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Adjusting to a modern cockpit

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Adjusting to a modern cockpit

Old 11-06-19, 02:15 PM
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sixer 
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Adjusting to a modern cockpit

I recently got a new road bike which I chose based on it achieving a similar fit to my current (most comfortable) bike - the dimensions locate the wheels, bars, BB, saddle, etc. in the practically same place despite one being a 40yo steel frame and the other an aluminum bike with modern compact geometry. Riding the new bike, surprisingly, is a different story and I'm hoping for a few suggestions.

My old bike has Nitto Noodle bars, non-aero Campy brake-levers and bar-end shifters. The new one has generic bars of the same width (as the old) with Tiagra 4600 STI shifters. The flat part of the bar as located by the stem is in practically the same location relative to the rest of the bike's touch points, but on the new bike, riding on the hoods feels too far and the bend in the bar (from the flat towards the hood) is a tight and uncomfortable radius to rest my hands on.

So, can anyone recommend a black 31.8mm modern handlebar with some similar qualities to the Noodle (or at least a more generous curve/radius)? And, are all modern STI hoods this long or could I be looking at another product bringing the lever closer to the bars (more similar to older hoods where you share some space on the bars and some on the hoods)? OR, do I (also) get a shorter stem and accept that I'm supposed to be riding on the hoods (or in the drops) all the time?
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Old 11-06-19, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by sixer View Post
The flat part of the bar as located by the stem is in practically the same location relative to the rest of the bike's touch points
What about the spots where you actually put your hands most of the time? Equalizing fit by handlebar clamp location is not necessarily a good approach, since different bars have different shapes and different amounts of reach. You may need a shorter stem.

I'm curious about the sharp bend on the handlebar ramps above the hoods, though. The sharp bends near the top of modern bars are there so that the ramps flow smoothly onto the hoods, but if the hoods are positioned too low on the bars, this exposes the sharp bend to your hands when riding on the ramps. Could you post a side photograph of the new bike?
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Old 11-06-19, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
What about the spots where you actually put your hands most of the time? Equalizing fit by handlebar clamp location is not necessarily a good approach, since different bars have different shapes and different amounts of reach. You may need a shorter stem.

I'm curious about the sharp bend on the handlebar ramps above the hoods, though. The sharp bends near the top of modern bars are there so that the ramps flow smoothly onto the hoods, but if the hoods are positioned too low on the bars, this exposes the sharp bend to your hands when riding on the ramps. Could you post a side photograph of the new bike?
Yeah, I always considered the position of the bars relative to the saddle to be a pretty good indication of fit for me, but this is the first bike I've had with STI shifters requiring I ride on the hoods most of the time so I apparently didn't consider that reach point enough. Typically I think I ride with my hands on the first curve of the bars (in the horizontal plane from the tops), which is where the new bars have a tight radius. See below examples (Nitto, left and indicative modern bars, right, with a tight radius from the tops around towards the hoods). I'll see if I can take some pics of the actual bike/s and post those.
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Old 11-06-19, 03:44 PM
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No comments on the size. I am fully aware of how big I am

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Old 11-06-19, 03:57 PM
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Your modern bike has too much reach with compact bars, and you want to change the bars out for something like the Noodle which has even more reach?

Either I dont understand the issue or you arent going the correct direction in terms of fit.
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Old 11-06-19, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sixer View Post
Typically I think I ride with my hands on the first curve of the bars (in the horizontal plane from the tops), which is where the new bars have a tight radius.
Oh, I see. You were referring to the bend from the tops to the ramps, not the downward bend from the ramps to the hooks where the hoods mount.

I guess you could look for bars with a wider curve there, or even just get a Nitto Noodle and use a 26.0-to-31.8 shim to make it fit the new bike's stem.

But I think what I'd really recommend is to reduce the reach of your fit (and/or increase bar height), so that it's comfortable to ride in the hoods or the drops. Most people find that the grip shape and wrist orientation in those positions is better for spending big miles in, and if they're comfortable, then you're able to get much better utilization of your bars. If the fit is so aggressive that you're only able to use the tops and upper curves comfortably, then you're not making much use of most of the handlebar.
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Old 11-06-19, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Your modern bike has too much reach with compact bars, and you want to change the bars out for something like the Noodle which has even more reach?

