Drop vs Straight handlebars – your advice please

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Postby Jac » 24 Jan 2007, 10:44am

Julk - the bars are comfy
No problem getting the Roloff gear round the bend - the bars take apart

(Actually I bought one that did not take apart first and learnt the hard way - that gear changer wont go round any sort of bend.)

The Humpert (German) internet site has loads of different shapes and it is possible to order them. I had some problems with the UK importer at first but after I emailed Mr Humpert the bars came in about a fortnight.

Unfortunately it was the one that did not fit - ended up buying this one in Holland - by mail order - about £20 + £7 p&p


Postby daveawood » 24 Jan 2007, 6:35pm

Will you be doing any commuting in heavy traffic Phil? Drops are better for slipping through traffic without collecting wing mirrors and pedestrians as you go!
Also for close group riding like CTC/club/audax or whatever where pairs often ride side by side flat bars with bar ends next to drops always look like they're going to get "velcroed" together any moment.

I think that's why drops are more popular on the road really, not so much choice of positions as safety in groups or traffic.


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Postby julk » 24 Jan 2007, 6:57pm

Many thanks for details of the bars.
They look really useful for mounting the Rohloff shifter.
I think I will try and get some.

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Postby Gavsdad » 24 Jan 2007, 8:01pm

Years ago a friend and I had an 'interesting' experience with drop bars, returning from a YHA weekend we got very close (riding only, although we were very good friends). I got my left-hand drop inside his right-hand drop.
A bit hairy for a little while !

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Postby thirdcrank » 24 Jan 2007, 10:26pm

Had a similar thing in my youth with handlebars getting under the flap of a saddlebag sidepocket. Perhaps that's why they used to call drops 'hooks'.

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Postby Lusting my Pinnarello » 25 Jan 2007, 10:36pm

Hi all. I have just bought a bike from Pinky (pink panther) and the bike had the butterfly handlebars. Now before hand I only used drop bars. And very happy I was. But when it comes to long touring (which is what I will be starting this year) I needed something better/differnt from drop bars, as they can given extreamly terrible lower back ache, and sholder ache.

So far so good. (well its only been 2 days!!)


Postby Pinky » 26 Jan 2007, 12:10am

I converted to "butterfly" bars in January last year after 2 long camping tours using straight bars. I found long days on the velo ( sold yesterday) were much improved with the ability to switch my grip and stance occasionally. Most of the time I used the lower position but I frequently moved one hand or the other for relief.

My new ( ish -- new 6 November) Thorn Raven Tour has them fitted as well (depite Thorn saying that it wasn't recommended). The twist grip change fits with no problem and I hand lots of room for my right hand.

So I am very happy with the set up for this years tour ( Paris to the Med via every vineyard I see -- starting with Chablis on day 2).

I will put a photo on here tomorrow to show -- but not got one suitable at the mo!

Tallis the Tortoise

Postby Tallis the Tortoise » 26 Jan 2007, 9:12pm

The trouble I have had with drop bars is when I need a lot of braking power but at low speed. E.g. a narrow, windy descent. Then staying on the drops is not too comfy for my back, but braking power on the hoods is a bit limited. OTOH, they are fantastic much of the rest of the time and a lot easier to get through doors to bring the bike in or take it on a train.

Andy :-)


Drops or straights?

Postby Hugo » 27 Jan 2007, 9:42am

My ambition is to get his hand and foot cranked job from Montana.
£3000 while the going is good.

My handle bars will rise and fall! Gotcha!Image


Postby Jimbo » 27 Jan 2007, 11:07am

I ride drop bars, and use the drops about 80% of the time. The only time I use the hoods is stop-start-stop type riding in traffic and when I've been going a long time and want to stretch out a bit.

I use quill stems so I can adjust the height of the bars quite easily with an alan key. I raise them about 3cm when I have full bags to give a more relaxed angle. The rest of the time, I have it as low as it will go, which even then still doesn't put the handlebars very low because it is not a severe angled stem.

Really, I think if you have drop bars and hardly ever use the drops because you find the position uncomfortable your bars are too low, and you should probably get a longer stem. It amazes me how many cyclists I see with drop bars so low that they never use their bike's main position!

If you want the drops higher, but don't want the top bit higher too, try getting some "Italian style" bars with shallow drops. Personally I like to get deep drops but put them high so that when I'm starting and stopping the tops put me really upright and stable.

I think now threadless headsets are the norm, people who otherwise would have got the position they need by just pulling their quill stem out a bit more now don't like the look of a huge stack of spacers and keep the bars too low.

Of course, this is all opinion.

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Postby Mick F » 27 Jan 2007, 12:09pm

Tallis the Tortoise wrote:The trouble I have had with drop bars is when I need a lot of braking power but at low speed. E.g. a narrow, windy descent. Then staying on the drops is not too comfy for my back, but braking power on the hoods is a bit limited. OTOH, they are fantastic much of the rest of the time and a lot easier to get through doors to bring the bike in or take it on a train.

Andy :-)

Agree, fantastic much of the time. But as for braking power, with my dual-pivot Campag brakes, one finger is all you need for a very powerful stop!

Best brakes I've ever had, so no problem at all "on the hoods".

Mick F. Cornwall

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Postby horizon » 27 Jan 2007, 5:48pm

jimbo you are quite right. Regular users of this MB will know that I pass my time making comments about the height of drop handlebars. Many people complain that drops are too low - it's not the drops but the stem. It's a shame because I think they then get involved in a wholly peculiar way of choosing a bike based on their perception of what makes a bike comfortable i.e. any bike other than a tourer that has the possibility of getting the saddle lower than the bars.

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Postby georgew » 28 Jan 2007, 4:26pm

I used drops for over thirty years and had a problem when I bought my Raven with the stock bars. I solved the problem of keeping my "on the hoods" position which to me is very comfortable, by changing to straight bars and then fitting barends which, when padded, duplicated my hood position.
The Rohloff is long gone, but I've since converted a few bikes to this lay-out which has proved very popular for touring. cf below.

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b332/ ... 0383-1.jpg