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).
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Thread: Handlebar issue - how to select?
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