Made a mistake with my road bike


New Member
Hello Everyone

I recently bought a road bike after much contemplation, however there is just one thing I hate about it :smile: the handlebars.

I can not get use to them and I'm thinking it is becoming dangerous as I can't or won't reach for the brakes instinctively. :sad:

Any ideas if I can change them to a straight handlebar without too much hassle. I have Tiagra gears on them. Would I be able to do it myself or best a job for my lbs? If so how much do you think they would charge?

Thanks for your help in advance

User3143 said:
Give it time and you will - trust me.


Lover of things that come in 3's
I'd allow some time but there's other things you can look at as well:-

bike fit - check that the bike's setup properly for you, plenty of threads on here for this.

the bars themselves - you could try some different styles of drop bar but only after sorting the bike fit first.

brakes - put some crosstop levers on, this is cheap and easy for a road bike and allows you to brake from the tops in traffic.


New Member
Yes I'm only a little person at 5" 2" :sad:

I think it is the reach, I have to really stretch to reach them and as I'm use to an upright cycling position I just don't feel as if I can get to the brakes quickly on my daily commute.

Thanks for your replies so far and I will look at the lever things.



Corn Fed Hick...
...on the slake
MacB said:
that would be a novel approach, bike doesn't fit...just kill yourself:biggrin:

:sad: Cuts down on all sorts of unnecessary cycle related expense in the future


New Member
Fife borders
I had this problem for a while and just rotated the handlebars slightly (only 5 degrees max) towards me and it felt much better.

It basically means I ride instinctively with my hands on top of the brake/gear housing, I think on the hoods is the correct expression


New Member
I find women drivers in micra cars are quite good at trying to kill me without the help of suicide levers!!!!!

I've already tried rotating the handlebars nearer me but to no joy.


Senior Member
Ibby, I would give it more time. It's a massive change to go from a MTB or flat bar bike to a road bike and it will take time for you to adjust to the change. Riding with your hands on the hoods will become the norm for you given time but in the mean time the crosstop levers are a good compromise.


Nr Cambridge
Where did you buy your road bike? Did you not test ride it first before parting with your cash or make sure you had the right size and frame dimensions, etc.? If you bought it from a shop as opposed to Ebay then go back to the shop to see what they can suggest to make you more comfortable when riding it.
I would also suggest, give it time to work before changing to straight bars (which is a rather drastic step!)

A few questions: have you got the right size frame? For your height it should be no more than a 50-cm, if you were sold a larger frame at a knowledgeable shop, they weren't doing their job right! Frame size matters, not only because of the saddle height, but because it affects the reach between saddle and handlebar.

Have you set the saddle at the right height? If it is too low this again will affect your ability to reach the bars. For a road bike try the '109' formula (take your inside leg measurement, multiply by 1.09, this should be the distance from pedal spindle with the crank pointing down in line with the seat tube, to the top centre of the saddle).

Can you move the saddle forwards a bit? A quick test I learnt once, is to put your elbow against the saddle nose, stretch your forearm out straight forward and horizontal with the fingertips extended, you should just be able to touch the straight part of the handlebar with your fingertips.

If all this maths checks out, just have patience and keep trying at low speed on quiet roads. I've no experience of the crosstop lever approach but it might work if they're properly fitted...



What bike is it?

I don't think you've said how much time you've given it but I'd definitely go with those who recommend doing nothing until you've done a good few hundred miles on it.

I think that cross levers are fantastic, although I have no problem with the normal levers, I've fitted crosstops to my road bike to give me the option of slowing without moving onto the hoods / drops.

Also as suggested, you could get a shorter stem, you could maybe get an adjustable stem to raise the bars as well as (depending on the saddle / pedals relationship) possibly moving the seat forward.
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