Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

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LittleGreyCat
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Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 21 Feb 2019, 9:49am

Having ridden with straight bars for just about all my cycling life I now have a touring bike with drops.

I'm now getting into the swing of riding it but I don't seem to be using the drop part.

I appreciate that it can give you a more aerodynamic riding position, but I can't reach the brakes or the gears from the drops.

I can see that with shifters on the down tube your hands are nearer to the gears, but with brifters all the action is around the hoods. So I find myself riding with my hands on the hoods.

I assume that if I find myself on a long straight flat stretch of road I might settle into one gear for miles but at the moment I am constantly shifting gears to try and keep my cadence up with small changes in gradient and wind direction.

Does anyone else get much use out of the drop part of drop bars?

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

Postby mig » 21 Feb 2019, 10:09am

i use mine alot but in certain circumstances and more on certain bikes. riding into a wind, maintaining an even tempo.

from your description i think your drops are either too deep or too far away ('bars on too long a stem.)

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

Postby CliveyT » 21 Feb 2019, 10:10am

I use them a lot but I have bar end shifters (or a singlespeed), compact drops and big fingers (so easy to reach the brakes). I will use them when windy, but I also frequently switch to them when climbing. Other than that they're a useful addition to the variety of available hand positions. 10 miles on top, 10 miles on the hoods, 10 miles on the drops, repeat until you get there.

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

Postby keyboardmonkey » 21 Feb 2019, 10:12am

Both of the bikes I ride most often have the modern ‘shallow drop’, but I am constrained in their use by my upper thighs clashing against my gut at the uppermost part of the pedal stroke :-(

A friend who is relatively new to road cycling having been a runner and MTBer uses the drops quite a lot, but I think it is because he rides a Giant Defy and the head tube is excessively long IMHO.

I will get back on the drops some day. Won’t I...?

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

Postby LittleGreyCat » 21 Feb 2019, 10:15am

mig wrote:i use mine alot but in certain circumstances and more on certain bikes. riding into a wind, maintaining an even tempo.

from your description i think your drops are either too deep or too far away ('bars on too long a stem.)


Too deep is a possibility. If I put my hands into the curved bit the levers are too high to grasp so I can guess that with the levers further down on a shallower drop I might be able to reach them.

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

Postby robc02 » 21 Feb 2019, 10:17am

My main riding position is on the tops or hoods, but I do use the drops quite frequently for riding into the wind, short out of the saddle climbs, fast descents, or just for a change of position on a long ride. By today's standards my drops are quite deep - but they are a bit shallower than the Cinelli 66 that I grew up with.

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

Postby mig » 21 Feb 2019, 10:19am

LittleGreyCat wrote:
mig wrote:i use mine alot but in certain circumstances and more on certain bikes. riding into a wind, maintaining an even tempo.

from your description i think your drops are either too deep or too far away ('bars on too long a stem.)


Too deep is a possibility. If I put my hands into the curved bit the levers are too high to grasp so I can guess that with the levers further down on a shallower drop I might be able to reach them.


i wouldn't move the levers down necessarily as then they'll be too low for your 'normal' riding position. i'd look at other 'bars maybe and if the whole shebang is simply too far away from you.

also it will take time to become accustomed to riding on the drops as it will alter your breathing but i find, once accustomed, i can use a bigger ratio for less effort (if i'm riding a geared bike that is.)

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

Postby PH » 21 Feb 2019, 10:32am

I don't often see riders using the drops, but that's not really the point. 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?
I use straight bars with Ergon bar ends and Nitto Noodle drop bars, I could probably find 6 or 7 positions on either, in reality 99.9% of the time I'm using three, and those three are very similar on either.
Then there's fashion. I've been shouted down for saying this before, but many people end up with a drop bar bike because that's what everyone else has. That's not to say it's the wrong choice for all of them, but if some had put a bit more thought into what they needed they might have made different choices.

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Mick F
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Re: Drop bars - who uses the drop bit?

Postby Mick F » 21 Feb 2019, 10:40am

PH wrote:I don't often see riders using the drops, but that's not really the point. 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?
Spot on.

I use dropped 'bars and love them.
Most of the time, I'm on the hoods, sometimes on the tops, and fewer times on the drops.
Frequently have my hands differently placed, though if I'm on the drops, it'll be both hands.

The good thing about handlebars that suit you, is that they suit YOU.
I like dropped handlebars and don't like straights .......... but that's just me.
Mick F. Cornwall

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

Postby pwa » 21 Feb 2019, 10:42am

I only use the drops on long fast descents where I want to extend the period of non-pedalling by getting into a tuck position. I don't pedal in that position. My hands are on the hoods most of the time, which is just as I like it. I have a shortish stem on both my bikes to bring everything close enough for comfort, and my bars are shallow drop.

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

Postby Samuel D » 21 Feb 2019, 10:44am

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.

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

Postby robc02 » 21 Feb 2019, 10:49am

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?

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

Postby Sweep » 21 Feb 2019, 10:54am

Quick question littlegreycat.

If you had been riding with flat bars for all those years what made you buy a bike with drops?

Am intrigued.
Sweep

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

Postby PH » 21 Feb 2019, 10:55am

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!

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

This I agree with. For most riders, including me, the shape of the bar isn't the limiting factor in how aerodynamic they ride. Low bars and straight arms is a very common sight.

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

Postby LittleGreyCat » 21 Feb 2019, 11:02am

Sweep wrote:Quick question littlegreycat.

If you had been riding with flat bars for all those years what made you buy a bike with drops?

Am intrigued.


Standard configuration for Spa Cycles Wayfarer.

As has already been hinted at by others, drops seem the standard configuration for road and touring bikes so I assumed that there were good reasons. :D

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.

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.