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2011 LHT Handlebar Upgrade - Crazy Bars or Truck Stop Bars?

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2011 LHT Handlebar Upgrade - Crazy Bars or Truck Stop Bars?

Old 01-11-22, 05:43 PM
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bigwies
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2011 LHT Handlebar Upgrade - Crazy Bars or Truck Stop Bars?

I have a 2011 Surly LHT (700c 56 cm) and I am looking at a handlebar upgrade. I only really ride on the tops and on the hoods on my current bike and would like to pick up another riding position for longer rides.

I am planning to ride the GAP from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD this year and this is one of my key decisions. I think both setups will work, but I would love some feedback about my two options.

The Crazy Bar option is more involved and requires new brakes and brake levers. I will be reusing my bar ends shifters if I go with this options and install them on the horns of the Crazy Bars.
Total Estimate ($285)
Velo Orange Crazy Bar ($110) https://velo-orange.com/products/crazy-bars-2
Ergon GP1 Grips ($40)
New Brake Levers ($25)
V Brakes/Mini V Brakes ($40)
New stem (31.8mm clamp size) $(40)
Handlebar tape ($30)



The Truck Stop options is pretty straightforward and only requires a new stem to accommodate the 31.8mm clamping surface on the new bars. My old bars/stem have a 26mm clamping area. I plan to re-use all my existing components with this option.
Total Estimate ($140 - $160)

Surly Truck Stop Bar - 480cm ($70) https://surlybikes.com/parts/truck_stop_bar
New stem (31.8mm clamp size) $(40)
Handlebar tape ($30 - $50)

Last edited by bigwies; 01-11-22 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 01-11-22, 07:18 PM
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I will weigh in . I do quite a bit of long distance touring. Usually 2-3 month long trips every year. I set my LHT up with the original CrazyBars and wouldn't use any thing else. It gives me a more upright position along with multiple hand positions. I use trigger shifters and v brakes.
So if you are planning to do more tours you might consider setting it up for comfort.
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Old 01-11-22, 07:33 PM
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I've been thinking about going the alt-bar route myself. I like the looks of this Koga Denham bar.

https://www.cyclingabout.com/koga-denham-bars/



The "horns" are a little shorter than on the Crazybar. You can compare their shapes on https://whatbars.com/
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Old 01-11-22, 07:35 PM
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Think about the change in your back angle, if you switch to flat bars that have a lot less reach from your saddle, you will sit up more upright. Maybe you want to do that, but maybe you don't. Some of that can be compensated with a different stem length.

A friend of mine used to have drop bars but never used the drops. When he set up a new bike frame for touring about eight years ago, he went with some bull horn type bars, they have very similar positions as the tops and hoods with drop bars. Note his bar end shifter positions.

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Old 01-12-22, 06:33 AM
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What are trying to accomplish? A more upright riding position? More control? Just want a change?
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Old 01-12-22, 08:11 AM
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Let's all be honest here, the only way for anyone to really know what bar setup they prefer is to put the dang things on and live with them for a while. Especially making small changes to get to where it feels best for you, and then riding a lot, including working up to riding day long rides like we do touring.

all this is pretty much why most of us have a box of old stems, old bars, old grips.....

Personally I prefer drop bars for touring, and the big advantage to the drop bars you're considering is how they will be higher. Don't be concerned about using a short stem and twitchiness, on my touring bike I have a 50mm and the bike handles wonderfully. My steerer is also long so bar height is nice and high.

I'd go the dropbar route first, figure out stem length, reuse old tape and if you don't like them, resell the bars. Easy peasy at low cost. Heck, buy a couple of used stems of different lengths if not sure.
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Old 01-12-22, 09:51 AM
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Thulsadoom
I guess my main goal is to get a little more upright riding position as well as have a 3rd hand position available for longer rides. I am a big guy (6'1" 320lbs) and trying to use the drops on my current set up is just not a real option. I actually attach my Bose Bluetooth speaker to the left hand drops right now, I feel like I have good control of my bike right now and I don't plan on doing any real trail/gravel type riding with my LHT.

djb
Thanks for the idea to re-use my bar tape. That will save me some $$$ short term and let me make sure I like my choice before picking up some new tape. Any suggestions on where to find used stems? Craigslist, LBS, eBay?

Tandem Tom I am thinking about doing additional tours, but I want to make sure I enjoy my experience on the GAP before I start planning any additional tours. The Erie Canal Trail is probably my second target if things go well this year. Also comfort is the big driver for me around this upgrade.

tyrion I was also looking at the Koga Denham bars, but I liked the looks and longer horns on the Crazy Bars a little better. Please let me know if you go with the Denham bars and how they work for you.

Tourist in MSN Your friend has an interesting set with those bull horns. If I go with the Crazy Bars my shifters will have a similar set up. I really liked the flashlight mount he is using there. Do you know where he got it?

