Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

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

Postby RickH » 22 Feb 2019, 10:30pm

I don't use the drops a whole lot, mainly from around 20mph (or lower with a headwind) to get extra speed for the same effort (or a bit less effort for the same speed). I use the drops more since I switched to compact short reach bars (FSA Vero or, more recently, Deda Zero1). With the previous 3TTT ergo bars my 2008 bike came with I could find a comfortable hand position in the drops. Changing to the Veros were a transformation. On my Kona Sutra, I switched the Kona bars for Deda Zero1s (very similar shape to the Veros) as I just couldn't get comfortable on the hoods with the brakes leaning in due to the pronounced flare of the Kona bars.

Sometimes I will grip the tops of the hoods with wrists resting on the hoods/ramps & forearms flat (tall Campag Ergo "horns" - mine are 2010 Centaur, higher groups had them earlier - & SRAM hydraulic levers work better than Shimano for this IMHO, verging on a cowhorn shape) as an alternative.

DSC_0760.JPG
SRAM hydraulic levers
(the bungee & toggle is my "parking brake" before anyone asks :D)

On a steady drag of a climb I'll sometimes use the tops to change hand &/or body position.

Mostly I'm on the hoods so brakes & shifting are, literally, at my fingertips. The hoods are definitely where I feel most comfortable & most stable (I'll often switch back to the hoods as my speed reaches around 40mph, particularly if the road surface isn't that smooth). I don't know if the feeling of stability is just familiarity of years of riding on the hoods (& not having a bike without handlebar mounted shifting since the mid 90s). I even prefer braking from the hoods rather than the drops.

reohn2
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby reohn2 » 23 Feb 2019, 9:56am

Another FSA Vero and Deda Zero1 fan here,great handlebars IMO shallow drop with a short reach means the top are further away but the hods aren't, and the drops are comfortable :)
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MikeDee
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby MikeDee » 23 Feb 2019, 3:19pm

If you raise your bar height, you'll use the drops more; maybe the tops of the bars level with the saddle.

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

Postby LittleGreyCat » 23 Feb 2019, 5:50pm

MikeDee wrote:If you raise your bar height, you'll use the drops more; maybe the tops of the bars level with the saddle.


Bars wont go any higher with the current setup.

Tops of the bars are level with the saddle; just went out to double check.

I will tinker over the next week or so but I am beginning to suspect that the bars may be the wrong shape for my hands.

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p3866/SPA-CYCLES-Wayfarer shows a picture of the bike, and I note that the sloping drops seem to be a standard feature.

Looks as though the fitted FSA Wing is a compact road bar.

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

Postby kylecycler » 23 Feb 2019, 6:54pm

Upthread, slowster posted links to the Australian bike fitter Steve Hogg (531colin has also frequently referenced Steve Hogg). Well, I believe the rigs Hogg uses for fitting his clients were built by the Australian framebuilder Darrell McCulloch (Llewellyn Bicycles - he was at Bespoked a year or two ago), and I know he recommends Deda Zero bars, like RickH and reohn2. Not sure how their shape compares with FSA Wing bars, though - as hujev said earlier it's hard to tell from photos - although the Deda Zeros look to have a more perpendicular, as opposed to swept back, front section, which should put the levers closer to your hands when on the drops.

I've only limited experience of drop bars, and I'm remembering now that I actually found it more awkward braking from the drops than the hoods, although in my case it was because the 'stock' bars were 'ergonomic' - deeper than compact bars but again with the front section sloping slightly backwards, away from the levers.

Thing is, you don't know until you try and you don't want to waste money, but very, very few things are completely 'right' (for everyone) 'out of the box' - even the very best.

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

Postby pwa » 23 Feb 2019, 7:32pm

The FSA Wing is definitely a compact (i.e. shallow drop, short reach) bar. I have one on a bike, but I use bar end levers so don't know about changing gear with STI levers in the drop position. The Wing is fairly square at the top, which gives a wide straight top that I find helpful. Like I say, I don't use STIs but I did in the past and changing from the drops was never as ergonomic as from the hoods. Likewise braking.

reohn2
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby reohn2 » 23 Feb 2019, 8:01pm

Yep FSA wing are a compact bar very similar to the Vero and Deda Zero,but the wing section makes it a little more noticeable flex when riding on roughish trails and the flattened oval 'wing' offers more surface area to the hands when riding on the tops.The down side for me is a very limited area to fit cross top levers which I like.
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slowster
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby slowster » 23 Feb 2019, 8:48pm

kylecycler wrote:the rigs Hogg uses for fitting his clients were built by the Australian framebuilder Darrell McCulloch (Llewellyn Bicycles - he was at Bespoked a year or two ago), and I know he recommends Deda Zero bars

Thinking about it some more, I guess not even the esteemed Mr Hogg can be considered to provide definitive guidance. He is presumably focused on performance riders rather than tourists, and while there is a lot of overlap in what might suit racers and tourists, there are also some bars made specifically for the touring market which many riders swear by, e.g. the Noodle bars made by Nitto and the randonneur style of bars (both of which Spa do offer as well). In addition to those there has been a revival in flared drop bars, e.g. Salsa's Cowchipper and Woodchipper bars, which I've never tried but which I can imagine the potential advantages of for off-road riding.

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

Postby LittleGreyCat » 24 Feb 2019, 11:01am

"Upthread, slowster posted links to the Australian bike fitter Steve Hogg "

I've read that a couple of times and it seems to be all good information.

Including, in the comments, a strong recommendation for the FSA Wing Compact (somewhere about half way down).

Edit: there is also a lot of emphasis on safe braking from the drops which is the bit I am focusing on at the moment.

