How to Choose the Right Handlebars? (Width, Reach, & Design)

How to Choose the Right Handlebars? (Width, Reach, & Design)

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Choosing the right handlebar width, reach, and design can be a challenge for many road cyclists out there. Often neck and shoulder pain contribute to the design to change handlebars, so in this video expert bike fitter Neill Stanbury provides and overview of selecting the right handlebar, notably pinpointing drop bare for road cycling. Key talking points include, gape, reach, width and general design.

#Handlebar #bike #fit


  1. Elvira Catherine Talaoc on December 30, 2022 at 2:01 am

    Neil, please open a branch or shop here in San Diego CA.

  2. FC - on December 30, 2022 at 2:03 am

    For me personally, I am straight arms and it’s much more painful for me to go wider vs narrow. When i go wider and I’m on the hoods, my wrists tend to bend too much to the outside which leads to numbness.

  3. Andrew Bedford on December 30, 2022 at 2:04 am

    thank you Cam for arranging these videos and Neill has to be the most clear and understandable fitter on youtube!

  4. Geek Pharm on December 30, 2022 at 2:05 am

    Im a big dude 6’3 120kg FSA Omega Compact all the way-Aluminum, 42mm 80mm reach all day everyday

  5. Greg Knipe on December 30, 2022 at 2:05 am

    I don’t race!! no other source of up to date knowledge is out there, inviting new racing want to be’s to make the leap. thank you.

  6. Rod Brown on December 30, 2022 at 2:06 am

    He’s good isn’t he!

  7. peachmelba1000 on December 30, 2022 at 2:07 am

    I just bought my first dropbar bike, and tonight, after three days worth of riding it, I put a riser set on it. I just could not get comfortable on it. It seems to me there is no good ergonomic position to place the brake levers. For city riding in traffic, it feels unsafe.

  8. New England Dirt Roadie on December 30, 2022 at 2:07 am

    which ever bar that doesn’t have internal cable routing is the BEST bar !!

  9. Joseph Acosta on December 30, 2022 at 2:07 am

    Not sure if this would be feasible, but Neill should offer remote bike fit appointment packages over Zoom – especially for those of us far away, like across the ocean. 🙂

  10. Mandy O on December 30, 2022 at 2:10 am

    What about flat bars? Yes, some of us use them.

  11. Alex Morgan on December 30, 2022 at 2:10 am

    The Cycling Wizard.

  12. shredneck on December 30, 2022 at 2:11 am

    3:33 is swag on 3000%

  13. glenn oc on December 30, 2022 at 2:13 am

    I’ve got a carbon 42 3t ergo bar on a bike from a few years ago now. Very stiff but comfortable.

  14. Kenneth Borromeo on December 30, 2022 at 2:13 am

    Is this the same concept with mtb?

  15. Styxx the Animal on December 30, 2022 at 2:14 am

    OMG i just got measured and i need a 44, wide bar

  16. MrScarrface13 on December 30, 2022 at 2:17 am

    What is the net weight of this bike?

  17. Draculapin on December 30, 2022 at 2:22 am

    great video. you can tell he really know what’s he’s talking about. No BS, slow talking, confident. perfect

  18. grxyfxar on December 30, 2022 at 2:25 am

    Does wider give more leverage while dancing out of the saddle when climbing?

  19. Michael Singh on December 30, 2022 at 2:26 am

    Hi Neil, im curious of stem lenght, with bike handling what size stem would you start from?

  20. Bike Dawg on December 30, 2022 at 2:26 am

    I think it would be the other way around—if in doubt, go narrower, not wider. Both my shoulders are wrists had a hard time on 40cm bars in which two bike fitters recommended. I eventually changed to at 38cm and feels just perfect with no stress on wrists or shoulders. The best thing to do is try riding with different widths and not use a static measurement to decide

  21. 船舶デイズ BoatingJapan on December 30, 2022 at 2:27 am

    This guy is the only one who talks about bent elbows (8:06), I think he may be the best around. Every one else just says shoulder with from A to B and away you go. I have pretty bent elbows so I bought some really narrow flare bars 330 at the bend and 410 at the drops to replace my 420s. It sounds extreme but when I hold my arms in a natural position my hands are only 270mm apart and my thumbs rest inward (kind of like when holding a stearing wheel)so I am thinking these bars may be just the thing to help me not get numb hands and a stiff should. If I lived in Oz I would get a bike fit from this guy, I think he knows his stuff. Tell you how it goes when I fit them and go for a ride (if your interested).

  22. Doug Miller on December 30, 2022 at 2:30 am

    I think for me the reach is very important as I reach to the hoods as my fastest position. Adding an extra centimeter to the reach is the same as adding an extra centimeter to the stem when I am on the hoods (most of the time)

  23. Eric Marcelino on December 30, 2022 at 2:32 am

    can he answer some questions here too?

  24. Bonjovi Bulauitan on December 30, 2022 at 2:32 am

    Any tips for newbee to sprint on Drops? I feel like im going outbalanced when i try sprinting on drops as i sway.

  25. Vi-L on December 30, 2022 at 2:33 am

    Not gonna lie, I chose my handlebars based on being attached to the bicycle upon its purchase.

  26. Sir Prizse on December 30, 2022 at 2:35 am

    Changed the stock 42 cm Bontrager 100 mm bars on my Trek in exchange for a 40 cm Specialized Short Reach 65 mm and it makes a huge difference. I saved a yard of reach and changed the 90 for a 105 mm stem and get much better access to the STI levers in the drops now…

    I personally like to ride narrower bars, although my shoulder width measures 43 cm.

