The problems with “gravel” versions of drop handlebars and some better solutions

There is a major recent trend for gravel bikes to be equipped with non-standard shapes of drop handlebars: flared bars, riser bars, and dual-level bars. I explain why I wouldn’t recommend any of these odd handlebar shapes over using a standard drop handlebar of the preferred width and an appropriate-height stem. I instead give better solutions for how to achieve each of the goals of these oddly-shaped bars while using a standard drop handlebar.

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Recommended crank length to avoid cycling discomfort

Over two-thirds of cyclists are using cranks that are longer than recommended. Using cranks that are too long can cause cycling discomfort and injuries, especially when riding longer distances, due to excessive articulation of the knee and hip at the top of the pedal stroke; using cranks that are too short is far less likely to cause problems. I give general recommendations on what crank lengths are suitable for people in various height ranges.

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RedShift ShockStop suspension seatpost

The RedShift ShockStop suspension seatpost makes a massive improvement in riding comfort and reduces fatigue when gravel biking and doing long-distance cycling. I found that it outperformed the similar Cirrus Kinekt seatpost on almost every criterion: comfort/function, aesthetics, price and weight.

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Gear Ratios page receives major overhaul

Many gearing options have become available since the Gear Ratios page was written in 2016 that make it easier to get lower gearing on road bikes. This includes super-compact gravel cranksets, 12-speed systems, and single-chainring setups. I therefore re-wrote the page to be clearer and include all of the latest options including extensive tables of all useful cassettes.

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