Right now I am leaning towards the Truck Stop bars since it will be less than half the cost of the Crazy Bars when all the other changes are factored in. It is also something I am pretty sure I will be able to handle on my own.

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Old 01-12-22, 10:06 AM
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One of the things I like about drop bars is they give another body position.

I'm not as flexible as I once was. I was using the drops less and less. I switched to Soma Condor 2 bars. I found what I was looking for.
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Old 01-12-22, 10:30 AM
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tcs Those Soma Condor 2s look interesting. They look very similar to the Truck Stop bars, but with 20mm more rise. I will take a closer look at them. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 01-12-22, 12:12 PM
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Flashlight mount, not sure. He volunteers time at a local bike charity, it might have been donated. That trip was in Florida in Feb, thus early sunsets on that trip. At least one day we were still riding after sunset.

I found that I used the drops very little before I lost weight. But after I lost about 15 percent of my body weight, I started using the drops a lot more. At your weight of 320, I can see that leaning forward that far would be quite uncomfortable. Understand why you want a more upright position. Now I use the drops about a quarter of the time.
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Old 01-12-22, 02:04 PM
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Every person is unique in flexibility etc etc, and some bikes have lower front ends so hard to get bars higher up. Some drop bars also have shallower drops, and or drop position that is closer to rider.
My surly troll had an uncut steerer, so already my dropbars are high up, and the shape of my bars and short stem mean that I can comfortably use drops in head winds or to stretch my back a bit.
But that's me and what works for me.
My bike from side. I even moved the bars up one spacer after this photo was taken.

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Old 01-12-22, 02:15 PM
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I went thru a similar process this past fall. I've opted for SQLab handlebar + innerbarends + ergon grips

1. This setup is compatible with MTB shifters (rapidFire) and brake levers.
2. It provides two very comfortable and different riding positions. (a) slightly more open than shoulder width, palms facing down; (b) slightly less open than shoulder width, palms facing each other; it is also possible to ride with hands on the tops for a little while, hands (too) close to the stem.
3. No need for bar tape.

Comparing the various options is not simple. My understanding is that under normal circumstances, most setups will work. If/when you spend a considerable amount of time on a bike, things get a little more complicated, as there is probable case for being able to switch between comfortable positions. I emphasize comfortable because if the alternate position is not comfortable, I'll revert to the main position and eventually develop some kind of discomfort. Professional road cyclists use drop down bars and cover considerable distances, day after day. However, they do not routinely spend 12 hours a day in the saddle, do not care for comfort, and are not interested by the landscape. I would tend to think that a flat bar of some kind is more suited for touring.

Reading SQlab's blurb on handlebars ergonomics is interesting, but perhaps also a bit confusing as it is not entirely clear how much backsweep or rise will fit your style. My impression, so far is that a flat handlebar with some serious backsweep and innerbarends (very much like the Denham design suggested by tyrion) is the most promising. I prefer SQlab because their innerbarends can me rotated fore/aft and moved inwards/outwards whereas Denham's are fixed. The bullhorn design shown by Tourist in MSN is a reasonable alternative, but outerbarends will make it more difficult to position shifters that can be used in either position.
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Old 01-12-22, 03:40 PM
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and to further give you more opinions, I had a set of Jones H bars kicking around for years in my garage, taken off a bike and I hadnt really used them. This last summer I put them on my commuter so that I could live with them, and after spending months riding them and finding I really like the swept back hand angle (and using ergon grips too) I even put them on my fatbike this winter.

No, I havent toured on them or spent all day on them, but for slower riding and a more laid back feel, swept back bars are pretty cool.
I never would have known if I hadnt finally put them on a bike to actually live with over a reasonable amount of time.
Doesn't change my opinion that dropbars are the best for me touring, long days and day after day after day, but there's certainly a very good chance that these types of bars can be fantastic also for touring and general riding.

no right answer here is there?
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Old 01-12-22, 05:27 PM
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gauvins I actually had a third option that is pretty similar to what you suggested, but I let it out of my original post for simplicity.

Here it is.
Option 3
Total Estimate ($315)

Velo Orange Curvy Bar ($55)
Ergon GP1 Grips ($40)
Bar ends ($25)
New Brake Levers ($25)
V Brakes/Mini V Brakes ($40)
New 3 x 9 trigger shifters ($60)
New stem (31.8mm clamp size) $(40)
Handlebar tape ($30)
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Old 01-13-22, 08:40 AM
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Big guy, be aware that those curvy bars have no rise.
how about a photo of your bike from the side to show steerer height, because I know from lots of experience that getting your bars higher will make a real difference. My Jones bars are the ones that have a 2 inch rise, and I'm really glad they do, it makes all the difference.
I'm a skinny guy, you're nearly 200lbs on me, so higher up bars are imo a real priority for you. If your steerer was cut lower, there are those extender things that will bring your bars up about 3 or 4 inches. About 15, 20 bucks and could make all the difference.
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Old 01-13-22, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bigwies View Post
gauvins I actually had a third option that is pretty similar to what you suggested, but I let it out of my original post for simplicity.

