Hoods Vs Drops For Speed

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Uawadall, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    I mostly ride for recreation and enjoy my club ride every Saturday. I feel much improved from when I started 4 months ago and I now want to challenge a few segments on Strava,lol...I seem to average between 15.5-17.5 mph accounting for terrain and conditions. I wear baggy mt bike shorts, but will be getting real road shorts this week. Another thing I believe can help someone get faster is using drops as opposed to hoods on the handlebar. Honestly speaking, I'm not use to using drops besides short burst when I sprint. To me, it just feels too far from the brakes to use constantly. Do you use the drop handlebars for long stretches and does it feel comfortable and safe to do so?Also, how much faster do you think using the drop bars make you?
     
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  2. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    I'm a hood person. I have my bike set up so that I am very comfortable on the hoods. I do 95% of my riding there. I don't race but I do what I can. There is a favorite section of mine that I like on Strava. Comes at about 30 miles into my 45 mile ride. It is totally flat so it's a good test to see what I can do. I have averaged 22.6 for the 7.3 mile stretch as a PR.



    I'm riding on the hoods because I am comfortable there. I don't think riding in the drops would have helped me any in my case.

    back in 2005 I did several solo centuries at a 17.5 average riding on the hoods. I was comfortable so riding the drops would not have helped me one bit.


    Few of my best times on that segment to show I'm not exaggerating. Nice thing about Strava!

    [​IMG]

    Now this Strava segment is only 1.2 miles and I averaged 25.2 and was also on the hoods. I just do better when I am comfortable.

    Along with video proof! :lol:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIsUC2xzVxc
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It's not necessarily about where your hands are, it's about the overall shape of your body and how air flows over/around it. If you ride with your back closer to parallel to the ground when on the drops and you can keep your elbows fairly tucked in then you're going to have a fairly good aero position on a road bike. However, you could keep that same back position and with your hands on the hoods you could be more aero as long as your elbows aren't acting as wind brakes... In those situations it's more about what position do you feel most relaxed in and which can you hold with a fair degree of comfort for a fairly long time.

    There comes a point where there's a trade off between how much power you can produce and how aero you are.

    If you're training to race then a good chunk of that training should be in the racing position for the event that you're training for. Most of the really hard efforts should be in that position too. If you're having a hard time getting fairly low on the bike, figure out why - make that a training goal too.

    The surprising part of all this is that aero efficiency has just as much effect on a long ride like a century or double century as it does on smashing a 16km TT.
     
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  4. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry but I cannot relate to this topic because the only handle bar I know is my mountain bike's. But anyway, I am getting some ideas on the comments here that may be of help when I buy a new bike, hopefully soon. I haven't used a racer bike yet and all I have handled is the mountain bike so I guess it is a mountain bike again that I would buy. However, I am torn between an ordinary mountain bike and the foldable bike that I had checked already.
     
  5. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    Too many people don't realize how much more comfortable a road bike is vs a mountain bike if it is set up correctly.

    Riding with your hands on the brake hoods is like riding a straight bar mountain bike with bar ends. People put bar ends on mountain bikes for comfort (other than climbing leverage). Road bikes are so much more efficient to and that makes for more enjoyment even if you aren't concerned with speed.

    Riders unless racing use the brake hoods and contrary to what many non roadie bike riding people think, we don't spend a lot of time in the drops so the back issue thing isn't there unless you don't take the time and thought to set up your bike correctly.

    The length of the stem can be swapped out, the angle of the stem can be swapped out as well. So the reach and leaning over too far is not a factor unless one is not willing to spend a few bucks on their hobby. One can buy a stem for as little a $20 so that excuse is lame. Heck I have given ride partners stems and other bike parts for free.

    Not to mention, if one prefers a more upright position on the road bike, all you have to do is tell the bike shop you don't want them to cut the steer tube on the fork during assembly, This allows the rider to raise the stem to a more upright comfy position if desired. I left mine uncut and love it!

    Honestly, those that say roadies aren't as comfy as mountain bikes haven't actually set up their bikes properly.
     
  6. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    I've ridden long stretches at a time on the drops, when I have headwinds. I may not be any faster, but there's definitely some psychological benefit that I get, where I feel faster. Another part of it is, that I have an endurance style bike at present, with a higher head tube, so I'm a bit more upright on the hoods than I was when I rode a more aggressive frame.

    I'm 62 and I can touch my knuckles to the ground in a straight legged bend, so I still have pretty good flexibility.
     
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  7. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:742]

    This is my current bike and it has a more upright position than an aero/speed one. From what I've read, its more suited to climbing and distance. Still trying to figure out the best position and adjustments to make to maximize my speed on it.
     
  8. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    Good point. Plus going down in the drops can actually relax your arms on longer windy rides. B)
     
  9. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    You can flip the stem down, and remove one or more spacers under it, but you're stuck with the head tube the way it is. That's the bike I have. I bought it when I was recovering from shoulder surgery and concerned over how much my range of movement would recover. It's not a slug even set up like that, though. Handles pretty well, too.
     
  10. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    Put some pedals on it! :lol: :D
     
  11. Khatib22

    Khatib22 New Member

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    I definitely second this. Some pedals would absolutely be the icing on the cake for this bike.
     
  12. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    Can you imagine if someone road a bike without pedals?Truly "clipless",lol......In all honesty, I really like the bike as is, but being relatively new at this, I've never made any adjustments to the seat,handlebars,etc....The only adjustments i've added so far are clipless pedals installed and new tires. Ive seen some bikes have a seat ridiculously higher than the handlebar and myine is nearly at the ame height, maybe 4" higher.


    Hope you are joking like Mr.Beanz <_< <_<


    I really like the bike,but I don't have anything else to base it off of. I've used a specialized allez for a 20 minute test ride along with this one when I first bought it, but basically only know this one. I'll never be on of those guys always looking for the next great bike, but I do need to get more familiar with making adjustments to it(or any bike for that matter). I'm more of a climber/distance rider anyways, the setup isn't too shabby for how I usually ride.
     
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  13. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    That is an easy fix if you have any kind of mechanical ability.

    First you can loosen the handle bar clamp bolts and roll the bars down or up to your liking.

    Second, loosen the bar tape carefully (don't rip it), Loosen the bolts with an allen wrench inside the rubber brake levers and slide the levers along the bars as desired. Then tighten the bolts.

    It's all part of setting up the bike properly.
     
  14. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Being able to ride on the drops is useful. If speed is necessary, using the drops is important.

    Modern handlebars have a different drop than handlebars from the past. In part, that is due to the tops position being lower now than in the past. Most racers tend to ride much faster than you with their forearms on the tops. I think a bit more power would serve you well.

    I was comfortable in the drops when I was younger. I don't care so much about speed now.

    Brakes can be set up so they can be applied from the drops. I think I was just lazy and would put one hand up on the hoods.
     
  15. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    I'm still relatively new at this (4 months in) and have always been more of endurance athlete. Is getting more power a matter of putting in more miles,years on the bike or should I do sprint specific training sessions? I know the answer is probably both, but I'm wondering if I'll naturally get faster when I've been riding a little longer.
     
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