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  1. #1
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    Riding in the hoods - does handlebar reach matter?

    My current handlebar is 440mm wide, 140mm drop, and 104mm reach. If I ride exclusively in the hoods or tops, does reach matter?

    I'm looking at a new bar that is also 440mm wide, but 79mm reach and 127mm drop. My fit is good as is, but I want a carbon bar and the one I'm looking at has these slightly different measurements. Does that reach figure only matter for riding in the drops?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    My current handlebar is 440mm wide, 140mm drop, and 104mm reach. If I ride exclusively in the hoods or tops, does reach matter?

    I'm looking at a new bar that is also 440mm wide, but 79mm reach and 127mm drop. My fit is good as is, but I want a carbon bar and the one I'm looking at has these slightly different measurements. Does that reach figure only matter for riding in the drops?
    A bar with 25mm less reach (the one your thinking of buying) will affect distance from saddle riding in the drops and while on the hoods but, not on the tops. This assumes one places the shifters in the same position.

  3. #3
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    Longer or shorter reach puts your brifters at a different distance from your body assuming all else stays constant. Yes it "matters", how much depends on you. Since you're going to a bar setup that is more compact everything (hoods/brakes levers/hooks/flats) is going to be closer.

    When looking at reach, factor in what method the bar maker uses to calculate reach as not everyone does it the same way.

  4. #4
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    Look at where the brake levers are attached to the bars, and it is immediately obvious that changing the reach dimension of the drop bar will change the position of the hoods (not so for the drop measurement). The bar you're looking at, assuming it's otherwise similar in shape, will put the hoods closer to you.

    And one more point: if you want to be a strong and versatile rider, you shouldn't be "exclusively" on the tops or hoods. Even if you don't use the drops often, there are situations where they provide great advantage, and you should be comfortable using them when necessary.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodys737 View Post
    A bar with 25mm less reach (the one your thinking of buying) will affect distance from saddle riding in the drops and while on the hoods but, not on the tops. This assumes one places the shifters in the same position.
    Thanks for the reply. I ride probably 95% hoods, 4% tops, 1% drops. I do not care at all about drop comfort and I ride the tops only to move around a bit from riding in the hoods.

    In that case, I should try to find a bar with similar reach figures to my current one?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    My current handlebar is 440mm wide, 140mm drop, and 104mm reach. If I ride exclusively in the hoods or tops, does reach matter?

    I'm looking at a new bar that is also 440mm wide, but 79mm reach and 127mm drop. My fit is good as is, but I want a carbon bar and the one I'm looking at has these slightly different measurements. Does that reach figure only matter for riding in the drops?
    Those are not slightly different measurements.

    A whole inch difference is absolutely huge in terms of bike fitment. I would call those drastically different fitting bars. Not only the reach but also the drops and I'm guessing the shape as well.

    104mm reach on bars is not very typical now a days. The 3T Aeronova has something right about that though. Most you'll find now are much closer to the 80mm mark.

    The new bars would put the hoods an inch closer to you so they would not fit you. Getting a stem an inch longer isn't the answer either. In my opinion the answer is getting a set of bars with the same or very close measurements to what you have.

    You'd be surprised how changing the shape or width or reach just a little totally changes the feel of everything. There's many sizes and shapes I refuse to ride.
    use a torque wrench

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post

    In that case, I should try to find a bar with similar reach figures to my current one?
    Um, that would depend if you want similar reach. For the life of me I can't wrap my head around someone asking it reach matters.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    If I ride exclusively in the hoods or tops, does reach matter?
    Yes. Reach is essentially the extension of your stem length. How far from the stem clamp to the front of the bars where the shifters mount.

    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    Does that reach figure only matter for riding in the drops?
    No. It matters for the hoods and for the drops. It will effect you drastically.


    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    My fit is good as is, but I want a carbon bar
    If your fit is good as is you need to keep it where it's at. It's the most important thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I ride probably 95% hoods, 4% tops, 1% drops. I do not care at all about drop comfort and I ride the tops only to move around a bit from riding in the hoods.

    In that case, I should try to find a bar with similar reach figures to my current one?
    Yes.
    Carbon Fiber Handlebar Roadbike Internal Cable Routing Cycling Dropbar | eBay

    Buy something like the above China crap at your own risk.
    If you have the cash buy a 3T Aeronova which is the real deal of what the above is a fake of.

    Or just try to find some other bar with 104mm reach. I don't know of any off hand.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    Yes. Reach is essentially the extension of your stem length. How far from the stem clamp to the front of the bars where the shifters mount.



    No. It matters for the hoods and for the drops. It will effect you drastically.




    If your fit is good as is you need to keep it where it's at. It's the most important thing.



    Yes.
    Carbon Fiber Handlebar Roadbike Internal Cable Routing Cycling Dropbar | eBay

    Buy something like the above China crap at your own risk.
    If you have the cash buy a 3T Aeronova which is the real deal of what the above is a fake of.

    Or just try to find some other bar with 104mm reach. I don't know of any off hand.
    The problem with trying to buy the "real thing"...you can find fakes in retail packaging at B&M and legit online retail stores. And the fakes are good enough to fool most anyone not going over every individual box with a forensic eye.

  10. #10
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    Or, since you don't ride the tops much, buy the shorter reach bars and a longer stem. You will have to get a smaller angle if you use your stem angling up, or a larger angle if flipped, to keep the stack the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    Those are not slightly different measurements.

    A whole inch difference is absolutely huge in terms of bike fitment. I would call those drastically different fitting bars. Not only the reach but also the drops and I'm guessing the shape as well.

    104mm reach on bars is not very typical now a days. The 3T Aeronova has something right about that though. Most you'll find now are much closer to the 80mm mark.

    The new bars would put the hoods an inch closer to you so they would not fit you. Getting a stem an inch longer isn't the answer either. In my opinion the answer is getting a set of bars with the same or very close measurements to what you have.

    You'd be surprised how changing the shape or width or reach just a little totally changes the feel of everything. There's many sizes and shapes I refuse to ride.
    My bike is a 2015 Emonda SL8 so I'm kind of surprised it comes with an odd shape.

    When I originally made the thread I was reading the wrong line on the handlebar specs so it was like 85mm vs 79mm, hence the "small difference" line, forgot to edit that part.

    The 3T Aeronova is one of the ones I'm considering... is 3T a reputable (like Enve, Zipp, etc) carbon brand and would that look stupid on a non-aero frame?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Um, that would depend if you want similar reach. For the life of me I can't wrap my head around someone asking it reach matters.
    Because if reach only affects placement in the drops, it doesn't matter to ME. I didn't know until posting this thread that it affected hood placement. Obviously reach matters, but depending on how it is measured and where you ride, it has the potential to not matter. It was just wishful thinking on my part that an otherwise perfect bar might work for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWMass View Post
    Or, since you don't ride the tops much, buy the shorter reach bars and a longer stem. You will have to get a smaller angle if you use your stem angling up, or a larger angle if flipped, to keep the stack the same.
    I'm already on a 120mm stem, have read that 130-140 can screw with handling

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    . Does that reach figure only matter for riding in the drops?

    For me it matters maybe more than for most? With long femurs I prefer short reach bars and a longer stem. I have knee-ed bar tops on out of the saddle jumps before I figured it out.

    Also when I went from 9 speed Dura Ace STIs to 10 Speed the STI for 7800 were longer and reach on the bar came into play for me. I just put on a shorter stem initially, but again found I'd rather use shorter reach bars with the longer stem so changed both.

    So as far as in the drops, maybe ?? More so possibly if an ergo drop maybe?
    Last edited by robt57; 01-18-2016 at 07:09 PM.
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    You might end up riding in the drops more often.

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    I thought this thread was going to be about riding through the black part of town and wondered wtf handlebar reach had to do with it. I realized you really meant riding ON the hoods.

    Urban Dictionary: the hood
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    130-140 can screw with handling
    Some brainwork for you:
    120 mm stem + 90 mm bar reach equals
    140 mm stem + 70 mm bar reach.
    Your hands (on the tops) will be in the same point in space. Handling will be the same.

