Re: [CR]Narrow vs. wide drops

Example: Framebuilding:Norris Lockley

Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 11:11:16 -0600
From: "Mitch Harris" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Narrow vs. wide drops
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <>

The CONI text that was quoted in the other thread is, in "fact," an assertion. I'm not dismissing the CONI assertion but merely identifying it as such. One reason I don't dismiss it is that it sounds pretty sensible that wider bars might allow more breathing and I assumed they were right about that until I tried it myself, and at least for me it is not the case--perhaps for the reasons you mention. You refer to research CONI, and presumably others, performed that proved that wider bars allow you to breat better and I assume you are right that such reaserch was performed even though the quoted CONI text doesn't refer to it. I remember, too, reading about various research about this in the 80s. I'd be careful of using the word "fact" to refer to the results of testing and research though. Research evolves. One can say, however, that it is a "fact" that CONI's research resulted in the conclusion that wider bars allowed better breathing.

On 5/25/06, Brandon Ives <> wrote:
> Actually Mitch it's not just an assertion, it's a fact. I also wouldn't
> just dismiss the CONI tests shine it was an extensively researched progra m
> backed by the Italian government. Also back in the early-90s there was a
> bunch of research done about breathing and wider bars here in the U.S. I
> remember the conclusion was that wider bars let you breath better, period .
> Wider bars did also create a larger front for the rider creating more
> wind drag. The main benefits come from better leverage and comfort for
> most riders.
> The research was summarized in most of the cycling press at the time.
> Maybe someone on the list has the research handy and can post it for us.
> I'll ask the sports science guy at work and see if he remembers the
> study. I'll post again if I find out anything more.
> I think in your specific case- and my case and pretty much every body on
> this lists case- you're not riding to limits where a 5% loss in breathing
> capacity would be very noticeable. Personally I like to switch it up and
> ride all kinds of bikes with all kinds of bars. I can say that if I'm
> zipping around town on my fixie I like narrow. If I'm on a long ride or
> tour with hills I like wide bars.
> best,
> Brandon"monkeyman"Ives
> Coeur d'Alene, ID.
> > I tried narrower bars again a couple years ago when I had the perfect
> > model
> > bar for a (60cm) project bike, but the bar happened to be 38cm. I'm
> about
> > 6' with some breadth to the shoulders and have been told that the 42cm
> > bars
> > I'd been using for years were too narrow, that I need 44 or 46. So I
> > assume
> > d
> > that the narrow bars would feel very wrong, but be ok on a bike I seldo m
> > ride. First ride on that bike included long climbs and descents and I
> was
> > very comfortable in every way with the narrower bar. Out of the saddle
> > climbing was very nice, even preferable, with the narrow bar.
> >
> > One idea is that the narrower bar encourages you to bend your elbows a
> > little more and that's good for smoothing out the ride, maybe.
> >
> > By contrast, my wife who is petite and rides a 50cm frame prefers a wid e
> > bar, and recently found herself loving the 44cm bar I finally put on he r
> > on-topic Batavus Pro. Her arms do appear triangulated from the front
> while
> > she rides.
> >
> > The CONI assertion that wide bars are necessary to allow breathing if
> > you'r
> > e
> > stretched out on the bike is only that, an assertion. I don't find that
> to
> > be true in my case at all, and I prefer the position they describe as
> > requiring wide bars.
> >
> > Mitch Harris
> > Little Rock Canyon, Utah
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On 5/24/06, Daniel Artley <> wrote:
> >>
> >> To quote a certain vintage racing manual, The Rome Cycling '72 Coni
> >> Manual, "The cyclist must <<Love>> his bicycle". Whoops! That's one
> of
> >> the few quotes I really do remember, but the manual also spoke of bar
> >> width. Narrow bars only allowed the lungs to expand when a rider is
> >> arched over the bike. Wider bars opened up the arms when stretched ou t
> >> allowing for free-er breathing. I seem to remember the width was
> >> suppose
> > d
> >> to optimally be the width of the shoulders (wherever thats measured).
> >> Its been 30+ years since I've read that, so please don't flame me, but
> >> reading that is what drove me to spread out to a wider 40 cm, and wide r
> >> 4
> > 2
> >> cm Giro di'Talia bar. When I went to 44 cm on a tandem, that seemed o k
> >> for it, but wrong for me on a single and have since backed down to my
> 42
> >> cm optimum on road bikes if I can get them.
> >>
> >> Getting too many bikes (weren't we just talking about this?) means
> using
> >> my older parts bin, narrower Cinelli's rather than my more modern,
> >> snobbily inappropriate 42 cm other name bars. Another problem is
> always
> >> having been a devotee of barend shifters (Campy of course are the
> >> smoothest), many of my old classic bars are missing an inch to keep my
> >> knees from shifting while standing on the bike.
> >>
> >> Narrow bars sure were more inspireing to ride between narrow gaps
> >> between
> >> cars in those years I commuted in downtown Baltimore when I was young
> >> and
> >> fearless.
> >>
> >> Happy trails,
> >>
> >> Dan Artley, spread out in the country above Baltimore, MD
> >>
> >> Archive-URL: end
> > ez
> >> vous.10605.1113.eml
> >> Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 20:32:47 -0700 (PDT)
> >> From: Don Wilson <dcwilson3(AT)>
> >> Subject: [CR]Narrow vs. wide drops
> >>
> >> Ever since Aldo showed a pic of Bottechia and his
> >> narrow drops tilted downward, I've been thinking how
> >> comfortable and sleek he looked in the position he was
> >> riding in. His hand positioning seemed rather like a
> >> jockey on a race horse holding reins. And the
> >> narrowness of the bars seemed a virtue leading to
> >> comfort, dexterity and less wind resistance; at least
> >> less of all these than I see today with everyone
> >> riding with these extremely wide handle bars. I have
> >> tended to prefer wide drops myself. But I went out and
> >> adjusted a bike with narrow drops and a long quill to
> >> this position of Bottechias, slipped the brake levers
> >> up a bit, and liked it, despite being 6'2" tall and
> >> average shoulder width for that height. It seems that
> >> wide bars not only weigh more, but would create a
> >> bigger frontal surface to push through the air.
> >> Further, wider bars locate a persons hands and arms
> >> out wider when staying near today's integrated
> >> brake/shifter controls and enhance the sail effect of
> >> the body. Why are wide bars so much more in favor now?
> >> Or have they always been and I've just been around
> >> alot of bikes with narrow drops for small riders?
> >>
> >> Don Wilson
> >> Los Olivos, CA USA