How often do you use the drop Handlebars?



Uawadall

Well-Known Member
Jun 14, 2015
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I've always used the lower drop handlebar position very sparingly, mostly just for sprinting. I mostly have my hands on the hoods. My last ride, I thought i'd give the drop bars a try and used them for 90% of the ride. I was pretty amazed that my average pace was one of the highest I've had all year without pushing my hardest(felt soar from the beginning) and with wind blowing in my face. My control when cornering was also much greater, that was something that I've struggled with.

It wasn't all positive though, I felt a weird twinge going from my lower back through my leg. It was very quick and went away, but definitely something to keep an eye on. Also, I find it more difficult to hand signal in the drops. Guess i'll just have to get use to them.

Do you often use the drop handlebar position? If so, does it improve your average speed and is it comfortable for you?
 
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mpre53

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Feb 20, 2013
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I use them any time that I have a significant headwind, or even a head angled cross-wind. Also, I use them on fast descents. The more you use them, the easier it becomes to use them.
 

CAMPYBOB

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2005
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Sprinting...punching some short climbs...working into the wind...hard fast laps near the front in a race....fast descending...banzai cornering. Depending on the circumstances my speed will increase and/or the effort required to hold a given speed will decrease.

You have found the penalty for all that...at least for many riders and some drop positions. Back pain, back strain, flexibility issues, etc.

In some cases it is a minor cost to pay and in some cases a major drawback to ride on the drops. The time period may be long or short, the effort higher, but most riders have a limit as to how long they can stay down. It can be hours for the young, the flexible, those with a higher bar position/taller head tube/more compact drop dimension to the bars and it cam be mere minutes for older riders, those with less core strength, less flexibility, back injuries or issues, a more pronounced and lower bar position, deeper drop dimension, shorter head tube frame, etc.
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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I've always used the lower drop handlebar position very sparingly, mostly just for sprinting. I mostly have my hands on the hoods. My last ride, I thought i'd give the drop bars a try and used them for 90% of the ride. I was pretty amazed that my average pace was one of the highest I've had all year without pushing my hardest(felt soar from the beginning) and with wind blowing in my face. My control when cornering was also much greater, that was something that I've struggled with.

FWIW. Now that you know the benefits of the Drops on your handlebars ...

You can start fiddling with the orientation of the Drop ...

AND you may want to consider the shape of the forward bend & possible re-positioning of the brake levers ...

PLUS you may want to determine what width bar may-or-may-not be better for YOU.
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Hi, Volnix here, Well Known Member. :D

The only problem I have with drops is braking. I tried using Spacers on the lever but I still have problems actuating the levers comfortably...

I also get a weird feeling that a lot of weight gets shifted forward so Ι kinda avoid using them on descents.

A lot of times I just make my self a bit more "aero" and use the hoods instead.

I live in a very windy place, so I use them a lot on flats...
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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Hi, Volnix here, Well Known Member. :D

The only problem I have with drops is braking. I tried using Spacers on the lever but I still have problems actuating the levers comfortably...

I also get a weird feeling that a lot of weight gets shifted forward so Ι kinda avoid using them on descents.

A lot of times I just make my self a bit more "aero" and use the hoods instead.

I live in a very windy place, so I use them a lot on flats...

FWIW. I believe that the solution to the problem which you describe AND which many other people have is that you probably have not re-oriented your brake levers to be comfortable when you are riding with your hands on the Drops ...
  • I orient the Drops, first ...
    • with the bottom close to horizontal because that is what I find to be comfortable
  • then I install the brake levers ...
    • I realize that it has been the vogue to have a straight line between the top of the hoods & the handlebar ...
      • I did try a that setup once ...
[photo=medium]14742[/photo]​
  • but, since MY orientation is apparently closer to that of a "tourist" for whom more hand position variation is better, I quickly reverted to handlebar shape & lever placement over OTHER PEOPLE'S aesthetics ...
CINELLI-66.jpg

Additionally, while some people like to have their brake pads set extremely close to the rim's braking surface before they even touch their brake levers, I reckon my brake pads are probably about 2mm away from the rim's braking surface (on each side) ...

THAT ~2mm is probably as much a legacy of once having comparatively fat 27" tires & my not bothering to release the straddle cable on the center pull brake calipers (vs. having brake calipers which have a "quick release") as personally liking to be able to grab a little bit of the brake lever AND subsequently being able to have the lever in a comfortable position (for me) without the pads touching the rims.

I would guess that I can move the levers ~15º before the pads are near the rims ...

Of course, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient clearance between the levers & the handlebars when the pads are locked onto the rims.


 
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simond

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Jul 30, 2012
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I use them as much as I can to be fair. Only migrated form a mountain bike with road tyres in April this year and was not comfortable on the drops at all to begin with. But persevered and now I'm pretty happy on them. when ever I'm looking for some good pace I'm on the drops, still not overly happy on them cornering but getting better with more time on them.
 

sunshiney

Active Member
Aug 19, 2015
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Toronto
My mountain bike doesn't have drop handlebars but my road bike does and I'd say I use them about half the time. I only ride recreationally and I don't worry too much about my pace so I really only use them when I want to switch up my posture a bit. It's mostly a comfort thing for me. I have noticed though that they work well for me on gentle climbs or if I'm riding into a headwind.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
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NE Indiana
I use to use the drops a lot more when I lived in California when I would descend down mountains, now that I live on a flat earth I only use the drops as a change of position or to combat strong headwind better.
 

Solanog

New Member
Feb 12, 2004
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Very little, mostly going down but after a while I get some discomfort specially around the back of the neck.
Generally ride on the hoods. When going up steep hills I still go on the hoods and on the top bar when climbing seated.
 

maydog

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2010
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I am in the drops most of the time. I find the position easier on my back and bum. Being on the big and tall side of cycling, I kind of have to stay in the drops to keep up with the group.
 

BicyclingGuitar

New Member
Aug 18, 2003
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Handlebars? who needs them?

Okay, I admit I use the brakes when going downhill, but other than that I don't touch the handlebars much.
 

Damien Lee

Well-Known Member
May 16, 2015
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I used the drop handlebars all the time when I was a high school student. It was so enjoyable riding fast to and back from school. Nowadays, I don't really bother all that much. I prefer to ride in a more comfortable position and cycling at a high speed is not necessary.
 

mpre53

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2013
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When I started riding, the brake hoods on road bikes were so damned uncomfortable to ride on that you basically had two choices---the drops, or the flat tops next to the stem.
 
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Uawadall

Well-Known Member
Jun 14, 2015
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Handlebars? who needs them?

Okay, I admit I use the brakes when going downhill, but other than that I don't touch the handlebars much.

I still can't ride no handed for any amount of time, better than the death grip I had on the handle bars my first ride,lol..

Since this post, i'm in the drops 90% of the time now. I'm tall(6'4") and have really long arms, my current bike is an endurance geometry (Cannondale Synapse).This hand position seems to be very comfortable for me.
 

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