Choosing your Handlebar Size

Choosing your Handlebar Size for Track Cycling can be quite daunting, however our guide makes this a very simple process

Traditionally handlebar size was determined by the following diagram - 

Choosing your Handlebar Size


























However using handlebars that are the same width as your shoulders is now considered to reduce your handling ability and therefore it is advised that you follow our recommendations for choosing your handlebar size.

The narrower width will improve handling and aerodynamics giving you a more sprint-like feel to your riding, perfect for Track Cycling. Narrower bars are also proven to increase your seated acceleration abilities and power output due to the new position that you are forced to adopt on your bike.

If you are used to riding wider bars on the road it will take a bit of getting used to however the benefits quickly become apparent. Most Track Cyclists end up changing their road bike bar width to a narrower measurement as the superior feel and performance benefits this brings is hugely advantageous.

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General Track Cycling


Shoulder Width =
Over 46cm
Handlebar Size = 42cm

Shoulder Width = 44-46cm
Handlebar Size = 40cm 

Shoulder Width = 40-44cm
Handlebar Size = 37/38cm

Shoulder Width = Under 40cm
Handlebar Size = 35cm

Click Here to view our range of Track Cycling Handlebars

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Sprint Specialist


This category is for cyclists who only participate in the Sprint and Keirin


Shoulder Width = Above 42cm
Handlebar Size = 
37/38cm

Shoulder Width = 
Below 42cm
Handlebar Size = 
35cm

Click Here to view our range of Track Cycling Sprint Handlebars

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Track Cycling Time Trials

This category is Time Trial Bars for the Kilometre Time Trial, Pursuit or 500m Time Trial.


Time Trial bars are generally only available in a base bar width of 40cm or 42cm, as the base bar is only used on the track during your start the width is not important and thus 40cm or 42cm is sufficient for any track cycling time trial start.

Click Here to view our range of Track Cycling Time Trial Bars



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Avoid Injuries - Handlebar Width


Shoulder/Shoulder Blade (Scapula) Pain
 


Assessment:
 Cyclists often experience pain in the Trapezius and Rhomboid muscle groups around the Scapula (Shoulder Blade) area of your back.

Cause: Cycling posture causing you to over reach for your handlebars, thus over-stretching the Trapezius and Rhomboid muscle groups.

Solution: Follow our guide to correcting your Track Cycling setup - Click Here

The length of your Top Tube/Stem combination. Too long and you’ll be stretching to reach the handlebars and causing pain in your upper back. In most cases this would be experienced whilst off the bike

Handlebar Width, if too wide you’ll again be over stretching your entire upper body/shoulder area.

For more information on common cycling injuries click here



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TrackCyclingAcademy - Guide to Narrow Bars

The popularity of the narrower handlebar - particularly with sprint events and becoming increasingly popular across bunch race track endurance events has a lot to do with aerodynamics and race positions.

You may have noticed some of the top track cyclists,  - Jason Kenny, Matthijs Buchli, and Kristina Vogel all flying round the track on very narrow handle bars particularly in the keirin events.

In bunch race events, particularly keirins and scratch races, navigating tight spaces between riders to improve your race position is made easier with the use of narrow handlebars.

The difference between a stock standard 40 or 42 cm track bar and a narrower 35 cm track bar width may not seem like a whole lot, but the additional 5 - 10 cm’s can allow a rider (with the right physiology) to jump from 5th to 1st position, navigating between riders up the home straight and into the finish.

Aerodynamics play an important part in cycling performance generally, and handlebar width certainly plays a part in the process.

To refresh your memory on aerodynamics, there are two factors that play a part in drag:

-Air pressure drag
-Direct friction (also known as surface friction or skin friction)

A blunt or irregular object such as a helmet, disturbs the air flowing around it, forcing the air to separate from the object's surface.

Low pressure regions from behind the object result in a pressure drag against the object.

With high pressure in the front, and low pressure behind, the cyclist is literally being pulled backwards so the goal is to reduce the amount of pressure in front to improve the air pressure behind.

So what does this have to do with handlebar width? 

Wide grip occurring as a result of wide bars increases the frontal surface area of a rider.

This has a major impact on air pressure drag which gives the ‘parachute’ effect where the rider is being pulled backwards.

By reducing the width of the handlebars, you’re effectively reducing the air pressure drag allowing the rider to travel forwards faster when the same amount of force is applied in pedalling.

There are arguments both for and against narrower track bars, particularly when it comes to weighing up the aerodynamic benefits against the ability to intake oxygen during longer track events.

In using narrower bars in aerobic demanding events, particularly with riders who have broad shoulders, narrow bars can restrict the riders ability to intake optimum amounts of oxygen.

Additionally, some riders find their technical ability to execute standing starts in short timed events is compromised.

In our experience, we’ve found narrow bars have been hugely advantageous in both sprint and bunch race endurance events.

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About Track Cycling Academy 

Whether you are based in Queensland, Australia or anywhere in the world Velodrome.Shop recommend Track Cycling Academy as our official Track Cycling Training partner. 

The Track Cycling Academy specialise in skill development across all disciplines and aim to ensure all cyclists have adequate competency and bike handling skills when commuting, training and racing. 

They hold a number of clinics each year that are conducted at various velodrome locations, road and criterium circuits and business locations. 

Within the Track Cycling Academy, there are a number of coaches that expose athletes to high performance training and coaching environments and are regularly up skilled with the latest in Cycling developments. 

Our coaches also conduct team building exercises with corporate clients in both cycling and gym (personal training) arenas. 

All Track Cycling Academy plans are fully customizable and vary slightly across all packages and cycling disciplines, we also offer standalone training and skills sessions, this also includes Junior Development Programs with some scholarship based funding incentives. 

For more info : https://www.trackcyclingacademy.com/ 

If you need a Track Cycling Coach, get in touch with the Track Cycling Academy today!