Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

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PH
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby PH » 21 Feb 2019, 11:04am

LittleGreyCat wrote:It was only after a few rides that I realised that I wasn't using the drop part and worked out that there only seemed to be edge cases where they were of benefit.

Are you finding other comfortable positions? If so, I'd just forget it.

robc02
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby robc02 » 21 Feb 2019, 11:13am

Low bars and straight arms is a very common sight.


This hasn't always been the case, of course. When I started time trialling there was a realisation that you could get aero by simply bending the arms - though some found this less comfortable than having slightly straighter arms and lower bars. Arguably the higher bars, bent arms approach might have a small aero benefit as long as the back remained flat.

Image

Samuel D
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby Samuel D » 21 Feb 2019, 11:19am

PH wrote:I could, though that would but the ramps where I spend most of the time higher than I like.

But you’d use the ramps accordingly less. For every bit the bars go up there would be another minute where the hands fall more naturally to the drops than the ramps.

(But by “you” I meant cyclists generally, not you in particular.)

To me it makes sense to use the full range of hand positions and associated comfortable riding positions available. That’s why I don’t like compact drops, which bunch all the positions together. I want range! However, I use down-tube shifters so don’t have the bias to using the hoods for easier STI shifting.

LittleGreyCat wrote:However one reason I bought a new bike was to be able to just ride without constant tinkering. So I think I will leave be for the moment and see what develops.

Even if using the drops feels a little uncomfortbale, your body will quickly adapt to riding in that position if you make a point of trying it often. I was amazed at how quickly I developed the necessary core strength when I returned to cycling a few years ago. A matter of weeks was enough to support my cantilevered torso without much weight on the hands. It made me doubt the constant admonishments to do ‘core work’ (and other gym stuff) off the bicycle.

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mjr
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby mjr » 21 Feb 2019, 12:01pm

robc02 wrote:
I like dropped handlebars and don't like straights .......... but that's just me.


Me as well. I find most straight bars too ......well, too straight! I can get on with the type that are swept back a bit (more than is now widely available) but find my hands settle best onto fully swept back roadster bars ... or drops. I wonder whether this comes from years of using drops or whether my wrists are naturally like this?

I think wrists are naturally like that. Having hands completely front-back (as many people have drops set) is as unnatural as having them completely horizontal. I spent a few years riding only riser bars (basically what most "straight" bars were in the late 90s/early 00s) and never really got comfortable with them, fitting various bar ends and so on before switching to "porteur" and North Road bars which remain on my main bikes. Since then I got a drop-barred bike, but I've set the levers twisted slightly inwards so the hoods position matches the more natural (IMO) position of roadster bars.

Returning to the opening post: I ride on the drop part of my drop bars a lot, but they're 1980s slightly-flared deep drops, so the drop part is slightly tilted and IMO more natural than most current bars. The main limitation is that it's more difficult to look back while that low, so I tend to sit up on the hoods to navigate through many junctions.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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mjr
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby mjr » 21 Feb 2019, 12:03pm

Samuel D wrote:However, I use down-tube shifters so don’t have the bias to using the hoods for easier STI shifting.

Ahhh thank you! Of course! If you have wobbly brake levers doing the shifting, you are punished for using the drops by having to push the bottom of the lever sideways further than the top.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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gaz
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby gaz » 21 Feb 2019, 12:14pm

Samuel D wrote:Well, if you rarely use the drops, why cart them around the countryside?

As a non-user of the drops on my drop bars I've occasionally toyed with the idea of taking a hacksaw to them.

Ultimately I've decided that for the few grams I'd save it's not worth the effort.

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kylecycler
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby kylecycler » 21 Feb 2019, 1:16pm

Out of all the folks I ride with, about half ride with drop bars, and only about a quarter of those use the drops, ever.

One of those who I've never seen use the drops suffered a serious crash last year at an unexpectedly tight bend on a steep descent (I was behind and witnessed it), at least partly (I think) because in the circumstances they couldn't exert enough pressure on the brakes from the hoods. It was upsetting to see, of course - they suffered quite severe injuries although thankfully they've recovered now - but it could perhaps have been avoided.

