If we are looking for a component for our most performing bicycle that is able to “file” some weight, one of the first parts to replace will be the handlebar.
But are we sure that the size mounted on our bicycle is suitable for us?
The choice of the handlebar is in fact closely linked to our anthropometric measurements. There are different handlebar sizes ranging from the smallest size 38 up to the largest size 44.
How to find the handlebar size?
To find the correct size we must refer to the width of the shoulders that goes from acromion to acromion (i.e. the final part of the spine of the scapula).
The choice of the width of the handlebar must therefore be as close as possible to the width of our shoulders so that these, once grasped the two lateral edges of the handlebar, are in a natural position.
Handlebar wider than our shoulders.
With a wider handlebar you benefit from the driveability of the vehicle. In some disciplines such as cyclocross, a slightly wider handlebar than the standard size is generally used, this to increase driveability and stability on bumpy sections. If we think of MTBs and the evolution of handlebars that have become wider and wider over time, we will understand the reason for this choice.
A handlebar that is narrower than the width of our shoulders, on the other hand, could reduce breathing capacity and make driving very nervous, compromising the general posture to the detriment of the shoulder blades, elbows and wrists.
It should be reiterated that in order to have a correct positioning on the saddle there are many elements to take into consideration. If you complain of pain in the wrists, shoulders or neck it is not necessarily the fault of the handlebar.
Therefore, to be sure of having the right positioning, it is advisable to always choose the correct size handlebar in order to benefit in the event of a biomechanical visit.
But how do you understand the width of the handlebar?
First of all, when we buy a handlebar model, the measurements are indicated by the manufacturer on the package. But if we wanted to measure the handlebar of our bike we will have to take the external part of the drops as a reference point (i.e. the lower part of the fold) and measure from end to end with a tape measure. The measurement obtained will be the size of the handlebar.
Lately some models may be wider in the lower part, therefore you have to understand in what position you pedal if in high grip or low grip and obtain the measures suitable for your riding style.
Drop and reach.
As we anticipated, the drop is the amplitude of the curve in the lower part of the handlebar, which is the one we hold when we are in a low bend. The higher the drop, the greater flexibility of the back we must have. We currently use compact folds or bends with a limited drop radius compared to the past.
Reach, on the other hand, is the width of the handlebar, which is the width we have from the horizontal bar of the handlebar to the brake stem. By positioning clockwise and counterclockwise we can change the distance of the brake lever