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Is there any instruction anywhere on how to properly align the Ritchey Venturemax handlebars? On the official website there is only the following "technical" screenshot, but there is no information whether the starting point is to set the handlebars parallel to the ground relative to the down tube or focus on the horizontal position of the top tube of handlebar enter image description here

When searching the web, most of the graphics present the arrangement of the upper part of the handlebars together with the shifter in one straight plane:

enter image description here This is of course completely different from the "recommendations" of the manufacturer and I do not know which arrangement will be more correct? It is a pity that the Ritchey has not created a manual in which basic information on how to set everything up so that the whole thing works properly. I would not like to replace the wrap tape because my setting was incorrect and correction is impossible.

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    Do you intend to use the drops much?
    – Criggie
    Aug 19, 2023 at 21:33

4 Answers 4

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There are no instructions because there is no single correct angle recommendation that will be correct for everyone. Obviously, the bars should generally have the shifters pointed forward, but beyond that, it depends on how you fit on the bike and your preferences.

There is a series of steps you can follow to find a good fit for you.

Step 1. Put the bar on the stem and the brifters on the bar, ensuring your cables are routed correctly. Tighten bolts just enough that the bars and brifters move only when you apply a bit of force. This helps you arrange everything without fighting the bike.

Step 2. You will want to position the flat part of the brifter hoods to form a straight line with the top flat section of handlebar (when viewed from the side of the bike). This gives your hands a nice even surface to distribute pressure on. In the example photo you included, you can see that the hood is slightly tilted down relative to the top section of the bar. That is not desirable.

Step 3. Look at the bars from above the bike. Some people position the brifter hoods to point straight forwards. However, it is more aerodynamic and often more comfortable, to rotate the brifters towards the center of the bike a bit. For bars with flare (like these) it will also help keep the levers more inline with the drops.

Step 4. Take the bike next to a poll or doorway where you can sit on the bike in normal riding position while supporting yourself from falling over. Putting your torso, arms and hands in normal riding positions, try the tops, hoods and drops positions. Adjust the angle of the bar relative to the bike until it feels the most comfortable in all positions.

Step 5. Tweak the brifter positions so they feel comfortable and you can access the brakes and shifting safely and comfortably from all positions. You might need to adjust your brifter to move the lever closer to or further from the bars (if it's adjustable, many are). Visually confirm the brifters are setup symmetrically by comparing them to the bars.

Step 6. Repeat the two previous steps until everything is comfortable and all controls are easy to reach and activate. Confirm the brake and shift levers can be pulled far enough to be effective.

Step 7. Tighten all bolts to the recommended torque. If you are using carbon parts, it is extra critical to get the torque correct using a torque wrench.

Step 8. Tape the cables into place (unless they are internally routed enough to not need tape). Do not tape the bars yet. Make sure that the cables are routed correctly and the fork can rotate freely all the way left and right.

Step 9. (Optional) You could take the bike out for a test ride at this point to confirm your setup is how you want it. If you do, you will need to ride bare handed as gloves would be far too slippery on bare metal. Also make sure the ride is in a safe place. Try your different positions on the bike, including standing on the pedals.

Step 10. Wrap your bars in tape. This can be tricky, so consult other sources for details. But make sure that you keep consistent tension and spacing on the tape. It's best to practice a few times before using the adhesive. The area around the brifters is especially tricky. If you haven't already bought the tape, it's recommended to use tape that is easy to rewrap, though it tends to cost a bit more.

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There's really not a right or wrong here. There's what's right for you. I had my bars and levers set up (what I thought was) the "orthodox" way, and when I saw a fitter, he rotated my bars and also moved my levers up on the bars.

You can in fact move your levers around a little without undoing your bar tape, and depending on the tape you're using, you can unwrap and rewrap it if need be.

You can test your setup without any bar tape to see what seems to work best before you commit.

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There is some relevant information in this question and answer. Before we proceed further, let's talk about terminology.

enter image description here

The OP is basically asking what angle the ramp should be mounted at. I think the picture shows a touring handlebar. The angle is a bit odd, but I think the ramps are mounted parallel to the ground. Moreover, the handlebar designer may have intended for the bars to be mounted so that the ramps are parallel or only slightly downsloped. One visual guide is that if you put the drops (i.e. the end of the hooked section of the bars, colored red above) about parallel to the ground, you should be pretty close to how the manufacturer designed the bars to be mounted. Many road handlebars, especially older ones, are designed so that the ramps are sloped down about 15 degrees - but not everyone finds this comfortable. This may or may not be changing with modern performance road bars.

I don't know if this is strictly true, since nobody has ever stated this. It would be nice if manufacturers stated the designed mounting angles (either for the ramps or the drops). It is definitely true that you should have a few degrees leeway, i.e. you can tilt the bars a bit or down from the designed mounting angle.

In general, people sometimes tilt their bars upward. Sometimes, they are uncomfortable comfortable with their wrist angle. However, it's better to shift the levers upward on the bars, which admittedly does require unwrapping the bars. If you tilt the bars up too much, your wrist angle in the drops will be compromised, and you won't be able to reach the shifters in the drops. No, you aren't obliged to use the drops, and you're certainly not expected to use them the whole ride. However, if you're descending, it's better to lower your center of gravity by using the drops. Or you may want to hammer on the flats, or you may be in headwind. So, in principle, every bicycle should be set up so that the drops are usable for at least some time.

You want to position the lever such that when you're on the hoods, your wrist has a neutral angle. There's a range of adjustment on the handlebars where you can mount the lever and still get good use out of the drops. If you mount the levers too high up, then again, your fingers won't be able to reach the lever in the drops.

If you can't find your preferred position, then it may be worth seeing a bike fitter. They might need you to change your stem's height, or the stem itself (for a different length or angle).

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In my humble experience the drops are crucial in any rough terrain: CX, drops, jumps. The other hand positions only mimic a crippled CX bike.

Theoretical advice is a nice starting point but the only important thing about any setting is for the individual riding the bike to feel comfortable.

If You often crash on the trail and tumble around the stones - like I do - and You are not too rich: it would be nice that at extreme torsion of the handlebars the butt does not impact the top tube.

When descending it is nice for the end to be slightly angled downword else hands could slip off.

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