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  1. #1
    desert smouth
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    Handlebar opinions... Normal or Salsa Bell lap, Ritchey Biomax, etc.

    I'm a tall, lanky type. 6'3". 46 cm bars work just fine on my road bike, but I spend alot of time hanging on to the outside of the bars. Hands outside the hoods, hands outside the drops, etc. Because I'm tall, I generally run about 4.5 inches of saddle to bar-to-drop on the road, and generally use only the drops for crits so I can draft well off the normal height folks. Fairly flexible in the lower back (plus a slightly downward pointing saddle nose helps) so comfort in the drops isn't too big of an issue, even with layback seatpost, 58cm top tube, and 130mm stem. Anyhow, because I run so much drop, I usually end up with my wrists pinned up against the bends of the tops when I'm in the drops. Not really an issue, but annoying. Sprinting I generally have to move my hands lower into the drops and keep my shoulders really low, which isn't really ideal for grabbing extra gears.

    Anyhow, I'm new to the cross bit, and am setting up the bike to use as a second road bike, commuter, rainy day road bike, and cross racer when the fall comes. I currently have traditional road style 46cm bars with ergo drops. Feels just like my road bike. Aiming for a stem combo that will give me more like 3 to 3.5 inches of drop from the saddle. Anyhow...

    Long story short, I was wondering if anybody thought that the Salsa Bell-Lap bars, or the Ritchey Biomax bars had any merit to them. I've always looked at the Ritchey bars on other people's road bikes longingly, because of the sharp outer bends leaving lots of room for big paws like mine on the tops. What is the verdict on flared drops?

    Open to all opinions, since it'll be awhile before I actually ride the bike on a cross course. I'm planning to switch to a bar with a standard clamp so that I can slide the top brake levers further center, and was considering these "cross" bars as options.

    Thanks for the opinions.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Bontragers...

    I just picked up a new bike with a Bontrager Select OS Bar (44cm), and the tops are very spacious with a sharp bend to the shifters which makes them very comfortable for big hands. (I'm 5'11" and have broad shoulders.) Also, I've found the ergonomic bend of the bar angles back far enough to give me very good forearm clearance. Before I bought my new bike, I'd avoided riding in the drops on my old bike, since I had to bend my arms too severely for forearm clearance, and it was uncomfortable. I like the Bontragers shape so much I went out and refurbished my old bike's cockpit.

    I've seen the Bell Lap bars, and to me they felt very odd; the slight out-ward sweep was peculiar, but to be fair I didn't spend much time on them, and with some getting-used-to they may be great. Also, I'm kind of partial to the new 31.8 standard; it's way stiff with the right stem.

    Hope my input helps.

  3. #3
    Incorrigible Wanderer - R.I.P.
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    The Biomax is the closest thing I've found to a perfect bar; the Bontrager cyclocross bar is very close, although it lacks the slight backward sweep of the Ritchey on the tops.

    Only bar I've tried that was flared at all was the Nitto B115, which is not quite as radical as the Bell Laps or Dirt Drops; I have a 42 (c-c at the bottom/38 c-c on the tops), but need to go up one size. Don't know if these would be suitable for you, though, as they have a pretty shallow drop (140mm).

  4. #4
    desert smouth
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    According to most "fit" measurements, I should be using a bar of about 48-49cm width. That's really why I ask if anybody likes these flared bars for cross setups.

    I used to have contacts over at Thomson, and they did some nice testing of oversize bars and stems vs. normal clamp diameters (back before they officially released their X4 oversized stems) and they found out some pretty interesting things about this whole claim of "oversized is stiffer." That's why I'm not afraid of normal bar diameter setups. I'm pretty sure we should throw the "oversized is stiffer" claim into the same bin as "[all] aluminum is harsh" and "[all] carbon feels like wood," etc, etc...

    If you want a really stiff setup, I'll show you my track bike. Despite having 25.4mm clamp diameter AND a quill stem with threaded 1" steerer tube, it's the stiffest front end I own. Why? Nitto steel bars, ITM Eclypse stem, chubby steel fork, high flanged hubs, etc. I try to twist on it and it just laughs at me.

    Anyhow, I know it's off topic, as my intent was to ask about Bell Lap and Biomax bars. But what the kids found out at Thomson, was that the quality of the bars and stem (butting, material, heat treatment, geometry, etc) had far more of an influence than simply bulging out the center of the bar and calling it oversized. I'm not against the 31.6mm standard, as I have it on my road bike, but here, I was just saying, I'd like to go back to 25.4 to slide the top levers a bit more to center.

    So Biomax or Bell Lap opinions? Or, if it's even a necessary consideration in the first place...

    thanks

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    try the salsas.

    Ive been using the salsas on various builds for a couple years, great bars for the most part. I've got about 2 weeks on a commuter bike using a set of the bontrager cx bars and I think I prefer them for extended road use where Ill be in the drops primarily, but for a true cx build I'd go with the salsas. I feel like I've got more room on the the tops on the salsas (even though the bars are both 46's) and I like the flared ends on off road descents. both took me a fair amount of angle/stem tweaking to get the ergo bump in a place where it didn't try to assassinate my hands, a potential issue if you have alot of saddle/bar drop and spend alot of time in the drops.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I'm just under 6'2 and extra-wide by cycling standards. Small guys draft me side by side. The Bell Laps fit me just fine. I think I've got the 46s and they work great with my build, Ergo levers and a Conquest frame. The flair is nice. Too often if I'm in the drops, I'm sucking huge wind and the spread helps me catch up.