Either I dont understand the issue or you arent going the correct direction in terms of fit.
Two issues:
1. The radius where I prefer to rest my hands when not on the hoods is too tight. Is there a modern bar with a more generous curve a la the noodle?

2. Shifting/being on the hoods feels too far away. Are all integrated shifters' hoods this long and would you replace them or the stem knowing the flats are in the right spot)?
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Old 11-06-19, 04:48 PM
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I think you might be used to having the old ones putting all the pressure in the web between your thumb and pointer finger, and you're expecting the same from the new setup. Try relaxing your hands a bit and sliding them more towards you on the hoods. Modern cockpits have WAY more positions for your hands than the old ones, so don't trap yourself into riding your sweet new whip like your old one.

I rarely ride with my thumb web jammed all the way up against the end of the hoods unless I'm out of the saddle. My hands naturally rest with the first bone on my pointer finger (phalanx) resting lightly against the rise of the hood, and my palm straddling the transition between bar and hood (which should be flat).
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Old 11-06-19, 04:51 PM
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Also, when your hands are on the curve of the bar, how are you holding it? My hand flips from palm down (like holding a MTB bar) on the flats, to palm "up" (like when you grab the hoods) when it's on the curve of the bar.
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Old 11-06-19, 05:29 PM
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I'd give it some time- there's a good chance that it won't take long before you prefer the new set up.
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Old 11-06-19, 05:37 PM
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A couple of notes.

The new STI brake levers tend to do much better with a tight curve for the first curve. They may not even be recommended for bars like your Nitto Noodle.

The tight top curve allows the levers to come out right at the top of the bars much easier, rather than sitting somewhere in the middle.

The problem is a lack of choices of bars.

"Compact" (yours).
"Ergo" (less common today. Larger area, but tends to have sharp corners in all the wrong places.

I like to choose "aero" (flat-top) bars, but then am stuck with whatever geometry they come with.
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Old 11-06-19, 05:38 PM
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Doing a couple of "century rides" can do wonders with getting used to a new bike.
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Old 11-06-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The tight top curve allows the levers to come out right at the top of the bars much easier, rather than sitting somewhere in the middle.
A tight curve at the top of the transition from ramps to hooks does this. The OP is talking about the lateral curve from tops to ramps. Making this curve tight allows bars to have less reach, but it doesn't really affect how the hoods sit on the ramps.

Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
Modern cockpits have WAY more positions for your hands than the old ones
The specific hand positions can be a little bit different, and there are some changes in emphasis, but the overall breadth of available positions isn't much different. The biggest difference is that non-aero brake levers are good at being grip nubs but poor at being handrests, so on older bikes it can make sense to prioritize the drops more. Coupled with older bars typically having more reach and drop than the new stuff, this can mean using a more aftward and high stem clamp, and so the tops and phantoms can end up a bit less forward. But all the usual stuff still exists: tops, corners, ramps to hoods and drops to hooks, phantoms and sphinx-esque shenanigans, etc.
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Old 11-06-19, 07:39 PM
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Thanks for the input. I've only ridden it 150 miles so far, so I may adjust to it. I'm definitely not used to riding full time on the hoods so it is a mix of comfort and familiarity. However, I find there are fewer places to put my hands since I basically have to have them in one position to brake and shift, which now having more gears I find I also do more, meaning I move them (off the hoods) even less (maybe different on different terrain, but it's pretty much rolling hills or traffic where I ride, necessitating a lot of speed modulation).

I guess I'll keep my eye out for bars with a more generous curve paired with integrated shifters and consider trying a shorter stem since that means changing many fewer things than if I were to change bars or shifters.

Generally, though, considering I have large hands I'm surprised by the feel - completely having my hands on the hoods to feel ready to shift and maybe even more pressure on them as a result.

