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Handlebars?

Old 10-09-19, 04:08 PM
  #1  
roadbikeChris
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Handlebars?

OK, there's no way I can ride with the current configuration. I am pushing 60 and need to be more upright. Looking for suggestions...I want to keep the current brake levers to save cost. Just not sure what to do or what is best.
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Old 10-09-19, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by roadbikeChris View Post
OK, there's no way I can ride with the current configuration. I am pushing 60 and need to be more upright. Looking for suggestions...I want to keep the current brake levers to save cost. Just not sure what to do or what is best.
Maybe something like a tall, shorter-reach Nitto Technomic?
You might find that you'll need a different saddle if you shift more of your weight back from where you are used to.
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Old 10-09-19, 04:40 PM
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A dirt drop stem is also a possibility. This pic is not mine, nor is the bike, found on the web.
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Old 10-09-19, 04:43 PM
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I actually moved the levers higher on one of my bikes and it helped me a bunch. But definitely shorter and higher stem, then adjust levers further up to give you a more comfortable support?
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Old 10-09-19, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by roadbikeChris View Post
OK, there's no way I can ride with the current configuration. I am pushing 60 and need to be more upright. Looking for suggestions...I want to keep the current brake levers to save cost. Just not sure what to do or what is best.
Kind of OT but any chance we could see your headtube badge/graphic? I like the look.
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Old 10-09-19, 04:48 PM
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And a set of interrupter brake levers - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N0CI7NM/ - in the appropriate diameter.
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Old 10-09-19, 04:50 PM
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The Nitto technomic is a good choice. You may find though that what you need is a taller stem but not a shorter stem (or at least not much shorter).

Also check out the Nitto Dynamic. Randonneur bars help also.

Here is a nitto dynamic on my Fuji Finest:

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Old 10-09-19, 05:15 PM
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Sometimes you might need more height but the Technomic is too much. In that case the Technomic Deluxe is your friend. I think it only comes in 26.0, but shims work if your bar is 25.4.
One thing to bear in mind is that because of the head angle, as you raise the stem, the bars get closer to the saddle. So if you go with a significantly taller stem and make it shorter, you might wind up too cramped.
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Old 10-09-19, 05:23 PM
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wow! Some really great observations!!!
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Old 10-09-19, 05:24 PM
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I had similar problems when I got my first road bike in 30+ years back in 2017 (a Centurion Ironman, standard 1980s road bike like yours). I had chronic pain and poor flexibility in my neck and back due to car wreck injuries several years ago.

At first I made lots of little changes to make the bike a little more comfortable. And I did lots of physical therapy at home and in clinics -- it's still a daily thing to improve or at least maintain my flexibility and strength. Between the bike and body changes I'm now able to use the drops for a minute or so at a time. On the hoods and tops, no problems on rides of 20-50 miles.

And I needed a better saddle. The 1980s style Turbo saddle and copies don't suit me. I need a flatter saddle, fairly narrow (130mm), longer nose and prefer a combination of moderate padding and flexible plastic shell. The newer Selle Italia and similar saddles work best for me. Being comfortable in the saddle affects my comfort on the handlebars as well, and vice versa.

Here's a fairly recent photo of the bike -- I think only the saddle has changed since I took this photo.

The major change was from the original 120mm stem to a 90mm. Much better. It did change the handling a bit so any stem change will require some adaptation. Usually shorter stems make the bike feel a bit twitchy at first. If you can see the front hub while in the drops or on the hoods, the stem is probably too short. If it's too long it will feel more stable but more stretched out which can strain the neck, shoulders, etc.

I also tipped back the original handlebars just a bit, so the bottom of the drops is no longer parallel with the ground. Nothing extreme and it puts my wrist in a more natural alignment.

I raised the brake levers/hoods back just a bit too. I'm on the hoods most of the time so this suits me. I adjusted the brake lever reach (via a grub screw under the points of the brake hoods) so the brakes are fully accessible from the hoods or drops.

The blue tape on the black stem is a makeshift witness mark indicating my previously lower stem height. After I was hit by a car (again) in May 2018, re-injuring my neck and shoulder, I raised the stem about 1/4" and found it more comfortable. I planned to lower the stem as my fitness improved but it works so well in that position I've left it as-is most of this year.

If you look at photos of professional grand tour racers in the 1950s-'60s they often tipped the brakes back so far they were flared out too far to reach the levers from the drops, with brakes that did not have levers with adjustable reach. But in that era the emphasis was as much on comfort as speed and power over the course of a three-week race, especially if they planned to participate in more than one GC race that season.



1989 Centurion Ironman. Mostly original with several minor adjustments to suit my comfort and (hopefully improving) conditioning after several injuries to my neck, back and shoulders.
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Old 10-09-19, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
Kind of OT but any chance we could see your headtube badge/graphic? I like the look.
Here you go!

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Old 10-09-19, 05:30 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Bianchi84 View Post
Maybe something like a tall, shorter-reach Nitto Technomic?
You might find that you'll need a different saddle if you shift more of your weight back from where you are used to.
Thats a really great point I hadn't considered.
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Old 10-09-19, 05:31 PM
  #13  
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I was thinking this was purely the handlebars but I can see now it might be more stem related.
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Old 10-09-19, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I had similar problems when I got my first road bike in 30+ years back in 2017 (a Centurion Ironman, standard 1980s road bike like yours). I had chronic pain and poor flexibility in my neck and back due to car wreck injuries several years ago.

At first I made lots of little changes to make the bike a little more comfortable. And I did lots of physical therapy at home and in clinics -- it's still a daily thing to improve or at least maintain my flexibility and strength. Between the bike and body changes I'm now able to use the drops for a minute or so at a time. On the hoods and tops, no problems on rides of 20-50 miles.

