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Hood Angle as It Relates to a Road Bike’s Cockpit Fit and Finish


February 2023

One of the mechanics at the local shop, a super-fast kid just shy of pro caliber, once told me that all of the cool kids set their hoods parallel to the ground, so guess how I set my hoods up?

Correct! Parallel to the ground. Because that’s what the cool kids do. Err somethin’.

I rode like that for the better part of the time I’ve been cycling, until the other day. I watched a video on YouTube the other day that centered on exactly that, and it turns out, not surprising in the least, riding that way is not very good for the wrists. Now, what shouldn’t be surprising is that I knew I didn’t like riding like that. I’ve known that for a while. It wasn’t horrible, of course, but it wasn’t all that great, either.

I just happened to pick up an angle finder app on my phone for this, and I can tell you this: the Venge was dead zeroed in terms of hood rise. The Trek had a 2° rise. I think that’s shown in the photos, but you have to look pretty closely to see it.

So, the other day I got to thinking, maybe I’ll change that hood angle, after all. Especially on the Trek, because the stem is just a hair long and if I bring the hoods up, it’ll naturally shorten the reach to the hoods.

Now, the suggestion in the video is for between 10 & 20° of a rise in the hood angle. My arms come in a little steeper so I cut that down by 2° and now the Trek and Venge are within a couple tenths of a degree from each other at 8.2 & 8.3° respectively.

I rode for the first time with my hoods at the increased angle Friday and I absolutely love it. My shoulders are much more comfortable with the slightly shorter reach and I love the fact I don’t have to de-cock my wrists to reach the hoods anymore.

I don’t know if my bikes will look quite as sharp, but I have to face the reality; I’m starting down the path of being an older cyclist. It’s at least time to start acting like an adult on the bike. It’s also going to be exceedingly fun to set up our new tandem when it finally gets here. It should be a matter of weeks, now.

I can’t wait.


  1. Uncoffined says:

    As it happens, I’ve recently ordered a shorter headstem for my bike (Giant TCR).
    I’ve finally figured out that it causes my back to go out everytime I try to look behind at the traffic.
    I’ve simply put with an uncomfortable bike all these years, but I’m getting older and perhaps wiser as well.

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