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Bike-Fitting: Adjustment of Handlebar Position

Updated: Feb 21

After addressing shoe cleat and saddle position in our last two blogs, we now turn our attention to the final step of bike fitting – the adjustment of the handlebar position, influencing the back angle and reach.


Bike Fitting | bikefitting Zürich

Back Angle


The most efficient and sustainable position for a cyclist primarily depends on muscle flexibility. If muscles are shortened, resulting in limited flexibility, a more upright position is necessary. Greater flexibility allows for a flatter sitting position, offering aerodynamic advantages. However, an excessively flat position may lead to issues with the pelvis and sit bones, causing increased pressure in the perineal area. The adjustment of the back angle is highly individualized.


In Vélobsessive's bike fitting process, we consider individual flexibility to calculate a proposed position, which can be tested and fine-tuned on a simulator. Typically, the back angle ranges between 40° and 55° and can be influenced by factors like frame stack height, spacer setup, stem height, and stem angle.


Bike Fitting Back Angle
Back Angle

Reach Adjustment


The correct adjustment of reach depends on the rider's upper body and arm length. An overly wide reach, once again, affects the back angle and can lead to shoulder tension. At Vélobsessive, precise measurements are taken to calculate a proposal, which is then tested and fine-tuned on a simulator. Optimal reach can be measured through the angle formed by the hip-shoulder-wrist, generally falling between 75° and 85°.


Bike Fitting Hip-Shoulder-Wrist Angle
Hip-Shoulder-Wrist Angle

Handlebar Width


The handlebar width must also align with the rider's anatomical characteristics. While the formula "shoulder width equals handlebar width" was once accepted, recent trends lean towards narrower handlebars with an outward-flared design known as "Flare" drop bars. This design provides a broader hand position, enhancing stability and control. The natural hand position of the flare can reduce strain on the wrists and shoulders, particularly beneficial during longer rides. Simultaneously, the handlebar width around the brake levers is narrower, allowing for a more compact and aerodynamic position.


The individual customization of these elements is crucial for optimizing not only performance but also the rider's comfort and health. In summary, the bike fitting process at Vélobsessive underscores the significance of a holistic and individualized approach for a harmonious cycling experience.

 

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