Sweep

Here are a couple of Panda portraits showing my new Civia bars versus my old Nitto North Road bars (both installed on the LHT). As different as these bars look, surprisingly, the fore/aft grip positions are nearly identical. The wrist angles (aka sweep) are different though; the Nitto is at 70 degrees, while the Civia is at 50 degrees. While the Civia wrist angle provides more leverage and a feeling of quicker, more secure steering, the 70-degree angle of the Nitto is more casual and relaxed. The Nitto has a couple of centimeters of rise which also contributes to the relaxed feeling. I haven’t yet decided which I prefer…

Civia Aldrich – 50 Degrees
Nitto North Road – 70 Degrees

For those of you who are riding bars other than drops, how much sweep do you prefer?

How much sweep do you prefer?

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21 Responses to “Sweep”

  • Pete says:

    As soon as someone sends ME a dozen different bars to try I’ll let you know! :)

  • Alan says:

    @Pete

    LOL. Point taken…. :-)

  • Jay says:

    I’ve got some no-name bars that are much like the North Roads. They may have slightly less sweep, but I think it’s close.

    I want bars that allow my hand to be in pretty much the position it would be when it is hanging neutral. That bothers my wrist the most. After being on North Roads type bars, I find normal “mountain bike” flat bars to be absolutely unrideable. I can’t go back – it’s way to uncomfortable. The outside of your hand is rotated out too far with flat bars, and needs to be rotated back/down more than flat bars provide.

    So, I would prefer the bars you took off to the new ones.

  • JIm Ball says:

    Although I voted for <20 degrees, I would like to try the type bars you have in the test. I have been most comfortable with more neutral hand positions provided by North road style bars. However negotiating the tough stuff works better with the leverage of riser bars with about 17 degrees of sweep. I have one bike that needs no rise, and finding the best bar here is not easy if you want a little sweep. I do ride some trails, and city streets here in the Midwest can also be very challenging. ( think pot holes and broken chip seal ) Heads up here comes a SUV.
    jim

  • nick says:

    I previously was riding Nitto Mustache Bars, i do have to say I liked them alot. Tons of leverage on the outer portions of the bar.

  • Androo says:

    The only bike that I have that might accommodate swept bars is my winter beater/bar bike but its stem bolt is seized and I wouldn’t put more than $10 into it, anyway.

    My other bikes have drops (road bike), flat risers with maybe 5 degree sweep (MTB), or 6 degree swept flats with big L bar-ends (commuter/tourer).

    I’d be curious to try more radically swept ones, but haven’t really had the chance.

  • Jimbo says:

    I swapped flat bars on a standard lowish end road bike for Nitto north roads and am loving myself sick with the rise and sweep. all joy this end.

    maybe if i was going for a longer tour i’d want something i could hop down out of a headwind with, but for tooling around town north roads are bonzer.

  • Tom Stahl says:

    Ok, so my LHT still has drop bars, although I ride the hoods most of the time anyway, I should switch.

    I might go with baby steps first, and switch over my winter mountain bike. I have a bad wrist, and on long rides on the flat bars my wrists and elbows start to go completely numb and stiff. I know it is because of the more aggressive position of the bike setup and the lack of ability to switch to anything other than a bar-end grip to get weight off my hands.

    I thought I would prefer more of a nitto style design because it looks to sit you up straighter, thus transferring that weight to the saddle, but I can see advantages to the north road style. Since you have had both, Alan, can you notice a difference between the two as far as how your hands feel? I have to imagine the north road changes your riding posture a bit, too – maybe putting more weight on your hands? Or did you compensate with a shorter stem?

    Once you have put more miles in, I would love to hear your thoughts.

  • Alan says:

    @Tom

    “I thought I would prefer more of a nitto style design because it looks to sit you up straighter, thus transferring that weight to the saddle, but I can see advantages to the north road style.”

    Hi Tom,

    I’m a little confused (I’m sure it’s me). The North Road is a Nitto handlebar. Would you mind restating your question so I can make sure I’m answering correctly?

