need crosscheck bar & brake lever suggestions
I'm riding a 50cm cross check, and I'm having difficulty with hand positioning. It's currently set up with a pretty long steer tube, which I am happy with, since I'm not comfortable using the drops at ALL and definitely prefer a more upright position. I ride with my hands on the hoods 99% of the time. According to the bike spec, the narrowest the bars could be is 42cm, but I don't know how to measure this. I also have the Tektro "small hand" levers.
With the handlebar at its normal angle, I was having trouble getting enough leverage on the brake levers. We rotated the bars a few degrees, pointing the hoods higher, and I'm able to reach the brake levers better, however my wrists are bent backwards a bit and my hands fall asleep. If I ride with the heels of my hands elevated off the bars a bit, I seem to be ok, but then my hands aren't resting on anything. I have a couple options, looking for feedback. Either way I need narrower bars too, so if there's any way that can fix my problem, I'm open to hearing it.
1. Adjustable-reach brake levers (sram S500, about $80)
2. Build up bar tape or something underneath where the heels of my hands rest, so I can reach the brake lever while still resting my hands on the bars.
Suggestions are much appreciated. I know it's more of a roadie question, but I'm not a roadie
Are you wearing gloves while riding? Sometimes some roadie cycling gloves can make a huge difference in comfort, although they can be thicker and make leverage harder.
The handlebar width is usually measured center to center between the bends where the levers go. Ideally the width of the bars is close to the width of your shoulders.
Gel padding under the bar tape makes a big difference too. I've used the Specialized Bar Phat before (~$20 with bar tape and gel pads) and was impressed. This might help a bit.
You could also adjust your brakes to engage sooner too.
Instead of rotating the bars, maybe try leaving the bars where they were and moving the brake levers?
It took me a while, but now drop bars are my faves. Previously, and I even posted this in other threads, I could never get comfortable using drops. I couldn't get comfy on the hoods, or in the drops. I played with stem length, stem rise, bar rotation, lever placement, etc. to no avail. Then I started messing with alternative bar setups as cheaply as I could. Flat bar, riser bar, mary bar, mustache, dirt drop, etc. Dirt drops were ok, mustaches were bad(for me), Flat and riser wound up too close even with a 120mm stem. One day I threw the drop bars back on there and went for a cruise. Upon one of the faster descents on this particular ride, I tucked down into the drops and it was eye opening how much more stable and "together" the bike felt. In my most pedestrian opinion, the cross check is best with drop bars. I've now ridden the CC with drops quite a bit and find them to be very much comfortable. For me more time in the saddle with the drop bars = more comfortable in the more forward position. Therefor I would suggest trying various shapes of bar in terms of the bend, whether ergo, classically round, compact, or somewhere in between, and see what feels best in your grabbers. My bet is that an LBS would be happy to help you figger it all out. Good luck!
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