How to Determine the Correct Handlebar Width

Written by matthew ferguson
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How to Determine the Correct Handlebar Width
Handlebars come in various widths. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Even for a brief number of miles, an ill-fitting bicycle can prove uncomfortable. Frame size, saddle position and handlebar width -- these are just some of the factors to consider when fitting a bicycle. A proper handlebar width, for instance, allows the arms to remain even with the side of the body. The position improves control and increases efficiency of performance through better breathing.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Helper
  • Yardstick or measuring tape

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Stand or sit with your shoulders straight back. Ask your friend to measure the distance between the "points" of your shoulder blades.

  2. 2

    Note the distance in centimetres. Bicycle handlebars are generally sized using this measurement.

  3. 3

    Determine how the handlebar you're considering is measured. Depending on the manufacture, bicycle handlebars are measured either from one outside edge to the other or from the centre of one "drop" to the centre of the other. The drop is the lower portion of the handlebar.

  4. 4

    Add 2cm to the measured distance of your shoulder blade points, if the handlebar is measured centre-to-centre -- the centre of one drop to the other. For instance, if your shoulder blade measurement is 38cm, choose a 40-cm centre-to-centre handlebar.

  5. 5

    Add 4cm to the measured distance of your shoulder blade points, if the handlebar is measured from one outside edge to the other. For example, if your shoulder blade measurement is 38cm, choose a 42-cm outside-to-outside handlebar.

Tips and warnings

  • Bicycling.com's list of centre-to-centre handlebars includes such brands as Profile Design, Ritchey, Salsa, Dimension, Terry and Cinelli. Outside-to-outside brands listed include ITM, TTT and Deda.

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