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Questions on flared bars (may have been asked, I'm asking again)

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Questions on flared bars (may have been asked, I'm asking again)

Old 07-19-19, 11:57 PM
  #26  
u235
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Short answer to your question, "I'm always wondering, do the flares really make a difference? My gravel bike is really more of a do it all bike, shod with file treads, blocks, or slicks, depending on my mood....so while doing it all, flares or no flares?"

Depends, if you are comfortable, confident, and have total control that and you are happy with what you have, stick with what you have..

Long answer..

On my all purpose gravel bike I went from relatively standard 420 compact to 440 Ritchey VentureMax that have a 24 flare and a short drop. A standard compact bar always had me gripping the bars or mainly hoods hanging on hoping for the best. I'll never go back to standard bars. Flared bars totally transformed my experience with control, confidence, and capability. I do singletrack, on and off road centuries, and multiday tours with them and no regrets at all. In my opinion, for the most benefit of a flared/short drop bar you have to consider the best position of hoods and bar angle for riding in the drops. I went from almost never in the drops with my compact to almost always in the drops because of the control and comfort with the flared bars. I am far more comfortable in the drops now than I was in the hood before. Trying to get the best position for hoods AND drops is not easy, specially as the flare increases and the drop decreases (like the venturemax). If you try to setup the position of everything like a traditional bar for ultimate hood position you will be playing around a lot and the brifters will be all over the place. You should keep the brifter forward further down the drop and angled in on the top which may not result in the bar being on a level plane on the top but if you twist the bar to far up or move the brifter too far back to compensate there will be an angle or a valley between the bar and the hood and a drop that is angled up too far. If you have longer fingers you can reach a compromise. That's not to say you can't get it setup right but it isn't a compact bar shape so something has to be different
They are drop oriented bars first. The overall advantage in the design is using the wide flared end for control, hoods are secondary. I can totally understand why a lot of dedicated compact or regular bar users do not like flared. They are not regular bars with just the end bent out.

When I first swapped from compact to the flared, I swapped my stem for one +10mm that compensated for the shorter reach bar. I swapped back eventually and finalized by adding another spacer instead. Even with the shorter drop, I was mainly using the drops now and the additional height from the stem evened it all out. Depends on what you end up with but a stem change, angle, or height might be involved depending on where you eventually end up.

Last edited by u235; 07-20-19 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 07-20-19, 06:29 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by pennpaul View Post
Well that explains my lackluster reception to these bars then!

What did you get instead?

Anyone want to buy a barely used set of FSA Adventure "46cm" bars?
Thomson Dirt Drop. Love Ďem. But 25į probably isnít for everyone.
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Old 07-21-19, 10:15 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by u235 View Post
Short answer to your question, "I'm always wondering, do the flares really make a difference? My gravel bike is really more of a do it all bike, shod with file treads, blocks, or slicks, depending on my mood....so while doing it all, flares or no flares?"

Depends, if you are comfortable, confident, and have total control that and you are happy with what you have, stick with what you have..
I am. I ride the drops now, pretty regularly, and have for years...I think it's the roadie in me. That said, I cannot shake the feeling at certain points, especially when railing downhill on a winding maintenance road at 50km+, that wider position on the drops might add just a bit more stability and control. I appreciate the advice on the brifter set up. I have a set of Spec'd Hover Flares coming (12į flare, and appear to be about 2cm wider, 4cm total, at the ends), and it's clear that I'll need to do some experimentation to get the right position for the controls. Thanks!
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Old 07-22-19, 02:12 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
I have a set of Spec'd Hover Flares coming (12į flare, and appear to be about 2cm wider, 4cm total, at the ends), and it's clear that I'll need to do some experimentation to get the right position for the controls. Thanks!
Please update with a review when you've had a chance to use them.
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Old 07-28-19, 10:33 AM
  #30  
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I may be the weirdo then because I donít care for a lot of flare. My old bike had Eroica bars and I couldnít stand the amount of flare the had. I donít know if thatís just because of the roadie in me not being used to it or not.
My current Giant Revolt Advanced has drops that i have heard nothing but bad things about but I really like them for whatever reason. They donít have much flare are all.
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Old 08-05-19, 09:27 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
I may be the weirdo then because I don’t care for a lot of flare. My old bike had Eroica bars and I couldn’t stand the amount of flare the had. I don’t know if that’s just because of the roadie in me not being used to it or not.
My current Giant Revolt Advanced has drops that i have heard nothing but bad things about but I really like them for whatever reason. They don’t have much flare are all.
I am not a fan of switching something just because. If the bar you have works, stick with it, that is all that matters. In my case a compact always had me uneasy on anything but road, after a few hours my hands were cramped from the death grip and my relative stumpy fingers had a hard time braking from the drops. I have hyd brakes and usually one finger but the remaining four were not up to the task. I was missing confidence and control and the experience off-road was not what I wanted. Flared bars solved a problem for me. I went way flared with a 24 degree, probably the "flat bar rider" in me. Good or bad I use my "gravel" bike a lot more and my XC bike a lot less now.