  27. Allan Phillips on December 30, 2022 at 2:35 am

    If a narrow bar could be a problem, why do ultra-endurance cyclists use aero bars without issues? Those must have an effective width of about 12cm.

  28. Civan LFC on December 30, 2022 at 2:36 am

    Would you recommend the Deda Elementi Zero100 RHM bars?

  29. 2 wheels r best on December 30, 2022 at 2:37 am

    Another great video Cam. I could listen to Neil’s advice 24/7 as he is so knowledgeable.

  30. Daniel Hall on December 30, 2022 at 2:37 am

    I think what’s left out of the conversation about deeper, traditional drops, is that the bars were never slammed and were much higher, along with lower seat height, stretching the rider horizontally to get aero, not extremely downwards. It was not an uncomfortable stretch, in fact, the position facilitates you spending most of your time comfortably in the drops with hands close to the brake levers and the downtube shifter being automatically reachable(the secret of mastering shifting downtube shifters on a vintage bike, ride in the drops). The drops were usually somewhere that riders sit in the hoods today.

  31. Uumske on December 30, 2022 at 2:38 am

    bought a Trek Emonda ALR recently and didn’t feel OK; turns out Trek installs 100mm reach handlebars ☹️… my previous bike was a Canyon with 70mm reach; most brands are 70-80mm reach

  32. Jan Solis on December 30, 2022 at 2:39 am

    What’s Neils’s watch?

  33. Stephen Tait on December 30, 2022 at 2:41 am

    when measuring the drops do you us centre to centre or the top of the bar to the bottom, thanks

  34. Антон Геращенко on December 30, 2022 at 2:42 am

    Great stuff.

  35. Odiemann O on December 30, 2022 at 2:42 am

    Cam and Neill – This entire series is SO helpful. After 20 years out of the saddle, doing my part to raise our kids – your series has helped me get back in gear and setup. Can’t say enough about this. It is such a positive resource. Wish I lived in Australia to buy you both a coffee. Realistic advice and results are coming. Fan-f-ing-tastic!

  36. Adam Kubiak on December 30, 2022 at 2:44 am

    Again great video. Wonderful cooperation.
    As for the oval top bars.
    I used to love them, but when I want to find the right position in the drops, combine that with the right position of the hoods, I find it difficult to keep the plane paralel to my hands.
    So I end up feeling "sort of" on a slide.
    Roud top bars save me from this reason.

  37. Junker on December 30, 2022 at 2:45 am

    Love your content and these bike fit episodes are priceless. Expert advice! One question… I keep seeing these wooden Viking boat bike stands on the set background. What are they and where can they be had? Thanks!

  38. Mark Edwards on December 30, 2022 at 2:48 am

    Great stuff!

  39. Bruce Mcintyre on December 30, 2022 at 2:49 am

    Thank you for guys – been using 44cm for years now and realised my arms are converging – might need to go for 46 next time or even 48? Wide shoulders. 188cm/105kg guy with a 198cm reach (yes stupidly long arms).

  40. Jin KX on December 30, 2022 at 2:50 am

    The valgus elbow explanation was so spot on for me and I could never figure out why 36cm c-c bars felt so much nicer to me (I’m just naturally curious so experimented with various bar widths). My shoulders and lats felt like they can comfortably relax more.
    Fyi, my shoulder measures 41cm and I got a 42" chest. Never had difficulties breathing when doing harder efforts.

  41. Mike Mann on December 30, 2022 at 2:51 am

    I guess I’m only person using 44 cm bars lol

  42. Chris Strobel on December 30, 2022 at 2:52 am

    “the hoods feel much better these days” yeah maybe if you have big hands, but I prefer the feel of my old early 80’s Campy or Dura-Ace 7400 hoods over my modern Shimano 9170 hoods .. my 9170 hoods are just too fat and I feel like I have less control of the bike out of the saddle, and the wide 9170’s will cramp my hands after a while .. but I have pretty small hands for a guy. To each his own I guess. Great discussion 👍

  43. Andrew Orphanides on December 30, 2022 at 2:53 am

    Great tips well done thank you

  44. Luuk on December 30, 2022 at 2:55 am

    What are your thoughts about the new Speedco Handlebars?

  45. James Gage on December 30, 2022 at 2:59 am

    Neil mentions frontal shoulder pain, I get discomfort at the back of my shoulder. I’m assuming thats caused by something different? If so, What!?

  46. ShadowzKiller on December 30, 2022 at 3:00 am

    I had lower back issues forever and always though it was due to cleats, q factor, or saddle issues. Turns out that even though my shoulders are slightly over 42cm my elbows have valgus angles so now I use a 38cm bar and no lower back issues anymore.

  47. SSR Suspension on December 30, 2022 at 3:00 am

    Hey guys, yoj did not go into stem length?

  48. rod jonsson on December 30, 2022 at 3:00 am

    This is great fit advice. However, I had Ergonovas at one time and found the hand angle in the drops becomes awkward when you have to get on the brakes hard and repeatedly – on long technical descents. The deep drop bars are much better for this and you can descend with much more control and confidence. I have found shallow drop bars that are slightly flared work well too.

  49. z1522 on December 30, 2022 at 3:00 am

    Modern hoods extend a good inch or more farther than old simple brake levers, and fit near level across the top of bars, the far more ergonomically improved setup; but this almost necessitated the evolution of shorter reach bars, to keep from overextending on the hoods.

  50. DEXVD on December 30, 2022 at 3:01 am

    You mention normal hand size go with a shallow, short reach bar. What if you have small hands. I am a small dude and wear like an XS glove. Is there something beyond shallow drop, short reach that would be better for me?