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Road bike handlebars
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So while I'm restricted from all sports for the foreseeable future I'm planning my comeback, and assuming I'll need to be on a road bike for quite a while due to the back injury.

I plan on building up my tri frameset, as it has smaller geometry than all the road bikes out there, and I can keep my 650c wheels.

Any suggestions on road handlebars? So far I've got in mind (all in 38cm width):
--3T Ergonova reach 77mm drop 123mm
--Aerus C4 (in-house brand for Blue bikes) reach 65mm drop 130
--FSA K-wing compact reach 80mm drop 125mm

Based on shoulder width, I need a 30cm width bar, but there is no such thing in carbon or alloy. And I definitely want carbon. I have tiny hands and dinosaur arms.

Thanks!

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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Re: Road bike handlebars [Tri3] [ In reply to ]
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Putting road bars on a tri bike may sound easy, unless adding a third wing to a biplane is. You are trying to change the intended use of the design by changing the interface to the design, not the design itself. The geometry of a tri bike, especially in the head angle, fork rake and trail, are specific. Add to that your position and weight distribution, changing the bars may result in a wacky-handling bike. Not to mention that you will need a set of shifters ($$$).

It may not be necessary to assume that you need a road bike 'due to your injury'; of course, not knowing what your injury is isn't preventing me from saying that (haha). Perhaps all you are really needing to do is reduce the amount of pelvic rotation, lower back curvature and overall reach to the bar interface. Add spacers under the stem, or increase the stem angle upwards. Add spacers under your armrests? Effectively just riding not so aero, or not aero at all.

To answer your real question, though, no there are no 30cm bars on the market, although Salsa offers a 34cm (alloy only). Smallest carbon bars are 38cm. I would be curious to know how you measured your shoulder width? Cuz that's really really really really tiny. The smalles ladies I've ever measured were 36 and 38 respectively, measuring from acromion process to acromion process across the back. What we are really trying to measure there is the center point of the shoulder joint at the humeral head.

Anne Barnes
ABBikefit, Ltd
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
X/Y Coordinator
abbikefit@gmail.com
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Re: Road bike handlebars [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for confirming that the smallest out there is 38cm. And yes, I'm pretty small. It makes getting properly fitting bikes a real PITA.

As to converting the tri bike, it's been discussed and I'm comfortable with doing it:
http://forum.slowtwitch.com/...rch_string=;#4912876

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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Re: Road bike handlebars [Tri3] [ In reply to ]
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I use salsa poco carbon bars and love them.

I have a friend who uses specialized women's specific carbon bars and i think they may come in a 36cm.

Also check how the bars are measured - some measure center to center and some measure outside to outside.

I think specialized may measure from outside to outside which means the 36 is actually slightly narrower than most bars that measure center to center.
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Re: Road bike handlebars [themadcyclist] [ In reply to ]
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thanks

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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Re: Road bike handlebars [Tri3] [ In reply to ]
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It ain't carbon, but Brodie makes a really nice compact bar with a shorter reach than even the typical "shallow drop" bars most manufacturers make.

I'm not a big guy - 165cm with relatively small hands. On a road bike I like the Deda 215 "Italian" (shallow drop) bars. I have the Brodie Compact bar on my touring bike as I wanted a slightly less stretched out position in the drops for very long days where aerodynamics is irrelevant and I'd never be "on the rivet".

While you've not said outright that you're a smaller person, the 30cm bar width and desire to keep your 650b wheels seem to indicate as such.

This is a pretty good (if slightly dated) research resource but the best option for you would be to work with an LBS who can bring in several bars for you to try out. Sometimes just setting your hand in the hooks is enough to know that you don't like it. But if they can put your bike on a trainer and swap in a bunch of bars (unwrapped w/ no controls is fine) for you to try, and then perhaps demo a couple longer term (fully built) you'll soon find something that works well for you. What's the rationale behind wanting carbon? If you just want carbon because it looks awesome, then that's cool and nothing else will really suffice - but if you're primarily after vibration damping and comfort, a little bar phat under the tape is amazing.


<If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough>
Get Fitter!
Proud member of the Smartasscrew, MONSTER CLUB
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Re: Road bike handlebars [Khai] [ In reply to ]
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Hey Khai--long time no see in the womens. At 165cm you've got 3-4 inches on me.