I'll experiment with hand position, including pulling my hands back to the point where the hood meets the bar, but to those who ride like that do you have to move your hand to reach the levers or do your fingers reach?
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Old 11-06-19, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
A tight curve at the top of the transition from ramps to hooks does this. The OP is talking about the lateral curve from tops to ramps. Making this curve tight allows bars to have less reach, but it doesn't really affect how the hoods sit on the ramps.



https://bike.bikegremlin.com/927/roa...and-positions/

Ok, so the tops to ramps curve has never been an issue for me, but I suppose each person has their favorite grip position. The length of the ramps and the length of the stem may be useful adjustments.

The Ramps to Hooks curve is an issue with the new brakes and riding on the hoods. It should be a tight curve for everything to fit nicely, and some brake brands may even specify the intended curvature. Anyway, it may be clumsy to use vintage bars with modern brakes.

The hooks being too tight can be a problem with some bar designs and large hands. Fast descents?

The hooks to drops transition can be a nice sweeping transition with the compact bars, but inevitably the "ergo" style bars have a harsh transition that is put in the wrong spot.

I'll dig around some of the spare bars I've picked up and see if anything looks interesting.
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Old 11-06-19, 08:00 PM
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Try riding in the drops/hooks a bit, maybe?

You can still brake and shift from there, but it's different than resting on the hoods where your only option to pull back and relax a bit is in that too-tight corner. From the drops, your relaxed-but-ready position is the hooks...
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Old 11-06-19, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sixer View Post
Two issues:
1. The radius where I prefer to rest my hands when not on the hoods is too tight. Is there a modern bar with a more generous curve a la the noodle?

2. Shifting/being on the hoods feels too far away. Are all integrated shifters' hoods this long and would you replace them or the stem knowing the flats are in the right spot)?
Not aware of a compact bar with a gradual bend from the tops to the ramps like the noodle.

If the hoods are too far away, either buy a new bar that is even more compact in reach, but a shorter stem, or both.

The whole idea of compact bars and modern levers is to have a flat transition between the short ramps and the hoods. This flat transition allows the hoods to effectively be what used to be the ramps on old bars.
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Old 11-06-19, 09:13 PM
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Your reach looks about right, maybe a couple centimeters too short. Definitely not too much reach. Your elbows should be bent a lot more. The modern bar/shifter arrangement favors a low position, which used to be achieved in the drops. The new position is faster. See the Numb Hands post for photos. The drops are now used mostly for sprinting. I advise against going with a more rounded bar shape. Modern bars and brifters are made to match each other and work well with modern hand positioning. For more photos, see Drop Bar Hand Positions: an Introduction

Note in the first paragraph:
Note that if you are dealing with a 1970s-80s roadbike (i.e. something like this), the shape of the original handlebars and brake levers will make some of the positions described here impossible.
Also note the little finger tucked behind the bars. I do that - safer that way. One gets used to it.
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Old 11-06-19, 10:37 PM
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What about the Ritchey Ergomax or Biomax bar series? (I have no personal experience with them, but saw some today and your thread came to mind...)

Such as these:
https://www.nashbar.com/ritchey-wcs-...08967?v=871878
https://www.nashbar.com/ritchey-comp...48182?v=482721
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Old 11-06-19, 10:57 PM
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Look at Soma Fabs “Highway One Bar”. About identical to the Nitto Noodle and has both clamp diameters.
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Old 11-06-19, 11:56 PM
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Modern ergo bars do not work for me. I hate that tight first bend. Does zero for me (and yes, I spend real time with my palms over the hoods and forearms over the bar behind and find that quite comfortably for long stretches without the "corner". In fact, my favorite bars are ones that share features of pista (track) bars with very generously rounded shoulders. One place the bars with hard corners really suck is doing sprints in the drops. Those corners give me bone bruises on my forearms. (And no, I do not race.. This happens when I accelerate out of lights.) In the drops, my hands love deep bars with near level bottom flats. For comfortable climbing I set my levers at around the most forward point of the HBs bend.

Bars I like: Nitto B115s are good. There was a run of road bars maybe 10 years ago that are pista-like in their shoulders. (No-name, but decent quality. Easy to find used in Portland.) I loved the Japanese bars that were exact copies of the TTT Superleggero of the '70s. (I raced that copy on my Fuji Pro. Set up my Mooney with the TTT they copied and put many miles on it. It now has the no-name bars.) The Japanese made millions of the TTT copy so finding used ones will be easy the rest of my lifetime. All the bars I like are bars you could have seen on racing bikes 50 years ago. (Well, not exactly but they would not have looked out of place.)

