What to Look For When Buying a Road Handlebar

Handlebar geometry and shapes have changed so much over the last 30 years. From the traditional drop bar that we think downtube shifters to the ergonomically shaped handlebars to today’s short and shallow reach bars, we have seen a lot. Of course, each of these has its place and purpose, but for this article, we will look at current generation brakes and shifters and what we, at Bike Fit Box have found to be some of the most comfortable handlebar features for road and gravel cyclists.

  1. Tops – The top of a handlebar may seem silly to discuss, but it’s where they may be. If you climb a lot, you want something comfortable to hold, such as a round bar or semi-aero road bar. Are you the type that rides in the “Super Tuck”? Then a flatter bar will provide you more comfort and more surface area to increase friction on the bar to reduce the risk of slipping. 
  2. Curve – The curve of the handlebar drop is critical. We recommend a handlebar with a Variable Radius. This means that the radius begins fairly tight and gradually increases the closer you get to the handlebar drop. This shaping allows you to fit in the tighter portion of the curve comfortably and provides easier access to shifters and brakes. 
  3. Drops – We have saved this for last because many of you may not spend much time in the drops. So, for those of you that do, we are a big fan of not only a handlebar that has a shallow drop but also provides a sufficient amount of bar to grasp when the radius opens up at the base. Another factor we are a fan of is a slight flare to the drops. This flare increases clearance to the tops of the bars and can be nice when out of the saddle sprinting.

So, if you are looking for a bar that meets all of these features, we have a few that we have found and fallen in love with, and for consideration of individual budgets, we have several price points! 



  • Comfortable on tops for climbing
  • Slight aerodynamic shaping
  • Flared drops that provide comfort and added clearance
  • The bar plug makes for a very clean looking bar wrap


  • Price
  • The curve from the tops into the hoods is abrupt

ZIPP SL-70 Aero Handlebar


  • Very comfortable drop radius
  • Drops extend well past tops of bars
  • Drop width is wider than radius of tops


  • Large aero shape of tops can be uncomfortable if you spend significant time there
  • Handlebar naming is too similar across line and makes it confusing

Bontrager Elite VR-C Road Handlebar


  • Price
  • Very comfortable drop radius
  • If you like this bar but want carbon the “VR-C” nomenclature gives the same shape


  • Drops do not extend as long as we would like
  • Drops are not flared

Do I Need to Use Shims for a Leg Length Discrepancy? – Part 2

Our goal with this series is not to make you believe what we believe but to think more critically about your bike fit and provide you with many facts about Leg Length Discrepancy. If you missed Part 1, we recommend you go back and read it too.

We must factor in the pertinent details when we discuss Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD). When we say, “I have a leg length discrepancy.” Knowing the root of that is essential, and there are two common sources. Muscular or Structural.

Muscular leg length discrepancies are often caused by tightness and imbalances that often appear as a leg length discrepancy. These can be displayed by things such as pelvic rotation or arch variability. These variables can often be resolved with physiotherapy or a focused effort via modalities such as massage, stretching, or trigger point. If you know us, you know that we are big proponents of solving the problem vs. putting a Bandaid on it.

Structural variabilities are less likely to be fixed unless other methods like surgery exist. As fit specialists, we must first factor in the location of a leg length discrepancy. Whether the LLD stems from the pelvis, femur, cartilage, tibia, foot, or ankle makes a difference in the possible resolution. 

Remembering, ultimately, that the end all be all answer is not to “shim it.”

If you are uncertain of what you should do and need help? BOOK a bike fit today and let one of our Fit Specialists help you!

Do I Need to Use Shims for a Leg Length Discrepancy? – Part 1

Our goal with this series is not to make you believe what we believe but to think more critically about your bike fit and provide you with many facts about Leg Length Discrepancy.

Over the past 15 years of performing professional bicycle fits we have had numerous cyclists visit us and inform us that they have a leg length discrepancy (LLD). There is a great deal of controversy around this topic as some people are proponents of compensating for this variability in leg length and others who are opposed to it. We do not feel there is one “right” answer as to whether you should shim but in this multi article break down we will provide you with the facts and information that we currently have and let you make your decision as to what you think and how your bike fit may or may not be impacted by your leg length discrepancy.

The first place to begin is with the diagnosis of this LLD. Whether you had a fit specialist, massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist, general practitioner, or an orthopedist tell you this can make a significant difference in the way your assessment occurred and what that information means for your fitment. Ultimately, the most important part is not who the diagnosis came from, but how the diagnosis was attained. There are three common forms of measurements that we will analyze including visual assessment, physical measurement and x-ray

Visual assessment is often performed on a massage table or similar surface. In this assessment the evaluator will usually manually manipulate the athlete to square their body on the table. This assessment is a visual comparison of foot and heel placement relative to a fixed landmark. Out of the three forms of assessment this has the greatest level of inaccuracy as it is an estimation of a brief visual overview.

Physical assessment is the measurement of the length of the bones based on commonly known physical landmarks of the bones. This assessment provides more well-defined detail than the visual assessment but can frequently exclude the individual’s asymmetry in bodily landmarks, not to mention the variability in assessor’s accuracy.

X-Ray is by far the most accurate method for measuring a structural leg length discrepancy. This method provides the clearest view of an individual’s skeletal structure but can still have slight inaccuracy dependent upon the athlete’s position on the table and variability in cartilage when seated vs standing.

