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Handlebars width - how far apart are your hands?

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View Poll Results: How wide are your (MTB type) handlebars
My hands are spread wider than my shoulders
10
45.45%
My hands are spread as wide as my shoulders
8
36.36%
My hands are spread narrower than my shoulders
2
9.09%
I use flat drop-down handlebars
1
4.55%
I use butterfly handlebars
1
4.55%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

Handlebars width - how far apart are your hands?

Old 09-10-21, 05:50 AM
  #26  
staehpj1
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I am a little surprised that I am the only one who at this point has answered that "My hands are spread narrower than my shoulders". Does everyone really either find that their bikes came with bars that allow a wider spread or they swapped bars for wider ones? All my bikes came with bars that were quite a bit narrower than my shoulders and I only ever swapped them if the shape of the drop didn't suit me. I think that only happened once. Maybe those who don't swap bars just weren't interested in the topic and didn't reply? Or am I just the odd man out on this?

FWIW, as I said I don't buy the opening the chest thing as making wider bars an absolute requirement. If you ride with properly bent elbows, it allows the upper arm to position in a way that opens the chest without the wider bar. Not saying wide bars aren't fine, just that you can "open the chest" without them.
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Old 09-10-21, 06:38 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I am a little surprised that I am the only one who at this point has answered that "My hands are spread narrower than my shoulders". Does everyone really either find that their bikes came with bars that allow a wider spread or they swapped bars for wider ones? All my bikes came with bars that were quite a bit narrower than my shoulders and I only ever swapped them if the shape of the drop didn't suit me. I think that only happened once. Maybe those who don't swap bars just weren't interested in the topic and didn't reply? Or am I just the odd man out on this?

FWIW, as I said I don't buy the opening the chest thing as making wider bars an absolute requirement. If you ride with properly bent elbows, it allows the upper arm to position in a way that opens the chest without the wider bar. Not saying wide bars aren't fine, just that you can "open the chest" without them.
morning stae, I suspect it's because it's very rare for bars to be narrow, for many years now. When I got a new dropbar bike, it was in 2010, and like I wrote, the wider bars (still only 42cm, but I'm not a barrel chested guy) just felt less restricted and more natural, partly from the steering aspect.

I would add that the wider drops on my 42cm salsa cowbells are really nice on a loaded bike, as I noticeably felt how on downhills in the drops I can zig zag around potholes easier due to the extra leverage, which as a bonus is really fun.

one day when I put the 46cm on that bike it will be interesting to see how they feel.
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Old 09-10-21, 06:41 AM
  #28  
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Perhaps you have wide shoulders. Looks like you ride drop bars. They are "supposed" to be shoulder width.

This being said, my butterfly setup had my hands very close to each other, not unlike riding on the tops of drop down. Felt comfortable and perhaps because I am not a fast rider, not bothered in the least by constrained breathing.
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Old 09-10-21, 07:41 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Perhaps you have wide shoulders. Looks like you ride drop bars. They are "supposed" to be shoulder width.
I guess I am wide shouldered, but I wouldn't have thought I was all that unusually so. I guess that since I am relatively short and prefer a frame sized fairly small for my height it means that they spec a bar that is smaller on the bikes that I choose.

There is a question of just how you should measure shoulder width. Full width to the outside of the shoulders? Only where the bone ends? At the AC joint? Full width doesn't seem right unless there is some deduction. I am not sure they even make road bars that would fit me by that metric and I am sure there are lots of guys much wider in the shoulders than me even if the typical cyclist isn't. I just checked and I'd need 56cm bars. That seems absurd to me. I just got back from a ride on my old mountain bike with dirt drops and they measure about 39 cm. I have a hard time imagining that I should be using bars that are 17cm (6.7") wider. The other measures seem a bit tricky to measure.

Should I be measuring differently? Applying a deduction. Maybe deducting an inch or an inch and a half for the thickness of the hand? That would at least get me into at least the higher end of standard sizes.

This is probably just an academic exercise since at my age I am unlikely to change my long established habits in this.

FWIW, I do have a flat bar MTB that has pretty wide bars and have no plans of cutting them down. I am inclined to leave all my current bikes that way they are in this regard. The only exception may be the folder whose bars I always hated. I may do something with them.
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Old 09-10-21, 01:15 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I guess I am wide shouldered, but I wouldn't have thought I was all that unusually so. I guess that since I am relatively short and prefer a frame sized fairly small for my height it means that they spec a bar that is smaller on the bikes that I choose.

There is a question of just how you should measure shoulder width. Full width to the outside of the shoulders? Only where the bone ends? At the AC joint? Full width doesn't seem right unless there is some deduction. I am not sure they even make road bars that would fit me by that metric and I am sure there are lots of guys much wider in the shoulders than me even if the typical cyclist isn't. I just checked and I'd need 56cm bars. That seems absurd to me. I just got back from a ride on my old mountain bike with dirt drops and they measure about 39 cm. I have a hard time imagining that I should be using bars that are 17cm (6.7") wider. The other measures seem a bit tricky to measure.

Should I be measuring differently? Applying a deduction. Maybe deducting an inch or an inch and a half for the thickness of the hand? That would at least get me into at least the higher end of standard sizes.

This is probably just an academic exercise since at my age I am unlikely to change my long established habits in this.

FWIW, I do have a flat bar MTB that has pretty wide bars and have no plans of cutting them down. I am inclined to leave all my current bikes that way they are in this regard. The only exception may be the folder whose bars I always hated. I may do something with them.
Here is a good article on how to properly measure your shoulder width for handlebar fitting.
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Old 09-10-21, 02:14 PM
  #31  
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That wasn't very clear to me (the video didn't play). Were they trying to describe biacromial width as shown here https://www.healthline.com/health/av...h#1988-to-1994
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Old 09-10-21, 05:02 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
That wasn't very clear to me (the video didn't play). Were they trying to describe biacromial width as shown here https://www.healthline.com/health/av...h#1988-to-1994
the video didn’t play for me either… it gave step by step instructions at the bottom of the page.

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Old 09-23-23, 08:21 AM
  #33  
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I just bought and installed a 55 mm riser handlebar for my hybrid bike , I purchased the 780 mm model amd have been moving the grips in in 10mm increments until it feels right. Then and only then I'll break out with the tubing cutter.
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Old 09-23-23, 10:01 AM
  #34  
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I've never understood the claim that narrow bars interfere with breathing. The aero bars I use with my drop bars have my elbows nearly touching. My breathing is unaffected.

Also, the UCI (the international professional bike racing organization governing, among other things, allowable dimensions of the bikes used by the pros) recently specified a minimum width of 36 cm for drop bars.

I doubt that the ruling was instituted to save racers from asphyxiating themselves due to restricted breathing.
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Old 09-23-23, 07:40 PM
  #35  
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I always build my bikes up with 44 cm bars. If you purchase a bike in a 55 or 56 size frame, they almost always come with 42 cm. I prefer them slightly wider for improved leverage and handling (and of course this is what I've gotten used to over the years, a bar slightly wider than my chest)
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Old 09-24-23, 06:13 AM
  #36  
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I have really wide shoulders and the new 52cm drop bars out are a revelation.
When I recently went back to my roadie with only 46cm I felt like I was wearing handcuffs.
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Old 09-24-23, 06:36 AM
  #37  
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Jones H Bar

Got rid of flat bars and went with Jones H bar. Comfort level way up.
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