I am setting up some new bars and stem on my old Giant OCR2 road bike (a want for narrower bars was the only reason).
Ignoring any fit issues with me, is there a starting point for positioning the handlebars such as level with the floor as measured with a spirit level?
Once that is sorted where is the default starting point for placing the shifters?
Once this is sorted out (I want to make the bike pretty universal for friends and family to be able to ride it) I can wrap the bars.
People are flexible especially for short rides.
unless all your friends are atomically identical it seem unlikely that you will get something perfect for all of them.
If it works for you it will probably work for them.
if it is set up for you at least you can use it as a spare in case there is a problem with your main bike.
I set the bars so I am happy using the drops then place the hoods where I feel balanced out of the saddle climbing.
Then take it for a ride with without bar tape and with your allen keys in your pocket.
If you mount the shifters really high they will get scratched by the ground while fixing a flat if you mount them low your Garmin gets scratched..
The way I had it explained to me is thus :
1: Position the brifter on the bars. The tip of the brake lever should line up to be on a extended line from the straight extension of the drops and in line with the vertical axis of the drops.
2: Then install the bars , rotate to minimise the angle on your wrists when in "hoods" position. Should be a straight line if possible.
Yes, I think a good clue is looking at the shifter and seeing it looking right and pretty much straight down but the curve of the drops varies so much. These Cinelli bars hardly have any curve at all.
Good article, some nice clues there. I think as all bars are different the feeling is something to go for. I did like the tip about moving easily from flats of the bars to the hoods smoothly.
Interesting blog. Did you read his most recent post.
I also saw his referenced the rolling resistance testing that's come out lately and I think that's a good post for here.
Good article. I have damage to c2,3 and 4 in my neck so i have been mucking around with my bars/shifters quite a bit. I have actually shortened my reach by over 4cm and created an extra 1cm of height without raising the stem. Hopefully this will stop the migraines and let the injury repair so i can back on the roadie. Been a good experiment.
I recently bought some new brake levers (SS) and was disappointed to discover they didn't sit on my vintage bars as well as the same levers sat on the Hillbrick with it's modern bars. Chatting about it to a bike shop owner, he took me to his collection and showed me how bars designed for Shimano levers differ from bars designed for Campy levers. Regardless of whether that's actually why the bars are shaped that way, there was a noticeable difference in the curve of the bars between the two types - the Shimano ones dropped away more sharply than the Campy ones, which is why Shimano levers can sit quite upright on some bars.
Not all bars are shaped the same, not all brake levers (brifter or brake only) sit the same and sod's law says the combination you have on hand will probably give the wrong result.
The 9sp Shimano brifters I'm using on the vintage bars on my Europa result in the levers sitting quite upright. I've got around this by sliding them down the bar a bit and wrapping two layers of bar tape behind them - this allows you to fill in those horrible gaps you tend to get between the bar and the lever if it isn't positioned 'optimally'. It also allows you to add more padding for a thicker grip and more cushy ride. Over time, the handles have tilted in so rather than my hand sitting on top (as they do with the Campy style on the Hillbrick), my hands sit slightly on the side - I've let the levers find their own position there and one is more tilted than the other. The result though, is a comfortable ride, to do better, I'd have to spend money.
''Fit issues'' are where it starts and stops for me. Rotating the bars just a few mm can make a big difference to how stretched out you feel when you're riding on the hoods. And I've noticed some people have their shifters high and the bars rotated ''up'' to an angle that looks really odd to me. It reduces the reach and you don't need to be so flexible- less stress on long rides. Maybe this is a sign the stem or the top tube is too long for them? The down side of this is the drops will be pointing at the ground. For me, I like being in the drops and that sort of set up makes me feel like my hands will slide down off the end.
How long is a piece of string?
Depending on which bars you have width isn't everything, you have got reach and drop which can change even more dramatically between models.
I use a straight edge off the bottom of the flats and put the end of the brake lever level with that (and no more than +-1cm either way) (might break that sule for compact bars).
Some people like the bars flat at the bottom (or near flat) and some like about 30 dec slope... dealers choice.
To see how dramatically bar shape can change between models, this site is excellent (no anatomic bars on there, but they are horrible anyway ;-)
As someone else has said, there is a bit difference between Campagnolo hoods (flat then hooked), Shimano (curved), Sram (very flat) so one handlebar might work better with one manufacturer than another.