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Are Drop bars just an illusion for most?

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Are Drop bars just an illusion for most?

Old 08-31-19, 05:08 PM
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DynoD500_SR20-d
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Are Drop bars just an illusion for most?

I was riding today and I saw a guy with drops attached to his mountain bike straight bars.
Now I find myself in the hoods and the top of the bars most of the time. If I bought my bike with straight bars it would not look as "racy". So my question is, "Are drop bars an illusion?" for most of us riders who want to fit in?
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Old 08-31-19, 05:17 PM
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A few years ago I would have said drop bars were a waste for me, as I came out of the mtb era and mostly rode converted flat bar bikes with bar ends.
In the last few years I have increased my ride distances quite a bit 200K + and needed alternative hand positions. I use aeros and drops but would only spend a short time in each, mainly for numbness relief and mostly rode the hoods.
Then I lost some more belly fat and began spending more time in the drops. Now I ride there most of the time comfortably so for me the drops are a good and well used option. Five years ago I would have said not. A big difference was losing the belly so I could pedal and breath easier.
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Old 08-31-19, 05:21 PM
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Most people, IME, don't have their cockpit setup well enough to use the drops given their back flexibility. Hence why most people with drop handlebars stick to the hoods/tops.
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Old 08-31-19, 05:24 PM
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I love my drops, I'm probably in them 95% of the time, no kidding. I'll use the tops if it's a longer climb or a really long ride to move around the cockpit a bit. Same with the hoods, not on them much.

Which reminds me I need to buy some drop attachments for my mtb!
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Old 08-31-19, 05:47 PM
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What people need to understand is that drop bars are not for everybody. There are many people including myself who don't like drop bars and have no desire to use them. Ride whatever feels good and comfortable to you.
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Old 08-31-19, 06:02 PM
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Reach and stack really affect this conversation.

Generally drop bars even at 440mm are narrower than flat bars. Narrow also matters for steering and aero.

I would say if you dont use them much get a higher stack and a shallower drop handlebar. So then you can use both and have plenty of hamd options.

Also, even for the non racer Id suggest a slightly aero drop bar. The flatter top section of the bar tops is heavenly to me compared to a round bar. Also, that additional position just short of the hoods being flat is really nice on an aero bar for comfort. Just buy one without much change in reach.
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Old 08-31-19, 06:03 PM
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I'm about to get some experience with drop bars and am really looking forward to them. I currently have flat bars on all my MTBs with end bars in the upward positions so I can straighten my back and give my wrists a breather. Something tells me the road bike I'm working on will be like going from a wild mustang to a thoroughbred, or so I'm hoping.
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Old 08-31-19, 06:14 PM
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It's true, I used my drop bars more and more as I lost most of my belly fat. These days I use the drops whenever I'm on the flat or going downhill, on smooth pavement.
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Old 08-31-19, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by General Geoff View Post
It's true, I used my drop bars more and more as I lost most of my belly fat. These days I use the drops whenever I'm on the flat or going downhill, on smooth pavement.
This...

I use mine a lot. If you don't, there's a reason....most likely your set up is not "set up" for you. Mine was off and it was VERY uncomfortable, some tweaking and it's one of the most comfortable positions I have now besides my aero bars. Most people rotate them too far upward putting the wrist at an awkward angle or use drop that are too "dropped" for them. Try a pair of compact drop bars, that usually works for most people.
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Old 08-31-19, 06:31 PM
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On old bikes, you basically have to brake from the drops unless you have superhuman finger strength, hah
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Old 08-31-19, 06:48 PM
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I couldn't do any significant distance on flat bars, I need to change my hand position. I use all the choices drops offer. I would be really uncomfortable on descents if I didn't have drops.
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Old 08-31-19, 07:09 PM
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Descending a steep mountain road on the hoods is foolhardy.

Hard braking on the hoods is risky.

If you never descend a steep and twisting road, and if you never expect to have to brake hard, then you can get away without using the drops.
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Old 08-31-19, 08:31 PM
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As mentioned, I think the drops aren't used as much because bikes arent set up for the majority of riders to comfortably use them.

I have my bikes set up so I can use all parts of the bars, but that means I use shallow drop bars and have them set a bit higher than what looks cool.
Saddle to bar drop still exists, but the stem definitely isn't slammed.
I need to use all parts of the bars for hand and back comfort. Adjusting positions thru rides helps reduce fatigue, even if the change is just for half a mile or so at a time.


My wife doesnt use the drops, but she loves her road bike because her hands hold the hoods more naturally than a flat bar. Our hands fall with palms facing sideways, so holding STIs is naturally more comfortable. Even though the drops arent used, on drop bars there are still multiple hand positions- hoods, ramps, and tops- and that's 3x more than a flat bar.
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Old 08-31-19, 09:28 PM
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Mtn bike w/ bars cut down some- hand position outside/outside= 24"

Road bike hand position outside/outside= 17"
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Old 09-01-19, 01:22 AM
  #15  
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I remember that within the (tiny) road racing community in my home town in 1990s Jordan, drop bars were the minimum "price of admission" for me to be taken seriously as a fellow road cyclist/aspiring racer, and I had to have either a Peugeot or a Raleigh to "fit in." So I just had to buy an entry-level Nottingham-made Raleigh with drop bars. In reality, though, I never found them particularly useful or comfortable. For me, they were more of a nuisance than a feature.

