What Are The Best Handlebars For Climbing?
February 24, 2015
Lucky for you, you found this article. I will go through what you should look for when finding the right handlebars to help you climb like a mountain goat. For the better part of a century, road cycling handlebars have not made much headway in giving you, the rider, the best of all worlds when it comes to differing conditions and situations. Let me explain. The real estate that all bars provide are the tops, the hoods and the drops. These 3 positions, up until now, have been what you got to choose from to ride uphill, downhill, headwind and any combination of those situations.
So, what are you looking for when it comes to climbing?
A biomechanically correct position, that’s what you are looking for. I have been riding for over 30 years and I can tell you from experience that I didn’t know what I was missing, position wise, until I got what I was missing. Well, that sounds confusing! Since all bars give you the same standard positions, you either used the tops and the hoods as your “go to” positions. There is a problem with that. The tops are not comfortable (admit it) because they are flat and twist(over pronate) the wrists, thus causing you to bring muscles into the effort that don’t belong, like the pectoralis major, minor and deltoids. This added added workload takes energy away from where it needs to go (the legs), and wastes it with unnecessary muscular contractions to keep the elbows in, and the hoods can have you leaning too far over, decreasing your ability to breath easily and deeply.
There has got to be a better way!
Well, lucky for you there is. The riding world now has another option and it’s called the BP4 handlebar. The 4 stands for 4 positions. You get the 3 positions you have always had, plus a new “bend” in what is normally just a respite from always bending over to the hoods, the tops. When you put a bend in the bar, it puts your hands, wrists and shoulders in a biomechanically correct position. If you want to understand what I mean, stand up and let your arms hang by your sides. Notice the inward twist of your wrists. That is called a “neutral position”. It’s the way all 7 plus billion people are made on this planet. So why has no one taken this into consideration and built a handlebar for the way we are made? Beats the hell out of me. It’s like the dirty little secret nobody wanted to talk about. Fortuneatly for you, we decided to give you what you have always been missing. Just think about how much better you will climb when all your parts are in proper alignment. No more dancing around the bars trying to get comfortable. Why not just lock in to the BP4’s patented position and climb like a mountain goat.
What does the BP4 do that others don’t?
That’s very good question. Remember earlier when I mentioned the biomechanical benefits of proper alignment? Let me explain a little more in depth. Since the hands and wrists are in the correct anatomical, and neutral, position, the upper body can remain more relaxed. The pectoralis major, minor and deltoids can now all relax and not have to waste energy while constricting the chest, which can lead to shallower breathing. Your latissimus dorsi (back muscles) can now do what they do best, pull down against resistance and allows the chest remain more open for better and deeper breathing. Deeper and more relaxed breathing means less energy being wasted. You following me? A more relaxed upright proper biomechanically correct position leads to better and more efficient transfer of force to the pedals. Saving energy leads to better performance. It really is that simple. Look at the problem and provide a solution. We did…your welcome. Now go get your now and be a more comfortable, aerodynamic, better performing rider!
Cody Oakland M.Sc.