Why shun steel drop bars?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Brian Huntley, May 6, 2003.

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  1. I'm considering converting from upright to drop bars on my hybrid, and noticed I have a pair of
    steel drops in my collection of parts. They'd fit the current stem as far as I can tell, and would
    allow me to temporarily use my existing brakes and shifters while evaluating the suitability.

    However, I've seen several recommendations against using steel bars.

    Can someone tell me why steel bars are shunned? Is it just because of their incompatible (with
    aluminum bars) diameter? Are they dangerous?
     
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  2. Brian Huntley wrote:
    >
    > I'm considering converting from upright to drop bars on my hybrid, and noticed I have a pair of
    > steel drops in my collection of parts. They'd fit the current stem as far as I can tell, and would
    > allow me to temporarily use my existing brakes and shifters while evaluating the suitability.
    >
    > However, I've seen several recommendations against using steel bars.
    >
    > Can someone tell me why steel bars are shunned? Is it just because of their incompatible (with
    > aluminum bars) diameter? Are they dangerous?

    They're not dangerous, but they're needlessly heavy. You can no longer get drop-bar lever clamps to
    fit the smaller diameter (7/8" / 22.2 mm)

    The controls from your hybrid will physically fit on the bars, but the ergonomics will be all wrong,
    especially the brake levers, which curve in the wrong direction. This will make it impossible to
    grip the brake lever except very close to the pivot point, where leverage is poor.

    Sheldon "Steel Frames, Yes; Steel Handlebars, No" Brown
    +-----------------------------------------------------------+
    | Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question | is an answer. --Ferengi Rule of
    | Acquisition #208 |
    +-----------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  3. On Tue, 06 May 2003 17:28:11 +0000, Brian Huntley wrote:

    > However, I've seen several recommendations against using steel bars.
    >
    > Can someone tell me why steel bars are shunned? Is it just because of their incompatible (with
    > aluminum bars) diameter? Are they dangerous?

    No, of course not. No more than others. They are declasse because they are heavier than aluminum
    or carbon. But some groups, especially trackies, still use them since they do not flex as much as
    the others.

    On the other hand, your steel bars will likely be very narrow, since that was the fashion.
    Wider bars are, IMO, nicer, so your evaluation of their usefulness for you needs to take that
    into account.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | "What am I on? I'm on my bike, six hours a day, busting my ass. _`\(,_ | What are you on?"
    --Lance Armstrong (_)/ (_) |
     
  4. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    > On the other hand, your steel bars will likely be very narrow, since that was the fashion. Wider
    > bars are, IMO, nicer, so your evaluation of their usefulness for you needs to take that into
    > account.

    Unless you manage to find a shop that carries current-production steel drop bars in modern widths.
    They do exist, but are quite hard to find, at least in the U.S. market.

    --
    [email protected] is Joshua Putnam <http://www.phred.org/~josh/> Updated Infrared Photography Books
    List: <http://www.phred.org/~josh/photo/irbooks.html
     
  5. Bluto

    Bluto Guest

    Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Brian Huntley wrote:
    > >
    > > Can someone tell me why steel bars are shunned? Is it just because of their incompatible (with
    > > aluminum bars) diameter? Are they dangerous?
    >
    > They're not dangerous, but they're needlessly heavy.

    In this day of 220g, 46cm double-grooved bars, the stiffness that comes along with steel drop
    bars is difficult to characterize as needless. The wag in many alloy bars gives new meaning to
    "fly by wire"!

    > You can no longer get drop-bar lever clamps to fit the smaller diameter (7/8" / 22.2 mm)
    >
    > The controls from your hybrid will physically fit on the bars, but the ergonomics will be all
    > wrong, especially the brake levers, which curve in the wrong direction. This will make it
    > impossible to grip the brake lever except very close to the pivot point, where leverage is poor.

    Flat bar levers work fine positioned either on the tops or on the drops. Either of these places
    allows a firmer grip on the levers than that afforded by placement on the hooks. That placement,
    reachable from either side but awkward from both, accounts for the higher leverage built into drop
    bar levers IMO.

    It appears to me that drop bar levers were designed more to provide a decent hand position on the
    hoods, than to provide decent application of the brakes.

    Chalo Colina
     
  6. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Joshua Putnam" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Unless you manage to find a shop that carries current-production steel drop bars in modern widths.
    > They do exist, but are quite hard to find, at least in the U.S. market.
    >
    > --
    > [email protected] is Joshua Putnam <http://www.phred.org/~josh/> Updated Infrared Photography Books
    > List: <http://www.phred.org/~josh/photo/irbooks.html>

    I've found that steel bars seem to bend more easily than aluminum bars. I'm not sure if this is just
    because they were cheap bars (typically steel bars are cheap..) or if they were poorly designed. But
    they did seem to bend more often. Sometimes we would fool around on cheaper bikes in the shop and it
    seemed like a lot of steel bars were messed up after out little fun sessions. Aluminum generally
    held up better.

    Cheers,

    Scott...
     
  7. Sheldon Brown wrote:
    > Brian Huntley wrote:
    >
    [snip]
    >> Can someone tell me why steel bars are shunned? Is it just because of their incompatible (with
    >> aluminum bars) diameter? Are they dangerous?
    >
    > They're not dangerous, but they're needlessly heavy. You can no longer get drop-bar lever clamps
    > to fit the smaller diameter (7/8" / 22.2 mm)
    >
    > The controls from your hybrid will physically fit on the bars, but the ergonomics will be all
    > wrong, especially the brake levers, which curve in the wrong direction. This will make it
    > impossible to grip the brake lever except very close to the pivot point, where leverage is poor.

    Thanks. I was thinking I'd mount the brake levers on the flat of the bar, and mount some old 22.2 mm
    clamp levers in the normal place, just to get the feelof things (and so avoid recabling.)

    The twist grips on the drops seem to make as much sense as bar-ends. Again, this is just to test
    things out, and hopefully avoid buying unsuitable parts.
     
  8. David L. Johnson wrote:
    >
    > On the other hand, your steel bars will likely be very narrow, since that was the fashion. Wider
    > bars are, IMO, nicer, so your evaluation of their usefulness for you needs to take that into
    > account.
    >

    Good point, though I have two pair. I'll use the wider set. Thanks!
     
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