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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've been riding standard alloy road bars on my gravel bikes - 40 mm TTT shallow drop with a flattened oval tops with a slight flare in the drop section. I find these bars very comfortable , especially riding on the tops or hoods, but just OK in the drops. I've been thinking of trying some gravel specific bars like the Salsa Cowbell 3: https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/salsa-cowbell-3-handlebar
or the Ritchey WCS Venture Max: https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/ritchey-wcs-venturemax-gravel-road-handlebar
Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Also, does anyone understand the purpose or advantage of the funny extra bend in the drop section of the Ritchey Venture Max?
BTW, I'm running SRAM eTap electronic brake shifters which makes swapping out bars less tedious -- the only cables are for the brakes.
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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #2 
Not sure about the flat section but I do know that after riding on my On One Midge bars...similar to the bars you're linking to, I'll never go back to a standard dropbar on any bike that I build or upgrade in the future. The shorter drops with the flare is just so much more comfortable and less drop...I don't ride in the drops a lot but when I do I like less drop. And just the position of the hoods is better for me as well.  16665845_10154981051114291_3672941163073205367_o.jpg 
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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #3 
14202751_10154466452324291_1232089687113184139_n.jpg 
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DarKris

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Reply with quote  #4 
Have the 46cm Cowbells, absolutely love them. While I don't have a huge amount of gravel riding on them they are pretty comfortable and offer good control w/o going to full-fledged dirt drops.
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RoverAl

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Reply with quote  #5 
check out the Cowchipper too, I had them and liked them. The Ritchey looks very interesting though.http://https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/salsa-cowchipper-handlebar
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Slim

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think the bump,in the Ritchey bars is supposed to be more supportive and comfy on your palm. I tape my bars in a similar way in the normal part of the drops. Also use Specialized Grail gloves for the same reason, 'filling up' the hollow in the palm of your hand.

I just got the Easton AX bar, 16degree flare, pretty moderate design.
I have had a few clients try Woodchippers in fits, they had a hard time getting a good fit on a more road oriented bike, I suspect they are best saved for true drop bar mtb style riding, where you set up the fit with the drops as your default position.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster
Not sure about the flat section but I do know that after riding on my On One Midge bars...similar to the bars you're linking to, I'll never go back to a standard dropbar on any bike that I build or upgrade in the future. The shorter drops with the flare is just so much more comfortable and less drop...I don't ride in the drops a lot but when I do I like less drop. And just the position of the hoods is better for me as well.  16665845_10154981051114291_3672941163073205367_o.jpg 


Interesting. Are those brake shifters? From the picture, it looks to me that it would be difficult and brake from the drops. How do reach the levers from the drops?
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster
14202751_10154466452324291_1232089687113184139_n.jpg 

Am I missing something? How do you apply the brakes or shift from the drops?
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ljsmith

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh

Am I missing something? How do you apply the brakes or shift from the drops?


How does he shift at all with no derailleurs! [smile]
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Smithhammer

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh
....Also, does anyone understand the purpose or advantage of the funny extra bend in the drop section of the Ritchey Venture Max?


I believe Ritchey claims it's for better ergonomics. 

I've been using the Soma Junebug for the last year or so and really like it. Very similar to the Midge, but with longer, more usable extensions. 

Like Nubster, after riding flared drop bars for years, I can't go back to a 'standard' vertical drop bar. They feel weird, and far less comfortable over the long haul for me. Part of that is because I actually spend a fair bit of time in my drops.

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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh

Am I missing something? How do you apply the brakes or shift from the drops?

 

Braking...looks awkward in the pic but really it's much easier and more natural then when riding normal drop bars. 

Shifting...not on this bike. 
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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljsmith


How does he shift at all with no derailleurs! [smile]


Haha...yeah...that does make it a bit tricky when trying to shift gears. Pretty much limited to pedal or walk.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljsmith


How does he shift at all with no derailleurs! [smile]

Ha Ha. Jokes on me. Yup he doesn't have to shift; but I do. Looks very awkward for both braking; and shifting on bikes with that option.
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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #14 
I don't shift but it wouldn't be awkward at all and braking is much better than on regular drops. I don't have to stretch my fingers at all and I get much better pull and my hands feel like they are in a more natural position. Hard to explain...I thought the same thing as well until I got the bars and installed them.
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Smithhammer

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Reply with quote  #15 
A couple pics of the Junebug bar: 

[PJ974F] 

[ZPQLV4] 

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithhammer
A couple pics of the Junebug bar: 

[PJ974F] 

[ZPQLV4] 

The side view helps a lot. I can now sort of see how it works. I'll give them a try when I get back to NH dirt and gravel in a few weeks. Thanks to everyone for the pic's and advice.
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jwiner

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoverAl
check out the Cowchipper too, I had them and liked them. The Ritchey looks very interesting though.http://https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/salsa-cowchipper-handlebar


+1 on the Cowchipper. I ride it in a 44cm on my 58cm Niner RLT Steel and absolutely love it.

