handlebar width ?
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  1. #1
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    handlebar width ?

    I was checking out a bike equipped with a wider handlebar. It occured to me that it might be more comfy for climbing perhaps.

    What handling characteristics, if any, change with a wider bar?

  2. #2
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by z rocks
    I was checking out a bike equipped with a wider handlebar. It occured to me that it might be more comfy for climbing perhaps.

    What handling characteristics, if any, change with a wider bar?
    No discernable changes in handling. For the first few days, you'll feel some sort of undefinable difference in position, then your body will have adapted to the wider bars.

    Two thoughts for what they're worth: if you race, a wider bar will make a little more dicey to punch through a hole between two riders. As for a wider bar being more comfortable, don't expect miracles. Even the "better breathing" claim is a bit bogus IMO—time trial riders with their hands practically together don't seem to have any big problems breathing.

  3. #3
    disgruntled pigskin fan
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    I've been fitted to a 42 my whole life, but I've ridden a 44 on my past two bikes because they just feel right to me. I can't say I remember any significant difference in how they handle. You'd think wider bars would be a little less twitchy but I doubt there is much discernible difference when making 2 cm changes in bar width.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by z rocks
    I was checking out a bike equipped with a wider handlebar. It occured to me that it might be more comfy for climbing perhaps.

    What handling characteristics, if any, change with a wider bar?
    Depends somewhat on the other parameters of fit, but the general rule is... Not much. You'll notice 'something different' for the first few miles/rides, then it blends into the background.

    Perceptions and the words people apply to them can mash these discussions up. I find a wider bar to feel 'twitchier', because less force is required to initiate a movement. Another could well describe it as less twitchy, because it requires somewhat greater distance to effect a change in direction. However you choose to describe the feeling, consider: We normally coach new riders to grab the bar nearer the stem when taking a drink, fiddling with the computer, etc. - because it makes unintended movements somewhat less likely.

    Breathing can be a limiter on aero bar setups, but I don't find it to vary much on regular bars - at least within a normal range. The general rule is that they should be about as wide as the bony parts of your shoulders when in a riding position. That's a convenient rule of thumb, because small bits of flexing and extending change that factor across most of the range of available sizes. Having played around with a lot of sizes, I find that I tend to prefer just narrower than my 'correct' size, rather than just larger. But it's only a preference, and does change with mood a little.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by z rocks
    I was checking out a bike equipped with a wider handlebar. It occured to me that it might be more comfy for climbing perhaps.

    What handling characteristics, if any, change with a wider bar?
    Climbing will be more comfortable on a wider bar especially while standing. I have a 44cm on my roadbike and a 42 on my fixie so I have ready comparison. I used 42cm bars for years but I prefer the wider.

  6. #6
    eRacer
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    I seem to remember somewhere that bar width is sorta related to shoulder width.
    Somewhat a kin to leg length and crank arms.
    In the 'fog' I seem to recall bar width should be close to the center of shoulder-bulge to shoulder- bulge.
    Probably not, just FOG.
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  7. #7
    Hucken The Fard Up !
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    No need to change the bars to experiment. Just place your shifters on a wider ( or narrower ) open position and try it out with that first

  8. #8
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    Tried all widths - Aw C'mon

    Sometimes I feel foolish for believing and trying all the high tech micrometer measuring hoopla concerning bikes.
    Crank length and handlebar width are the premier examples. I tried em all....... Many of you have as well.. "Oh look, something new,,,,"
    Aw C'mon already.

    Handlebars are about 17 inches wide, going from 42 cm to 44 cm, assuming all are measured the same is about 3/4 of an inch. Inside, outside center-to-center......
    How to know - shoulder width, right??? Aw C'mon. Why not get those carbon bars that you REALLY want but only the 44s are on sale....?
    This stuff may make a tiny difference for the elite riders but the rest of us could eat one less slice of pizza and improve our performance more than going to another width bar.

    'nuff said.

  9. #9
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    Maybe you don't notice the difference, i do. Position on the bike is important no matter what level of rider you aren't. Especially if you ride the bike more than a couple hours and don't want to have pain that could be eliminated with good bike fit. This has absolutely nothing to do with "the rest of us could eat one less slice of pizza".

  10. #10
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    I do notice when I test ride a bike in my size with standard 42s. I ride 38s (I'm probably a 42 shoulder width). But as for any handling change or feeling... it all pretty much dissolves as soon as I start riding. So I have really no reason for sticking to 38 except I think it looks better on a bike.

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