I have my handlebars set up very “Uniquely”. No one i have ridden with has set up their handlebars approx the same angle as mine and it makes me wonder. Obviously personal preference is one of the reasons why handlebars are set up usually at the angle they are but i do also believe for a lot of us it was set there by default and left there by default as we “learnt” to adapt to it.
Below are some of my reasoning for why a more backwards rotated angle might be better for you and your riding. Keep in mind that is what i think and i respect if you have tried both a forward and backwards rotated angle but if you haven’t you owe it to yourself to at least try!
To help with explaining this topic i have devised some rudimentary drawings to help. Please don’t laugh. Especially you Jarod with your cad programmes and all -_-
I present with you diagram 1 drawn in good ol ms paint *holy crap ms paint has crappy compression, how did it compress it to gain artifacts around what i have drawn??*.
This is a dissected side on view of what your handlebar looks like clamped to the stem. The bottom circle is where your stem clamps the handlebar and the top circle shows the handlebar angle. I have noticed a lot of people with a set up that is resembling the rotated forwards version whilst not many with the rotated backwards version.
Now in diagram 2 i gained a bit of confidence in using ms paint and have extended my illustration to include the head tube and the fork. The general guide that is prevalent tells us that the angle of the rise of the handlebar should correspond generally with your fork angle. So as you can see the handlebar in the diagram is set up to line up similarly to the fork angle. If you asked me what the logic of this was, id tell you i have NFI. But like my original point i think it is the right way to do it. Why?
Manufactures designed handlebars with backsweep. Back when we were all riding rigid bikes and so forth the handlebars used to be just a flat stick. As things evolved more and more we began to see backsweep on our handlebars. Most handlebars now days have backsweep to the angle of 7-9 degrees. The natural angle of our hands when held up in front of us isn’t a straight line. If there was a pole in front of us and we held up both of our arms to hold the pole it would be uncomfortable for a long period. Now if the pole had some backsweep and was pointing backwards towards the end it would instantly feel more comfortable. This is amongst a similar idea to ergonomic keyboards.
This is the reason why i think having the handlebar rotated in line with the fork angle is the best approach. By doing so you make sure you utilise the maximum amount of backsweep on the handlebars and hence provide a much comfortable resting angle for your arms. When handlebars are rotated forwards it eliminates a lot of the backsweep and you have to wonder, why did manufactures design backsweep for if your bar angle is going to take away half of that?
Like i said earlier it is a personal thing but if you find your bars rotated forwards like what i have drawn in diagram 1 and you have not tried riding with your handlebars rotated in line with your fork angles then at least try it. If you dislike it you can always message me and tell me how much of a failure this post is.