Thursday, March 5, 2009

Comfort on a road bike- try 26.0 bars

I hopped on my custom road bike tonight and went to run an errand. The last bike I had been on was my faster road bike, the GURU. The custom bike has some cheap 26.0mm dia handlebars. The GURU has some oversized 31.8mm dia bars (which are also a size narrower). If you want to learn about handlbar sizes, read this from Sheldon Brown. I instantly noticed how much smoother the ride was on my hands. Both bikes are steel with a carbon fork. The custom frame had 25mm tires and skinnier handlebars. In order to test a theory, I twisted those suckers left and right. Sure enough, a lot more flex. Not only did the wider bars place my hands farther from the clamp, the smaller cross section also made them less stiff. Kind of like our friend up there on the diving board. Things get bouncier as you make it thinner and get closer to the end. (For more beam theory and less bikini, read this). Since I'm not sprinting to a Tour de France stage victory, that doesn't bother me much and it really smooths out the road. My advice to people shopping for a fancy shock busting Specialized Roubaix for more comfort on road rides? Try different handlebars. It may be a really cheap solution, and won't add much if any weight.

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