Ergon GP1 Grips ($40)
Great grips, but the GP1 tends to become unpleasantly sticky after a couple of seasons. Apparently reacting to sweat. I've switched to the bioleder version which is as good as new, several thousands of kms later.
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Old 01-13-22, 09:39 AM
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Here is a picture of my bike. The steerer is uncut, so I do have some wiggle room to work with.


Also, I would love any feed back on adjustable vs. fixed rise stems. Have folks had good luck w/ adjustable stems?
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Old 01-13-22, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bigwies View Post
Here is a picture of my bike. The steerer is uncut, so I do have some wiggle room to work with.


Also, I would love any feed back on adjustable vs. fixed rise stems. Have folks had good luck w/ adjustable stems?
I have an adjustable on my folding bike, there is a bit of flex in it. But I will keep using it on that bike because I put a quick release mechanism on it so I can fold the bars down when I fold the bike.

Otherwise I would not recommend an adjustable. That said, if you have an adjustable, you can try out different options and then order a fixed one of the dimensions you decide you want.

I think the fixed one I have in the photo is 35 degrees, I think that is the highest angle they make.




You can get steerer tube extenders, there are a few different ones, this is an example:
https://www.benscycle.com/zoom-heads..._2824_sm2787/p
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Old 01-13-22, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bigwies View Post
Here is a picture of my bike. The steerer is uncut, so I do have some wiggle room to work with.
Also, I would love any feed back on adjustable vs. fixed rise stems. Have folks had good luck w/ adjustable stems?
steerer as it is is a huge advantage. Even as it is now, you could raise your bars about an inch, or whatever that top spacer is.
re adjustable stems, on friends bikes that have them, I've found them to be as others said, with a bit of play. But good suggestion to maybe use if you have no idea of what stem to use.
Keep in mind that bars that have rise and sweepback are going to bring your hands back a lot and up
The times I put different bars on and wasn't sure of stem, I just used existing stem to simply see how it was riding with that, and then had a better idea if a change was needed.

a good bike store should let you try different stems, they always have multiple lengths for people to try.

re tires and riding comfort, if you use tires as wide as your frame can safely take, riding comfort will be a lot better, and being a big feller, will make life easier on your wheels.
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Old 01-13-22, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post

I've been thinking about going the alt-bar route myself. I like the looks of this Koga Denham bar.

https://www.cyclingabout.com/koga-denham-bars/

The "horns" are a little shorter than on the Crazybar. You can compare their shapes on https://whatbars.com/
I have those bars. The bend is 25 degrees, which is about 5 too much (for me). But I have grips like the ones in the pic, and they let me rotate my hands inward enough to be comfy. While I have the grips like that, mine have tiny bullhorns, and I like those a lot.

I haven't gotten use out of the triathlete style extensions, but YMMV.
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Old 01-13-22, 01:45 PM
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I do like drops but honestly I really am loving my Koga Denham bars and probably would stick with those for any new touring builds. In that situation I would use trigger shifters because unfortunately using Paul Thumbies and your existing levers wouldn't work and I don't know that I want to use bar end shifters on the "horns" but that is me.

However in the end you have to weigh your options and what would work best for you.
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Old 01-13-22, 02:18 PM
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Denhams can't be found in my part of Canada, and even if available, I'm pretty certain I'd be looking at probably 200 bucks to get them from Holland to Canada, shipping, customs and all that jazz.

that's a lot for bars
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Old 01-13-22, 08:06 PM
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I was considering the Denhams and ordered Them over a year ago. They took so long with delay's to arrive that I went back to drop bars. before they arrived. I opened the box and took a look at them. If somebody wants them. I want what they cost me plus shipping. Let me know how to go about this without breaking forum rules and I will communicate with who ever.
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Old 01-14-22, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
steerer as it is is a huge advantage. Even as it is now, you could raise your bars about an inch, or whatever that top spacer is.
Yes if you want the height raise that last inch. Then also rotate the bars so the tops are parallel to the ground and move the hoods to compensate. I prefer my bars that way anyway. It would raise all hand positions some and some quite a bit. I'd suggest at least giving it a try before getting carried away with swapping stuff.
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Old 01-14-22, 07:36 AM
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As others have mentioned, you have a significant amount of adjustment in your current bars & shifters that would make things more comfortable. Your current setup looks really uncomfortable & makes me cringe a bit..at least for one of my bikes. Watch the videos below to better understand what folks here are saying.



On top of getting the bars/shifters set up better(rotate the bars up, adjust shifters) additional changes(as have been mentioned) can be made for more height (steeper angle stem $30) or simply replace just the bars ($50) with a compact set if you want to access the drops easier and/or shorten up the reach. Use https://whatbars.com/ to see changes. Reuse your tape after adjustments...tons of adjustment available for little to no money. Just rotating the bars up (clockwise) will get you much more upright.
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