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The Handlebar article
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https://www.slowtwitch.com/...Fix_These__7226.html
Was going to post a reply to the article, but more discussion here.

I've said the same thing about road bars before. Complicated (ergonomic) shapes would be no limitation to carbon/composite manufacturing, yet we are tied to this legacy of bent round tubing as the defacto standard.
But change needs to start with the component manufacturers making "direct mount" shifters. Few are willing to create a new standard here because shifters are so tied to the rest of the system; maybe a Rotor, FSA, Microshift etc could have a go but until say Shimano gets on board it's probably not going to take off.

A huge bonus is that they could then remove many of the limitations of trying to package hydraulics into the current orthodoxy. Which will accelerate their cost reduction and increase their elegance.

Aero bar design is either limited by UCI regs (elbow pad length 12.5cm?, and extension cross sectional area max 4cm²?) for roadies, or practicality by triathletes (BTA bottle system).
Hey here's an idea for the entrepreneurial to steal: make the ergo armrest/extension and bottle a single unit. Make the bottle a quasi aero fairing for the arms. Add some vortex generator fins to get some outwash going around the rider.
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Re: The Handlebar article [MattyK] [ In reply to ]
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Having a clamp on brifter system allows the brifters to move on the bar instead of being destroyed in a crash.
Allows high positions for gumby fondo riders and flat racer setups in the same unit.
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Re: The Handlebar article [lyrrad] [ In reply to ]
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lyrrad wrote:
Having a clamp on brifter system allows the brifters to move on the bar instead of being destroyed in a crash.
Allows high positions for gumby fondo riders and flat racer setups in the same unit.

Agree. Fixing the shifters would be good for only a handful of people. Whenever I get new bars the first few rides are without tape so I can get the hoods exactly right.

The reason road bars have more or less stayed the same is that they just work.



Heath Dotson
HD Coaching:Website |Twitter: 140 Characters or Less|Facebook:Follow us on Facebook
AeroCamp May 8-9, 2019 A2 Wind Tunnel
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Re: The Handlebar article [MattyK] [ In reply to ]
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In regards to the extensions... a big part of the "problem" is how you take custom kit and make it fit a wide variety of people? Speedbar works great if they shape it to your forearms, know your exact reach / tilt / pad placement, etc. But what happens if your arms are slightly shorter/longer than size S/M/L/XL? What if you want a different angle, or the forearm rests don't meet your forearms. (Some of that slack you could take up with more/less padding I suppose)

Those Speedbars/Carbonwasps are trick kit. The problem with them (for me) is that IF you're the kind of athlete that is willing to spend ~$1k on custom extensions, you're the kind of person that is also likely to change your position at some point trying to find something better. That's fine if you need to spend $40 on new extensions... not so fine when you start spending a grand every time.
Of course that matters a lot less if someone else is paying for your kit.

*honestly, as cool and aero as the bars look, I think if someone would just make "lazy" s-bend shapes at different rises, and at the beginning of the extensions turned it up sharply (out of the clamp) to meet with your forearms it'd cover most of the aero gains.

My Blog - http://leegoocrap.blogspot.com
Last edited by: Morelock: Apr 18, 19 7:01
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Re: The Handlebar article [MattyK] [ In reply to ]
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Ergonomics is part of it, and I agree with Slowman there.

And by "part of it" I mean the general decades-long migration from the drops being the predominant road position to the hoods being the predominant road position. The hoods are just more comfortable now because the the comfortable pistol-grip. The drops are now just a sprinting or descending position. And where you put your hands in crits (or should) for no other real reason other than to keep your bars from getting hooked. The argument that you can get your hand knocked off the hoods easier isn't really valid anymore, in my mind. Maybe back in the early days when hoods were tiny and position deeper onto the curve part of the drops. But now pistol-grip hoods are a pretty rock-solid position.

