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Spin Diesel
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 6'2 and ride anywhere from a 58 to a 63 frame depending on manufacturer, problem is I have unusually long legs for a guy my height (almost a 36inch inseam) so I tend to have bike fit issues because finding a bike with a tall enough seat tube for my legs usually means I end up with a top tube that stretches me out a bit too much. And while I can usually remedy this by playing around with the stem size I'm starting to wonder if I need to look into getting a smaller handle bar as well.


I got this idea because I recently sat on a friends bike which is considerably smaller than mine (50), and while the bike was obviously not my size I really liked how much more snug the smaller handlebar felt. It seemed to me like I would have better control and be more comfortable at high speeds than I do with my current bar


Although he's much shorter than I am, we've got about the same shoulder width (44) and I'm pretty narrow for a guy my height.
What is the general rule of thumb on handlebars? I've been told I run the risk of not being able to breath properly with too small a bar but I also heard your bar should be same width as your shoulder, if this is the case, his bar is a 44 and would be the right size for me . Any input on this would be greatly appreciated, thanks
 

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"It's alive!"
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I don't know if there's a general rule of thumb. Everyone has there own comfort zone.

I'm 6'6" with 37" sleeve. I was riding 42cm bars, but they were definitely too narrow for me. I recently switched (back) to some 50cm bars, which feel a bit too wide at this point, but I'm going to give them a few months to see if I adapt to the point where I really like them.

If they still feel too wide, I think I'm going to try a set of 46cm Noodle bars from the Rivendell catalog. They look way, way comfy, and I like the idea of a flat, horizontal section all the way to the brake hoods.

Good luck!

FBB
 

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I wouldn't pay attention to someone elses rule of thumb. If it was comfortable and felt good then that's really what counts.
 

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When I was fitted by the fit master ( i wion't list his name...but it's in CT) he explained that handlebar width is important b/c it allows you to BREATHE correctly. Too small and the chest cavity is constricted and too big can cause many different issues. Makes sense to me...:)
 

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Two more thoughts.

Simply basing handlebar width on the ability to breathe is fine for commuters and tourists. But time trial riders will tell you that narrower is faster, regardless of what it does to their breathing. So if you're at all interested in speed, you need to compromise and go with a bar that lets you breathe, but also doesn't slow you down.

If you race, another consideration is bike handling in a tight pack. A 50 cm bar might feel great as you're going down the road by yourself. But trying to move up through a tight pack at 28 mph, a bar that wide could cause you some problems.
 

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Whatever works for you, but I sure like my 50cm bars

I'm 6'4" with a 37 sleeve (can't remember my shoulder width), and when I built up a singlespeed a couple of years ago I ordered some clearance-page 50cm bars from Nashbar just to get the thing on the road. Turned out I liked the wider bars so much I ordered another pair for my Atlantis, and now I've got 48cm bars on my Rambouillet, too. If you're comfortable with the narrower bar, certainly use it. But nearly everybody about our size who's tried my bikes has liked the fit.
 

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Cory said:
I'm 6'4" with a 37 sleeve (can't remember my shoulder width), and when I built up a singlespeed a couple of years ago I ordered some clearance-page 50cm bars from Nashbar just to get the thing on the road. Turned out I liked the wider bars so much I ordered another pair for my Atlantis, and now I've got 48cm bars on my Rambouillet, too. If you're comfortable with the narrower bar, certainly use it. But nearly everybody about our size who's tried my bikes has liked the fit.
Have you ever tried the 46cm Noodles? I've heard real world feedback on them from "the wee folks," but never anything from giant freaks like you and me.

Thanks,

Forbes
 

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Moderatus Puisne
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Um, 42 or 44.

There's also the confusion that some mfr's measure C-to-C, others outside-to-outside, which yields about a 2cm difference. If you look on most vendors' sites, you'll usually find 42, 44, 46 for sale, not much else.

As a side note: when I see lots of 70's / 80's unmodified road bikes 'round town, their bars all seem VERY narrow, compared to modern ones, at least at the "hoods" area, but many flare outward with the drops. What's up with that?
 

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Resident Dutchbag
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Scotty2Hotty said:
Not to get too off-topic, what's the stardard width most bikes come with, 42?
Depending on framesize, smaller bikes get shorter stems, narrower handlebars, shorter cranks etc. 42 seems to fall neatly in the middle for handlebars, so yes, 42 is the answer. ;)
 

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Handlebar width is dictated by the width of your shoulders, not your reach. What you want to do is find a set of bars with a shallow drop, and without a lot of foreward sweep. Cyclocross bars come to mind, but road bars come in all different shapes, and you could probably find a pair that worked for you with a little investigation.
 

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Argentius said:
Um, 42 or 44.

There's also the confusion that some mfr's measure C-to-C, others outside-to-outside, which yields about a 2cm difference. If you look on most vendors' sites, you'll usually find 42, 44, 46 for sale, not much else.

As a side note: when I see lots of 70's / 80's unmodified road bikes 'round town, their bars all seem VERY narrow, compared to modern ones, at least at the "hoods" area, but many flare outward with the drops. What's up with that?
Modern bars are a trade off between aerodynamics and giving you room to breathe, the old school bars are more aerodynamic but, as they restrict natural breathing a little more, less desirable. As for the flaring, I haven't a clue.
 

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fbagatelleblack said:
Have you ever tried the 46cm Noodles? I've heard real world feedback on them from "the wee folks," but never anything from giant freaks like you and me.

Thanks,

Forbes

I have 48s on my bikes. I think the noodle that I own is a 48 too. I love the noodle for two reasons. It is comfortable and it is strong.

I wear a 48 coat size and feel comfortable on 46 and 48 bars.

The general measurements for bar size is across your chest to the points on your shoulder.

If you wear a 44 coat, go with a 44cm c-c bar if it is comfortable. That is probably the right fit for you if you were fit for a bar by the standard method.
 

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I'm 6'3" w/ 45cm wide shoulders and have a 44cm c-c bar which I find percect. I've heard that the general rule of thimb is to have your bar the same width as your shoulders, and that works for me, but you should try out a few, maybe test ride a fe bikes at your LBS trying out different bar widths.. just get what's comfortable for you
 

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Spin Diesel
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the feedback guys

I think I will start out with a 44 and see how that feels, thanks again
 
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