Edit: Second (or third or fourth) the 31.8 shims. Expands your choices a lot. Choose your bars to fit you; don't limit your choices to fit the bike!

Ben

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Old 11-07-19, 01:57 AM
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Your riding position looks fine, but it may take some time and a little physical therapy at home to get comfortable. Due to old neck, back and shoulder injuries I do a lot of stretching and strengthening exercises to stay in shape for drop bar road bikes.

When I switched my '93 Trek 5900 (early carbon fiber monocoque frame) from the original downtube shifters and aero brake hoods to brifters (well, MicroShift integrated brakes/shifters) it really stretched out the fit and was danged uncomfortable on my neck. I wanted the bike to fit like my '89 Centurion Ironman steel bike, at least as closely as possible.

I prefer the bars a bit lower than saddle height for better weight distribution. If I raise the bar to be initially comfortable on my neck it puts too much weight on my butt, which gets uncomfortable on longer rides. For me at least, setting the bar about an inch to three inches below saddle height feels about right.

I switched from the original 120mm stem to a 90mm (FSA), and from the Nitto classic curve drop bar to FSA Omega compact drops, which are nearly identical to the Soma Highway One but with wider diameter at the top for threadless. I like it so well I may get the Soma for my Ironman to replace the original WinPista.

Those compact drops reduce the reach from the tops to the hoods, and from the tops to the drops. It's a little less aero and aggressive but far more comfortable. Since installing the shorter FSA stem and FSA compact drops this summer I've ridden many rides of 20-50 miles, a few of 60-75 and one solo century at the end of September. No problems.

However as my conditioning and flexibility have improved I can actually see the front wheel hub over the top of the bar when I'm in the drops, so I might switch to a 100mm stem. It should be a reasonable compromise -- I already have the 100mm stem so it won't cost anything but the time it takes to make the switch.

***



Trek 5900 with classic Nitto drop bars. Those were fine with the original aero brake hoods, but too stretched out with the brifters and original long stem.


Shorter 90mm FSA stem and Omega compact drops. Reduced reach across the top and to the drops.


Shorter reach across the top compensates for the longer reach created by the brifters compared with the original aero brake hoods.


Same bike as it was up until a few weeks ago, with Arundel Synth Gecko bar wrap, double wrapped over generic black "cork" foam tape. I've since removed the Synth Gecko to use on another bike -- it's reusable, no adhesive, doesn't take a set, very comfortable and versatile wrap... if you don't mind neon colors.
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Old 11-07-19, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sixer View Post
Two issues:
1. The radius where I prefer to rest my hands when not on the hoods is too tight. Is there a modern bar with a more generous curve a la the noodle?

2. Shifting/being on the hoods feels too far away. Are all integrated shifters' hoods this long and would you replace them or the stem knowing the flats are in the right spot)?
1. You might look around on the webz.. eg. here's the shape of 3T's Superergo bar. You'll want to probably determine the reach built into your current modern bars and see if you can find something with less reach.

2. Not sure, but newer 105 groupset might be a bit more compact than the Tiagra, but then you have a bigger headache on your hands swapping everything for 11-speed. A shorter stem seems obvious to try. Of course this moves the tops of the bars closer to you if you tend to ride a lot with your hands there?
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Old 11-07-19, 11:25 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback, especially the bar recommendations and illustrations of hand positions. I'm used to riding old style bars with aero and non-aero levers or with no hoods (fixed), so there's certainly a learning curve here about hand positioning. I find the noodles very comfortable on the ramps (shoulders) and in the drops. I'm going to compare the two set-ups a little further before swapping bars, but I also found the Zipp SL-70 Ergo (swept back, flared) and the Deda Zero 100 Shallow (deeper drop) which look promising.
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Old 11-07-19, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sixer View Post
No comments on the size. I am fully aware of how big I am

New and old below:




Hi what is your saddle hight from bb on the Mercian ? thank,s
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