    Ron

  7. #7
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    Bell Laps

    I have one on my cross bike and it doesn't seem to be too bad but I can't say that I think the flared drops do much of anything for me. I just picked up the Salsa used for 10 bucks so I figured I'd give it a shot. I spent a lot of time on the hoods in cross but, perhaps, as I gain experience, I will like the flared drops on decents and it will be a more favored position.However, at this point, for me... a smallish guy entering his second year of cross... the flared bell lap may be more of a gimmick. But, as I evolve as a racer...that may change.

    I say, if you can get it used...buy one. That way, if you are indifferent to it (like me) you have no regrets. However, if it turns out to be the ergonomically correct choice for you, then you can always think what a bargain you found
    "Some people meditate their way to enlightenment by sitting still; I just happen to find nirvana on two wheels at 30 mph."

  8. #8
    desert smouth
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    True, however, seems like they tend to go for 20 bucks or more after shipping on ebay. I can tag a set (pricematch) onto an upcoming speedgoat order for only $26 for the motoace model, $41 for the bell lap, and 'free' shipping since my order will be over their minimum. There are some deals to be had on ebay, but plenty of items that go for right near (and sometimes more than what I can dig up as the best retail new price) best internet pricing. I guess I'll never understand that.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I should clarify, I bought it for ten bucks from a local shop that I frequent. It was sitting in their "extras" bin in the back of the shop. The owner is friendly with me and gave me a price break since he thought he would never use it. I agree, though, ebay ain't so hot for "deals." I would check craigslist or the like or ask your LBS for their extra parts bin. I think if you were leaning towards the Bell Lap, cut your losses and go with the MotoAce. You really won't notice the extra grams that amount to a chuck of mud on your bars and, for 26 buck, you are still not breaking the bank. Who knows, you may like the flare. And, if you don't, you'll know for next time. As for me, my next cross build (Hopefully, a local custom builder in Denver like Primus Mootry or C3) will not include a flared handle bar. For me, I cannot see any added benefit, as of yet.
    "Some people meditate their way to enlightenment by sitting still; I just happen to find nirvana on two wheels at 30 mph."

  10. #10
    vegan wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAT4ever
    I think if you were leaning towards the Bell Lap, cut your losses and go with the MotoAce. You really won't notice the extra grams that amount to a chuck of mud on your bars and, for 26 buck, you are still not breaking the bank.
    i would bet that the bell laps are stronger than the moto ace version because of the 7075 vs 6061 tubing used. just a thought.

  11. #11
    Number 2 on the course.
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    Check-out the On-One Midge bars: http://www.on-one.co.uk/index.php?mo...N_position=7:7 All the wrist room you will ever need!

    I've used these bars for trail riding and CX racing, and I love them. Personally, I find the hood position less useful because of the angle, but the shorter drop and ample space make me forget why I would ever want to take my hands out of the drops anyway.

    I also have a set of the Bell Laps, and they are nice. Much better if you really want that hood position. Cheaper too.

  12. #12
    Game on, b*tches!
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    Not to hi-jack the thread but I just orderd from Speedgoat for the 1st time and those dudes are da bomb. Plus, since I live in PA I'm supportin' the home team
    Originally Posted by tetter
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    catzilla
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  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Ritchey Bars are Measured C-C

    Quote Originally Posted by johnmyster
    According to most "fit" measurements, I should be using a bar of about 48-49cm width. That's really why I ask if anybody likes these flared bars for cross setups.
    Keep in mind that the Ritchey bars are measured center to center ... 46cm c-c is approx 48cm outside to outside.

    I ride Biomax bars on my road and cx bikes ... I love them ... I'm a big fan of the back-sweep on the top portion of the bars and also of the flatish ramp behind the shifters. It makes for a real comfortable place to put your hands. The outward flare of the drops is minor ... helps a bit with wrist clearance but is not a make-or-break deal in my mind.

    I rode bell-laps for a while and didn't like them. The outward flare is much greater and the bend where the shifters sit is flared a little too ... I was not crazy about the shifters being flared.

    Good luck!

    -SUB160

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    PB-

    Those are really interesting looking bars. Weird, really. Do they work well. The site claims that some individuals ride more technical stuff better in the drops with the shallow On-one. True? It sounds like it from your synopsis above. Still, let's hear a review.
    "Some people meditate their way to enlightenment by sitting still; I just happen to find nirvana on two wheels at 30 mph."

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    here's my JtS with the Salsa Bell Laps...





    I personally love the flare, as have most who've ridden the bike but I do have a friend who wasn't that stoked with them (just didn't like the feel).

    RJ
    She lives in God's house with Jesus and Mary and the Ghost and the long-eared donkey and Joseph and the talking walnut.

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