In coming articles we will go into greater detail of the potential reasons for a LLD and considerations that need to be taken in order to make the most accurate decision for your personal riding style and potential physical limitations.

Read more about Leg Length Discrepancies in Part 2 or BOOK your fitting today!

Cycling Hand Numbness – Handlebar Tape Matters

Hand numbness, pain or soreness. We hear it frequently! You have 5 key points of contact on the road and gravel bike. With your hands being two of those we want to make sure that you are comfortable and to do that it is important to pay attention to the details! 

One of the details that many manufacturers and your LBS may not pay attention to is the way that the handlebars are wrapped. It sounds silly but when looking at the hoods on your bike a few millimeters of deviation from the original design of a part can lead to discomfort.

This new bike with SRAM Force AXS is a perfect example of how the details can improve comfort. Our rider came in with excess pressure on the ulnar (pinky) side of their palm. Upon closer inspection we noticed that the handlebars came improperly wrapped from the manufacturer. 

By rewrapping the handlebars it allowed the hood covers to properly seat with the hoods. This simple adjustment smoothed the transition of the hoods into the handlebar and reduced a number that went 1/4 of the way up the hood. 

If you have any questions about your fit contact us at help@bikefitbox.com! If you are looking for comfort and efficiency on your bike, book a virtual fit with us.

How do I Measure Bike Saddle Width?

It may sound silly but one of the greatest starting points in selecting a saddle is to find the proper bicycle saddle width.

YEP! You measure your BUTT! Don’t worry though, you can keep your pants on. Follow this quick video tutorial on how to measure saddle width and let’s get you riding more comfortably ASAP.

Alright, now that you know what to do you can go out and get your saddle width supplies or you can order one directly from our us and have them shipped directly to your door.

Then, find that saddle that fits your width needs!

If you have any questions or need any help please contact us we would love to see you more comfortable on your next ride!

Do I need to have a bike fit for my Peloton?

Some Peloton riders may be unaware of what a bicycle fit is. If you are here it is likely you have heard of a bike fit and you are wondering, “Do I need a bike fit for my Peloton?” We believe that once you purchase your Peloton a bike fit is one of the best investments you can make to your riding enjoyment and your longevity in riding. 

You bought an amazing piece of equipment to help improve your fitness and your overall health and we LOVE it! Let’s pair the great benefits of indoor cycling with a fit and you will see the added benefits of increased pedaling efficiency, a reduced risk of overuse injury, improved overall comfort and subsequently you will enjoy riding your Peloton more and because of this are likely to want to to so more often!

How do you get a bike fit on a bike in your home? There are two ways to go about it. You can find a local bike fit specialist in your area and they can come to your home and fit you on your bike or you can book a virtual fitting with us! We send you a package with the key elements that allow us to take measurements while you pedal and then during our allotted time we will virtually meet with you and help you set your Peloton up for your specific cycling needs.

Schedule and appointment now or contact us with any questions you may have.

Why does the proper width saddle still hurt?

Have you visited your LBS and been measured for your saddle width? Did you follow the instructions in our video that walks you through how to measure your sit bone width at home instead? If you have done one of these steps and are still experience numbness or saddle pain it is time to turn that one dimensional saddle width approach into a 3-dimensional perspective!

We have found over the years that saddle width, even though is a great place to begin, does not always determine that your saddle will or will not be the perfect fit for you.

Watch our our video to see what considerations you may need to factor in to find the saddle that you are comfortable on for the long haul!

So, you have watched the video now it is time to assess your saddle!

Is the profile of your saddle flat or does it have more of a hammocked shape?

Do you notice a significant amount of curvature of the saddle or is it a pretty flat saddle from side to side?

Each of these aspects can impact your comfort. Often times, beginning with the curvature of the saddle is a good place to start and you will find that by changing to the other shape may just be the way to resolve your discomfort. Don’t feel that you have to live with pain. You can demo sdaddles from us or even purchase direct from our site!

What bicycle saddle size do I need?

Bicycle saddle width has become an industry standard for a method of selecting which bicycle seat will be the best fit for your riding needs. In this video you can learn how to use a bicycle saddle width kit. If you do not have the supplies for a saddle width measurement kit you can order one from us and have the supplies shipped directly to your do!

Once you have taken that measurement you can head over to our Saddle Width Calculator and find out which width range you should be looking at for your bicycle saddle as well as what saddle choices may be best for you!

What Size Road Bike Should I Get?

For many people new to riding a road bike it can be rather overwhelming as to which one to get. Not only are we looking at the color and the components but more importantly, we want our investment to fit and be comfortable. There are SO many options though, where do you start? Endurance, Climbing and Aero. Small, Medium or Large. 52, 54, 56. Not to mention that each manufacturer has different geometry that can slightly impact the fit of the bike. There are SO many options and each of them means something different to each rider.

First and foremost, let’s keep it basic and help guide you along the way.  Here is a simple chart that can help you roughly find the size of bike that you should be looking for if you are in the market. Many people will find one size bike that fits and feels best to them, but for some you can go between two different sizes of bikes and make slight adjustments to parts that will make that bike fit you like a glove. So, if you are looking for a quick reference here is one for you:

48cmX-SMALL4’10”5’ 2”
50cmSMALL5’ 1”5’ 5”
52cmSMALL/MEDIUM5’ 5”5’ 7”
54cmMEDIUM5’ 7”5’ 10”
56cmLARGE5’ 10”6’ 1”
58CMLARGE/XL6’ 0”6’ 3”
60CMXL6’ 3”6’ 5”