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Lever/handlebar setup and positioning?(8 posts)

Lever/handlebar setup and positioning?Bituminous
Oct 29, 2002 10:01 AM
Just built up my first roadie, and I'm wondering about lever and handlebar positioning. I followed the Campy directions (place drop bars flat on tabletop and mount levers so that the tip of the brake lever touches the table surface) and then set up the bars on the bike so that the drops are horizontal. But it seemed a little uncomfortable, and I wanted to raise the hoods a little more (stem is out to max reveal) - should I just rotate the bars up or slide the levers higher on the bars (or grin and bear it until my body adjusts to the new geometry)? Also, I noticed that it is very hard to reach the thumbshift levers when I am down in the drops - is that typical? I also realize that raising the hoods will only make reaching the thumbshifters more difficult.

I've noticed that pro-racers tend to have the hoods mounted very high on the bars - is there good reason for that (not that i will find myself in a racing scenario anytime soon)?

Any tips or general rules of thumb on this type of set up will be helpful.

Thanks a lot.
general rule of thumbSteve_0
Oct 29, 2002 10:37 AM
is do whatever is most comfortable for you. It takes less time to make a change and change it back than it takes to type a post.

Rotating the bars (rather than just raising the hoods) will create a flatter ramp, which is generally creates a more comfortable/versatile upper bar. I suggest starting there, and if that doesnt do it, you can always creap the levers up higher. (beware - some of the fashion police may object to rotating the bars!!)
Good description of why I rotate the bars.dzrider
Oct 29, 2002 11:13 AM
Placing the levers higher on the bars makes it hard for me to reach the brakes if I'm down in the drops. Luckily I know none of the fashion police.
My general rulesjw25
Oct 29, 2002 12:58 PM
I messed around with lever positioning for months when I first started riding road. I never seemd to get both sides at the same height, not to mention rotation. When I found the Campy suggestion, it was a night and day difference. Not that it'll be right for everyone, but it's a great place to start.
I rubber-band a ruler to the flat part of the drop, then line up the lever and tighten. I have the bike set up in a trainer at the time, so I can hop on and check the fit.
I tend to rotate my levers out a bit, which makes reaching them in the drops easier (smallish hands).
Position of the bar in the stem is up to you - I tend to have the flat part of the drops a few degrees over horizontal - too much, and riding the drops feels uncomfortable, like my hands are sliding down all the time. This also puts the hoods in a neutral spot.
When I'm sure the setup is good, I'll tighten the bolts down, wrap the bars, and ride it for real. If any adjustments need to be made, there's enough give in the tape, since they're usually pretty small.
Since you're new to the road, I'd give yourself some rides to get used to it. When I switched, it felt very strange, which wasn't helped by a too-long stem and funky bar positioning.
After 3 years, though, I'm right at home.
bad advice, depends on the brand...C-40
Oct 29, 2002 2:27 PM
I guess I haven't read Campy's instructions, but it's very bad advice. The location of the bottom of the brake lever is meaningless with most of today's anatomic bars. On some brands the proper position will place the lever an inch or more above the bottom of the drops.

The top of the brake hood (where the palm rests)should be positioned either level, or angled up a few degrees. On Deda or Easton bars, this position will produce a smooth transition to the top of the bars, without any rotation of the bars. Rotating Deda or Easton bars will produce a very uncomfortable (too vertical) position of the anatomic drop section. Other brands of bars (ITM, TTT) must be rotated a up a few degrees to get the top of the brake hood angled up without moving the lever too far up on the bar.

Campy levers genereally can't be angled upward more than a few degrees (by moving the levers up on the bars) or the reach to the levers will increase substantially.
Bad advice? Works great for me! (nm)Kerry
Oct 29, 2002 5:35 PM
What I did...timfire
Oct 29, 2002 5:01 PM
First off, I work off the supposition that the higher the hoods the more comfortable. Also, I assumme you're working with anatomical bars.

So what I did was before I positioned the bars, I raised the hoods as high as I could and still reach the brake levers from the drops position. Mind you I was working with Shimano, not Campy, but the idea should still be the same. Then, I tried to position the bars so that my wrists were straight in the drop position. This took a couple of test rides.

That was it. The exact angle of the bars and positioning of the hoods, as others have already said, will change depending upon the brand of the bars and your personal preference.

--Tim Kleinert
some thoughtsDaveG
Oct 30, 2002 9:14 AM
The thing I like about Campy levers is that they are flatter which allows you set set them up so that you have a straight extension out from the bar. For me this helps distribute weight over my entire palm instead of focusing all the weight in one spot. To do this you'll need to rotate the bars up slightly to the great dismay of the fashion police. For me thats a position which points the end of the bar at the rear brake. This may not work for everyone, but I find it incredibly comfortable for long runs on the hoods