One of those who does use the drops only does so for the braking on descents, not for 'aero'.

I ride with flat bars but have ergo 'bar ends' mounted inboard of the shifters, about 20cm apart. I've no access to the brakes from there, of course, so only use them on a clear stretch, mainly to tuck in and down into a headwind. They work quite well, although I think you need a fairly strong core to hold the position for long periods, as Simon said about using the drops, but you get that by doing it.

LittleGreyCat
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 21 Feb 2019, 2:42pm

PH wrote:
LittleGreyCat wrote:It was only after a few rides that I realised that I wasn't using the drop part and worked out that there only seemed to be edge cases where they were of benefit.

Are you finding other comfortable positions? If so, I'd just forget it.


The distance saddle to bars is about the same for my long term (road tyre) MTB so I don't thing reach is the issue.
Also my MTB has bar ends to give me an alternative grip and a bit more heft for hill climbing.
I am comfortable on the hoods.
Just learning the new bike

LittleGreyCat
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 21 Feb 2019, 2:49pm

robc02 wrote:
Low bars and straight arms is a very common sight.


This hasn't always been the case, of course. When I started time trialling there was a realisation that you could get aero by simply bending the arms - though some found this less comfortable than having slightly straighter arms and lower bars. Arguably the higher bars, bent arms approach might have a small aero benefit as long as the back remained flat.

Image


Noting especially that in the image posted the brake levers are on the curve of the drop and so are easily accessible from the drops.
Hands are shown poised by the brake levers.

Descriptions of "only using the drops for a fast descent" seem scary to me because with my setup that would mean going hell for leather with my hands nowhere near the brake levers.

For the posted picture I would assume the normal riding position would be on the drops with hands near the brake levers, and respite position would be with hands on the top of the bars away from the brakes. More or less the exact opposite to my current position. I seem to remember alloy brake lever extensions so that you could brake with your hands on the tops instead of having to dip down to the drops.

LittleGreyCat
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 21 Feb 2019, 3:22pm

Picture, 1000 words etc.

20190221_150100.jpg
One day back on the road Dawes.


Note that bottom of lever is below bottom of the drop.
80 mm front of lever to back of drop.

20190221_150047.jpg
New Spa Wayfarer


Not the clearest of pictures but the bottom of the lever is above the bottom of the drop.
100 mm front of lever to back of drop.

As far as I can recall I can comfortably brake from the drops on the Dawes as my fingers fit around the lever.
I can't comfortably brake on the Wayfarer as only my finger tips can reach the levers and the levers seem further up round the curve.
Both the brifters and the bars are different and I'm now trying to work out how I would modify the position on the Wayfarer to allow me to comfortably brake on the drops.

scottg
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby scottg » 21 Feb 2019, 3:48pm

If use SRAM road, the shifty lever works very nicely in the drops.
If you use bar-cons climbing in the drops lets you shift gears while standing.
If you use Campag Ergo, the shifty bits work well in drops
Depending on the bike fit, riding in drops will have you using
somewhat different muscles.

Don't know why STI users would have drops. :)
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tatanab
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby tatanab » 21 Feb 2019, 3:51pm

LittleGreyCat wrote:Noting especially that in the image posted the brake levers are on the curve of the drop and so are easily accessible from the drops.
This is because handlebars in the 60s and 70s were often very much deeper than currently (as can be seen in the picture), and certainly nothing as shallow as "compact" bars. I have photographs of myself showing how deep the bars were - I used GB Ventoux and Tourmalet shapes. Add to that shorter hoods on the brake levers. if they were mounted further up the bars the levers would be pointing forwards like 6 shooter pistols, this was sometimes seen on schoolboy's bikes.
I seem to remember alloy brake lever extensions so that you could brake with your hands on the tops instead of having to dip down to the drops.
Invented by the USA when they rediscovered cycling in the 1970s and invented all sorts of "safety" features. They were known as suicide levers because they were just hugely long apices of aluminium which flexed horribly. If you tried braking from the tops with them you might think you were applying the brakes, but the reality was that very little force reached the wheel.