    If you change to a compact bar like the 3T Ergonova you'll be able to use the drops more. The idea behind drop bars is to offer multiple hand positions after all.
    They do anything just to win a salami in ridiculous races. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me. It was the illest of times, it was the dopest of times. And we looked damn good. Actually the autobus broke down somewhere on the Mortirolo.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbwh View Post
    120 mm stem + 90 mm bar reach equals
    140 mm stem + 70 mm bar reach.
    Your hands (on the tops) will be in the same point in space. Handling will be the same.
    The riders hands when on the hoods will be the same. With the longer stem and shorter reach, the reach to the bar tops will be longer.

    Bars with less drop may make the drops more useful. Only using the drops 4% of the time indicates that the bike fit could be better.

    There's other factors to bar fit than just reach and drop. I find that the shape of the drops makes a big difference, especially to comfort while on the hoods.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    Because if reach only affects placement in the drops, it doesn't matter to ME. I didn't know until posting this thread that it affected hood placement. Obviously reach matters, but depending on how it is measured and where you ride, it has the potential to not matter. It was just wishful thinking on my part that an otherwise perfect bar might work for me.



    I'm already on a 120mm stem, have read that 130-140 can screw with handling
    I see. The issue here is you're mistaken on what reach means. Google "handlebar reach" and you should have no problem finding a diagram and I think then it'll be clear why reach matters.

    Here's one such example showing what reach means in this context: EB13: Refined Zipp Service Course SL Handlebars Move Hoods Closer, Higher - Bikerumor

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbwh View Post
    Some brainwork for you:
    120 mm stem + 90 mm bar reach equals
    140 mm stem + 70 mm bar reach.
    Your hands (on the tops) will be in the same point in space. Handling will be the same.
    My brain can't understand how the top of the bar will be in the same point in space if the distance to it from the steerer tube is different. I think you meant to say on the hoods. Because the reach to the bar will most certainly not be the same. I recently purchased Easton's EC90SL3 bar which has a shorter reach than my previous bar by about a cm (70 or 74, can't remember). I also went up a stem size. I am now much more comfortable on the bar top, and the shorter reach ensured the reach to the hoods remained the same (with minor positioning tweaks)

    Also, I believe handling will not be the same. Steering inputs pivot around a diameter that is directly related to the length of the stem, not overall reach and therefore it's the distance from the steerer to the bar that matters and not the overall ditance to the hoods. The idea behind ZIPP's Service Course SL short reach bars (which replaced the still sought after [SSR]SuperShortReach model) was to allow bike fitters to put clients who needed an overall shorter reach on stems which would not compromise handling characteristics (read: longest possible stem given constraints). The idea here is to not shorten stem length beyond what was intended as not to alter handling characteristics.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    My bike is a 2015 Emonda SL8 so I'm kind of surprised it comes with an odd shape.

    When I originally made the thread I was reading the wrong line on the handlebar specs so it was like 85mm vs 79mm, hence the "small difference" line, forgot to edit that part.

    The 3T Aeronova is one of the ones I'm considering... is 3T a reputable (like Enve, Zipp, etc) carbon brand and would that look stupid on a non-aero frame?
    Are you sure you're not reading the info wrong now? 104 doesn't sound right for reach given the year/model of your bike, if it's the stock bar. Can you post link to the specs?
    Last edited by jetdog9; 01-19-2016 at 08:45 AM.

  21. #21
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    If stock, per Trek, it's a Bontrager Race Lite, VR. Very little specs on website, but according to weighweenies around a 85cm reach.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    If stock, per Trek, it's a Bontrager Race Lite, VR. Very little specs on website, but according to weighweenies around a 85cm reach.
    85 centimeters? That's some weird bar shape. I think you mean 85mm.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    85 centimeters? That's some weird bar shape. I think you mean 85mm.
    Actually, to snatch victory away from you, my "." key was stuck and I missed a period between the eight and five.

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    Sounds like the real winner is the keyboard. Was it getting back at you for spilling coffee on it?

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    work pc, nothing nearly as exciting. wireless keyboard sometimes starts missing strokes during periods of high processor usage.

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