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Handle Bars... how wide??(10 posts)

Handle Bars... how wide??JBergland
Apr 10, 2001 8:11 AM
How do you measure/fit for handle bars? How wide is too wide? Too narrow?? Effects??

Thank You!!
re: Handle Bars... how wide??PsyDoc
Apr 10, 2001 11:10 AM
The following information comes from Colorado Cyclist's webpage. They suggest using a handlebar that is as wide as your shoulders. Shoulder width being measured as the distance between your shoulder joints. The effects of handle bar width is that a "...wider bar opens the chest for better breathing and more leverage, but is less aerodynamic." My shoulder width is right around 40cm (I wear a size 42 jacket if that helps), but I use a 44cm bar outside-to-outside.
re: Handle Bars... how wide??AD14
Apr 10, 2001 11:38 AM
I recently got fitted at a highly respected bike shop and they said i should use a 40 center to center so i swapped out my 42. I will have to give it a little more time but I dont like the way it feels when I am climbing out of the saddle. Iguess its from all the miles with the wider bar.
re: Handle Bars... how wide??JBergland
Apr 11, 2001 5:00 AM
"... I dont like the way it feels when I am climbing out of the saddle." That is my experience as well. I have gotten used to it, well, it's better over the last couple weeks than when I first started riding. I 'feel' faster while in the saddle, but not standing.
re: Mine are 46 cm C-CMorgan
Apr 10, 2001 11:39 AM
I had to search, but I found a set of Salsa road pro handle bars that are 46cm Center to center. Very few manufacturers make bars that are that wide. I really like them, much more comfortable for my frame that has broad shoulders, better breathing also.
Same width hereMarlon
Apr 10, 2001 9:08 PM
Shoulder width at joints is 42cm, but I use a 44cm. I think the wider bars feel slightly more stable to me - try riding and turning holding your bars near your stem to get the extreme "narrow bar" effect!
General rules not always right for everyonetommyb
Apr 10, 2001 4:18 PM
For years, I followed the 'shoulder width' rule, and rode with 44 cm bars. Last year, I built up a fixed gear bike, and put on a very narrow 38 cm bar that I got from a rather petite friend. I figured it was free, and worth a shot. Well, I actually found it to be quite comfortable. After a full winter of riding the fixed gear, I went back to the road bike with the 44, and it seemed odd. Since then, I swapped out all of my wider bars to either 40 or 42 cm bars. I don't find my breathing constricted, and I find that I naturally bend my elbows a bit more on the narrower bars, which allows my body to absorb road shock easier.

Just one man's experience.

PS. Should 'handlebars' be plural or singular if referring to one item? I could never get that straight.
How do you feel...JBergland
Apr 11, 2001 5:03 AM
... while standing?? Cramped? Not as much leverage?? More aero?
Not much differenttommyb
Apr 11, 2001 3:58 PM
I only stand in two situations normally, while sprinting and steep climbs. For sprints, I haven't really noticed a loss of leverage, and it's such a short time that I don't cramp. I live in a flat world, so there isn't much steep climbing. Again, I'm not out of the saddle for an extended period. When climbing seated, my hands are on the tops, elbows pointed out, so my breathing is not restricted. I haven't done any really technical descents with narrow bars, but that's where I suspect I may feel a loss of control. My narrowest bar is on the fixed gear bike, where sprinting, climbing and fast downhill runs aren't really options anyway.
re: Handle Bars... how wide??Jofa
Apr 13, 2001 4:45 AM
I'm broad- shouldered, 44cm between joints, and correspondingly use a 44 c-c bar. One of the problems that can occur when a bar is too wide is that the scapulae are pushed too close together and the neck 'sags', causing stress in the upper back. As has been said, if they are too narrow, then breathing can feel a little more difficult, though I suspect this is more psychosomatic. Obviously this is only general, and maybe too much detail, but this is one place where I would recommend the old principle of 'parallel arms'. Riding 'elbows out' can also contribute to upper back problems. Hope this helps