This modern fashion for riding with very low bars and arms locked straight just amazes me. We older folk know that bent arms work as shock absorbers relieving wrists and shoulders to some extent. But I suppose modern fashionistas know better.

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kylecycler
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby kylecycler » 21 Feb 2019, 4:12pm

This has always been an interesting article on the subject. It's about racing but it kind of confirms tatanab's last comment:

http://inrng.com/2013/01/cycling-position-change/

The old adage 'If it looks right, it is right' never did apply to Wiggo...

Wiggo TdF.jpg

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby The utility cyclist » 21 Feb 2019, 4:18pm

I don't use them that much, even when descending at high speed I've found myself to be just fine and in control on the hoods, I don't race but on occasion I will go in the drops if I just fancy a change/want to give it the beans.
My daily is a flat bar, I can pop the pads of the palm on the grips to lower my upper body and have even rested my forearms there sometimes. The tops of the bars on this bike are 2" higher than the hoods on the audax/tourer/winter racer, this bike in turn is 2" higher than the hoods on my carbon ride though the former is actually longer in the top tube/longer wheelbase and the drops are only 1" higher than on the carbon so I can get a lowish position despite the slightly more upright position on the hoods/tops.

When I get the 'retro-bikes' out it really depends on my mood as to whether I get in the drops, they are more for pootling around (though tbh it's more pootling all round than anything else :lol: ) but it's nice to hammer a 60 year old frame and know that that's what it's meant to be, ridden with gusto from time to time. 8)

I don't care if someone has their bum in the air, so long as they are enjoying the ride and presenting no harm/danger to anyone, do things however you like on whatever you like, be it a freebie/from the tip bike or something really exotic and 'expensive', it's all good 8)

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby The utility cyclist » 21 Feb 2019, 4:29pm

Samuel D wrote:
PH wrote:Most bars will offer a range of positions, as long as that includes the ones that you like does it matter if you don't use all of them?

Well, if you rarely use the drops, why cart them around the countryside? At that point they’re just for show, surely. Get them up where you can use them often!

Gerard Vroomen of Cervélo, Open U.P, and 3T Cycling fame has a nice little series of blog posts on this topic. They’re all very short and worth reading in order:

First: https://gerard.cc/2011/07/26/2-points-lubberding/

Second: https://gerard.cc/2011/07/29/body-vs-bar-1/

Third: https://gerard.cc/2011/08/02/body-vs-bar-2/

Fourth: https://gerard.cc/2011/08/08/body-posit ... ht-part-3/

He thinks handlebars are too low even among professional racers. And since, as he explains, your body doesn’t arbitrarily follow the handlebar position, low bars don’t make you more aerodynamic. You have to get your torso lower to be more aerodynamic, and, except at the extremes, that is independent of where the bars are.

I have a lower (relative to my height) riding position than anyone I ride with except a couple of rail-thin racers. But my bars by today’s standards. Indeed I use a 48 mm spacer. That means I can use the whole handlebar to tweak my aerodynamics, adjust grip for terrain, seek comfort on long rides, ride hard in a full stretch, ride slowly without excessive weight on my hands, and operate the controls in all circumstances.


Most professional racers these day ride frames that are a good two sizes smaller than BITD, Mark Cavendish rides a 48cm and he's 5ft 8, one of the advantages he has when he gets out front is that he gets so low down that the drafting of sprinters behind isn't as much as others. So quite honestly if being 'too low' on the bars seems to work for arguably the greatest sprinter of all time and that many commenters/ex pros commentating have mentioned his aero position when in the drops giving him a distinct advantage, then, with all due respect to Vroomen I think I'd rather take their feelings and indeed Cav's on the matter in real world use.
I bet he wouldn't start telling Merckx or Hinaut their set ups were 'wrong' would he! :lol: