Which Bars?

I don’t have any hand pain/numbness issues in general, so by and large, I can change handlebar type and height with impunity. If anything, changes provide for variety and different riding experiences. I love mustache bars for off-road and Jitensha bars for city riding, but I don’t like riding either for longer than 40 miles or so. Drops always seem to work and facilitate harder efforts. Albatross bars offer multiple hand positions, too. For a 7-day tour, I took out the Protovelo, which was wearing Albatross bars that I like to use for commuting. The Protovelo has a long top tube, and it ideally fits swept-back bars. In previous builds, even with an 8cm stem, I found the reach with drop bars feeling too far out there.

Riding with a buddy on the tour, I’d have to keep up, and drops seemed necessary. I pushed the saddle forward on the seatpost, set the bars even with the saddle, and took a test ride around the neighborhood. All felt well, although its difficult to see what it would be like over 80 miles. Low and behold, the bike felt perfect. I used my favorite drop bar – the Nitto 135 “Randonneur” in 45cm at the ends. I had multiple hand positions, the ability to cruise downhill in the hooks, and I could pedal hard to catch up to Dustin.

Albatross bars would have been fun if I was alone and took fewer miles per day. But I’m sure glad I left them at home for this adventure.



  1. Chris Kostman

    Glad this worked out, though you defied one of the major rules of bike fit, which is that the saddle should only be moved fore and aft to affect the position relative to the bottom bracket, NEVER relative to the handlebars.

  2. michael_s

    yea, Drops are the best for long tours. For some people, seat position isn’t that big a deal. I have to have mine as far back as possible even with 72d SA and 30mm of setback or major hip issues.

    My touring set up was going to be the same as yours with front panniers and some rear light loads.

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