Handlebar width/aerodymanics

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Anonymous's picture

"Have been pondering the issue of handlebar width.

If one already has a broad shoulders, how much aerodynamic (aerodymanic?) benefit does one get by using narrow bars?

I take a size 48 short suit and my ""fit kit"" specs a 46cm handlebar. Yet I tried a simple Maes bar of that width c-c and found it ponderous. The widened hand position (replacing a 38cm) also ""lengthened"" the top tube and rendered the bike un-rideable after ten minutes. (Look for a handlebar sale in the near future.)

Conversely (perversely?), am comfortable with the 38cm bar on a Schwinn LeTour with a slighty too long top tube. I'm in the drops 50+% of the time and my elbows are ""out"" but it's comfortable and I don't find my breathing to be constricted. The Schwinn has long chainstays and is pretty stable -- even out of the saddle.

Went to see the ""History of the Tour of Flanders"" movie last night and noticed how narrow the bars were on even burly cyclists.

Have been googling under phrases like ""bicycle"" ""handlebar design"" ""narrow"" ""road"" ""racing"" and not getting much useful on when handlebar design started getting wider.

Any comments/links on the subject?


PS> Have some Specialized touring bars on order -- 42cm at the hoods, flaring out to 48cm in the drops."

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Handlebar width

On several bikes I have handlebars ranging from 37cm to 42cm in width. The narrowest ones are on my commuter. They give me more confidence when weaving though tight Manhattan traffic. For out-of-saddle climbing, I prefer wider bars.

If you like narrow bars, you can get NOS ones on eBay pretty cheap.

Anonymous's picture
B. Dale (not verified)
Handlebar width

"Check out http://www.analyticcycling.com. They have lots of nice examples and even algorimths where you can vary your frontal area. Aerodynamic penalties are more severe at higher speeds; once you're moving in the mid-20s, 80-90% of your power is devoted to overcoming wind drag. In an extreme example, wind tunnel tests show that switching to aerobars will save 3-4 minutes in a 40K time trial at 28 mph."

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