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Handlebar position questions ?

Old 09-12-22, 07:26 PM
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1964Supersport
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Handlebar position questions ?

Someone posted some very informative information in regards to drop bars. I read a great deal of it last night and tried some adjustments today on my bars and brake levers. I'm posting a picture of where I have the bars now. With this position I can ride on the hoods and use the brakes. In the drop position I can just barely reach the levers. I don't feel like I can move the levers down any. By doing so my arms would probably lock and I would get the wrist bend that I read can cause wrist strain. You will notice the bars are turned slightly upwards. I'm wondering what effect it would have if I moved the bars downward and moved the brake levers upward to the same position they are in now. Thanks for your comments.
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Old 09-12-22, 07:36 PM
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It's bike fit. You appear to have a stem that's too long and that generation of bar doesn't look right with the angled position. Maybe the levers could slide up a little higher to get closer. See if there's room to slide the Brooks forward as well.

If you're going to stay all original, you'll have to start looking for a shorter stem. How short is a complicated question.
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Old 09-12-22, 08:11 PM
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Those levers..... don't look right. They look like the lever arm, relative to the body, is in the position that would be for a lever with a release that's been opened, as if for wheel removal. That's gonna make the reach too far no matter what. Can you get a close-up photo of one of the levers from the front?

You should be able to find brand/period correct levers that don't require so much reach.
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Old 09-12-22, 08:28 PM
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Those bars need to be rotated downward probably 20 degrees almost to the point where the bottom of the drops are almost parallel to the ground (about 10 degrees short of parallel). Those look to be Weinmann calipers and levers, but I guess I didn’t realize how much they standoff from the bars. A more modern brake lever would be much closer to the bar overall.

Once you rotate the bars, you look to have an inch or so to move the brake levers up towards you to the point where the hoods will pretty much be parallel to the ground and comfortable for your hands.
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Old 09-12-22, 08:44 PM
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Here's a better explanation of post # 3, pictures tell it better:


This is where one would expect the levers to stand off, relative to the bar.



This is about where your brake levers stand off relative to the bar. This is with the release opened.

Shoot, I should have taken shots from the front as well, to better illustrate. It may even be that those levers were designed for the safety ("turkey") levers (like what you see above). If so, that would stand off the arms even further.
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Old 09-12-22, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
It's bike fit. You appear to have a stem that's too long and that generation of bar doesn't look right with the angled position. Maybe the levers could slide up a little higher to get closer. See if there's room to slide the Brooks forward as well.

If you're going to stay all original, you'll have to start looking for a shorter stem. How short is a complicated question.
I'm a little confused when you say I have a stem that is to long. Everything is original, I am the original owner and no one else has had this bike. I was a very young boy when I got the bike. The bike shop could have made adjustments to accommodate me.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by gkamieneski View Post
Those bars need to be rotated downward probably 20 degrees almost to the point where the bottom of the drops are almost parallel to the ground (about 10 degrees short of parallel). Those look to be Weinmann calipers and levers, but I guess I didnít realize how much they standoff from the bars. A more modern brake lever would be much closer to the bar overall.

Once you rotate the bars, you look to have an inch or so to move the brake levers up towards you to the point where the hoods will pretty much be parallel to the ground and comfortable for your hands.
Thank you for your explanation, I'm sure learning a lot from this forum. You are correct I have the original Weinmann calipers and levers. One thing I have been doing is probably totally wrong. I have a habit of pressing the release buttons. I put new kool stop brake pads on and thought they were awfully close to the rims unless I pressed the release buttons. In the morning before I ride I will rotate the bars down just short of being parallel to the ground. I will also raise the levers and see how things feel. I don't want to put my new tape on until I get my adjustments right. I was also thinking about cleaning my bars up with some 0000 steel wool. They haven't seen daylight in almost 60 years. When I took the original tape off it was no surprise there was no padding, strckly cosmetic.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Here's a better explanation of post # 3, pictures tell it better:


This is where one would expect the levers to stand off, relative to the bar.



This is about where your brake levers stand off relative to the bar. This is with the release opened.

Shoot, I should have taken shots from the front as well, to better illustrate. It may even be that those levers were designed for the safety ("turkey") levers (like what you see above). If so, that would stand off the arms even further.
Your pictures look just like mine, thank you for posting.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Those levers..... don't look right. They look like the lever arm, relative to the body, is in the position that would be for a lever with a release that's been opened, as if for wheel removal. That's gonna make the reach too far no matter what. Can you get a close-up photo of one of the levers from the front?