    Thanks!
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Jimbo

    “I swapped flat bars on a standard lowish end road bike for Nitto north roads and am loving myself sick with the rise and sweep. all joy this end.”

    It’s really amazing how much a handlebar swap can change the character of a bike. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying your new bars!

    Alan

  • Bob B says:

    Alan, I’m curious if it comes down to type of shifters for you?

  • Tom Stahl says:

    Sorry Alan, that was my mix up. It made sense in my head!

    What I meant to say is:

    “I thought I would prefer more of a north road style design because it looks to sit you up straighter, thus transferring that weight to the saddle, but I can see advantages to the Civia Aldrich style.”

    Mainly, my question is do you notice a difference between the two with regard to the weight placed on your hands during riding…does the bar with less sweep (resulting in a slightly more aggressive posture) add very much weight to your hands, and do you feel like a shorter stem will eventually be needed to relax your posture?

    See, this is what happens when you sit in a cubical all day and daydream about bike parts. You tend to over-analyze! :)

  • Alan says:

    @Tom

    “Sorry Alan, that was my mix up. It made sense in my head!”

    No sweat! :-)

    “Mainly, my question is do you notice a difference between the two with regard to the weight placed on your hands during riding…”

    Yes. It’s not a matter of sweep as much as rise though. The Civia is flat, whereas the Nitto has a couple of centimeters of rise. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but there’s a noticeable difference in the amount of weight placed on the hands. That’s not to say one is better than the other, though. Less weight on the hands results in more weight on the saddle (and vice versa), which can introduce its own issues. The trick is to find the bar/stem combo that distributes the weight in a way that best fits your riding style and preferences.

    “…do you feel like a shorter stem will eventually be needed to relax your posture?”

    I tried a shorter 90mm stem, but ended up going back to the stock 100mm. The 90 felt cramped, even with the flat bar. Keep in mind this is all subjective and based upon riding style, physical make-up, and personal preference.

    I hope that helps!
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Bob B

    “Alan, I’m curious if it comes down to type of shifters for you?”

    Not necessarily. For example, I’ve been known to suffer through twist shifters to enjoy the advantages of an internal gear hub. :-) As far as Dura-Ace or Silver bar-ends set to friction are concerned, I like them equally well (though for different reasons) in both the bar-end and thumb positions.

    Alan

  • Fergie348 says:

    Between 6 and 8 percent is perfect for me – but that’s only because I ride drop bars for all my bikes except my trail bikes..

  • Stephen says:

    I think the North Road style (which I have on my citified Heron road bicycle) is simply more attractive, as well as comfortable. I know that may not mean much to many riders, but I’m a visual person, and the aesthetics of a bicycle are important to me. Of course it’s got to be comfortable, efficient, and affordable, but there’s usually a fairly strong correlation between function and aesthetic appearance, or at least I’d like to think so.

  • Alan says:

    @Stephen

    Aesthetics are important to me as well, but I’ve been photographing and looking at North Roads and their variants so much over the past couple of years that I can hardly see them anymore. At this point I’m just enjoying the process of experimenting; I may very well end up with the North Roads back on the commuter at some point.

    Alan

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    For an upright bike, I prefer as much sweep as possible; I have problems with my hands that prevent me from holding bars “mountain bike” style. Interestingly, these problems don’t show up at all when I hold the bats with my hands to the sides.

  • Bob B says:

    I’m also a fan of the Albatross, North Roads and similar Wald bars, but I love the sleek minimalist look of those new bars.

  • Roger says:

    Hi,
    How did you get the bar ends to fit North road bars – I thought the diameter was too small?
    (as opposed to albatros, moustache etc which have a wider diameter)

    I am thinking of alternate bars for my LHT and north roads are much easier to get here than albatross.

    thanks
    :-)

  • Alan says:

    @Roger

    Nitto North Roads are available in two versions. The cromo steel version accepts bar-ends, the alloy version does not. When shopping for North Roads, be careful – quite a few websites list all sorts of generic handlebars as “North Road”. Be sure you’re ordering the legit Nitto version or you may not get what you’re expecting.

    Alan

 
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