Handlebar Conversion might remedy bike fit problems

by michelle bontrager in


Thumbies by Paul Component Engineering, mounts for bar end shifters

Thumbies by Paul Component Engineering, mounts for bar end shifters

  • I can’t find my center of gravity

  • My neck hurts

  • My hands go numb

  • My back aches

There is a euphoria that occurs with a new bicycle purchase. Who doesn’t succumb to the excitement of a shiny new machine that holds promises for new adventures ahead? Sometimes after the initial excitement of the purchase has worn off, maybe after a few rides you might find that the fit is a tad off. Hints like a sore back or numb hands could be indicators that your bike fit may need to be adjusted. Pain and discomfort should not be part of your cycling experience.

The first step to adjusting your bicycle for comfort is to double check your seat position. Make sure that your bike seat height and angle are adjusted correctly. Your legs should fully extend on the downstroke as you pedal and your sit bones should be located on the widest part of the saddle. Adjust the seat height and/or it’s placement on the rails to achieve the optimal seating position.

Then ride your new bicycle for 2 weeks. It takes about 14 rides to get your bike legs back if you haven’t been cycling for awhile. If you aren’t enjoying yourself by this time then we need to check your stance on the bike.

The three most common changes made to a bike to make it more comfortable are the:

  1. saddle

  2. stem

  3. handlebar style

Bicycle manufacturers choose components for their factory builds based on price, availability, and what might fit the majority of consumers. It is not surprising that these components sometimes need to be changed out in order to fit your unique anatomy.


Recently our neighbor, Carol, brought her brand new Surly Cross Check to us for a fit assessment. Carol purchased a Surly as a sporty upgrade to the clunky hybrid that she previously rode around town. Yet her new hip bike was causing such discomfort that she was avoiding cycling altogether.

We talked to Carol about her riding goals and looked at her stance on the Surly. The shop where she purchased the bike sold her the correct size frame but the style of the handlebars were causing her to feel unsteady. After considering several of our handlebar recommendations Carol chose a NITTO flat bar which sports an ergonomic bend at the grip area. This led to a new slightly longer stem as well. These two changes made all the difference for Carol. Her bike maintains a sportiness that she desired and with new handlebars sized to her body type she handles the bike with panache.

NITTO straight bars

NITTO straight bars

New stem, handlebars, brake levers, shifter mounts.

New stem, handlebars, brake levers, shifter mounts.


Incorrect Bicycle Fit Symptoms:

  • Neck Pain

  • Hand Numbness

  • Lower back pain

  • Groin pain

  • Knee pain

First Tier Solutions to Bicycle Fit Problems

  • Saddle

  • Posture

  • Cockpit adjustments; handlebars, stem

Brooks Professional Leather Saddle with copper rivets

Brooks Professional Leather Saddle with copper rivets

Saddle

Your saddle should be level and your sit bones should be placed directly on its widest part. If your saddle is still causing discomfort it is time to shop for a new style. An improper saddle adjustment can cause groin, back, or knee pain. We recommend leather saddles because the natural material conforms to your anatomy.

Poor posture

Perhaps the hardest part of the bicycle fit is being conscious of how we hold our bodies. Core and tricep strength as well as your flexibility will greatly aid your riding style. Think about improving your posture throughout the day. Develop good habits with repetition and work. As you engage your core and your posture improves you will alleviate neck, hand, and lower back pain, especially on those longer bike rides.

Handlebar style

A new pair of bars will change your ride experience more than any other change made to your bicycle. Handlebar choice is based on your body size and your riding goals. A proper handlebar and stem combination will address neck, hand, wrist, and shoulder pain.

NITTO quill stem

NITTO quill stem

Jones H-Bars replaced straight bars

Jones H-Bars replaced straight bars

Sometimes a few millimeters of adjustments make the difference from an agonizing bicycle fit to a comfortable one, other times a few component changes need to be made. Bring your bicycle by if it’s causing you discomfort and we’ll gladly offer recommendations. Bicycling season is upon us, time for you to get ready.


NITTO handlebar conversion

by michelle bontrager in


Sometimes a semi-retired all terrain bicycle can be turned into the perfect city commuter with a few minor adjustments. For the owner of this Bridgestone mountain bike we recommended a new NITTO stem and handlebar. Look at the results.

Cinelli cork tape was wrapped in the grip area, for comfort and style.

Cinelli cork tape was wrapped in the grip area, for comfort and style.

