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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Flat bar width for road bike?

    I am building up a new road bike for my wife. She never grew to like drop bars on her old bike, and wants to try a flat bar. That point is for now non-negotiable.

    So, my question is: what width to shoot for?

    I know that the best answer is "go with what feels right", but I have found (from previous experience on her road, mountain, and commuter bikes) that she is not very good at telling what needs to change in her setup. Just that she is happy or not happy.

    So I am curious what a good starting point is? I have several flat bars that I can cut down, so if we end up going too narrow I can just grab another bar from the parts bin.

    She rode 40cm (center to center) drop bars and seemed OK with that. her mtb and town bike both have 660mm wide bars, but i don't think that is going to work well for a road bike that she will be doing a lot of miles on.

    The narrowest bars I have are 580mm (from my early mtb days in the 90s). I have the 580mm on there right now and even that seems really wide even for me (even though I run 750mm bars on my mtb)

    I was thinking of cutting these down to 550mm. Is that a good starting point for this? I'm using ergon grips with the integrated bar ends.

    I am just curious what other people's experience is with this.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I personally feel you can ride a wider flat bar than you would as a drop bar.

    40cm is good for a drop bar but I dont think that width would be any good as a flat bar. So if you were to cut down your existing 580mm to 40cm Id believe that would be too short of a stance.

    Because your hands are in a forward position you can get a way with a wider bar as a flat bar.

    Id say let her get used to the 580mm bars you already have.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Thanks.

    Yeah, I know 400mm is way too narrow. If I cut them, I was thinking of cutting them to more like 550mm, not 400mm.

    I should also mention that this road bike is very close in reach to her bike with drop bars, so she will end up with a fairly long stem, so i am not too worried about the handling being twitchy. I am mostly just wanting to go with what she is more likely to be comfortable on.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Yeah I figured you knew 400mm would be way too narrow, I was just pointing the obvious for a comparison.

    Sure, you could mount the 580's for her, let her ride around the neighborhood with them and then tell her to now put her hands inward about a half inch each side, ride around again and see how she likes that. I'd believe 580 would be good. I dont think that difference matters much and if it does, favoring a bit wider only gives her a bit more stability.

    580mm bars, 1 index finger over the rear brake lever and weigh back over the rear wheel, she'll be launching off of curbs before next week.

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