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Shifter/Bar position set-up question(9 posts)

Shifter/Bar position set-up questionNeedySpeedy
Jun 1, 2001 6:20 AM
Are there any guidelines to setting up the bar position (angle tilt) and the shifter position on the bars for the first time? Other then getting it to feel comfortable and functional? I've heard put the bottom of the bar horizontial, parrallel to the ground. Then set the levers 6 1/2" - 6 3/4" around the bend of the bar. Anyone else heard this? Should the hoods be parrellel to the ground also? I've seen riders with their bars tilted back which results in the bottom of the bar at an angle to the ground. Is it all personal preference??

Thanks for any replies!
re: Shifter/Bar position set-up questionxyz
Jun 1, 2001 6:40 AM
The bottom tips of the brake lever should "touch" a line extending from the bottom of the bars at the drop. Follow that? The bars should be anywhere from parallel to the ground to a line intersecting the rear dropout.
re: Shifter/Bar position set-up questionCima Coppi
Jun 1, 2001 7:29 AM
I fully agree with xyz on this one. Sometimes it does come down to personal preference though, and Sean Yates was a good example of that. The bottom line of his bars seems to be at an angle the intersected with his seat (quite the opposite of what we like to state), and his brake levers were set below the line on the bars.

For me, I like my bars parallel to the ground, with the bottom of the levers in line with the bottom of the bars.

Hope this helps
There's a "right" way, but personal pref rulesRetro
Jun 1, 2001 9:36 AM
One of the things we do wrong in cycling is set our bikes up exactly the way the pros do, ignoring the difference between their needs, abilities and training schedules and ours. Grant Petersen at Rivendell has a nice section on bars, levers and shifters in his print catalog (not sure it's on the Web site). It tells the traditional "right" way and several variations.
The "standard" set-up used to be to point the bottom of the bars at the rear brakes (so they slant down a little), then set the levers so they just touch a line extended forward along that line. Variations include tilting the bar further up, so you have a flat hand position just behind the brake hoods, and/or raising the levers to bring the hoods higher, leaving them just low enough so you can reach the ends of the levers from the drops. That one works well for me, because I don't use the drops much.
It's worth getting the Rivendell catalog, or at least checking the Web site, for the details, I think.
don't make me come down thereminor threat
Jun 1, 2001 10:11 AM
never mind all that "personal preference" hoo ha. there is a right way, you were wise to ask, and if you do it differently your bike will look like a nerd's. most people are right when they say that the bottom tip of the brake lever should just graze a straight edge extending from the drops. as for the bar, that same straight edge, pointing back, should perfectly split the distance between the rear brake and the seat cluster (on a horizontal top tube bike). since you went thru the trouble of asking, now be sure you get it right. tape them up nice, too!!
Bull puckey!Mel Erickson
Jun 1, 2001 11:08 AM
The "right way" you refer to assumes everyone has the same size hands, same arm reach, same torso length, same flexibility, same purpose in riding, same size equipment, same, same, same. You get my drift. I can assure you I'm not a nerd and no one I ride with would consider me one either. I don't follow the "right way". I have poor flexibility in my back, big hands, long arms and torso. I can set my hoods higher and still have no problem reaching the brakes when in the drops. The drops are not parallel to the ground. This works best for me. The "right way" may be a good starting point but everyone's different. One size does not fit all and whether you end up looking like someone else's idea of a nerd is certainly no justification for your bike set-up.
the sound of one bike nerd clappingminor threat
Jun 1, 2001 12:10 PM
sorry my friend but the sooner you face this difficult fact the better in the long run. politically correct personal feelings sensitivity or no, there is right and a wrong way to set up a road bicycle. many of the wrong ways do, in fact, make you look like a bike nerd. go to any century and check them out yourself. my "idea of a nerd" has nothing to do with it. if a guy in too short pants, a white shirt with pocket protector, and masking tape on his glasses stands alone in the woods where nobody can see him does he still look like a nerd? dang right he does!! so it is with levers sticking up in the air, and bars turned up or down at wacky angles. go ahead and do whatever you like with your bars, the man asked a good question and he got the right answer. lets hope he does the right thing.
and ignores your posts nmMel Erickson
Jun 1, 2001 1:21 PM
Good enough to startblue bayou
Jun 1, 2001 11:40 AM
then make adjustments as you see fit. For example, my right hood is angled inward a few degrees than the left, lower, too. This is to accomodate my human(?) body. These adjustments can mean a great deal in comfort, control and safety. Start with what you posted, get some miles in and make adjustments. Carry the required tools on a ride and make adjustments on the road. You will be more sensitive to the differences while riding than after the ride. If you feel it is importtant enough, you might log you feelings at a certain setting. For example, in the spring, I start off with a 110 stem, and the bars @ 5 degrees positve offset. As the season rolls on, I move to a 120 stem and rotate the bars down to neg 5. The adjustments to our bikes will cahnge as we get stronger, more sensitive and just plain 'ol spend time riding. Have no fear of making adjustments. When you get it right you'll know it. Same if you get it wrong.

See you out there...