When I got peer-pressured (the "peer" being my MTBing brother-in-law) to get myself onto a road bike 20 years later, I found that I disliked them in 2016 just as I disliked them in 1996, but this time around I disliked them even more on account of the new-to-me brifters that I just could never seem to get used to (albeit I rode that 2016 Trek 1.2 only twice in 10 days before I returned it to the dealer and got an FX instead.)

As far as my own riding is concerned, the flat bars on my 7.6FX, with its two-finger brake levers and trigger shifters, are "just good enough." I'm more than happy with the one hand position. Perhaps it comes with aging, or perhaps it's because of hybrids (particularly road-like hybrids/flat-bar road bikes) becoming far more common today than they used to be even a decade ago, but I no longer feel it awkward or embarrassed to hang with the more "serious" roadies with my "amateur" FX.

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Old 09-01-19, 01:56 AM
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After a few decades of strictly riding flat bar, I got myself a drop bar bike last year. Riding the hoods is a better hand position for me than anything I have been able to set up using bar ends, primarily because the wrist angle is better.

I've been getting used to riding in the drops a lot this year, and I do find moving back and forth between what are essentially two back positions actually is helpful for comfort on very long rides. I'm getting into the sensation of standing on the pedals while on the drops because it's actually quite fast and, frankly, at my age, it feels good that I can do it.

But yeah, I still take my FX out for some century plus rides. It's both comfortable and fast, and great for hauling things on.

I don't think drops are for everyone, and I have done what I consider serious riding on flatbars, including 168 miles in one day. I don't think drops are an illusion, but I can't speak for most people. Even if one only rides the hoods, that's still something you can't really do with a flatbar.
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Old 09-01-19, 02:18 AM
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I set up my cockpit to be comfortable in the drops. Hoods and tops are gravy after that.

How you get the drops comfortable could be a combo of many things, but moving toward short & shallow bars is my direction.
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Old 09-01-19, 02:27 AM
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Im not a huge fan ofAutumn/spring riding. 90% of my rides are commuting to work. My workplace is east of my home. Means there is a period of constant sun glare straight into my eyes. Then the temperatures tend to be 0-10C in the morning (full winter gear) and around 20C in the early evening (stuff all that winter gear into the bag). But i do it nevertheless.
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Old 09-01-19, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
As mentioned, I think the drops aren't used as much because bikes arent set up for the majority of riders to comfortably use them.

I have my bikes set up so I can use all parts of the bars, but that means I use shallow drop bars and have them set a bit higher than what looks cool.
Saddle to bar drop still exists, but the stem definitely isn't slammed.
I need to use all parts of the bars for hand and back comfort. Adjusting positions thru rides helps reduce fatigue, even if the change is just for half a mile or so at a time.


My wife doesnt use the drops, but she loves her road bike because her hands hold the hoods more naturally than a flat bar. Our hands fall with palms facing sideways, so holding STIs is naturally more comfortable. Even though the drops arent used, on drop bars there are still multiple hand positions- hoods, ramps, and tops- and that's 3x more than a flat bar.
Yes. I agree with both perspectives here totally and this is my experiences
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Old 09-01-19, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Kovkov View Post
Im not a huge fan ofAutumn/spring riding. 90% of my rides are commuting to work. My workplace is east of my home. Means there is a period of constant sun glare straight into my eyes. Then the temperatures tend to be 0-10C in the morning (full winter gear) and around 20C in the early evening (stuff all that winter gear into the bag). But i do it nevertheless.
Wrong thread by accident? Lol.

I spend most of my time on the hoods like most people. I get up on the tops when Im winded. But sometimes man, getting low in those drops is perfecto. The beauty of drop bars, even if you dont use the drops, is the versatility of hand positions they allow. And yeah, they do look cool! Lets not pretend that looking cool has NOTHING to do with it 😎
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Old 09-01-19, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DynoD500_SR20-d View Post
I was riding today and I saw a guy with drops attached to his mountain bike straight bars.
Now I find myself in the hoods and the top of the bars most of the time. If I bought my bike with straight bars it would not look as "racy". So my question is, "Are drop bars an illusion?" for most of us riders who want to fit in?
Most cyclists buy/use certain gear just to fit in?
Pretty pathetic imo but I certainly agree with you.
Check out all the hotshots cruising around at about 14 mph in $300 + clipless setups lol.

Last edited by downhillmaster; 09-01-19 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 09-01-19, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DynoD500_SR20-d View Post
I was riding today and I saw a guy with drops attached to his mountain bike straight bars.
Now I find myself in the hoods and the top of the bars most of the time. If I bought my bike with straight bars it would not look as "racy". So my question is, "Are drop bars an illusion?" for most of us riders who want to fit in?
The way many people have them set up... yes. They may as well be riding a set of bull horns. Some folks I ride with literally never use the drops. Ever.

As others have pointed out many people have them set up too low.
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Old 09-01-19, 06:43 AM
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I prefer being in the "drops" descending long steep hills. The tucked positions makes the bike more controlled and I can get more squeeze power on the brakes.
Like others have mentioned drop bars allow for a variety of hand positions ideal for long distance rides. That said I prefer the Ergos of the brake levers and rapid-fire shifters on flat-bars for everyday riding......
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Old 09-01-19, 08:00 AM
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Curious as I've never had them, what about trekking bars instead of drop bars?
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Old 09-01-19, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedway2 View Post
I prefer being in the "drops" descending long steep hills. The tucked positions makes the bike more controlled and I can get more squeeze power on the brakes.
Like others have mentioned drop bars allow for a variety of hand positions ideal for long distance rides. That said I prefer the Ergos of the brake levers and rapid-fire shifters on flat-bars for everyday riding......
All this💪
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