But the other part is bar height. It used to be you'd set the bar height so that the drops were the most comfortable position. With your hands in the bars you'd have a nice position, and be moderately aero. Like Greg, here, forearms at about a 45-degree angle in the drops. And the wrists are in a reasonably comfortable position. And you can see the hood position there is only a few cm higher and not very comfortable looking.



Now the hoods are much higher on the bar, and the drops position has become extreme. It's not uncommon to see arms drop down straight vertically to the drops, which is less comfortable, and puts the wrist in a funny position. I'll pick on Wiggins since he's had a rough week already.



Having giant vertical cylinders in the air is presumably less aero, and people in that position tend to do what Brad is doing with this wrists - collapsing them inwards - which also doesn't tend to be that comfortable. And now the hoods tend to be 6-7cm higher than the drop position. Porte behind Brad looks way more comfy, and seems to have his bar height set for the hood position.

So I agree that the article that if we want to "take back the drop position" both ergonomics and height need some work.

For height I do like some of the gravel bars, where the drop position is wider but less deep (and by deep I mean in the Y axis). If this one had a pistol-like grip on that flat section in the drop, it might be what I'm talking about.


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Re: The Handlebar article [Ex-cyclist] [ In reply to ]
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Ex-cyclist wrote:
lyrrad wrote:
Having a clamp on brifter system allows the brifters to move on the bar instead of being destroyed in a crash.
Allows high positions for gumby fondo riders and flat racer setups in the same unit.


Agree. Fixing the shifters would be good for only a handful of people. Whenever I get new bars the first few rides are without tape so I can get the hoods exactly right.

The reason road bars have more or less stayed the same is that they just work.

when i started racing we nailed our cleats to the bottoms of our shoes. that system just worked. we had 5 speeds in back. worked. friction shifting worked. and, yeah, a lot of people complained about click shifting. didn't need it. friction worked. lots of stuff worked.

in my opinion, no, road bars don't work. not compared to the road bars i have in mind. not even remotely close.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [lyrrad] [ In reply to ]
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lyrrad wrote:
Having a clamp on brifter system allows the brifters to move on the bar instead of being destroyed in a crash.

easily solvable. i don't mind the boss itself being on a compression ring. just, have that ring be a part of the handlebar construct. and assemble it in place, rather than running it up a round tube. you screw the road control into the boss. you get in a wreck, you still have that safety feature.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
Ex-cyclist wrote:
lyrrad wrote:
Having a clamp on brifter system allows the brifters to move on the bar instead of being destroyed in a crash.
Allows high positions for gumby fondo riders and flat racer setups in the same unit.


Agree. Fixing the shifters would be good for only a handful of people. Whenever I get new bars the first few rides are without tape so I can get the hoods exactly right.

The reason road bars have more or less stayed the same is that they just work.


when i started racing we nailed our cleats to the bottoms of our shoes. that system just worked. we had 5 speeds in back. worked. friction shifting worked. and, yeah, a lot of people complained about click shifting. didn't need it. friction worked. lots of stuff worked.

in my opinion, no, road bars don't work. not compared to the road bars i have in mind. not even remotely close.

I wish you the best on building a better mouse trap.



Heath Dotson
HD Coaching:Website |Twitter: 140 Characters or Less|Facebook:Follow us on Facebook
AeroCamp May 8-9, 2019 A2 Wind Tunnel
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Re: The Handlebar article [Ex-cyclist] [ In reply to ]
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Ex-cyclist wrote:
Slowman wrote:
Ex-cyclist wrote:
lyrrad wrote:
Having a clamp on brifter system allows the brifters to move on the bar instead of being destroyed in a crash.
Allows high positions for gumby fondo riders and flat racer setups in the same unit.


Agree. Fixing the shifters would be good for only a handful of people. Whenever I get new bars the first few rides are without tape so I can get the hoods exactly right.

