Author Topic: handlebar,shifter,brake options  (Read 8232 times)

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Offline tomykay

handlebar,shifter,brake options
« on: November 29, 2006, 11:41:05 pm »
Hi.Please pardon if this topic has ben bantered in the past.Any of you folks ride flat bars on your touring bikes?I understand the need to get down in the drops,but was wondering if a flat bar with bar ends installed facing downward and back would give enough different and low enough hand positions for longer rides.One may miss the forwardmost drop position at times,but a flat bar would allow use of an mtb style brake lever/thumb shifter combo,like older XT components.Any thoughts?Thanx,tomas

Offline biker_james

handlebar,shifter,brake options
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2006, 09:01:21 am »
While I don't use a flat bar bike for touring, I know a lot of people do. I think the issue of having bar ends is not to get lower, but to have different hand positions, and ones that allow your wrists to be turned from the normal "flatbar postion". I have barends on my MTB-used mainly for commuting, and some day trips up to about 70km, and really like the barends-before I got them my wrists would start to bother me after a while. You may not be that aero, even though you will be a bit lower and "stretched out" using them, but how aero are you when touring anyway.
Another option to consider would be "butterfly bars"-basically almost a figure-8 style bar, that you can still mount your MTB shifters on. They are availble cheap from Nashbar, or there are fancier ones from ITM.
One thing if you are using a MTB-at least the gearing should be about right for touring, unlike a lot of touring bikes.

Offline tomykay

handlebar,shifter,brake options
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2006, 12:49:34 am »
Thankyou,BikerdashJames.I am riding an older steel Stumpjumper mtb now for training,and the controls on this bike got me thinking in this direction.Brake levers and shifters in hand,intuitive,reflexive,quick and accesible.Many attributes.Just wondering how this might interface with a road type touring bike that I am about to build.Seems as though one must be careful these days mixing and matching parts.Many paths,tomas

Offline wanderingwheel

handlebar,shifter,brake options
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2006, 02:42:37 am »
Mixing road and mountain components is not a problem if you stick with Shimano.  Road derailluers work with mountain shifters, and vice versa.  You can also feel free to mix road and mountain cassettes, assuming they have the correct number of gears and your chain and rear derailluer can handle the number of teeth.  Cranksets can also be switched, again assuming that front and rear derrailuers and chain can handle the change in size.  I do not believe you can swap road and mountain shifters and derailluers in the same manner if you are using Sram.  Campagnolo makes flat bar controls that work with thier derailluers, but they may be limiting if you are looking for a stump-pulling gear, or trying to keep to a nominal budget.  In general, match the shifter and derailluer brand and you should be fine.

As for the handlebar shape, as biker_james pointed out, the advantage of the drop bars is more hand positions.  In truth, I doubt most tourists on drop bars (including myself) spend very little time in the drops, but do switch from the tops, to the ramps, to the hoods, and back fairly often.  In that case, your barends give essentially the same positions when set up normally.  Trying to get "aero" on a touring bike just seems to be a contradiction of terms.


Offline edmilkman

handlebar,shifter,brake options
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2006, 01:03:05 am »
Sorry I can't give a perfect answer about flat bar hand positions, but I do have an unproven suggestion you might think about.  Why not add an "aerobar" on your flatbar to rest your wrists completely as your forearms hold your weight and also give you the best aero position in headwinds while touring ??  I have one on my drop bar touring bike that I use maybe 20% of the time while on the road to save my wrists more than for any aero advantage. The aerobar sticking out front may interfere  with some handlebar bags, but it actually gives you more tubing to hang a bag under once you do a little 3rd world engineering of it.

Offline tomykay

handlebar,shifter,brake options
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2006, 10:05:37 pm »
Thankyou,Edmilkman,for the aerobar discussion.I am considering incorporating an aerobar/flatbar combo on this bike,or possibly the previously recommended euro(butterfly)bar.I have never ridden with either of these,but like the different hand position each has to offer.All of this turmoil is ,as said,centered around possibly using older xt mtb style thumbies for shifting,not those newfangled twolever thingamabobs.There is just something special about having shift and brake right in hand.One example is I often find myself downshifting while braking to a quick stop.Can't do that with barcons.I also often ride in traffic with a finger or two draped on the brake levers,prepared for the errant whatever happens in front of me,and can shift while doing so.I do find the aerobar concept intriguing,more for giving forearms and wrists a break than for an aero benifit especially if the handlebar is high enough to begin with.Something in the Yoga part of me likes this.So thank you for the thought.This bike is still conceptual,and all input is most appreciated.Best,tomas


  • Guest
handlebar,shifter,brake options
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2006, 08:54:28 pm »
My personal preferences are Nitto Northroad Bars or the Jones H-Bar depending on the bike. The Jones H-Bar is currenty only available in Titanium and is quite expensive.

The shifters I use for these bars are either Shimano Barcons or Shimano downtube shifters mounted to Paul Components Thumbies.

Incidently tomykay, one of my touring bikes is built of an old Stumpjumper frame as well.


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i'd rather be biking.

Offline miles2go

handlebar,shifter,brake options
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2006, 02:11:54 am »
Butterfly, or trekking bars as they are often called are very popular outside the US and have been catching on here for some time. 

If you look through FLT you'll see many examples of them and a recently added photo "Laura, Ireland, Gardin" shows them installed on a road bike, though she keeps hers horizontal and most tilt them to have a high and low hand position.

My wife has been using the Nashbar trekking bars since they were introduced (before then it was hard to track them down in the states) and she loves them.  Wallingford Bike has a nice looking trekking bar that's only $20ish online. Two widths even.


« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 03:17:25 am by miles2go »