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How does drop handlebar making long distance biking better than flat handlebar?

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How does drop handlebar making long distance biking better than flat handlebar?

Old 07-01-20, 11:10 AM
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Quintessentium
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How does drop handlebar making long distance biking better than flat handlebar?

Hello!

I'm not experienced biker, so please elaborate to guide me. (literally, I did not intend any satire at all in my entire writing.)

I merely accustomed in handling with flat bar types, and less in drop handlebar)

I've heard that drop handlebars makes cyclist less tired through various grips by providing different arrangement of grips, hood, drop, and top.

but I just literally don't know how it helps. I just imagine that chainging position somehow makes body less rigid.

is it actually more effective than upright flat bar (or rised flat bar) position?
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Old 07-01-20, 11:13 AM
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wgscott
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The main assumption is that more possible hand positions reduces fatigue. If you spend 90% of your time in one position on the drop bars, this becomes less compelling. You should ride whatever you find to be the most comfortable. There are many other options, like trekking (butterfly) bars, Jones bars, etc.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:21 AM
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There are more hand positions, but you are more aero with a drop bar. It is easy to overlook until you ride into a 15/20mph headwind.

John
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Old 07-01-20, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Quintessentium View Post
I just imagine that chainging position somehow makes body less rigid
If you’re in the saddle for a long period, this sounds like a good thing, no? Being locked into one position for a long period sounds like torture. You want your bike to be rigid, not your body.
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Old 07-01-20, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
The main assumption is that more possible hand positions reduces fatigue. If you spend 90% of your time in one position on the drop bars, this becomes less compelling. You should ride whatever you find to be the most comfortable. There are many other options, like trekking (butterfly) bars, Jones bars, etc.
I think the discussion should have changed with the advent of these alternate (butterfly and Jones) bars. Perhaps it's just inertia; there's so much that's been written in the last 50 years, adding in new styles of bars to the "literature" will take a while.

But in the older sense, flat or mountain bars lock(ed) you into a single hand position. Compare that to four (at least) hand positions on drop bars. When your wrists and elbows get fatigued, it can lead to overuse injury if you've got to turn around and ride that far again to get home and can't change your hand position on the traditional flat bars. Drop bars? Move between the top, the ramp, the brifters or brake levers, and, of course, the drops.

And while it's technically possible to get your upper body low with flat bars, it's kind of like getting into a downhill racing tuck with your butt off the saddle and your nose on the stem -- not recommended for the faint of heart, strong in mind, or somebody without a lot of experience. But reach down and grab the drops, and you've just cut your wind drag enough to go a lot further before you're worn out. Safely.

Last edited by pdlamb; 07-01-20 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 07-01-20, 12:30 PM
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There's always the fork crown:

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Old 07-01-20, 12:31 PM
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Tangentially, your body position also changes when moving your hands around. Change is good over long days in the saddle from your neck position to shifting around your family jewels.

Besides changing up your static position, vibration resonance (road chatter) shifts around hopefully to a better spot. Varying road surfaces may make this a moving target.
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Old 07-01-20, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Quintessentium View Post
Hello!

I'm not experienced biker, so please elaborate to guide me. (literally, I did not intend any satire at all in my entire writing.)

I merely accustomed in handling with flat bar types, and less in drop handlebar)

I've heard that drop handlebars makes cyclist less tired through various grips by providing different arrangement of grips, hood, drop, and top.

but I just literally don't know how it helps. I just imagine that chainging position somehow makes body less rigid.

is it actually more effective than upright flat bar (or rised flat bar) position?

I made the switch from flatbars to drop on my distance riding a couple years ago even though I found that the addition of bar ends did give me a lot of variety on the flatbars. The biggest difference to me is that the basic riding on the hoods position, which is basically not practical for extended time on a flatbar, is a much more comfortable position on my wrists. YMMV, however, I know a lot of people who can't stand dropbars at all, so the best thing is to try it out yourself. If nothing else, try renting a bike for a day.
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Old 07-01-20, 02:00 PM
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Trekking figure 8 bend bars offer many hand position without the big expense of buying then changing all the shift & brake levers over..

Here is my example..
..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-01-20 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 07-01-20, 02:08 PM
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2 things on that,^, trekking bars are 22,2mm (1" Center) so Magura Hydro brakes , & Rohloff Grip shifter fit perfectly..
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Old 07-01-20, 03:41 PM
  #11  
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If you are touring, it would seem that the point is to see things. Bent clear over with the hands on the drops limit the view.

That is why so many cross country riders are going to some form of recumbent. You sit upright and have a 180 degree view.
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Old 07-01-20, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Toadmeister View Post
Tangentially, your body position also changes when moving your hands around. Change is good over long days in the saddle from your neck position to shifting around your family jewels.
You could look at it the other way, and say the key point is the ability to change body position. This helps match body position to effort level and also adds variety of body and hand positions to spread the stress around.

Drop bars do offer a diverse set of riding positions. There are a number of other bar types that also provide a range of body and hand positions.

I’m gaining an appreciation for the “touring” bar, which is just one example of another versatile bar. A good example is the Nitto Albatross. I use the Sunlite Elson Roadster, which is a cheap steel copy of the same shape. A bar like that offers a range of positions from back and upright on the grips, various positions along the grip section as you slide your hands forward all the way to about 7” farther forward on the forward bends and even more aero positions toward the center.