The reason road bars have more or less stayed the same is that they just work.


when i started racing we nailed our cleats to the bottoms of our shoes. that system just worked. we had 5 speeds in back. worked. friction shifting worked. and, yeah, a lot of people complained about click shifting. didn't need it. friction worked. lots of stuff worked.

in my opinion, no, road bars don't work. not compared to the road bars i have in mind. not even remotely close.


I wish you the best on building a better mouse trap.

alas. what i have in mind is going to remain in my mind. i am involved in a manufacturing project. after having left that behind exactly 20 years ago. but this is not a wave i'm going to surf. that's why i'm happy telling anyone what i'd do, if i were still a manufacturer. because i'm not going to be one.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [MattyK] [ In reply to ]
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Perhaps I am an idiot or suffering from Dunning-Kruger, but the problem of interfacing standard parts with custom ones to fit a specific user regarding aerobar extensions or even customized hoods looks like the medical industry faces in prosthetics such as a custom fitted hearing aid?

If you go down this hypothetical road, wouldn't be this part of the fitting process?
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Re: The Handlebar article [GuidoK] [ In reply to ]
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GuidoK wrote:
Perhaps I am an idiot or suffering from Dunning-Kruger, but the problem of interfacing standard parts with custom ones to fit a specific user regarding aerobar extensions or even customized hoods looks like the medical industry faces in prosthetics such as a custom fitted hearing aid?

If you go down this hypothetical road, wouldn't be this part of the fitting process?

it already is. with footbeds. but i don't think we need to go the custom route on a lot of this stuff. just make it more comfortable. i once welded a second set of syntace armrest cups just in front of the standard set. basically, i made the armrest twice as long, without the armrests extending any further back.

what if the pad cradle sat on a support that sat on a protrusion extending out several cms forward of where it currently does. and then the armest sat on there, centered, but the armrest was twice as long?

simply put, why do aero bars need to be made with the same industrial design constraints in place for the past 25 years?

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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But its not in your mind only. It's also in mine as we had a long discussion about what your dream bar is.

Just not ready to produce it, but doesn't mean I don't keep thinking about it.
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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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“simply put, why do aero bars need to be made with the same industrial design constraints in place for the past 25 years?”

Startup cost and ROI. But I’m sure you already knew that. Once customisable manufacturing becomes cost competitive (or affordable enough that more people can justify the benefit) then you’ll see it happen en masse.
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Re: The Handlebar article [trail] [ In reply to ]
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trail wrote:
The argument that you can get your hand knocked off the hoods easier isn't really valid anymore, in my mind. Maybe back in the early days when hoods were tiny and position deeper onto the curve part of the drops. But now pistol-grip hoods are a pretty rock-solid position.

As someone whose stable includes a couple bikes with old-school non-aero brake levers, I'd actually argue that security is a bigger issue with the new stuff. Modern pistol-grip hoods don't have any more vertical hand retention than narrow old hoods, and unlike the old hoods which are best thought of as grip nubs, the new hoods go farther in encouraging you to use them as loose handrests. The danger is when you're draping most of your fingers lightly on the brake lever and you hit a big bump/pothole/whatever.
Neither style is very good at simultaneously providing good brake access and a secure grip from the hoods. If you fold your lower fingers below a modern hood while resting the index finger on the brake lever, as people often do, the lower fingers usually interfere with lever actuation and the index finger doesn't have good leverage on the lever.
Not that I think it's a huge deal either way... I think most people make pretty good judgement on where their hands need to be at a given moment, by feel.

Another part of the puzzle, to why people didn't spend more time on the hoods back in the day, is the position of the brake lever pivot. Old-school road levers are very similar to flat-bar levers: the cable exit is roughly inline with the visible part of the brake lever, and in order for the lever to actually pull cable in this configuration, the lever's pivot needs to be offset from the lever:



If you're on the hoods, this means that the lever's pivot is between your palm and your fingers. So, in order to actuate the lever, you need to "push down" on it with your fingers as much as squeeze.
The resulting cable routing is excellent at minimizing friction, and it's kind of neat that you can maintenance brake cables and housing without tearing up the bar tape. But, that "push down" operation makes for inferior braking from the hoods, both in terms of power and control.