And I needed a better saddle. The 1980s style Turbo saddle and copies don't suit me. I need a flatter saddle, fairly narrow (130mm), longer nose and prefer a combination of moderate padding and flexible plastic shell. The newer Selle Italia and similar saddles work best for me. Being comfortable in the saddle affects my comfort on the handlebars as well, and vice versa.

Here's a fairly recent photo of the bike -- I think only the saddle has changed since I took this photo.

The major change was from the original 120mm stem to a 90mm. Much better. It did change the handling a bit so any stem change will require some adaptation. Usually shorter stems make the bike feel a bit twitchy at first. If you can see the front hub while in the drops or on the hoods, the stem is probably too short. If it's too long it will feel more stable but more stretched out which can strain the neck, shoulders, etc.

I also tipped back the original handlebars just a bit, so the bottom of the drops is no longer parallel with the ground. Nothing extreme and it puts my wrist in a more natural alignment.

I raised the brake levers/hoods back just a bit too. I'm on the hoods most of the time so this suits me. I adjusted the brake lever reach (via a grub screw under the points of the brake hoods) so the brakes are fully accessible from the hoods or drops.

The blue tape on the black stem is a makeshift witness mark indicating my previously lower stem height. After I was hit by a car (again) in May 2018, re-injuring my neck and shoulder, I raised the stem about 1/4" and found it more comfortable. I planned to lower the stem as my fitness improved but it works so well in that position I've left it as-is most of this year.

If you look at photos of professional grand tour racers in the 1950s-'60s they often tipped the brakes back so far they were flared out too far to reach the levers from the drops, with brakes that did not have levers with adjustable reach. But in that era the emphasis was as much on comfort as speed and power over the course of a three-week race, especially if they planned to participate in more than one GC race that season.



1989 Centurion Ironman. Mostly original with several minor adjustments to suit my comfort and (hopefully improving) conditioning after several injuries to my neck, back and shoulders.

OK, Hoods, Drops and Tops...its all Greek to me though I have an idea of what you mean.
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Old 10-09-19, 05:38 PM
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I am a bit older than you. I have the bars turned up a bit so the bottom of the bars aren't parallel to the ground like in the photo. It helps some. I am riding with my hands up on the hoods 99% of the time which helps a lot.

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Old 10-09-19, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Sometimes you might need more height but the Technomic is too much. In that case the Technomic Deluxe is your friend. I think it only comes in 26.0, but shims work if your bar is 25.4.
Actually, that looks like a Cinelli 1R stem which means a 26.4mm bar afaik. So you'd be looking at replacing both the stem and the bar since 26.4 was a Cinelli-specific size.
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Old 10-09-19, 05:44 PM
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Also, the Soma Highway One handlebar is among the few compact drop bars (shorter reach across the top, shorter drop between top and bottom grip area) available for quill stem bikes like ours. A friend put this bar on his 1980s Bridgestone road bike and they looked terrific -- just like the FSA Omega compact drops on my '93 Trek 5900, but with threadless rather than quill stem.

If I needed to make my Ironman more comfortable, that would be my next step -- the Soma Highway One bar.
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Old 10-09-19, 06:14 PM
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great old stereo equipment. Another passion of mine...
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Old 10-09-19, 06:15 PM
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i'll just echo what others have said....

try a taller stem, first. i found a schwinn super le tour for $5 i couldn't pass on....because dang...it's $5. i thought it was a 56cm, but turns out it's 57cm and i'm only a hair over 5'6. i really wanted it to work for me as a drop bar sports tourer and tried a few different set ups in hopes. to the point, simply raising the handlebars up to saddle level made a surprisingly big difference in reach.

yeah, i'm only 5'6, but long legged and have not quite a full handful of seatpost showing. the original SR quill wouldn't quite come up high enough so i swapped it out with a 90mm velo orange 17* positive rise cromo stem. it's sharp looking without looking quite as odd (to me) as an actual dirt drop. anyway, the original SR road champion bars still made for too much reach, so i swapped in some nitto m151 compact bars with 75mm reach. perfect

if i'd had or could swing the cost for a technomic i would have gone that route, though. the traditional "7" shape and all
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Old 10-09-19, 06:16 PM
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parallel to the ground?

Originally Posted by rjhammett View Post
I am a bit older than you. I have the bars turned up a bit so the bottom of the bars aren't parallel to the ground like in the photo. It helps some. I am riding with my hands up on the hoods 99% of the time which helps a lot.

parallel? fFrom the pic it looks like the bottom flats are i line with the top of your rear wheel, which is the way I set my road bikes up. Not 60 yet, but 55.
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Old 10-09-19, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by roadbikeChris View Post
I was thinking this was purely the handlebars but I can see now it might be more stem related.
Itís really both as a unit, because bars can vary quite a bit in terms of reach and drop. Ideally you would select the bars you want to use and then pick the stem that puts them where they need to be vis-a-vis the saddle. The saddle position should come first btw because its position is in relationship to the cranks, which of course canít move.
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Old 10-09-19, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Nu2Miele View Post
parallel?
I think he was referring to the OP's image.

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Old 10-09-19, 06:51 PM
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Just for starters, try turning the bars so the tops are parallel to the stem.

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You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

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Old 10-09-19, 06:58 PM
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Try yoga. A few folks in the 50+ forum are riding as low as ever.
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Old 10-09-19, 06:59 PM
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I had given away my Technomic by the time I got this bike so went with a quill adapter and a riser threadless stem.

Hmm...can't upload an image right now but the setup has given me about 2" of rise--more than available with other stems I tried-- that I really needed for comfort.

Copied one from the Bridgestones thread.


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