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Help with Handlebar Drop and Reach(11 posts)

Help with Handlebar Drop and ReachRik
Dec 30, 2001 4:13 PM
I recently built up a LOOK frame w/ ITM Millenium stem and bars and Campy Record levers and find I'm having trouble reaching the levers when riding on the drops. I also ride a Litespeed w/ 3T Forgie bar and stem and Dura Ace levers and don't have the same problem on this ride. I have smaller hands and assume that differences in the drop and reach of the two bars have something to do with this. I was hoping that someone here could tell me what those measurements mean and what to look for when I spring for a new bar. Thanks.
Dec 30, 2001 5:28 PM
The rule of thumb for starters is to put the bottom of the lever parallel with the bottom of the drop. Then put the bottom of the drop parallel to the ground. It's a give and take though, depending on your bar geometry (ergo vs round) and also the bend angles of the bar itself. Another trade off, is your cruising position on the tops of the levers, too far up and your doing funky things to your wrist, too low and you loose leverage for braking in that position. I like to cruise in the hands on top position so I like mine slightly up. It all depends on what works and what is comfortable...

Another thing altogether is simple frame sizing. It may be that your Look has a longer top tube or the stem/saddle/top tube geometry is different. You may have to play with stem heights/rise/lengths to get this right.

Good luck
Higher worked better for meMikey2k
Jan 4, 2002 8:43 AM
My levers were set up by the shop so that the lever
tips were in line with the bottom of the drops. I could
not reach the brakes from the drops with that setup.

I found that if I moved the levers up about an inch
I could reach the brake levers better from the
drops, and still have the hoods up a little and the
ends of the drops in a good position, pointing to the
rear brake.

This is with Campy levers and ITM bars.
re: Help with Handlebar Drop and ReachTricone
Dec 30, 2001 10:04 PM
Actually, much of the difference between the Dura Ace STI levers and the Campy Ergo Record levers is the fact that, given the same handlebar, the STI levers are actually closer to the bar than the Campy levers. Having small hands necessitated a change from Record to Dura Ace to alleviate this reach problem while in the drops.
Look at my post a few lines down ...jkh
Dec 31, 2001 1:57 AM
I have posted a relative question regarding reaching to the Shifter/brake level.

I started out with the ITM Pro 260, and finally settled with a 3T Morphe and I loved it. The 3T has a shorter depth and height, and will put your hands closer to the levels. The trade-off is (but not too much of a problem for me) that the Morphe is a little bit heavier than the Millenium or the Pro 260. Also, Morphe comes in silver only.

Give it a try.
re: Help with Handlebar Drop and Reachtarwheel
Dec 31, 2001 1:06 PM
There are plenty of handlebars with shorter reaches and drops -- Salsa Poco and Ritchey WCS/Pro to name a few. For actual dimensions so you can compare models, go to this website: Look in the components section under handlebars. They have charts howing reach and drop for many different makes and models. I have a Ritchey WCS on my bike. With the shorter drop and reach, I am able to ride in the drops much more comfortably and for longer periods than on my previous bar, an ITM, which had much more drop.
Drop and Reach are NOT what you want.TFerguson
Dec 31, 2001 6:21 PM
"Drop" is the distance from the tops to the bottom of the drops. "Reach" is the distance from the tops to the front of the curve. Neither of these will help those with small hands (like me) reach the brake levers from the drops.

The Shimano Ultegra are much closer to the bars than the Campy Record. Shimano Sora levers are supposed to be closer yet if you are willing to drop down a couple of levels and go with an 8 speed. I cannot verify this. There are closer brake-only levers but then you would have to go with bar end or down tube shifters.

I have measured quite a few bars with Ultegras mounted trying to find one with a shorter distance to the levers (including the Salsa "Poco" and "Short and Shallow" mentioned above). They all measure the same from the back of the curve to the front of the lever except for the Terry "T-bar" which has a little dent in the bar at the back of the curve. This gives you about 5 mm (less than a quarter inch) closer levers. This dent is also somewhat filled in with the tape. Not much help.

My next experiment is to install a small piece of plastic under the top of the stationary part of the Ultegras so that the levers cannot go back out all the way. This would work something like the reach adjustment on mtb levers. I don't know if this will make the shifting worse on the Shimanos or not. Short hands, again, provide no leverage to move the levers to shift. I much prefer the Campy method.

I don't know why none of the component manufacturers have addressed this problem. I've seen many posts trying to find a solution.

Good luck,
Drop and Reach are NOT what you want.Mikey2k
Jan 3, 2002 5:13 AM
Did you measure the Deda 215 anatomic or the 3T Morphe?
No, but I will if I get a chance. NMTFerguson
Jan 4, 2002 5:56 AM
drop and reachSpokeman
Jan 2, 2002 2:49 PM
I also had the same issues. I found that, in general, ITM bars tend to have more reach than 3TTT. There is nearly 1cm difference in reach between some of the models so it's easy to see why you have a problem with the ITM bars. I got this info from the QBP catalog.

I use Cinelli Eubios bars now and they have a really short reach (like the Ritchey and 3tt), but I don't think Cinelli still makes them. If you can find a pair, give them a try.
Measured distance from bar to lever or specification "reach"? NMTFerguson
Jan 4, 2002 5:58 AM