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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    55

    Handllebar size and comfort

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    Well, my bike is on order and should be here the third week of November, and I am thinking about things I may need to change for better fit - mainly saddle and handlebars. The bike, a Felt F85X, comes with 420/450 mm handlebars. I'm not sure why there are two numbers, perhaps center to center and outside to outside? They appear to be compact, and have a 86mm reach and 130mm drop. Seems big for me. I just measured my shoulders and they are apx 390 mm. I looked at the women's specific Felt ZW2 specs and they come with a 380mm with a 77 mm reach and 123mm drop for the bike that would be my size, so I am wondering if that is what I should be looking for in a new handlebar.

    My questions are: what size (width, reach, drop) bar are you using, does it fit well, and did you deviate from the normal recommendations to get that comfortable fit? Everything I read says shoulder width, but it seems some people find wider or more narrow to be more comfortable. What is your experience?

    I should add that I do have rather small hands, so the drop and reach especially concern me. Even with women's small gloves, the fingers tend to be too long, so usually I resort to children's medium or large.
    Last edited by Bones8; 10-26-2014 at 06:56 AM.
    2007 Trek 7.2 FX
    2015 Felt F85X with Specialized Oura seat, Specialized Road Pro II handlebars, and Look Quartz pedals

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,466
    Did you have a fitting where they measured your shoulders? I use 42 cm bars, but I have wide shoulders. 40 or less, sometimes a lot less, is more common for TE'ers. If you are really 39, I would test both 38 and 40 and see which seem most comfortable. Don't know about the 45, maybe the bars are recommended for people with measurements b/w 42 and 45? It is difficult to measure yourself accurately, just a caution.

    If they give you a good fitting, they should measure and change out for something that fits, and is comfortable for your hands. They may have to order the bars once the correct ones are determined. Why don't you talk to the fitter, and explain you would like to start testing bars now? You should pay attention to the curve on the bar tops, too. If they are too abrupt, too long, too short, I am very uncomfortable. Riding a lot of different bikes with different bars will give you a better idea what to look for.

    Some handle bars have drops that are more curved, some special 'ergonomic'. The ergo ones actually hurt my hands. Prefer curved. Everyone is different. The bar tops can be flat and wide, or skinny and more round. I generally prefer flatter, wider.

    While we are at it, check out Lizard skins bar tape. Expensive, but totally worth it. It comes in three thicknesses, I use the thickest, 3.2 mm tape. I also recommend getting a carbon stem to make your handlebars more comfortable. An inexpensive, but very worthwhile upgrade. All three of my road bikes have both, best change I ever made comfort wise. Make sure you know exactly what stem size and stem angle you need first, though.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 10-26-2014 at 08:39 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,466
    I just looked up your bike. Very nice cyclocross! One of the road bikes I mentioned is a CX's, a cannondale CAADX, you're gonna love having a cross bike!
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,847
    I have these, 380 mm width.

    http://www.bontrager.com/model/09192

    My bike (Madone WSD) came with the same bars in a 400 mm width, but I was having neck pain so I switched to the narrower bars.

    I find them to be pretty much perfect, comfortable when riding in the drops and easy to reach the brifters.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    55
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    I just looked up your bike. Very nice cyclocross! One of the road bikes I mentioned is a CX's, a cannondale CAADX, you're gonna love having a cross bike!
    Thanks! I am very excited about it. I'm not sure how I will feel about the paint scheme long term, but it is more of an entry level bike anyway I suppose and hopefully in a few years I will be able to upgrade and/or add another bike for duathlons/triathlons. For now, I think it is just what I need! I hope I am satisfied with the Tiagra setup.
    2007 Trek 7.2 FX
    2015 Felt F85X with Specialized Oura seat, Specialized Road Pro II handlebars, and Look Quartz pedals

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    55
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I have these, 380 mm width.

    http://www.bontrager.com/model/09192

    My bike (Madone WSD) came with the same bars in a 400 mm width, but I was having neck pain so I switched to the narrower bars.

    I find them to be pretty much perfect, comfortable when riding in the drops and easy to reach the brifters.
    Those look like they would possibly be perfect for me! The sizing still gets me though. On my 7.2FX I had to move the shifters and grips out because I was getting elbow pain, which makes me wonder if I will also be more comfortable on a slightly wide drop bar. Then again, I am a bit over extended on that bike since I fell for the old "We'll give you a great deal on this odd size bike that's not quite your size that we're having trouble getting rid of from last year."
    2007 Trek 7.2 FX
    2015 Felt F85X with Specialized Oura seat, Specialized Road Pro II handlebars, and Look Quartz pedals

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,130
    Those original numbers you posted are a really long reach! I like the short and shallow bars, with a 123 drop and a 75 reach. I have the Specialized ones, but there are a few other companies that make the same dimensions. Like Murienn, I hate the ergo bars, they hurt my hands. The bars are cheap, like 45.00 USD for the aluminum ones. It's made a world of difference for me.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

 

 

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