Contrast with a modern lever, where the pivot sits right at the top of the visible part of the lever:



The direction that your fingers need to pull on the lever to apply torque is much more toward the palm, and that becomes even more true as the lever is actuated farther, so braking force is controlled through a squeezing motion of the hand... significantly more effective.

//=============================

As for the drops...

The non-aero brake levers pictured above are on my 1983 Miyata 710. I purchased it a couple years ago to stand as an fun contrast to my Emonda; in its day, it played a similar role in its market as my Emonda did when I bought it in 2015. They both have standard recreational 2x drivetrains for their respective era, the steering geometry is very similar, and most importantly, they both use vibrant red color schemes.

Anyway, aside from the one really big modernization of replacing toe clips with SPD-SL, I've kept the Miyata basically vintageish. And that includes bar tape: when it came time to re-wrap, I replaced the original cotton cloth with new cotton cloth.



And for funsies, I decided to take the extra not-necessarily-period-correct step of shellacing the tape. So the final bar wrap is only about 26mm in diameter, and it's rock hard.

What's my point with all this? Well, basically, what surprised me about the old Miyata is that my hands are totally comfortable on it. I've done century rides no problem on it, and like all my other bikes, I never ride it with padded gloves. According to everything I read, having these tiny little hard cylinders boring into my hands should be immensely jarring. But it's fine.
Or at least, it's fine when the angles are right. A fun little feature of the bike's quill stem is that SR did a crap job on the bar clamp. I've had it slightly slip on me a couple times while riding over bumps, and then the drops become quite uncomfortable until I rectify the fit.

The handlebars installed on the bike currently are a Nitto B115 Olympiade, which are more or less a classic Maes-bend bar. They've got a fairly round bend - making for less extreme ramps than some vintage bars - and a little bit of flare.

One thing I notice is that my forearms never interfere with the tops when I'm in the drops. This seems to be an issue with some modern bars, due to combination of zero flare and a long reach. Some bars solve it by using a shorter reach and a longer stem. Alternately, flare obviously helps; it sounds like a bad idea for road bars, but a small amount of it doesn't seem to diminish the road attitude of a handlebar.
But the other thing is, the curve of the bars seems to mesh extremely well with the channel of my palm, from the hooks down most of the way through the drops. I think I actually cock my wrists less in the drops than on other bikes, because the good mechanical conformance between my palm and the narrow bar seems to help get a secure connection, without my needing to put my weight on the inside and cocking the hand aggressively to the outside to form a big platform.

This isn't to say that I'm going to change out the gel cork on my other bikes to shellac'd cotton cloth, but I do find it interesting. What I wonder is if a lot of drop comfort issues aren't simply due to the overall shape and position of the drops receiving insufficient attention, rather than any need for exotic non-cylindrical drop shaping. Even if there's a real need for non-cylindrical drop shaping, it's pretty easy to accomplish with the finishing work rather than with the underlying bar. I suppose doing the re-shape through carbon layup can save a few grams, but in my book, that's nowhere near being worth yet another bicycle industry standards catastrophe.

//============================

From the article:

Quote:
Either one system is wrong or the other is.

No. One system is simply less-adjustable than the other. When you couple parts and reduce adjustability, it doesn't make the part right or wrong, it just limits its usage scope (usually in exchange for some structural benefit (i.e reduced weight).

When things get rigidly coupled, far more part permutations are required to achieve a comparable adjustment scope as before, and the end user has less opportunity to change things without further cost. The big question is how much adjustability is merited.
Last edited by: HTupolev: Apr 18, 19 23:59
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Re: The Handlebar article [trail] [ In reply to ]
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trail wrote:
Ergonomics is part of it, and I agree with Slowman there.

