Drops Or Hoods In Traffic?


New Member
Jul 2, 2015
I recently bought a drop bar bike -- Before that, I have been using a flat bar bike for more than 2 years.
The caliper brakes on the drop bar bike is not as strong as the v-pull brakes on the flat bar bike.
When in traffic, I use the hoods to gain better control of the bike, but braking is not very effective. As a result, I can't pedal hard because I can't stop the bike fast. If I use the drops, then braking is better, but I can't maneuver the bike as well as in the hoods.

Have you had the same experience? How did it get better?
I like using the hoods when coming up to a light and passing cars that are stopped. I use drops for going down hills and head winds, and sometimes just to change positions. Try tightening your calipers to get easier braking from the hoods, and remember sometimes you don't want too much braking power when your cruising, over the bars is never fun.
I was taught many years ago that the hands belonged on the drops whenever the going got tough, ie if I needed the best control of the bike, a solid grip in case I hit an object on the road I didn't see (perhaps that stone the car I was following drove over) or I might get bumped (like by another rider in a race). The drops were also a place where braking could be done ultimately hard and I would be in an excellent position to control the bike and not go over the handlebars. Also that all good bikes were set up so I could ride long distances in the drops if I had to. I still see to it that the drops are comfortable, both for reach and hand position.

I look at modern bikes and on many, I cannot see how I could do that without replacing the handlebars. But since I have not purchased a modern bike yet, this hasn't been an issue. (My two recent customs have both receives Nitto B115 handlebars that are far from modern or ergo.)
You'll need to adjust to them,
Drop bars on road bikes are intended among other things for finesse at higher speeds in favorable conditions which makes them feel unstable under less ideal conditions. Flat bars on a MTB or utility bike are for maintaining control in challenging conditions, or with a heavy load, making them feel more secure and in control.
Both types can be used in all conditions, but will favor certain uses better than others.
I prefer the hoods because it puts my upper body more upright and able to look around more easily. I generally try to prevent situations where I would need to brake so hard that I couldn't do it from the hoods.
I use Tektro 721 top bar brake levers that push the housings apart. I have found them much more efficient than STI levers. I've been using my front lever for 4 years now and I feel secure going 25 mph once in a while in a rage of madness when I know there aren't many cars around. They feel very responsive and quick and I can brake from that kind of speed down to zero with 2-3 sec notice using the front top bar brake alone.