A trekking bar or a Jones H-bar would give a similar range of forward to back positions, but with different grip angles in several places.

All of these bars let you adjust your body and hands to meet the different needs of climbing, cruising, standing, braking and so on, but they each do that in a particular way.

Otto
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Old 07-01-20, 04:30 PM
  #13  
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Up until I was 40 I could ride a straight bar without any issues. After 40 I developed hand issues and changing hand position during a ride is much more important. And now, nearing 60 changing body position is becoming important. In fact, just reaching down to work the downtube shifters on my old roadbike leaves me less stiff after a ride than my newer bike with brifters.

I just converted my old MTB to drops last fall and it now has bar-end shifters, which still gets me moving my body around. Before that I had clip-on aero bars on my flat bar MTB which let me stretch out forward and also straight upright by using the elbow pads as grips.

I keep forgetting about grabbing the fork crown, but since I mostly commute, that may not be a good option in traffic.
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Old 07-01-20, 04:55 PM
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Odd how these discussions can go on for so many posts without a single mention of clip-on aero bars. I really don't get it. I got my first clip-ons 20 years ago, after an nerve relocation operation to (almost) correct an ulnar nerve problem. Now I have them on all of my bikes, including my strictly-road-use mountain bike.

In my experience, the combination of flat bar plus clip-on aero bar is the ultimate in efficiency and comfort, with bullhorns or drops plus clip-ons being nearly as good. Any other single bar configuration, however convoluted in design, would be at best a compromise for me.
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Old 07-01-20, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Odd how these discussions can go on for so many posts without a single mention of clip-on aero bars. I really don't get it. I got my first clip-ons 20 years ago, after an nerve relocation operation to (almost) correct an ulnar nerve problem. Now I have them on all of my bikes, including my strictly-road-use mountain bike.

In my experience, the combination of flat bar plus clip-on aero bar is the ultimate in efficiency and comfort, with bullhorns or drops plus clip-ons being nearly as good. Any other single bar configuration, however convoluted in design, would be at best a compromise for me.
I tried clip on aero bars on my riser bars. They were great for cutting through wind in a straight line. Harder to steer with them and much farther away from the brakes. They look especially out of place on a bike that isn't a TT frame. I gave them up when I tried bar ends and then ultimately dropping those in favor of bullhorn. For me the corners of bullhorns offers the best hand position for the longest period of time. I only recently tried out an aero drop bar. The drops are nice for those times I need to get lower than I could with bullhorns.
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Old 07-02-20, 01:44 AM
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Another option:



Gives four different hand positions: grips, grips/barends, barends (low), barends (high). First two allow access to brakes and shifters (release only for the second one); third is pretty close to position on the hoods of drop bars; fourth allows for bent elbows to go lower.
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Old 07-02-20, 04:22 AM
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On drops the most common hand position is riding the hoods. The hoods hand position if done right has less chance of compressing nerves causing numbness.

On flatbars you can have multiple hand positions too. You can also add barends or barinners for more hand positions.

Last edited by BikeLite; 07-02-20 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 07-02-20, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by devianb View Post
For me the corners of bullhorns offers the best hand position for the longest period of time.
I'm of the same mind. Switched my drop bar to bullhorns for $10 in parts from a swap meet.

To answer the OP a single hand position pressures the same spots on the hand leading to numbness and fatigue. Drops have 4 different hand positions, thus easier to give different areas of the hand a rest.

Having said that opinions differ which is better for long distance riding. Some like flats and some like drops. Keep in mind not everyone likes laying out to ride so drops and aero bars are of limited use to them

IMO the problem with trekking and aero bars is added weight. Trekking bars can be wider making it more difficult to carry the bike up stairs or into hotel rooms. Aero bars take up valuable front end space limiting handle bar accessories or a gear bag options. Can't say I've ever seen a bike tourer with aero bars, but I'm sure there are some.
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Old 07-02-20, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Odd how these discussions can go on for so many posts without a single mention of clip-on aero bars. I really don't get it. I got my first clip-ons 20 years ago, after an nerve relocation operation to (almost) correct an ulnar nerve problem. Now I have them on all of my bikes, including my strictly-road-use mountain bike.

In my experience, the combination of flat bar plus clip-on aero bar is the ultimate in efficiency and comfort, with bullhorns or drops plus clip-ons being nearly as good. Any other single bar configuration, however convoluted in design, would be at best a compromise for me.
This is fine if you are not riding on the road. Aero bars should really only be used on closed courses as they are unsafe not only for the user, but also others who have to interact with you on the road. With reduced field of vision, and without the ability to quickly make evasive maneuvers or brake, something unexpected or unseen can turn into an unfortunate accident. I particularly am annoyed when someone is using their aerobars and has headphones in their ears while out of the road. They generally don't announce themselves when passing and don't hear when I call out before I pass, all while they tend to not remain in a consistent position in regard to lane of travel or shoulder so it's unpredictable trying to navigate around them.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:54 AM
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I can last a lot longer in drop bars without numbness in the hands.

The simplest way to avoid numbness in flat bar is to keep pedaling at a constant pace at your best pace. Because pedaling takes some weight off your hand on the bars. The harder you pedal, the more weight is taken from your hands!

The saddle design and angle will also be a huge factor in your overall comfort and blood flow, including your hands.
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