And by "part of it" I mean the general decades-long migration from the drops being the predominant road position to the hoods being the predominant road position. The hoods are just more comfortable now because the the comfortable pistol-grip. The drops are now just a sprinting or descending position. And where you put your hands in crits (or should) for no other real reason other than to keep your bars from getting hooked. The argument that you can get your hand knocked off the hoods easier isn't really valid anymore, in my mind. Maybe back in the early days when hoods were tiny and position deeper onto the curve part of the drops. But now pistol-grip hoods are a pretty rock-solid position.

But the other part is bar height. It used to be you'd set the bar height so that the drops were the most comfortable position. With your hands in the bars you'd have a nice position, and be moderately aero.


Back in the day, I had a steel Univega road bike with downtube friction shifters (indexing had just come out, but reliability was still an unknown) and the de rigueur Dia-Compe brake levers. Then I took about a 25 year hiatus from road biking. When I came back, the biggest "game changer" than had transpired was STI. It allowed shifting from two different positions on the bars without lifting your hand. Looking back, I wonder if part of the reason being in the drops was the primary position is because it's what gave our hands the shortest path from bars to shifters, and allowed us to reach them without having to lean or otherwise adjust our weight when we only had one hand on the bars?

"They're made of latex, not nitroglycerin"
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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
... this is not a wave i'm going to surf. that's why i'm happy telling anyone what i'd do, if i were still a manufacturer. because i'm not going to be one.

I read your article, lots of good points. For example, making longer aerobar armrests is easy and makes a lot of sense. What other ideas do you have regarding aerobar and dropbar that you would like to see in the marketplace?

Advanced TopTube Bento Speedpacks for Road, Gravel, & Triathlon.. .Direct-mount & ZeroSlip-mount, made in the USA.. .DarkSpeedWorks.com. .Reviews. .Instagram. .Facebook
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Re: The Handlebar article [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Slowman wrote:
... this is not a wave i'm going to surf. that's why i'm happy telling anyone what i'd do, if i were still a manufacturer. because i'm not going to be one.


I read your article, lots of good points. For example, making longer aerobar armrests is easy and makes a lot of sense. What other ideas do you have regarding aerobar and dropbar that you would like to see in the marketplace?

well, first, read the article just published on the front page. it's a closer look at the speedbar.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Slowman wrote:
... this is not a wave i'm going to surf. that's why i'm happy telling anyone what i'd do, if i were still a manufacturer. because i'm not going to be one.
I read your article, lots of good points. For example, making longer aerobar armrests is easy and makes a lot of sense. What other ideas do you have regarding aerobar and dropbar that you would like to see in the marketplace?
well, first, read the article just published on the front page. it's a closer look at the speedbar.

Yes, just did, thanks. Good tech 'interview' article about these very cool aerobars. But which of these features (and other features not in the article) are those that you would want to see incorporated in 'next gen' drop bars and aero bars? So cool improvements to handlebars for the vast majority of riders and triathletes and gravel rats, those who might need some adjustability and those who might not have an extra 3k euros for a handlebar.

Interested in your input, you never know what we might make next ...

thanks,
Greg at dsw

Advanced TopTube Bento Speedpacks for Road, Gravel, & Triathlon.. .Direct-mount & ZeroSlip-mount, made in the USA.. .DarkSpeedWorks.com. .Reviews. .Instagram. .Facebook
"Why would you want to be the last man alive on a sinking ship?" -- on why Tesla shares its patents.
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Re: The Handlebar article [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Slowman wrote:
DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Slowman wrote:
... this is not a wave i'm going to surf. that's why i'm happy telling anyone what i'd do, if i were still a manufacturer. because i'm not going to be one.

I read your article, lots of good points. For example, making longer aerobar armrests is easy and makes a lot of sense. What other ideas do you have regarding aerobar and dropbar that you would like to see in the marketplace?

well, first, read the article just published on the front page. it's a closer look at the speedbar.


