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Where do I put my STI shifters?(10 posts)

Where do I put my STI shifters?The Flash
Aug 3, 2003 3:31 PM
So I got my roadbar at a pretty comfortable angle(slightly down from parallel) and am now in a quandry as to where to place the shifters. I kinda followed some advice about making the tips of the shifters equal to the bottom of the drops, but most of the roadies in the area advised me to move them a little higher. Any general advice on where they should go?

fairly high...C-40
Aug 3, 2003 3:50 PM
Setting the bottom of the levers even with the bottom of the drops is a totally outdated practice that is no longer applicable to most of today's bars.

Most folks have better luck with the area of the brake hood where the palm rests angled upward a bit. Shimano levers can be angled up quite a bit more than campy. If you raise the hoods too much the brake levers begin to swing away from the drops, making it difficult to reach the levers, unless you have large hands.

As for the angle of your bars, most folks reference the the angle of the straight section near the ends. Some bars work best with the ends very close to horizontal (Deda and Easton) will others (ITM, TTT) work better with the ends pointing down a bit (the bars rotated up to raise the levers).

The biggest mistake I've seen people make is setting the levers low after installing a bunch of steering tube spacers and/or a high rise stem. Setting the levers low cancels out most of the rise.
I've got a definite move to make....The Flash
Aug 3, 2003 4:02 PM
My bars are anatomic Profile Design Hammer's, so I guess the practice really won't work with these in hindsight and is defeating the purpose of my spacers as well. I wonder why my back was killing me this morning! I think I could stand to angle the bars down a tad and bring the shifters up and get a better feel out of it.

fairly high...MikeDee
Aug 4, 2003 6:56 PM
"Setting the bottom of the levers even with the bottom of the drops is a totally outdated practice that is no longer applicable to most of today's bars."

Why is that? What's different about today's bars?
where you been?C-40
Aug 5, 2003 4:56 AM
In the old days there were three kinds of bars, shallow, normal and deep, all with round drop sections. Today, you have a large variety of "anatomic" bends which vary greatly in the sharpness of bend and the angle of the "anatomic" drop portion. There are also significant variations in the angle from the horizontal top section to the first bend in the bar. Some bars like Deda and Easton are pretty flat across the top while others like ITM and TTT drop down in this area.

I've used ITM, Easton and Deda anatomic bars. Placing the bottom of the brake lever even with the end of the bars would result in a position that was much too low with any of them.

Deda bars have rather straight drop section that is not angled back very far. Deda bars cannot be rotated but a few degrees to raise the hoods higher, without the drop section becoming too vertical. Easton, Ritchey and some TTT bars have a much more severe angle. ITM's anatomic bars drop the levers down lower than other brands and require 5-10 degrees of upward rotation to get the hoods as high as Deda or Easton.

Most folks spend up to 90% of their riding time on the brake hoods. It's much more critical to have the proper angle on the hoods than an arbitrary location of the brake lever. I never pay any attention to the location of the brake lever. I set the bar angle to be comfortable in the drop section, then adjust the (campy) brake hoods to be horizontal at the minimum or angled up a few degrees IF the reach to the levers does not increase too much.
Aug 7, 2003 3:41 AM
Why don't you check with a bar designer first, before venturing your opinions disguised as fact.

Your very argument IRO 'anatomic' designs mitigates against your theory that you 'put the levers where you want them' and that the 'level with the bottom of the drops' theory is somehow outdated. The anatomic design necessitates a proper positioning of the levers to get the full range of functionality - from hoods and drops.

And back up your stated 'fact' that 'most folks spend up to 90% of their riding time on the brake hoods'. Ever tried doing any really hard braking from there with small hands? Same goes with braking from the drops with improperly positioned levers.

While I agree totally with your observations IRO the different designs and shapes of the bars, that is what makes proper bike fitting so important - it stretches to acquiring the proper bar shape to suit the rider.
no nonsense...C-40
Aug 7, 2003 1:08 PM
What's total nonsense is the idea that setting the levers even with the bottom of the drop will somehow produce a comfortable or effective position for the levers. It's the worst idea that could be suggested.

I have quite small hands and constantly look for bars that will reduce the reach to the brake levers. I don't wear cycling gloves, because it makes it more difficult to reach the brake levers from the drops.

Yes I do have experience braking hard from the brake hoods with small hands. I can lock up the wheels if needed, even with campy brakes, which require a lot more force than shimano brakes.

The two most important things to achieve are a comfortable angle of the brake hood and the minimum possible reach to the levers from the drops. I'm in the process of fine-tuning the lever position on a pair of Deda 215 anatomic bars right now. I just raised the levers up about 5mm on the curve. This made the top of the (Campy) brake hoods angle up a few degrees (rather than level), which improved comfort, but started to increase the reach to the brake levers from the drops. That's the upper limit for me. I tried rotating the bars (more than a few degrees) to increase the angle of the brake hoods, but this does not work with the Deda anatomic bend. The anatomic section becomes much too vertical for (my)comfort when riding in the drops. With my current setup, the ends of the levers are about 20mm above the ends of the drops. If the levers were set even with the bottom of the drops, the hoods would have a ridiculous downward angle the would make your hands slide down the hoods and concentrate weight into the crook of your thumb - very uncomforatble.

My Easton EC-90 bars are set quite similarly, with the hoods angled up just a few degrees. The ends of the levers are almost 25mm above the end of the drops.

I've tried a large number of bars over the last 10 years, including Deda, ITM and Easton. There's has not been single model where a comfortable position would result with the bottom of Campy ergo levers even with the bottom of the drops. Not even close. As I noted, I pay no attention to this relationship because it't totally irrelevant to achieving a comfortable hood position or a effective position for the brake lever.
no nonsense...MikeDee
Aug 7, 2003 2:27 PM
Well, setting the ends of the brake levers even with the bottom of the bars is a rule of thumb that works for me. The handle bars I use and would buy today aren't any different than the ones I used 15 years ago. I think if you are spending 90% of your time on the hoods, then your handlebar is too low. You should raise your stem to get more use out of the drops. For me, the most stable position and best braking position is on the drops, and I don't want to compromise that position. Anyway, rotating the ends of the bars down a little accomplishes the same as raising the levers, and doesn't mess up my braking position/reach to the brakes on the drops.

Yeah, maybe I can get a more comfortable position by raising the levers, but that entails a lot of work to make that change. The fact that some pros are riding with their levers high doesn't mean anything to me because a) my handlebars are a lot higher than theirs, and b) it might be just a fad like Pantani climbing in the drops was.
Just my opinion...crestlinefarm
Aug 4, 2003 3:02 PM
I tend to make small adjustments before taping the bars. I just ride with gloves on for three or four days with the bars untaped until I get the angle of the bars and location of the levers in a comfortable position. Usually only takes a few miles to see what works and what doesn't.
Just my opinion...The Flash
Aug 4, 2003 5:23 PM
Exactly what I had to do! I spun it around the neighborhood for a while and tried not to slide off. Became real apparent after that as to when it had it in the right place. I also skipped the electrical tape under the bar wrap in case I has to make any slight adjustments later.

Thanks for the help!