Poll

What kind of bike handlebars should I get for commuting?

Add bar ends to existing flat bars
6 (50%)
Drop bars
3 (25%)
Bullhorn bars
1 (8.3%)
Trekking (or "butterfly") bars
1 (8.3%)
Something else (explain below)
1 (8.3%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Voting closed: July 22, 2015, 09:48:21 AM

Author Topic: Bike handlebars for commuting  (Read 6643 times)

Jack

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Bike handlebars for commuting
« on: July 17, 2015, 09:48:21 AM »
I'm getting ready to start bike commuting. My route to the office is about 6.5 miles, about 1/3 of which are hilly and the rest flat. My bike is an early-'90s Specialized Hard Rock (I can tell the age because of the cantilever brakes and Biopace chainrings), a 21-speed mountain bike with no-suspension and smooth tires. I'm perfectly happy with it, except for the handlebars. Should I just get bar-ends, or swap out the whole bar for something different (keeping in mind that I would like to reuse the same brakes and shifters)?

darkadams00

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2015, 10:59:03 AM »
For the bike you currently have, I would just add bar ends. If you were going for a different bike that would be equally suitable for a flat/riser bar or drop bars, then the question becomes a little more involved (for me). At any rate, given the distance you mention, the flat bar with bar ends should be sufficient. Also, in case you're seriously looking at drop bars for this bike, reusing the same brakes and shifters is not as simple as you might think (or even possible). Adding bar ends would be fine, and you definitely wouldn't need to worry about the brakes and shifters. FWIW, I ride 18+ miles RT each day on a bike with a flat bar and risers or another bike with drops--mostly rolling terrain. No problems riding either bike. Riding either bike is more enjoyable than driving a car.

vhalros

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 11:15:09 AM »
Replacing flat bars with drop bars is actually a pretty significant undertaking (you can't reuse the shifters or brake levers, brakes lines need replacing, would need to replace the stem to get the same handling, etc.), and doesn't usually result in a very good bike any way. If you want drop bars, you would be better off selling this bike and getting a bike/frame designed to have drop bars. Bar ends are an option though.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 11:17:22 AM by vhalros »

Jack

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 11:26:54 AM »
Okay, I guess I should mention that I only listed drop bars as a poll choice for completeness -- bullhorn or trekking bars were more what I had in mind. According to Sheldon Brown, trekking bars at least are typically the same diameter as flat bars. (I'm not sure what diameter bullhorn bars usually are -- obviously, ones made by taking a hacksaw to drop bars would be road-bike diameter, but manufactured ones may be different.)

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 11:56:13 AM »
I prefer drop bars, but it's very comfortable commuting with bar ends.  You can't swap flat for drop bars . . . the shifters and brakes that you currently have won't fit.  Butterfly/trekking bars should swap out without any problem.

I contemplated going with trekking bars on my winter bike for quite a while, but getting bar ends offers enough positions to be comfortable.

Slam

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2015, 12:02:03 PM »
What is it that you don't like about your flat bars?  Maybe you can just replace the grips.  Oury grips are really comfortable, and pretty inexpensive too.

http://www.amazon.com/Oury-Grip-121978-MTN-Red/dp/B00168BMAW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437155986&sr=8-1&keywords=oury+grips

KCM5

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2015, 12:07:18 PM »
Have you considered mustache bars (not just for the MMM cred)? I like that they're easy to sit up with but comfortable to lean on to get lower. Also, bonus point for being attractive.

2300

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2015, 12:16:39 PM »
After a long...long search I basically ended up with these:

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/components/handlebars/casey-crazy-bar-cromo.html


I actually got the version without the "bullhorns" attached because I actually had some bar ends that replicated the same thing and wasn't certain I always wanted them no (which I now know I do).

My issue was twisting of the wrists too much (aggravated cubital tunnel)on flat bars, but never ridden on drops.  This is a nice compromise as the bullhorns are similar to top of road bike and angled parts similar (but more comfortable) than normal flat bar.  My next step was an entirely new bike, but this did the trick for me at least.

Jack

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2015, 12:23:21 PM »
What is it that you don't like about your flat bars?  Maybe you can just replace the grips.  Oury grips are really comfortable, and pretty inexpensive too.

http://www.amazon.com/Oury-Grip-121978-MTN-Red/dp/B00168BMAW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437155986&sr=8-1&keywords=oury+grips

Well, the palms of my hands start to hurt after a while (especially if I don't wear gloves), but I think I want to be able to change my hand position too. As far as grips go, I feel like some of those newfangled flattened ones (like these) might be better than cushier circular ones.

The grip-cushion issue is one of the reasons I was considering changing out the whole handlebar instead of just going for bar-ends -- it seems like most bar-ends don't have any cushioned grips at all. I'm sure I could add grip tape, but it'd be kind of weird.

Matt_D

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2015, 12:34:58 PM »
I'd think about something like these: http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gp4

Bar ends are the cheapest/easiest option, so I'd suggest trying them first. You don't have to get the Ergons, but I figure the ergonomic grip for the "regular" hand position might help with some of what you're complaining about as well.

Slam

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2015, 03:04:04 PM »
Old worn down grips would hurt my hands too. 

+1 for the Ergon recommendation.  It's a personal preference, but I think that bar ends are super dorky.  If you need them, Ergon is the way to go.  But I would recommend the GP2, not the GP4.  The ends are shorter (less dorky) and the cost is $20 less.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2015, 04:42:40 PM »
The Ergon grips are very nice and would work great.  Bar ends were much cheaper though (I just wrapped an old inner tube around them to get rid of the road vibrations).

spokey doke

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2015, 07:48:32 AM »
I've had similar issues and have addressed then with a flat bar with a greater sweep angle, so that my wrists are straight.

I tried to ergon grips and hated them (and they didn't help with the wrists) and just replaced them with ESI Chunky's which are great for absorbing vibrations.

This is all on a '91 stumpjumper !
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 07:56:40 AM by spokey doke »

Jakejake

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2015, 08:05:24 AM »
Maybe different gloves would solve the problem? I'm looking at getting shock-tek gloves, designed by a neurologist/cyclist with carpal tunnel issues.

Matt_D

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Re: Bike handlebars for commuting
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2015, 06:53:18 AM »
Maybe different gloves would solve the problem? I'm looking at getting shock-tek gloves, designed by a neurologist/cyclist with carpal tunnel issues.

Not a doctor here... but anytime I've had issues, they've been caused by something else - not the gloves. Changing the gloves out is sorta like putting an ace bandage on... it'll help a bit, but it won't fix the problem all by itself. Things to look at:
- height difference between bars and seat
- distance between bars and seat
- angle (sweep) of bars
- position of other stuff on bars - brakes, shifters, etc. - and how that affects hand placement (e.g. are the brakes rotated too high, causing wrist to be too bent?)

I've found that if I can get everything set up right, then gloves aren't even necessary except to help with grip (and of course for the handy terry cloth on the back to wipe your face!).