Saturday, July 18, 2009

Responding to Steve

Handle-bars. Both of my bikes have goofy handle-bars.

As can be seen in my previous post, the Red-line has "mustache" style bars. This was standard issue for the 2007 model year, and it lent the bike a unique profile. It apparently met with limited success, because they went with different bars in 2008.

It was a good decision on their part, I think. These bars do offer about three hand positions, but the overall drop from seat height to bar height is too much for me.

When I was a youthful bicycle racer in 1976-1981, I had a six inch drop, and I was comfortable with it. As you can see of my Giant, that drop is just right for me now, but not nearly as big as my Red-line

I will be on the look-out for a yard sale bike so that I can get a handle-bar like PM favors for my Red-line. (I don't think I am man enough for a basket though!) This bike is my spare and wet weather bike. I crash on it when it is wet because I don't slow down enough. A more upright position could be a big benefit for me if it helps me slow down a bit.

I have "customized" the bars on my Giant. I never use the drops. So I cut them off. It turns out I could have removed another half inch or so with out a problem, and I may yet do so. They are long enough for my fingers to rest while "on the hoods" without touching the edge of the bar end. I haven't yet decided if I am going to use that extra bar space to mount my cyclometer or not.

What is harder to notice is the extra material used when wrapping the bars. I have used strips of inner tubes to make the round bar more flat. That is, to provide a wider, flatter surface to rest my hands on.

The handle-bar that that most desire is no longer being manufactured. A Cinelli track bar #65. The bar began it's curve two inches or so from the stem in a long graceful arc. Not only did it look cool with brake handles, it provided six distinct and comfortable hand positions- perfect for long hours of saddle time!

Road bars provide multiple hand positions, which is helpful on long rides to keep your hands from hurting. I do all my braking with my hands on the top of the hoods, and so I have adjusted my brakes on the loose side for better leverage. No doubt Steve has a dozen more questions about all this, and I will answer them as he (or anyone else) asks them in the comments.


  1. Except when I really feel the need for speed, I think my favorite configuration is tourist bars, I think also call North Road bars, like the kind on my Raleigh DL-1 or my Schwinn Varsity (think of an upright Schwinn bike from the 70s). Great visibility, decent balance, the only drawback is wind resistance.

  2. Would that be like the "Cinelli Criterium 65/44" currently listed for sale for another day on eBay, with a current bid of GBP 1.04, and an estimated GBP 8 to ship to the US?

  3. @ Steve: Sigh. Yes. I will let that opportunity pass though. They had various names attached to them, usually to distinguish widths. But the #65's all have the lovely swooping bend.

    @Doohickie: I really need the higher rise if I am to outlive the Red-Line. I had really thought the single-speed configuration would put me in a puttering mood, but alas, I still go at it hammer and tongs. Taking pictures has also been hard for the same reason. Stopping for pictures is such a different mindset than I am used to!

    You launched me on an internet search and I found this site. It seems to answer all my questions!

  4. I am also a big fan of drop bars, after starting with them as a teenager, leaving them for flat and riser bars as an on and off recreational cyclist, and finally returning to them as a commuter / working on long distance rider. I do use the drops on rare occasion, usually only in the face of a wicked headwind. I usually brake just as you do.