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I have noticed that my Shimano hoods feel a bit more comfy if they are tilted toward the center a little. That is the way one's wrists are when you reach for the hoods, but I have never found any discussion about whether they should be straight or tilted some. Obviously, if the are too tilted inward, the brakes are a little tougher to get at from the drops. Thoughts??
 

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well since nobody else posted...

I'm no expert but I would think as long as it's comfortable for you then go with it. Unless they are at some drastic angle I can't imagine they'de be harmful to any joints or muscles slightly angled inward. I notice drastic differences in the forward angle on many bikes. I unwrapped my bar tape when I bought my bike and loosened the whole bar up. I ended up rotating the levers upward on the bar, the bar downward in the stem and flipping the stem so it pointed straight out instead of up like the shop had it. It hardly looks noticeable until you push mine next to another bike. Only then can you see my drops are horizontal, my levers are somewhere between 2-3 o'clock if veiwed from the side, lever/shifters only slightly angled upward.
 

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My 2 cents...

Honestly, if you are tilting them inward to make them more comfortable, Im going to go out on a limb here and suggest that your handlebars might be too narrow. Notice I said might, but if your handlebars are too narrow, then your elbows would typically be out, causing an unnatural angle on your wrist, thus, aligning the hoods with the angle, would definitely be more comfortable, especially as the rides get longer, or the roads are bumpier.

I could be wrong, there are people that have peculiar setups that are more comfortable. I just find it odd that if the bars were of the correct width, that the setup of wrists angled inward would be comfortable in the long term. However, if we are talking millimeters, there may not be that much of a difference. But personally, if my bike gets bumped in transport, or I get a new shifter and it is an nth of a degree off, I notice and it bugs me to death.
 

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Sure

I typically rotate my brake levers just a bit toward the center line of the bike. Whatever feels good to you is perfectly acceptable. No rules!
 

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Jeez, I wish we'd get over the One True Way mentality

Within pretty broad limits, set it up in a way that feels comfortable to you. Set EVERYTHING up that way.
For all the good that Lemond's and Lance's successes have done by increasing the public's awareness of cycling, one of the downsides is that the focus on racing has resulted in bikes and ideas about fit that aren't suitable to the mass of riders. Gearing is one area that's really gotten screwed up: I don't think one rider in 10 really needs a 53-11, and probably seven out of 10 could use a triple crank. Many people would be more comfortable, and thus stay on the bike longer and ultimately ride faster, if their handlebars were higher in relation to their saddles. There are all kinds of examples.
Set it up so it feels right. If you're unhappy with the look, as you work into shape and get used to the position, you can move back to the "right" way a little at a time. But there is no single right way.
 

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your hands naturaly want to go inward no matter how wide you set your arms.

try this...

relaxed, standing, eyes closed.

make a light girped fist holding a pen
slowly swing your arms forward
this should show you how wide your bars should be and your hands will have an inward angle.

You probably don't want to angle them all the way like that becaue when you are in the drops it will be harder to reach the brakes. but a little tilt might be just what you need.
try it little by little.

On the mountain bike side they've got the 'H' bar and 'Mary' bar that use this idea. I spoke to travis brown about his 'H' bar he was using on his modified trek 29" front wheel 26" rear. He loved the bar...
I'm yet to try it... others i know dig it too... great for out of the saddle climbing
 

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Give it a go!

I have mine set up that way, I like it pretty well.

If you look at a Shimano lever head-on, the levers angle slightly outward (in a vertical plane.) When I was setting up a new bar, I rotated the hoods slightly inward so that the bottoms of the levers were in line with the drops, rather than sitting outside of them. A pretty minor change, and I didn't do it for that reason, but rather as an "ergo" adjustment similar to what you are describing. I ride on the hoods much of the time, and began to notice that the first knuckle of the first finger was taking much of the load. Rotating the hoods inward allowed a more natural fit into my hand.

As for the thought of bars being too narrow and thus requiring this change, I don't think that's it. First, I'm certain mine are correct - too-narrow bars caused the refit that started me on this path. Second, look at the barends on a mountain bike. They bend inward in this manner, and no one would accuse MTB flat bars of being too narrow. Too wide? Maybe, but I tend to think this is strictly an ergonomic decision. As an example, someone with smaller hands than mine wouldn't feel the pressure (from the bulge of the shifting geegaws) and might not want to make the change. My old (pre-brifter) bikes have the hoods set up straight-on, with never a thought given to turning them in, but I've done it to every STI I've had. Haven't ridden Ergopower enough to form an opinion there, but I'm guessing I'd like them straight-on.

A previous poster said that having one bumped out of alignment makes him crazy, and that's right, too. But I think that's more about the imbalance between sides rather than the angle itself. It takes a little fiddling to get them set to an even angle, and until you get it right, it's just wrong. If some odd bump happend to move both equally inward, I'd be willing to bet that it would seem much less obnoxious (though very possibly still not something you'd like.)

So go for it! Takes 30 seconds to fix if you decide you don't like it - not even necessary to unwrap the bars in most cases.
 
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