IMG_1120.JPG 

IMG_1121.JPG

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwiner


+1 on the Cowchipper. I ride it in a 44cm on my 58cm Niner RLT Steel and absolutely love it.

IMG_1120.JPG 

IMG_1121.JPG


Thanks for the input and advice. The photos are especially helpful. I'm leaning towards the Ritchie though for several reasons. I have long legs and relatively short torso and narrow shoulders. Makes bike fitting a little difficult - especially with a chronic lumbar back problem and poor flexibility. I need bars with the narrowest top width, shortest reach, and shallowest drop. The 40 cm Ritchie is the best for me in all 3 measurements. Besides, I've had very good luck with Ritchie products over the years; and I'm riding a Ritchie Swiss Cross Canti.
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Slim

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Reply with quote  #19 
II just did a fit for someone with a Cowchipper( on an RLT too;-) ), and noticed that the rotation of the hoods has a much more pronounced effect on wrist position than on a normal bar.

So, just a heads up to try out some different rotations in small increments with these high flare bars.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #20 
Just came across this article written by Steve Hogg - a well respected Aussie bike fitter: https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/GET-A-GRIP.pdf
Some interesting facts about bar design. The bottom line is that for someone with poor flexibility and/or lumbar spine issues ( that's me!), short reach, less drop is the way to go. Actually the 3T Ergo Novas I'm currently using aren't that bad; but based on checking out the spec's of a lot of bars, the Ritchey Venturemax, or Neomax are the best for me. I'm leaning towards the Venturemax because I'll be doing a lot more riding in the drops, once I hit my NH dirt and gravel back home.
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DerekJ_MI

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Reply with quote  #21 
What about Soma Condor Handlebars.  Anyone try these?  they look interesting.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #22 
Update: I installed the Ritchie Venturemax -- size 40cm. last week. Although I've only done several shorter rides - on very muddy and chopped up dirt and gravel -- the Venturemax work very well for me. While the Venturemax aren't as extreme as some of the other "adventure" bars posted here, the short reach and shallow drop, as well as the 24 degree flare, make them an ideal fit for me. I purchased the bars to give me a more comfortable position while riding in the drops for better control and braking- which they certainly do compared to the standard 3T bars I had been using. I was surprised however, at how comfortable and functional they are while riding on the tops and hoods. My only complaint about the Venturmax is the lack of a built in cable channel. When I taped them (my eTap requires only brake cables) I taped the brake cables to the under side of the tops. I found this a little annoying. I moved the cables to the front of the tops and will take a long ride today to test this position. I also have relatively large hands, and prefer the oval shape tops of my 3T's. A 2nd layer of tape on the tops may help by giving me a larger grip and more covering on the cables. I'll try to get some pictures and an update after my ride today.
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RoverAl

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Reply with quote  #23 
Bob after some miles , I'd be interested to know what you think about the bio bend feature and how you liking the 24 degree flare.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoverAl
Bob after some miles , I'd be interested to know what you think about the bio bend feature and how you liking the 24 degree flare.

Both features work well for me. I have narrow shoulders, short torso, and long legs. This means that I'm comfortable with narrow width bars on top -- but I need more room for my knees below. The 40cm bars with 24 degree flare solve both problems for me. I was skeptical of the ergonomic bends in the ramps --- but they seem to be more comfortable than plain straight bars. BTW, I went to the Ritchie website and discovered that they now offer a model called the Comp Venturemax at about $35 less than I paid for the original Venturemax: https://ritcheylogic.com/comp-venturemax. As far as I can tell, it's the same bar as the WCS Venturemax which I paid $85 for a few weeks ago.
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Jeb

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Reply with quote  #25 
I'll be picking up a 44cm Cowchipper bar this week and installing it on an Origin8 CX700. It will be replacing a 42cm FSA Gossamer compact bar. I like the FSA but I think the 42 is a bit narrow for me. I have 2 other bikes with the FSA in a 44 and those work well for me but I wanted to try something designed for gravel. Not sure when I'll get to changing the bar but I'll post my impressions after a few rides.
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