The new stem and handlebars bring the cockpit up and back for the rider

The new stem and handlebars bring the cockpit up and back for the rider

Original owner of this classic Bridgestone MB-5 will be commuting the Denver streets now

Original owner of this classic Bridgestone MB-5 will be commuting the Denver streets now

 

We often recommend a handlebar conversion if you have a nice quality bicycle that might be enjoyed a little bit more if the geometry was adjusted just so. As we all know, it's easier to ride with traffic if we are at ease on the saddle. 


A Pair of steel roadbikes revised by Queen City

by michelle bontrager in


Paul's Brakes, NITTO handlebars, Rear racks.... and all things needed by Denver Commuters.

Ebisu  Frameset from Jitensha Studio

Ebisu Frameset from Jitensha Studio

After riding their custom road bikes for 10 years our neighbors, from down the way, found that their riding style had gradually changed from long, fitness orientated road rides, to frequent commutes within their neighborhood to school, shops, and social meet-ups. They decided that handlebar conversions for both bicycles would be more in keeping with their current lifestyle.

A NITTO Dove handlebar was chosen for one

dove.jpg

and a Soma handlebar for another.

Soma handle bar

Soma handle bar

While deciding upon new brake leaves for their new handlebars the conversation shifted to the need for complete overhauls. After 10 years of riding an overhaul is a much-needed service for any bicycle. Funny how this conversation led to …

2 new paint jobs

Cargo baskets and racks

Upgraded brake systems

New light system.

 

Take a look on how thoughtful upgrades can make a used bike feel new again.

New powder coat color

New powder coat color

another new powder coat color

another new powder coat color

NITTO Dove Ba r, NITTO Technomic stem, Cork & Hemp bar wrap, Crane Bell, New Jagwire housing

NITTO Dove Bar, NITTO Technomic stem, Cork & Hemp bar wrap, Crane Bell, New Jagwire housing

Soma Sparrow Handlebar,  NITTO front rack,  Wald front basket, Cork & Hemp bar wrap, IRD shifters, Jagwire housing

Soma Sparrow Handlebar, NITTO front rack, Wald front basket, Cork & Hemp bar wrap, IRD shifters, Jagwire housing

Another NITTO rear rack, ChroMoly

Another NITTO rear rack, ChroMoly

NITTO seatpost, one owner went with a Brook's English Leather saddle (Flyer, Aged Leather)

NITTO seatpost, one owner went with a Brook's English Leather saddle (Flyer, Aged Leather)

Rim Brakes are the Cat's Meow when they are  Paul's Brakes  made in Chico California.

Rim Brakes are the Cat's Meow when they are Paul's Brakes made in Chico California.

Edelux  head lamp by Schmidt.

Edelux head lamp by Schmidt.

SON hub and new bespoke wheel set

SON hub and new bespoke wheel set


Single Speed to 5-speed

by michelle bontrager in


It happens. Love at first sight, we can't help it, we are only human created from uncontrollable desires and emotions. After a few furtive glances, you don't think about consequences, you jump in.  But after a few weeks reality sets in, this isn't what you imagined at all but then who was thinking?

Queen City Cycle of Denver may help with your new Bicycle Blues dilemma. It is common to ride a new bicycle from the showroom totally in love with your purchase. But then after a few weeks of riding you may notice an annoying rattle, your seat may be causing pain, or there isn't the gearing that you need to accomplish hills. Generally there  is a fix, here are a few examples we encountered last week...

As an under-appreciated single speed

As an under-appreciated single speed

 

This Bianchi single speed just wasn't getting out, not because she wasn't handsome enough because she does indeed cut a fine figure. No it was because 1-gear can be intimidating day after day after day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bingo, Sturmey Archer 5-speed hub with barend shifter, Clean!

Bingo, Sturmey Archer 5-speed hub with barend shifter, Clean!

 

We built a new pair of wheels with a Sturmey Archer 5-speed hub, added a Brook's leather saddle, matching leather bar tape and voila.

 

 

 

 

 

This Breezer was stuck inside all Summer long until it's owner decided to ask us our opinion.  

 

not a good handlebar choice.

not a good handlebar choice.

 

It's a good looking 3-speed made for city riding but the previous handlebar conversion, preformed at a different bike shop, certainly did him no justice.

 

 

 

 

Elegant bars offering a natural hand position.

Elegant bars offering a natural hand position.

A second handlebar conversion was completed with a NITTO Albatross bar. This NITTO bar adds an elegant pizazz AND the rider has a most comfortable hand position while cruising our beautiful Highlands neighborhood. disclosure **I have NITTO handlebars on most of my personal rides.**

 

If adding a few upgrades to your current bicycle helps it's ride quality why wait? We are happy to give you a few suggestions at Queen City Cycle.