Last edited by u235; 08-05-19 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 08-11-19, 02:23 PM
  #32  
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Hover Bar

Originally Posted by gravelED View Post
I really like the Specialized Hover Flare bar. The shallow drop and flare make a huge difference when riding in the drops during technical descents. Like Dsaul, I will also be putting a flared bar on my new road build.
I was told by a guy at a bike shop that the hover bar may put things too high on my diverge, because it's so high already. What kind of bike do you ride ?
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Old 08-13-19, 01:51 AM
  #33  
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I have always wanted to try them and I am definitely going to now...
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Old 08-13-19, 08:16 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by TXBDan View Post
Has anyone gone too far with flare and regretted it? My bike (Trek Checkpoint) is 85% commuter/pavement, but i'm interested in some shallower drop bars and like the idea of the flare ergonomically as well as for control. I'm leaning toward Cowbells (12deg) or Ritchey Evomax (12deg) or Easton AX (16deg) as they aren't as extreme. Would i regret not going for more?
I also have a Checkpoint, at first I wanted a little less reach and drop and some flare so I went with the Salsa Cowchipper and liked it, a few months later I switched to the Pro Discover Big Flare which has even less reach and drop and more flare and I loved it. Going from the stock Bontrager bar to the Cowchipper felt good but I also felt it could be a bit better, going for the Discover Big Flare was just that. I ride mostly off-road on stuff that's a bit rougher then the usual gravel roads I see people ride and just this weekend I rode on some technical singletrack and it felt very good. I feel like I can spend more time in the drops now and I have greater control of the bike. All handlebars are/were 42cm.

Pictured is the 42cm Pro Discover Big Flare on a 54cm Checkpoint ALR 4 with 2cm of spacers under the stem.

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Old 08-22-19, 04:36 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
I am. I ride the drops now, pretty regularly, and have for years...I think it's the roadie in me. That said, I cannot shake the feeling at certain points, especially when railing downhill on a winding maintenance road at 50km+, that wider position on the drops might add just a bit more stability and control. I appreciate the advice on the brifter set up. I have a set of Spec'd Hover Flares coming (12į flare, and appear to be about 2cm wider, 4cm total, at the ends), and it's clear that I'll need to do some experimentation to get the right position for the controls. Thanks!
Originally Posted by pennpaul View Post
Please update with a review when you've had a chance to use them.
They're mounted and ready to go...I have a cold, so I won't crush too much stone tomorrow, but I'll get a feel... I suspect I will have to play a bit with the exact positioning of the brifters, and I swapped stems, but might go back to the shorter piece.

Last edited by Badger6; 08-22-19 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 08-22-19, 11:02 PM
  #36  
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The sun is up now, so I snapped a couple of photos, the flare is noticeable, but not extreme...whihc in my opinion will give me what I was looking for a bit more width, but not something that is essentially a twisted MTB bar. I still prefer a distinct drop at the bar end...I think.


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Old 08-23-19, 08:06 AM
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Hover bars FTW. I'm loving mine.
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Old 08-24-19, 12:22 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
Hover bars FTW. I'm loving mine.
So far so good...two rides down, both commutes, but to be completely honest, my commutes are never boring affairs that occur at a PE of 1.1 on the shortest route.

I replaced a standard 420mm bar with the 420mm Hover Flare, so I expected some similarity with additional options. Due to a shorter reach on the bar, I also swapped a longer stem back in, effectively extending the bar reach by about 8-10mm (estimated). While I will need to get used to the extension, it is not too dramatic and I haven't noticed an appreciable change in steering behavior. The brighter setup, with the tops of the hoods parallel to the bar top and the longitudinal axis in line with the flare feel a bit more comfortable, albeit my initial riding has been relatively short, less than 2 hours so far. I tested the flared drop on a few fast, winding descents I know pretty well, and the numbers say I was faster by a little bit, but I cannot be certain if that's due to surface conditions or some new confidence.

Regardless, initial impression is that this was a wise upgrade/investment, and it strikes me that the gravel/CX experience is only going to be better going forward.
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