Yes, just did, thanks. Good tech 'interview' article about these very cool aerobars. But which of these features (and other features not in the article) are those that you would want to see incorporated in 'next gen' drop bars and aero bars? So cool improvements to handlebars for the vast majority of riders and triathletes and gravel rats, those who might need some adjustability and those who might not have an extra 3k euros for a handlebar.

Interested in your input, you never know what we might make next ...

thanks,
Greg at dsw

the big deal here is extending the surface area forward, so that the entire forearm can rest on the armrest. but, look, i just found out that this is important. i've only been nagging about this for the last 20 years.

what i do not think is necessary is that the bar be custom. i think it is necessary that the bar be made in sizes. helmets are made in sizes. shoes are made in sizes. these are 2 of the 4 places you contact your equipment. what are not made in sizes - yet - are aerobars and saddles. the armrests that speedbar makes have no pads. pads allow the armrests to be production, not custom. just like helmets. helmets are made in, say, 3 sizes, and the pads, and an overall adjustable length, take care of the rest.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I would agree, that makes total sense. And making aerobars and/or armrests in a few sizes is not that hard.

Anything that you would do regarding improving drop bars, the stem/bar interface, the tops, the brake lever grips, the drops, or whatever?

Advanced TopTube Bento Speedpacks for Road, Gravel, & Triathlon.. .Direct-mount & ZeroSlip-mount, made in the USA.. .DarkSpeedWorks.com. .Reviews. .Instagram. .Facebook
"Why would you want to be the last man alive on a sinking ship?" -- on why Tesla shares its patents.
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Re: The Handlebar article [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
I would agree, that makes total sense. And making aerobars and/or armrests in a few sizes is not that hard.

Anything that you would do regarding improving drop bars, the stem/bar interface, the tops, the brake lever grips, the drops, or whatever?

yeah. first, my wife has a pottery studio. i'd put clay all over a set of round bars, put my hands on all the places where hands go, smooth out the sharp edges, and make that bar. i'd so that with the hoods on the bar. then i'd make the bars to match.

here's something to consider. when you put your hands on the tops, you wrap your fingers around the leading edge of the bar. the cervelo S5 bar is long in the horizontal axis, and all its length is from the stem center forward. that bar fundamentally changes the "tops" hand position. it fundamentally changes how you ride the bike.

i was at a launch just before sea otter, i saw james huang riding a gravel bike with a handlebar i hadn't seen before. it was just a round bar, but it had a shape to it that was new to handlebars. the difference was the tops, and the way it was different is getting at the same thing that you get with the cervelo road bar.

handlebars are the next big thing to change. and it's road bars i'm talking about. somebody's going to grab that market.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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This one, yes?



Looks interesting.

Although the tops were still round, I always liked how some older ritchey bars were similarly (well, somewhat similarly) swept back on the tops. Felt great for the wrists.

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"Why would you want to be the last man alive on a sinking ship?" -- on why Tesla shares its patents.
Last edited by: DarkSpeedWorks: Apr 23, 19 9:13
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Re: The Handlebar article [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
This one, yes?



Looks interesting.

Although the tops were still round, I always liked how some older ritchey bars were similarly (well, somewhat similarly) swept back on the tops. Felt great for the wrists.

that's the one.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: The Handlebar article [MattyK] [ In reply to ]
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I think it's obvious that aerobars could be more comfortable, and therefore faster, but I don't believe these Speedbars relate at all to triathlon.

Dan mentioned his reticence to buy the aero wattage gains and he's right to be reluctant to agree with them. If you're doing a straight time-trial, perhaps there are a few watts to gain but not many people can push 50kph for a sustained period of time. And certainly no one can in a wet tri-suit, with bottle cages, tri-shoes, bta bottle, etc.

Are we very far from this.....?

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Re: The Handlebar article [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
what i do not think is necessary is that the bar be custom. i think it is necessary that the bar be made in sizes .

There are several companies working on next-gen bars. I wouldn't rush to buy a speedbar (unless you have 3000euro that is trying to leap out of your pocket).


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