Were 38cm wide bars standard in the 70s/80s?

jim haseltine

Old School Hero
Be aware that manufacturers measure their bars differently. Take Cinelli and 3TTT - one measures their bars between the centres of the ends of the tube, the other measures their bars between the outsides of the tubes, so a set of 42cm Cinelli bars are much the same width as a set of 44cm 3TTT bars. To make things worse, some other manufacturers measure centre to centre at the middle of the drop.
 

averagebiker

Old School Hero
That's why I like to get my hands on a bar before buying.
I have found a no name drop bar I forgot I had that is looking wider so will have to measure it to see if it will fit my requirements and stem!
 

torqueless

Senior Retro Guru
Fwiw the '81 Holdworth 'bike aids' catalogue at nkilgariff states Cinelli(?) road bars as being 40cm with no options. The GB bars were probably sixteen inches outside to outside, or even 15 7/8ths or something. I think the wider 42/44cm drop bars were starting to become an option in the late '70s, but perhaps some suppliers thought it was a passing fad/gimmick and couldn't be bothered to stock them?
I seem to remember Whisker's late '70s/early 80s price list showing 40/42/44 options for Cinelli/TTT, but when I bought a pair of 65s back then, Joe wasn't soliciting my opinion as to my optimum bar width- he just handed me a pair of 40cm. Make of that what you will.. (Actually even at the Cinelli price point, it is not an exact science- my nominal 40cm bars are actually closer to 39.5cm c-c)

Old Ned: I'm not sure if Merckx used wider bars- if he did he probably invented them, and, being Merckx- was probably in a position to get Cinelli to custom build them for him, years before they became available to the rest of the peloton, let alone the likes of you or I ?
 

Old Ned

Old School Grand Master
Old Ned: I'm not sure if Merckx used wider bars- if he did he probably invented them, and, being Merckx- was probably in a position to get Cinelli to custom build them for him, years before they became available to the rest of the peloton, let alone the likes of you or I ?
They always seemed to look quite wide but perhaps it was because he favoured type 66 which were a deep shape and possibly appeared wider than they actually were. I remember Barry Hoban saying (probably in an article in 'Cycling') that he modified bars by bending them wider, especially the Fiamme (??) Giro D'Sicilia ones which were rather wide anyway.

The old adage when I started was that bars should be the same width as your shoulders. I had a pair of old Reynolds TT aluminium bars which were very deep and wide (Ken Craven used them) but went over to the deep 'new' GB bars (Tourmalet?) as my equipment improved. Older clubmates were quite critical of the deep bars that us younger riders were using saying that we should use shallow bars and lower the stem.

Saying this , all my best rides during the '68 season were done on a narrow pair of GB Maes so perhaps there's something in the aero argument!
 
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torqueless

Senior Retro Guru
Ime the deeper drops like 66 tend to look narrower than they actually are, because the ratio of width to depth is closer. I had some 66s before the 65s. I'm pretty sure they were 40cm too.
 

jim haseltine

Old School Hero
Saying this , all my best rides during the '68 season were done on a narrow pair of GB Maes so perhaps there's something in the aero argument!
The Flandria team rode a TTT in the Tour de France in the mid-70s with noticeably narrow bars for aero. Like really narrow. I can't find any pictures at the moment but I have an image in my memory of Marc Demeyer riding with his elbows so close together that they were just about touching.
 

vcballbat

Retro Guru
Had a measure up of two pairs of Cinelli Giro D'Italia and a pair of Criterium's all marked 40. Measurement C-C in the middle of the drop is 39.5cm....f**k knows where they get the 40 from.❓
 

vcballbat

Retro Guru
The only way I can get a measurement of 40 is from the outside of one side to the centre of the other. Maybe they just decided to round the 39.5 up to 40... what next.?.. they'll be taking away the 1/2p.😢
 

averagebiker

Old School Hero
I have discovered one of my sets is more like 34cm CTC!

Clearly aero and aero is cool at the mo so they must be worth a fortune 🤣
 
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