding.

    When you ride 80 or 100 miles in a day the ability to move your hands round the bars and get a
    variety of different wrist and finger positions is a great aid to comfort. And then you ride a
    recumbent and realise that wedgies don't "do" comfort :)

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  17. Dr

    Dr Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote
    > "DR" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >Nevertheless, I don't understand the oft mentioned "more hand positions" bit. There is nothing to
    > >them that makes me want to replace my flat bars for more leisurely riding.

    > When you ride 80 or 100 miles in a day the ability to move your hands round the bars and get a
    > variety of different wrist and finger positions is a great aid to comfort.

    Well, my longest ride in a day is 70 on flats and 40 on drops so I have to extrapolate. I don't have
    problems moving my hands around on flats but there is more to comfort than just this consideration.
    Conversely, I can't ride the bike with flats as fast as the bike with drops.

    The trouble is, what is said about drops is usually given as a statement of fact. Clearly it is not.
    What I can't work out is whether the opinions given are out of genuine conviction or whether as
    perpetuation of a sacred cow.

    > And then you ride a recumbent and realise that wedgies don't "do" comfort :)

    No experience, but I am less sceptical about that.

    David Roberts
     
  18. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Mon, 12 May 2003 22:01:50 +0100, "DR" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Well, my longest ride in a day is 70 on flats and 40 on drops so I have to extrapolate. I don't
    >have problems moving my hands around on flats but there is more to comfort than just this
    >consideration. Conversely, I can't ride the bike with flats as fast as the bike with drops.

    I find that my hands and wrists in particular get tired after 20 or 30 at most on flats. Bar-ends
    hels a bit, as I can move them around, but I find the different hand positions on drops make it much
    easier to keep the hands happy. And of course you can drop down when riding into wind, which always
    helps if you're on a wedgie.

    >The trouble is, what is said about drops is usually given as a statement of fact. Clearly it is
    >not. What I can't work out is whether the opinions given are out of genuine conviction or whether
    >as perpetuation of a sacred cow.

    Well, it's the result of a lot of experience from a lot of riders. Look at audax rides: most bikes
    fit a certain pattern. Leather saddles and drop bars very much in evidence. I do notice that women
    have a much wider variety of bars and bar-ends, especially butterfly bars. I guess this is partly
    because it's hard to make a wedgie fit well for the petitie frame. Taller women appear to ride
    mostly drops. This is all just from talking with cyclists I meet regularly, though - probably not
    more than fifty-odd in all, and about the same from my old DA in St Albans.

    Not to say flat bars can't be comfortable, but the rest position of the hands is flat aghainst the
    sides of the body, so it wouldn't be too surprising if bars which allowed the wrists to stay more or
    less in that orientation would be more comfortable.

    >> And then you ride a recumbent and realise that wedgies don't "do" comfort :)

    >No experience, but I am less sceptical about that.

    Time for that trip to FutureCycles :)

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  19. Dr

    Dr Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote
    > "DR" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > >The trouble is, what is said about drops is usually given as a statement of fact. Clearly it is
    > >not. What I can't work out is whether the opinions given are out of genuine conviction or whether
    > >as perpetuation of a sacred cow.

    > Well, it's the result of a lot of experience from a lot of riders. Look at audax rides: most bikes
    > fit a certain pattern. Leather saddles and drop bars very much in evidence. <snip>

    Oh quite. I see that on Wednesday evenings (Reading). I don't doubt numerical predominance but some
    people do look uneasy at times.

    > Not to say flat bars can't be comfortable,

    Having two flat bikes I agree. The uncomfortable one is too short for me.

    > but the rest position of the hands is flat aghainst the sides of the body, so it wouldn't be too
    > surprising if bars which allowed the wrists to stay more or less in that orientation would be more
    > comfortable.

    The only position where that is properly possible is on the drops. Elsewhere the wrist is bent down
    (the row of knuckles turned parallel with the forearm) to follow the sweep of the bar. Bar ends
    allow straight wrists in both palm orientations.

    David Roberts
     
  20. Guy Chapman

    Guy Chapman Guest

    "DR" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > > but the rest position of the hands is flat aghainst the sides of the body, so it wouldn't be too
    > > surprising if bars which allowed the wrists to stay more or less in that orientation would be
    > > more comfortable.

    > The only position where that is properly possible is on the drops.

    On my tourer I also get straight wrists (and palms facing inwards) on the hoods. There are three
    places where I can get straight wrists palms facing inwards, and one where I get straight wrists
    palms facing down.

    Of course, on my daily bike the hands are in a natural position and the shoulders completely
    relaxed, there is no weight on the hands at all ;-)
     
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