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  1. #1
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    New question here. Handlebar issue - how to select?

    In short: I need to retire my old bars (38 years is long enough) on a classic road bike. I don't know how to select one. The ones I have came with my previous bike.

    The old thick walled aluminum alloy GB's (not the polished and engraved crest ones, unfortunately):
    -They have had a few 'accidents'. Bar fatigue failure is ugly & hard to see coming.
    -They owe me nothing.
    -They are narrow: 16" (40 mm) center to center. My shoulders are 20" wide (51 mm).
    -A short-reach stem: the ends of the drops interfere with my knees out of the saddle.
    -I use the drops much less than years ago: in windy situations or for a very brief change.
    -There are too few comfortable positions on the tops.
    -The short reach stem and narrow bars make the bike twitchy.

    I have changed, my riding has changed, and so it is time, I think, for a new bar.

    I also want to replace the old Universal brake levers which have been 'customized' (spills, some wear, too). That simplifies matters some. Likely the Cane Creek for the Campy-like contour, though the Classic Non Aero Gran Compe at Velo-Orange would maintain the classic look in a better lever but the exposed cables would look dumb with some bars. I am going 10 speed wheels too, but I am staying with DT friction (no brifters).

    For short rides the old bars are OK. Somewhere around 20 miles, and I can no longer find a comfortable position. I am doing about 30 miles a day now and that will increase. I ride moderately erect except when I want to reduce wind resistance with a headwind or a fast downhill run.

    I have determined that I would like something from the Nitto Mustache, Gary, Midge, Nitto Radonneur range of bars. Essentially different degrees of flattened or reduced drop bar. I read the thread on the Midge vs Nitto Randoneur and both have their adherents as do the Gary and Mustache. I figure I will be living with the bar for a couple more decades, so this won't be price driven, but if I save a few $, I won't complain.

    The local shops (25 miles) don't have them. Nor any bikes with them. None of the local riders have any of these, so I can't try theirs. My friendly mail source for things Campy who does have them in sizes is a day's drive and shipping bars to and fro gets expensive.

    Indianapolis or Cincinnati likely have one or more shops that will have one or more of these bars, possibly even in my size. But I am using the tallest Swan quill stem moved 50 mm down from it's max height. It has only a 50 mm reach. Mounting bars and dismounting them to try using this stem is a bad idea if you don't want to be proud owner of several marred bars. So should I bite the bullet and get a stem converter and a modern faceplate threadless stem to replace the Swan (which is quite heavy)? Or do you just hold each bar in your hands and guess? Does it work like water witching? Does the bar twitch down when you hold the ends as you approach the bike, if it's the right one?

    This is not a survey of whether you like your bar, I hope you do. Rather I am asking your approaches on how I can determine which I will be happiest with (at least for awhile).

  2. #2
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    :
    This is not a survey of whether you like your bar, I hope you do. Rather I am asking your approaches on how I can determine which I will be happiest with (at least for awhile).
    Well, you already said that the way I found my bars isn`t going to happen for you (I test rode a new bike that I didn`t buy, but loved the bars so I just bought them). I wish you luck in that search- I know it`s frustrating. I do have a comment on the stem though. Since you seem leary of giving up on the classic look of your bike, you probably won`t like the seeing a stem converter on there every morning. Besides the look, while I do enjoy the convenience of face plate clamps, I don`t think bike shops will let you return once mounted bars even if you`ve mounted them on a stem with that plate. Is a Tectonic lighter than your stem? They`re pretty nice looking and I know they get as short as 70mm though not sure about 50. Should you happen to find a stash of miscelaneous used bars (or if it turns out I`m wrong about dealers not letting you return after trying out), maybe you could find a converter that matches your stem for temporary use only? Maybe there`s a bike co-op or bike bike graveyard in your area that has a good stock used bars you could try out? Even if you really want a new one, finding even a used bar that you know you like will make your search easier since you`ll have something to compare with.
    Recalculating....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Well, you already said that the way I found my bars isn`t going to happen for you (I test rode a new bike that I didn`t buy, but loved the bars so I just bought them).
    Two lbs's are no go. I have found one I did not know about east of here, and one I did and bought some stuff from and on rethinking may be worth a revisit as he is more road oriented. He isn't my favorite proprietor. A bit surly. I don't mean the bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I wish you luck in that search- I know it`s frustrating. I do have a comment on the stem though. Since you seem leary of giving up on the classic look of your bike, you probably won`t like the seeing a stem converter on there every morning. Besides the look, while I do enjoy the convenience of face plate clamps, I don`t think bike shops will let you return once mounted bars even if you`ve mounted them on a stem with that plate. Is a Tectonic lighter than your stem? They`re pretty nice looking and I know they get as short as 70mm though not sure about 50.
    Good. I wasn't sure I wanted to look at a fake threadless adjustment and twin clamp bolts either.

    Almost bought a Technomic one when I bought the Swam but needed a bit more height. Now I am fine with it lower and I can keep the Swan should I need more height in 10 years. This one angles instead of straight ahead like the Technomic:

    http://www.rivbike.com/products/show...irtdrop/16-100

    I can get this one from my regular supplier (he helped me a lot with updating The Duchess), so I owe him some business. It is short reach by angling up which saves weight and makes more sense. Also the mustache and randoneur bars sweep back some from the stem so a slightly longer reach will be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Should you happen to find a stash of miscelaneous used bars (or if it turns out I`m wrong about dealers not letting you return after trying out), maybe you could find a converter that matches your stem for temporary use only? Maybe there`s a bike co-op or bike bike graveyard in your area that has a good stock used bars you could try out? Even if you really want a new one, finding even a used bar that you know you like will make your search easier since you`ll have something to compare with.


    Duh! Now WHY didn't I think of that?

    The one lbs is associated with a bike reclamation and recylcing venture. They may have some spare bars close to these different profiles. Being used, I can likely wrangle some to try for a deposit and what is another scratch or three?

    Failing that, it looks like a trip to pick up and install wheels, select and install handlebars would be easier than traipsing through a dozen big city bike shops 'just looking'.

  4. #4
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    FSA Omega Compact drops. Short reach and drop make it a very comfortable handle bar.


  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=mijome07]FSA Omega Compact drops. Short reach and drop make it a very comfortable handle bar. [QUOTE]

    Thanks for pic and recommendation, yeah they fit in the group of bars I am thinking about, if available wide enough that I don't hit my knees out of the saddle. I will keep shallow drops in mind while I see if I can narrow my selection with bars at the bike recycling center some.

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    I wish somebody would make that style bar in a nice purdy silver. It wouldn`t surprise me to see it from Soma one of these days, but so far I think the only way to get that would be to deanodize a black bar, which would make me a little bit nervous.
    Recalculating....

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