Author Topic: smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?  (Read 9416 times)

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smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« on: May 08, 2007, 02:18:42 pm »

I'm looking for insight from those who've used drop bars: what's preferred, the old style smooth bend type or 'newer' ergonomic with flat areas and 'corners' on the bends? Suggestions for brands??



Offline RussellSeaton

smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 04:06:13 pm »
It depends on the shifters.

I have TTT Morphe anatomic bars and Ergo shifters on my three road/racing style bikes.  LOVE them.  Ergo and TTT Morphe anatomic bars.  The flat spot on the drops is the perfect place for the hands when riding into the wind or going hard.  I don't want more unperfect spots provided by the traditional curved bars.  Why have lots of places to move your hands on traditional curved bars if none of them are as comfortable as the one flat spot on the anatomic bar?

On my loaded touring bike I have Nitto traditional curved bars.  Love them due to the super long reach and corresponding long horizontal drop section.  I have bar end shifters on this bike.  And half step gearing.  With bar end shifters I frequently ride with one hand on the end of the drops ready to move the shifter for a half shift, and one hand on the brake hood.  Which hand is on the hood and which on the end of the drops depends on what the next half step shift is going to be.  Anatomic bars don't have a long enough horizontal section from the flat section in the drops to the end of the bars to comfortably accomodate a hand waiting to shift a bar end shifter.

Bar end shifters = traditional curved bars.
Ergo = anatomic bars.
STI = don't use these things.

Offline Sailariel

smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2007, 12:04:46 am »
I like the anatomic bars made by Salsa.

Offline WesternFlyer

smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2007, 12:54:22 am »

The short answer for me was Ritchey Pro Biomax Road Bars.  With enough riding there is a chance you could develop physical problems with the old round curved drop bars.

The longer answer: On my Bianchi the OME handlebars were dreadfully uncomfortable and they were the ergonomic angle style, Deda Elimenti, you are asking about.  The worst aspect was in the drop position my hands were too large for the flat area so my hands pressed beyond the corners.   I questioned the handlebar fit when I bought it and was told that you spend 90% plus of the time on the top of the bars and it wasnt a problem.  I lived in the Seattle area last year and was personally fitted by the stores owner who is an internationally known frame builder (If someone is a real computer sleuth they can figure out who this person is.  And I will add he is an incredibly nice and patient person who truly loves bicycles, old and new all shapes and sizes.). Im six-foot-one, large, but not extra-large and this was a 61 CM frame.  But even with my hands on top of the bar my shoulders felt pinched after a while.

In steps my wife, M, (her real nickname) who is a sports physical therapist and had just completed and extensive course titled, The Biomechanics of the Cyclist, Fit, Function, and Pathology (some dry reading).  

Rider sitting up, measure from left to right Acromion Process, posterior aspect
   Measure bar center to center of drop at edge of drops
   Shoulder should be equal to or 1cm smaller than bar width
With level in vertical plane from posterior edge at top of bar to the end of the drop
   Dependent on the manufacturer

Bar Manufacturers determine how they will measure their bar: either Center to Center (C-to-C) or Outside to Outside (O-to-O)

They will also determine how much bar will extend backwards from the bottom of the drops, how deep the drops will be, and how far forward the tops will go.  These characteristics should be noted and accounted for.

Brake/shift lever placement
Straight edge on inferior aspect of drop extending beyond tip of brake lever

Straight edge should just contact tip of the brake

And it goes on for another 150 pages.  She put a note in the corner of a page Bike in Crash----replace bar.  That and some common bike tools and a small list of PT instruments that I have a hard time pronouncing and you will have the perfect fit.
Needless to say the OME handlebars didnt measure up in any direction or shape.  

I suggest going to a really well stocked bike shop and have them put your bike on a leveled trainer and start trying bars out.  Many of the best shops have trained staff who for a modest fee will adjust everything fit aspect on your bike while you are on it.  I did it here in Portland with a trained fit tech.  It was worth every cent of the $45.00 and over one hour of time.  My wife now refers patients to her.

Good riding,

Western Flyer
Portland, Oregon

Western Flyer
Western Flyer

We must ride light and swift.  It is a long road ahead.

King Theoden

Offline litespeed

smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2007, 12:34:57 pm »
 All my bikes have TTT ergonomic drop bars- the wider the better - 44 and 46cm.
I have large hands - proportional to my size 13 feet - so it's really necessary for me.
I'm usually on the bar tops but when I need control in a hairy situation like a steep, winding descent nothing beats getting down on wide drop bars.

Offline TCS

smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2007, 02:26:03 pm »

The gull wings kick the drops out so they're actually useable without being way down and super stretched like a racer.


"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline RussellSeaton

smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2007, 11:39:10 am »
"The gull wings kick the drops out so they're actually useable without being way down and super stretched like a racer."

The vast majority of cyclists are unaware of the fact handlebars come in a wide variety of horizontal reach and vertical drop.  Almost all cyclists are aware handlebars have different widths and shapes(curved, anatomic, wing).  Reach, horizontal distance, ranges from 70mm to 100mm.  Drop, vetical distance, ranges from 140mm to 170mm.  About 3cm range for each.  Over 1 inch.  Stem length and bar reach need to be considered together.  Stem height and bar drop need to be considered together.

The only reason to be way down and super stretched like a racer on drop handlebars if you choose to be.  You can easily find bars that allow you to use the drops in comfort for miles and miles and miles.  I do.

Offline wanderingwheel

smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2007, 04:57:25 pm »
Just like saddles, bars are a personal choice and what works for me may not work for you.  I like very roomy traditional bends.  When I'm in the drops, my forearms are basically parallel to the ground and I'm looking for something vertical to grab.  Ergonomicbarsdon't give me that unless I rotate them skyward.  If my bars were lower and I was reaching down to them, an ergonomic bar might fit better.  My favorites are Deda deep (Belgian), Cinelli 66 (Campione del Mundo, I think), and Nitto Dream and Noodle.



smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2007, 10:35:21 pm »
Hey Russell and Sean, how about posting pics of your touring bike(s) handlebar setup? I'm particularly interested in Russell's as it sounds like your may be up higher? Did you use a longer quilled stem?