Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
LittleGreyCat
Posts: 351
Joined: 7 Aug 2013, 8:31pm

Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 19 Jan 2019, 4:21pm

On my new (yeah, I know) bike I have come across an unexpected issue.

With the drop handlebars it is easy to chuck it into the back of the car (don't remember it being this easy with a flat bar bike but I will check).
This saves all the hassle of lifting it on and off the roof.

However when the bars are folded at right angles the bar end just touches the underside of the top tube (cross bar) and as it settles it gets forced under the top tube deforming the bar tape and padding.

Well, OK, alter the angle of the drop bars so that they either hit the top tube or go under with a bit of clearance.

Which leaves me with a choice, but no idea what is the correct setup, and what the implications are of moving the bars so the hoods go forward and down or back and up.

I am still wondering about the setup of the brake/gear levers because braking from the hoods I don't get a good grip down the length of the levers (hands too high) but braking with my hands under the bars on the drops I don't get a good grip (hands too far down the levers).

I think that if I turn the bars so the front goes down then I would get a better brake grip when on the drops. Not sure if it works the other way, though.

So how do you decide at what angle you set the bars?

It is possible, of course, that I need to move the brake levers to a slightly different position on the bars (disregarding the bar end under the frame issue). This would be a pain because it would require the removal and re-applying of the bar tape.

All these issues I never came across on a flat bar bike.

Oh, the bars are as high as they can go on the tower of spacers, as far as I can tell.

pwa
Posts: 9025
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby pwa » 19 Jan 2019, 4:26pm

Do you take the front wheel out when you put it in the car?

LittleGreyCat
Posts: 351
Joined: 7 Aug 2013, 8:31pm

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 19 Jan 2019, 4:32pm

pwa wrote:Do you take the front wheel out when you put it in the car?


No.

Apart from wrestling it out of the disc, I also have a front dynamo so this would require disconnecting and reconnecting the wiring going to the ride and coming home.

drossall
Posts: 4365
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby drossall » 19 Jan 2019, 4:36pm

Bikes fit into most cars. Have you tried permutations such as removing wheels, or turning the bars in the opposite direction, so that the brake levers point down instead of up, if you see what I mean?

Edit: sorry, cross-posting on the removing wheels bit, ignore that.
Last edited by drossall on 19 Jan 2019, 4:46pm, edited 1 time in total.

pwa
Posts: 9025
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby pwa » 19 Jan 2019, 4:43pm

LittleGreyCat wrote:
pwa wrote:Do you take the front wheel out when you put it in the car?


No.

Apart from wrestling it out of the disc, I also have a front dynamo so this would require disconnecting and reconnecting the wiring going to the ride and coming home.

Ah, the disc makes a difference. More chance of damaging it if you keep taking it out.
I would try to adjust the bars so that the end doesn't contact the frame. One way or another. If possible.

Bar angle is personal. I like the area behind the lever hood to be level or slightly rising from back to front, with the lever hood top rising a little. I tend to angle the top of the hoods in a degree or two. I think it suits my wrists better that way. What works best for you may be different.

landsurfer
Posts: 4332
Joined: 27 Oct 2012, 9:13pm
Location: Rotherham

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby landsurfer » 19 Jan 2019, 5:00pm

pwa wrote:
Bar angle is personal. I like the area behind the lever hood to be level or slightly rising from back to front, with the lever hood top rising a little. I tend to angle the top of the hoods in a degree or two. I think it suits my wrists better that way. What works best for you may be different.


+1 .. I set my bar position up and make a mark in the anodising to allow me to set them if disturbed during transport ... or if they move during riding, .. Enough of a mark to allow easy re-setting .. but not enough to become a stress raisor.
RSF.
Audax UK.
What if there were no more hypothetical questions?

The road goes on forever.

pwa
Posts: 9025
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby pwa » 19 Jan 2019, 5:07pm

Unfortunately this is one of those cases where you have to say "you don't want to start from here", in the sense that it is easier to sort this stuff out before the cables and tape have been installed. I ride up and down my street with no working brakes, levers provisionally attached to naked bars, and carry out minor positional adjustments until it all feels just right. Only then do I put the cables in and tape up.