Yes, I'm primarily after the vibration reducing aspects of carbon. It made a tremendous difference in comfort/discomfort when I went from alloy to carbon base bar on my tri bike, so I assumed the same would hold true for road.

Because of a badly herniated disc, when I get back to cycling I'll need to ride in an upright position, so building up a road bike made the most sense to me. I'm at a terrible disadvantage because I've never ridden a road bike, so it's all theoretical to me. And the few LBS around here just aren't going to be helpful.

Thanks for the suggestions.

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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Re: Road bike handlebars [Tri3] [ In reply to ]
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I'm still kicking around, but am not on ST as much as I used to be and only chime in (in this forum) when I feel I might be helpful - I don't really have anything useful to add to many of the threads here. But I do know bikes. :D

If you want to keep the cost down, try some bar phat with an alu bar - I haven't actually ever put "real mileage" into a carbon setup for back-to-back testing but I have with the bar phat on an alu bar and can tell you that it makes a BIG difference with/without. It's pretty inexpensive stuff, and not "needing" carbon may open up some more options fit-wise for you. Not that there's anything wrong with carbon, carbon is cool - but it's not the only solution. Bontrager also makes bar end plugs with a little vibration damper inside them. It's pretty impressive the difference those things make. Also, don't forget gloves. Gloves can make a MASSIVE difference comfort-wise.

That's a bummer that you don't have a good shop nearby - sometimes I forget that I'm really spoiled here in Vancouver and have strong relationships with a few great shops. The good news is that if you have your measurements and know what you want, fitting a road bike is a lot easier than a tri bike. Your bar tops will be in about the same place as your base bar; though if you haven't cut off too much steerer tube it would probably benefit you to run it higher up - at least to start. The shape of the bar (depth of drop, reach, overall width, and hook shape) will likely play a bigger role in comfort than the material. Smaller hands mean that deep drops tend to be less comfortable and some "ergo" shapes might not work for you as well as others. Some of the house brand "WSD" components put out by the big guys (Giant, Trek, Specialized...) address this really nicely. WSD should never mean "shrink it and pink it" - if approached well it can be really helpful for many aspects of component design and fitting. If there's a brand concept store near you it'd be worth taking a spin down there to see what they have to offer. Even little things like brake levers can have a significant impact on comfort, and since you're converting a tri bike you've probably got bar-end shifters anyway. Why not see if they have some short reach brake levers that might work well for you? Stems can be really cheap, so don't feel shy about playing around with a few different rise/length options to find what's comfortable. Of course it would be great if you could get help from your LBS but even if you mail ordered a few and tried them out, as long as you're careful with them you should be able to send back the ones that don't work.

It's possible that you may need to change your seatpost and possibly your saddle as well. Sitting up will change the way you sit on the saddle, and the more upright position will change your hip angle.

Depending on your back and how you feel on the bike, lots of different options may present themselves. Julian (justjulian) has a messed up back that goes South in a major way if he doesn't ride for more than a few days in a row - and he's got a fairly aggressive roadie position. Others need some sort of suspension, and find that a Softride, Titanflex, or even just a thudbuster seatpost is the ticket as it isolates some of the road vibration (certain saddles can help with this a well). Tyres & tyre pressure can also really help - wider tyres with a little less air will be much more comfortable and if you aren't racing for the win, will have negligible impact of your overall enjoyment.

I really hope that you recover quickly and are able to get back out riding again. Don't hesitate to PM me if I miss a thread and you want to ask me something, and of course there are lots of womens here with tonnes of mileage under their belts as well.


<If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough>
Get Fitter!
Proud member of the Smartasscrew, MONSTER CLUB
Get your FIX today?
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Re: Road bike handlebars [themadcyclist] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, the specialized bar I heard is really nice. It comes with a 75mm reach and 125mm drop, I believe.
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Re: Road bike handlebars [Khai] [ In reply to ]
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Khai, thanks, this is really helpful. I'm slammed at work this week, and will probably take you up on your offer of a PM at the end of the week. I've got a 38cm bar with 65mm reach and 130mm drop arriving today, but won't be able to fool around with it until the weekend.

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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