Salsa Cowchipper: Now Available In Freakin’ Wide

by Jeff Whitfield on | 2 Comments

Announcements Parts Gravel

Extra Wide Cowchipper Bars
Extra Wide Cowchipper Bars

Recently, I updated my favorite handlebar, the Salsa Cowchipper, with a bit wider version. I started off with a 44cm but felt that it was a little too narrow with the hoods angled in. So I updated it with a 46cm, the widest available at the time.

Lo and behold, just weeks later, Salsa announces even wider versions now available. They added three new sizes: 48cm, 50cm, and 52cm. Now, that's not exactly the widest handlebars available...there are wider gravel handlebars out there.

I'll stick with the 46cm one for now. Still, it's nice to see that Salsa is reacting to the demand for wider handlebars  for gravel. Makes total sense to go a little wider with the Cowchipper. Might consider one down the road. :P

Checkout Salsa's handlebar line

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I enjoy reading your blog! How much wider are ur gravel bars? Do you go off shoulder width? I have a small chamois Hagar with 44cm but thinking 46cm would be mo bettah for getting mo RADical


Well, to be honest, the answer is really "it depends". But to give you some context, here's what I've done.

With a more traditional road bar, I ride a 44cm bar which is about shoulder width. However, I think the best way to determine width is to put your arms to your side and then raise them up with your elbows slightly bent in a similar stance you might have while riding in the hoods. That's more or less an appropriate width which, for me, still ended up being 44cm. For some, it might be a little wider or narrower, which is why so many handlebar manufacturers are now offering 46cm wide bars.

Flared drops already add width so mileage tends to vary with that. As such, I tend to put my attention on the placement of my hands on the hoods rather than the drops. Since that's likely where you do most of your riding, it's better to consider that over the drops.

I'm currently riding on a Ritchey WCS Beacon, which has quite a bit of flare (36-degrees to be exact). Because the hoods are angled in, the width is narrowed. To get around this, I have to widen the bar. So I went with a 46cm bar and the hoods ended up being right at 44cm center to center.

Now, you can go wider but you have to be careful not to go too wide. Because your hands are wider apart, going wider puts more pressure on your shoulders and can cause fatigue if you don't have upper body strength. It's really about what you're comfortable with.

One of the ways you can compensate a little bit for this is to change the length of your stem. If you like the feel of a wider bar while in the hoods but don't like the change in reach, you can shorten your stem to give you the same reach you're used to. The main difference is that your hands will be set wider apart. However, there are limits to this...especially if the width is rather drastic.

I tend to be conservative on the width of the hoods. But I did go wild with the drops. Really, there isn't any right or wrong answer. It's whatever fits you. If it feels right and comfortable then it's good. :)