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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby Samuel D » 24 Feb 2019, 11:55am

Your Wayfarer set-up looks pretty normal to me, although if you say reaching the brake lever is harder than on your previous bicycle, I believe you.

However, can’t you rotate your hand around the bar a fraction (by twisting your wrists outward) to grab the lever with two fingers, then rotate back to the bar while pulling the lever in? With the bite point set up to arrive late, that might work okay. Keep your fingers on the brake for as long as you’re likely to need it (down the descent, through the roundabout, or whatever).

Car drivers cannot reach their brakes without moving their foot and lower leg over from the accelerator pedal, but no-one seems to complain about that. By comparison a wrist movement, if needed when riding in the hooks, is quicker.

Have you adjusted the lever reach to minimum yet? Does that give enough improvement?

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

Postby LittleGreyCat » 24 Feb 2019, 1:03pm

Samuel D wrote:Your Wayfarer set-up looks pretty normal to me, although if you say reaching the brake lever is harder than on your previous bicycle, I believe you.

However, can’t you rotate your hand around the bar a fraction (by twisting your wrists outward) to grab the lever with two fingers, then rotate back to the bar while pulling the lever in? With the bite point set up to arrive late, that might work okay. Keep your fingers on the brake for as long as you’re likely to need it (down the descent, through the roundabout, or whatever).

Car drivers cannot reach their brakes without moving their foot and lower leg over from the accelerator pedal, but no-one seems to complain about that. By comparison a wrist movement, if needed when riding in the hooks, is quicker.

Have you adjusted the lever reach to minimum yet? Does that give enough improvement?


The issue is that I would have to twist my wrists a long way upwards (not outwards) to reach the levers, even with my finger tips.
They do need adjusting to bring the levers closer to the bars, but I first have to get the bars and levers set so that I can safely and comfortably get my hands to them whilst I am riding on the drops.
Both braking and gear changing are issues, but braking takes priority.

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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby zenitb » 24 Feb 2019, 7:37pm

LittleGreyCat wrote:....Both braking and gear changing are issues, but braking takes priority.


Totally agree LittleGreyCat - safe, easy braking is critical.

Personally I find fast downhills on the tops a bit frightening. I worry I might hit a pothole at speed and have a hand bashed off the brifter, so as my speed rises above 20mph I usually move to the security of the drops, with my hands firmly round the bar.

And I agree with you, you shouldn't have to perform "hand gymnastics" to reach the brake lever - it should fall naturally to hand - easily "grabbable" in a crisis.

I think with the combination of adjustments you are planning you should be fine on this... once you have the bars at the right angle you can always move the brifter up and down the bars (they clamp on as per pic) to get them aligned, and then use the lever reach adjustment previously discussed to "fine tune" the reach to exactly what you need. Mine are really nice now although I had to wind in quite a lot of reach to get them that way.

I actually used my sons turbo trainer as a testbed/rolling road for my adjustments .. so I didn't have to keep going outside for test rides!!!

EDIT: That Wayfarer looks a nice bike .. !!!
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CyberKnight
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby CyberKnight » 24 Feb 2019, 8:12pm

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 don’t look very low 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.

Check this out
http://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com/201 ... tions.html
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LittleGreyCat
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 15 Jun 2019, 8:59am

Coming back to this because I finally found the time to rotate the bars so that the bottom part of the drops became more or less horizontal.

This, in general, did more or less what I expected.

(1) The hoods are now lower/further away so I have to reach a bit more to ride on them. This feels a bit of a stretch at the moment.

(2) Riding on the tops is (surprise) unchanged.

(3) Riding on the drops seems a bit easier as the bars have come up a little

(4) Braking and changing gear from the drops/hooks is now straightforward, and allows me to climb on the drops and change gear.

I like climbing on the drops because I can pull up with my hands as I push down with my legs, which feels to be more effective. A bit like hauling on the bar ends on flat bars but at a different angle.

One unexpected thing; I can ride comfortably using this setup for a reasonable distance (just done two rides, 27 miles and 47 miles, so far) but the day after my legs seize up big time. The tendons at the back of my legs, and the muscles around my knees, are stiff and they resist going from nearly straight to straight. I'm not sure why this is happening because my leg position hasn't changed. I am probably just leaning my body slightly further forward and slightly further down to ride on the hoods. The drops should have come up slightly. This may be partly associated with spending more time on the drops. It could be spending more time in the hooks which is about as far forward as you can get on the drops. I should note that I have very short and stiff tendons in my legs so my experience may not be "average" in this respect.

Correlation is not always causation so I am going to rotate the bars back to the original position for a couple of rides and see if that resolves the issue with the legs.

If the issue is moving the riding position a bit forward and down I am guessing that if I raise the bars slightly and bring them back towards me that might resolve the issue. Or perhaps I just have to ride more in the tucked position for my body to adjust.

To bring the bars back I probably need an adjustable stem; my bars are at the top of an uncut steerer and so the stem can't be raise any more.

This would restore the hoods to the original position with regards to forward reach, make the tops and drops a little higher, but still allow me to brake and change gear on the drops.

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

Postby pwa » 15 Jun 2019, 9:43am

Maybe a shorter stem is required. To analyse this you need to ride the bike and put your hands where they would be if the stem were, say 1cm shorter, both on the brake hoods and the drops. If you are feeling stretched out getting to the hoods I think your stem is a bit too long for comfort and it won't do your back any good.

Stems come with different angles and many can be flipped to alter the height.

https://www.evanscycles.com/specialized ... m-EV222279

This sort of stem can help get a higher position. I imagine it can be flipped for max adjustability.
Last edited by pwa on 15 Jun 2019, 10:07am, edited 2 times in total.