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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My backgound is with mountain bikes so I do not have experience with a road bike for comparison. Having said that, what are the pros & cons of each bar type? I realize this may be an individual preference but all opinions welcome.

Also, is the 31.8 stem clamp becoming the standard, or just a marketing flash in the pan?

tks,

Frank
 

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It's totally personal preference. For cross, you don't really spend that much time in the hooks, so it doesn't matter so much. I've found that you're not confined to one position in the drops with a traditional bend bar, you can hang on where ever is best for the situation. Ergo bars generally feel like they have one spot that is comfortable, and the rest is wasted space. I like shallow drop traditional bars. I think traditional bars look cool too.
 

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I find the opposite is true. Esp w/ bars like TTT morphs. As you can start to see, you'll get a LOT of varied opinions on this one;)
 

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Like what was already said, this is a matter of opinion. Not to contradict my fellow posters, but when racing I spend 99% of my time in the drops, including the technical bits, and I'm faster this way. But others might prefer to be on the tops using cheater levers.

I've been racing on ergo bend bars and I personally prefer them over traditional bars, but one thing I've learned to watch for is the depth/reach of drop bars. Too much of either, and especially reach, and your wrist will get banged up on the upper bend of the bar. So for me, the ideal CX bar is a shallow drop, moderate to short reach ergo bend. I also go wide, 44-46cm for width, as this gives you more leverage and control in the technical bits.
 

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the ergonomics of traditional vs. ergo bars are a matter of preference as previous posts indicate. i prefer traditional/classic bend bars for cross and road. not only do i feel like any position in the drops is equally comfortable but i also like having a longer straight part at the end of the bar. maybe some ergo bars have longer flat parts at the end (where the tape plugs go) but i haven't used one (deda newton, TTT something or other, ritchey wcs os).

from what i've seen and experienced it's quite common to spend almost no time in the drops when racing but as a previous poster points out, there are always exceptions.

if your bike is going to be used for more than racing and trail riding (riding road to/from the trails, bad weather road ride, commuting, etc.) chances are at some point you'll be interested in riding in the drops. that depends on how you transition from mtb too. depending on the fit of your cross bike and the drop/reach of your bars it may be an extreme position change to ride in the drops for any period...

if you're like me you'll start out with one and eventually try the other just to see. if you spend a bit of time on each it'll be clear which you prefer. it may just be my body but i'd recommend finding a bar with a more shallow drop and reach as it makes it more likely (for me) that i'll end up varying my position on my rides.
 

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"But others might prefer to be on the tops using cheater levers."

There's always the hoods! If you watch most pro crossers (euro and US) you'll see that these days most fast guys will spend the entire race on the hoods. It's the best all-round position for control on tricky parts, aerodynamics in a windy stretch, and out of the saddle coming away from a corner. The drops are for paved sections and sprinting at the end. The tops... I've found to be the least useful position. Therefore, I recommend finding a bar that gives you a comfortable transition from the hoods to the bar-shoulder, and a stem that puts this grip at the right distance for you since this is ideally where you should spend most of your time. Not trying to offend anybody here, I'm only speaking from experience and from a strictly racing perspective.
 

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I s#ck but I use the hoods. It's just natural, being a roadie and all...
 

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Kram59 said:
I find the opposite is true. Esp w/ bars like TTT morphs. As you can start to see, you'll get a LOT of varied opinions on this one;)
And my opinion about the 3ttt morphe is that it looks like deer antlers.
 

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wunlap togo said:
And my opinion about the 3ttt morphe is that it looks like deer antlers.
That's true. Even so, I sure liked the Morphe. I'm running a Magic bar (anatomic) and stem now, they fit my hands well.
 

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wunlap togo said:
"But others might prefer to be on the tops using cheater levers."

There's always the hoods! If you watch most pro crossers (euro and US) you'll see that these days most fast guys will spend the entire race on the hoods. It's the best all-round position for control on tricky parts, aerodynamics in a windy stretch, and out of the saddle coming away from a corner. The drops are for paved sections and sprinting at the end. The tops... I've found to be the least useful position. Therefore, I recommend finding a bar that gives you a comfortable transition from the hoods to the bar-shoulder, and a stem that puts this grip at the right distance for you since this is ideally where you should spend most of your time. Not trying to offend anybody here, I'm only speaking from experience and from a strictly racing perspective.

I know what you're saying is true, but personally...I'm in love with riding the drops, for racing and technical descending when trail riding. For me, it seems like I corner better in the drops, which allows me to put weight a little more down/forward on the front wheel. That said, I'm pretty sure you're my RL teammate and I know you're a heck of a lot faster than me, so perhaps I should try it your way.
 

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Midge Bars

I don't own a cross bike (yet) but have run drops on several of my mountain bikes and have found a very nice bar from on-one, the Midge (www.on-one.co.uk). It is more of a classic bar with very shallow flaired drops, a short reach, and is nice and wide. Just thought you might be interested in taking a look.
 

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Bell Lap

I have the bell lap on my cross bike and find that the reach to the brake levers in the drops is great. I am a smaller person so I am always stretching my hands in the drops on my road bike with ergo handlebars. Not a problem with the bell lap.
 

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i run the bell lap as well. was just out on the 'crosser yesterday after a period of riding the road (ergo bar with 31.8mm clamp) and mountain bike (rizer bar with 31.8). when not riding the bell lap, it's easy to think it's a little old fashioned and perhaps in need of replacement. the thinking goes like this: i'll get a wing bar for the road bike and then the newer ergo bar can trickle down to the 'cross. but, the bell lap is plenty stiff and has a great feel in several different hand positions. i see they have a newer version now with a 31.8 mm clamp size and it's still only 55 bucks at speedgoat.
 
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