You should be able to find brand/period correct levers that don't require so much reach.
Those are the original Weinmann, yes they have a release. Without realizing what I was doing was wrong I was pressing the release leaving them open giving my new Koolstop pads more clearance.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:39 PM
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Good looking Super Sport you got there @1964Supersport. You took good care of it. I like the Sky Blue paint. I don't think there were too many Super Sports that came in Flamboyant colors like that.

I'm hoping that you get the fit dialed in for you and you can continue to ride it. It looks like you can slide those brake levers up toward your body a little more. It is hard to judge because it looks like the brake lever is in the position to remove a wheel.

It can be tough for some of us older guys to use dropped bars. If the dropped handlebars don't work out you can try an upright or other type of bar that gets you in a more comfortable position.

I have dropped bar bikes, however, I am tending to use my upright bar bikes more often nowadays. When I do ride the dropped bar bikes 80 to 90% of the time have my hands are on the hoods or tops. So, then I think, who am I kidding with these dropped bars. I am almost never down below the brake levers. Well, my mind and my bikes are still a work in progress.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Good looking Super Sport you got there @1964Supersport. You took good care of it. I like the Sky Blue paint. I don't think there were too many Super Sports that came in Flamboyant colors like that.

I'm hoping that you get the fit dialed in for you and you can continue to ride it. It looks like you can slide those brake levers up toward your body a little more. It is hard to judge because it looks like the brake lever is in the position to remove a wheel.

It can be tough for some of us older guys to use dropped bars. If the dropped handlebars don't work out you can try an upright or other type of bar that gets you in a more comfortable position.

I have dropped bar bikes, however, I am tending to use my upright bar bikes more often nowadays. When I do ride the dropped bar bikes 80 to 90% of the time have my hands are on the hoods or tops. So, then I think, who am I kidding with these dropped bars. I am almost never down below the brake levers. Well, my mind and my bikes are still a work in progress.
I agree with what your saying, going on 68 I don't care much for the dropped position.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Good looking Super Sport you got there @1964Supersport. You took good care of it. I like the Sky Blue paint. I don't think there were too many Super Sports that came in Flamboyant colors like that.

I'm hoping that you get the fit dialed in for you and you can continue to ride it. It looks like you can slide those brake levers up toward your body a little more. It is hard to judge because it looks like the brake lever is in the position to remove a wheel.

It can be tough for some of us older guys to use dropped bars. If the dropped handlebars don't work out you can try an upright or other type of bar that gets you in a more comfortable position.

I have dropped bar bikes, however, I am tending to use my upright bar bikes more often nowadays. When I do ride the dropped bar bikes 80 to 90% of the time have my hands are on the hoods or tops. So, then I think, who am I kidding with these dropped bars. I am almost never down below the brake levers. Well, my mind and my bikes are still a work in progress.
I agree with what your saying, going on 68 I don't care much for the dropped position.
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Old 09-13-22, 12:01 AM
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If you need more clearance for the brakes, adjust the cable at the straddle hanger (the triangular gizmo above the brake caliper), rather than use the lever release.
I agree the stem looks pretty long, and those are rather reachy bars as well. Too long or too reachy, I can't say, but the difficulty you are having getting comfortable seems to suggest it's not an optimal setup. Perhaps it was fine 50 years ago - most of us shrink a bit and lose flexibility as we age.
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Old 09-13-22, 03:39 AM
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I have found that , depending on frame geometry, stem length and bar angle can vary. These subtle differences can make the same bike comfortable, or not. I have some bikes that need a shorter stem than others , usually depending on the length of the top tube. That bike looks to have a longer top tube relative to the size of the bike. At my age, I try to shorten the cockpit more and that seems more comfortable. Like you , I’ll be 68 next month and ,although I’m still riding at least 80% of the time in the drops , I sometimes need to shorten the stem on a couple of bikes to maintain comfort. It is not the same for every person or every bike, but when you find it you will know it!
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Old 09-13-22, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 1964Supersport View Post
I'm a little confused when you say I have a stem that is to long. Everything is original, I am the original owner and no one else has had this bike. I was a very young boy when I got the bike. The bike shop could have made adjustments to accommodate me.
Whether the stem & bars are original is beside the point when it comes to fit. Fit is determined by individual physiology. Stock stem/bar choice by the manufacturer is determined by overall bike design, intended use, 'average' physiology of the expected buyers and/or what was available at the time for the price-point of the bike. No amount of tweaking the bar angle and brake lever position will make you comfortable if the stem & bar reach just too long. There are purists who would disagree (Originality must be maintained at ALL COSTS!! ), but if the bike is to be a 'rider', there is no C&V shame in swapping out the bars and stem for a setup that fits you better!
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Old 09-13-22, 05:17 AM
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My comfort zone has the top of the bars nearly flat, since I ride the hoods or top of the bar most of the time.
The brake levers are positioned with the tips of the lever in the same plane as the flats of the drops.