Boogaloo
Posts: 55
Joined: 25 Nov 2016, 12:54pm
Location: Sunny Suffolk

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby Boogaloo » 19 Jan 2019, 5:42pm

As far as I am concerned the bars should be set for comfort first. If you ride mostly on the tops it doesn't really matter about the angle. If you prefer riding on the hoods then angle and brake lever positioning are far more important. I think it's generally accepted that the bottom part of the drops should be angled parallel to the ground and that the brake hoods should be set horizontally providing a flat surface from bar to hood. Unfortunately bars differ in shape and people differ in what they find comfortable so I would say angle the bars to a position you find comfortable, It may be necessary to remove the bar tape to allow you to move the levers to a more suitable position. As suggested by pwa it can help to ride without bar tape for a bit.

landsurfer
Posts: 4332
Joined: 27 Oct 2012, 9:13pm
Location: Rotherham

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby landsurfer » 19 Jan 2019, 5:48pm

I never ride on the drops ... ever .. ever .... i have thought of cropping the bars below the brake hoods .... there are so many positions available without the drop position ...
RSF.
Audax UK.
What if there were no more hypothetical questions?

The road goes on forever.

mattsccm
Posts: 2473
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby mattsccm » 19 Jan 2019, 6:53pm

Hate to say it but bars touching frame is an issue that is irrelevant really. The correct position for riding is what matters and if you are lucky that they miss the bars then well done.
Or you compromise. Compromises rarely are perfect.
Most drops are meant to have the lower reach horizontal or damn close. Maybe pointing down at the rear a gnats whisker.
The set the brakes at the optimum for use. Nowadays with integral gear changing this means that the hoods provide a horizontal line that goes straight and smooth into the line of the bars. That allows almost everyone to reach the brakes and gears from the drops, the optimum riding position.
Variations based on personal preference, especially if you want to misuse the set up by being really different, are just a matter of compromise. You may be happy with a theoretical poor set up. It may even be good for you. That's handy but as with most things in cycling there is a "correct" way, largely dictated by the manufacturers and your most effective body position. Many of us mess with that (I do) but it doesn't make it correct.
If these constraints create problems then the answer is to find alternative products. E.G very flared bars often work best with the drop steeply sloped so that the hands sit snuggly in for a secure riding position.

mattsccm
Posts: 2473
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby mattsccm » 19 Jan 2019, 6:55pm

Moving brake levers is no hassle. Undo the tape to the lever. Move it and re-tape. 10 minutes plus and riding around finding the perfect position.

iainb
Posts: 391
Joined: 16 May 2008, 9:56am

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby iainb » 19 Jan 2019, 7:10pm

Best if they clear the top tube altogether I would say.. A few years back I saw someone have a low speed fall on their nice 531 frame, bars came around quickly and put a dent in the tube. I checked mine and they were the same, dropped the ends of the bars a couple of cm!

flat tyre
Posts: 434
Joined: 18 Jul 2008, 1:01pm

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby flat tyre » 19 Jan 2019, 8:01pm

Moving the handlebar angle could create more problems than you are trying to solve. It's best to set the handle bar angle at the same time as fixing the position of the shifters and before you have attached cables, bar tape etc. That way you can ensure that you can reach the brake and shifter levers from all riding positions, (i.e. tops, hoods and drops), make sure that the handle bars don't contact the frame and that there is sufficient slack in cables and outers to give full steering movement. Having said that it might be possible to make a small change to the bar angle and still maintain a position that works, if you do this it's best to check that you can reach the levers to work the brakes in all riding positions and check that you still have free movement of the bars before going out on the road.

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 4390
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby foxyrider » 19 Jan 2019, 8:03pm

There is one very simple thing you can do, adjust the stem stack. Yup, you almost certainly don't need the bars at the top of the stack so pop into your local LBS and get the stem dropped by a spacer thickness. Problem solved. :D
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

PH
Posts: 6593
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Angle of drop handlebars - how to set?

Postby PH » 19 Jan 2019, 9:19pm

For transport - just get a bit of foam pipe lagging or similar and add it either to the top tube or the end of the bar before loading.
For position - it'll be a bit of trial and error, or you might be one of those lucky people that find anything comfortable, either way I wouldn't base the position on the transport requirements.