Tuesday, January 4

Not Just an Italian Thing

Limon, at The Flat Tire, noted here and here that the drop bars on his new, Italian Bianchi were a bit narrower than some bars he experienced in the past. Well, he's not alone. Last August, in a post here, Rat Trap Press noted his narrow bars on his Japanese Takara. Finally, I concluded "enough is enough" and I decided to join the refrain and show a comparison of my wife's Nishiki Kokusai. Now to get them all in one post, I decided to shamelessly steal bandwidth and ask for forgiveness after the fact. So, for your viewing pleasure, are three bikes, all with narrow bars. First, shamelessly stolen from Flat Tire, is the new (new to Limon) Bianchi. He's not got the celeste bar tape fitted yet. Next up, shamelessly pinched from Rat Trap Press is the "as purchased" drop bar on the Kuwahara. Finally, proving even the really lazy occasionally have to take a photo, is my wife's Nishiki. Amost as interesting as the comparison of handlebars is the comparison of gloves. The Bianchi and Nishiki both are held by Specialized gloves, while the Takara is steadied by a Performance glove that looks like a virtual twin of the bottom glove.

BTW, I think my wife's bar might actually be the narrowest of the three. Either that or else the other guys just have petite hands. If y'all look carefully, you'll also note the advantage of taking the photo in North Texas in January by comparing the hairiness of the three arms.

Narrow Bars on Bianchi - Shamelessly Used Without Permission Ahead of Time

Narrow Bars on Takara - Shamelessly Used Without Permission Ahead of Time

Narrow Bars on Nishiki - Shamelessly Used in Conjunction With the Two Photos Above


Anonymous said...

The problem with these narrow handlebars is that it appears there is no room for squeaky animal bells.

By the way, I applaud your mentioning of where you sourced your photos - its a trait that I'd like to see happen more often.

Steve A said...

We thieves may be brazen, but it seems silly not to glory in it.

Seriously, squeaky animal bells would fit on the stem of each bike, which is how I mounted Kermit (because the clamp was too small to use the bar - I guess they figured only kids would appreciate a frog). Still, I'm reduced to looking for a good "auxiliary handlebar" for a new purchase I've not mentioned in this blog.

Velouria said...

So how narrow is narrow? It seems to me that most vintage roadbikes are found with bars that are around 38mm, no? My ideal drop bar width is 42mm (specifically the Nitto Noodle).

Steve A said...

The bars on my road and cross bikes are both much wider. I guess I'd have to measure them to know if they're 42mm. My Falcon bars (Cinelli) seem wider, but checking them again, they're not wider by as much as it seems when riding the bike. I may have to get ambitious and wander out to the garage to see what the bars are like on the "unloved bikes."

Anonymous said...

I think y'all are confusing cm with mm. 38 mm is about 1 1/2", 38cm is a more human shoulder friendly 15".

limom said...

Okay, your wife's bike wins with those Keebler Elf bars!
I have since switched to 42s, but the jury is still out as now they feel too big!
Boy, was I only going like 11 mph?
My image just took a hit.

Trevor Woodford said...

All of my bikes have 42cm bars.
Checking out the specifications for each bike it seems that the bar width fitted depends on the frame size.
For instance - I use a 56cm frame and my Felt Z1 specs show 51cm frame= 40cm bars / 54cm-56-cm frame = 42cm bars / 58cm frame = 44cm bars
Obviously you can fit whatever width and drop suits you best, but it's interesting to see how the manufacturers view it.
It does seem to be the case that older bikes and full race machines are fitted with narrower bars.

John Romeo Alpha said...

My 58cm frame came with 46cm bars, and they feel just right to me, but I have somewhat broad shoulders, and I believe my bike was sized more for comfort than speed. I don't like my flat bars to be much larger than that, though, which means I always end up cutting them down.

John Romeo Alpha said...

58cm frame came with 46cm drop bars. That came out more confusing than I meant it. I was just getting at, I wonder why they make flat bars so much wider than drop bars, typically. OT I guess.

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