For me, having the bar rotated with a downward slope to the levers is not comfortable and I have had a couple of moments of panic when my hands slip forward. In additon, the angle of the hoods actually help keep my hands from going over the top. That happened to me once when I missed seeing a speed bump and face planted.

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Old 09-13-22, 06:38 AM
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I can't imagine riding a bike with the brake levers pointed skyward, but I see that all the time here--sometimes worse that what the OP has. My bar ends are parallel with the ground, with the tips of the brake levers on a level plane with the bottom of the bars. Riding on the hoods is completely comfortable.

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Old 09-13-22, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 1964Supersport View Post
I'm a little confused when you say I have a stem that is to long. Everything is original, I am the original owner and no one else has had this bike. I was a very young boy when I got the bike. The bike shop could have made adjustments to accommodate me.
If the stem is comfortable to you, it's not too long. I wouldn't pay any attention to someone who gives you sizing advice without seeing you on the bike.
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Old 09-13-22, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 1964Supersport View Post
I'm a little confused when you say I have a stem that is to long. Everything is original, I am the original owner and no one else has had this bike. I was a very young boy when I got the bike. The bike shop could have made adjustments to accommodate me.
Bike fitting is a big subject and it changes as we age. My 1965 Super Sport was comfortable for me when I rode it when it was new and I was 18 but it doesn't fit me well now. There are 3 dynamics in play in bike fitting that are in competition with each other. That is why it is an art form and one can't just measure themselves and use a formula to find the right fit. Those factors are aerodynamic efficiency, biomechanical efficiency and comfort. Most studies that have been done involve trying to make a rider go faster. However what makes you go faster may not be comfortable. As we age we most likely get fatter and less flexible and as a result sit more upright. That usually requires doing 3 things. Raising and shortening the stem and then moving the saddle back to compensate. Moving the saddle back is what helps take your weight off of your hands. It is unlikely that the components on your SS can be repositioned to a place that is perfect for you to ride in the most comfortable position now. In fact there are bicycles that would work better for you than your wonderful Super Sport. The question that arises is how far on this journey do you want to go? Your SS can probably get you somewhere in the ball park but there are better options if you get serious about wanting to bike for health and fitness. There is however no cooler made bicycle made in America in the 60's than your Super Sport. And in its condition very rare (although unfortunately not valuable).
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Old 09-13-22, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
I can't imagine riding a bike with the brake levers pointed skyward, but I see that all the time here--sometimes worse that what the OP has. My bar ends are parallel with the ground, with the tips of the brake levers on a level plane with the bottom of the bars. Riding on the hoods is completely comfortable.

And this looks wrong, ergonomically inefficient, and uncomfortable to me. But Iíd also guess we have different riding styles. Everyoneís equation is different ó so to each their own.
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Old 09-13-22, 07:57 AM
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I think the op should consider flat, riser or Northroads bars for more comfort and stopping power. Just keep the original bars around to give to me when I n+1 / time it.
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Old 09-13-22, 08:18 AM
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My experience is that old school brake levers were never designed to point to the heavens, you are asking for it to work similar to how a modern lever would. Modern brake levers/shifters are designed to point upward while maintaining a relatively flat plain in line with the top of the bar with the actual lever remaining within reach while in the drops. This is accomplished with proper ergonomics in mind in order to be able to actuate the brakes while riding the hood or down in the drops. Older styles are just not designed for this and when you get one to work in one dimension, they typically do not work so well in the other. Compared to modern brake lever/shifter combos, they have a rather narrow area of operation, some better than others. Those that the OP has are not as easy to setup as say a late 80s Dura Ace lever. Just my opinion through many years of cockpit setup experience. YMMV as always.
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Old 09-13-22, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
I can't imagine riding a bike with the brake levers pointed skyward, but I see that all the time here--sometimes worse that what the OP has. My bar ends are parallel with the ground, with the tips of the brake levers on a level plane with the bottom of the bars. Riding on the hoods is completely comfortable.

this is a proper setup for non-brake/shifter combo levers and I try to setup all of my bikes exactly like this. I have no problem riding in this manner, either in braking or comfort, and Iíve done some long rides and setups just like this. To see a bike like this with the lever pointing skyward either through placement on the bars or through rotating the bars up, makes me nauseous, LOL. To each their own, but not for me.
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Old 09-13-22, 01:31 PM
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Glad you got the brake lever handlebar thing sorted. Now tape your bars and finally break in that saddle . (In 1973, we pointed the drops at the rear derailleur.)
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Old 09-13-22, 01:50 PM
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Go to a bike shop and sit on some of the bikes and take note of the position of the brake levers on the handlebars. You may need new brake levers to get what you need.
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