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There Must Be Something Wrong With Me Because...

Old 05-04-20, 09:39 PM
  #1  
Attilio
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There Must Be Something Wrong With Me Because...

... I hate drop bars.

Love my Salsa Journeyman Flat bar. Rode it for a year, still enjoying it. Tried a Warbird and it's amazing, pedals great but doesn't ride so nice on account of the drop bar. The drop bar seems to just lower performance and make everything difficult on account that the position is so awkward you can never really do anything as well or precisely as with a flat bar and you have to have to anticipate maneuvers and get your hands just right. When you want to shift, you brake, when you want to brake, you shift. The control is never as precise and while I've read you have a choice of hand positions they are all terrible, tied for dead last and leave me wishing for a flat bar on account of hands going numb. I can also never really get my hands to grip as well as I can on a flat bar so I can't go fast or risk letting go. And if I do get a good grip on a drop bar then the position is such that I can't brake or shift gears which kills my confidence to do anything but coast, never mind any real speed. I thought about getting a flat bar like the Journeyman to replace the drop bar but then there are control incompatibilities and there's no guarantee for the time and aggravation the end result could work.

What I find that I prefer with a flat bar is that you can shift up, down, steer, keep straight/stable and brake all at the same time without having to change hand position that in a flat bar you can only do one thing and then have to keep changing hand position. I guess a flat bar is OK on short rides or for low intensity bike path/neighborhood stuff but I find the more I need varying controls in rapid succession the slower I go with drop bar. As the ride gets longer, more challenging, more traffic, more bumps or higher speeds and elevation changes, especially fast downhills and higher overall speeds the better the flat bar makes the bike easier to control. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 05-04-20, 09:43 PM
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You're doing nothing wrong. You have a preference.
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Old 05-04-20, 09:50 PM
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It sounds like you haven't put much time into drop bars so it can be intimidating at first. I know I was a bit like you on my first drop bar bike. I have gotten used to it and really like the different hand positions and the position I am in on my bikes granted all my bikes are non-stock and so my position is higher than the average road position.

However if I didn't want drop bars I would go Velo Orange Crazy Bars, Surly Moloko Bars or Koga Denham bars which give me more hand positions but without the drops.
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Old 05-04-20, 10:17 PM
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I had a drop bar bike when I was a kid in the late 80's and early 90's (Magna, junk!) as I liked the "Racer" look as a kid but I find that I just can't do as much all at once. All the positions are too leaned forward, all the positions are uncomfortable, and you can never get a good grip on the bar like with a flat bar. It seems you have much faster response and thus a more relaxed ride instead of having to be hyperalert, always trying to anticipate the next move and finding your hands almost always in the wrong position. I don't like being caught flat footed like that all the time.

The other problem is that I just can't get a good grip with drop bars. I like to have a solid grip and be in easy access of the brakes if I want to go fast and not just coast. Problem is the faster I go then I hit bumps and let go of the drop bar, never a problem on a flat bar. I either get a good grip, or I have access to brakes, not both. Shifts are hard to do as well. Hands go numb a lot on the drop bar, the least uncomfortable is the highest but I don't care for any of the positions. Short rides I can endure it but longer rides the flat bar seems to offer better control and faster response for shifting/braking and the bike seems to just be easier to control. I'd love to get the warbird up to speed but I just don't feel like I have the control and quick ability for control inputs with the drop bar.

I've been riding it for about a month and maybe a couple hundred miles like this. I love the Salsa Journeyman flat bar configuration, don't need anything too fancy there. Should I get some padded gloves, any suggestions on how to get drop bars to work better/more easily for me?
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Old 05-04-20, 10:48 PM
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Also remember that drop bars are positioned out further than flat bars. Perhaps that extra length and having your nose over the stem is making it uncomfortable
I road raced for pretty much most of the 80s, using drop bars and mounted pretty low. I was a svelte 150 lbs, but then as I grew up (or out) the drops became less and less comfortable. I still have a road bike with drops, which I ride once a year to remind me of how much I don't like them.
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Old 05-04-20, 11:27 PM
  #6  
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Do you have small hands? Lever reach from the drops can be an issue, even with reach adjusted, depending on the model. That's why Shimano came out with a smaller size R7000 shifter option. The shape of the drops can matter as well.

Also agree that you are probably lack confidence with drop bars. You aren't supposed to have a vice grip on them when riding.
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Old 05-04-20, 11:30 PM
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Iíve also never been happy on drop bars. Uncomfortable and the controls are awkward. But itís definitely faster so I always wind up giving it another chance.
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Old 05-04-20, 11:38 PM
  #8  
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It sounds like you just swaped bars & expected everything to work out like magic. The contact points are all in different places & your positioning is completly different between flats bars & drop bars.

Beings that nothing fits now, it's no wonder you are uncomfortable, unconfident, & unsure about the switch.

As far as handling: Have you ever taken a state approved motorcycle handling course? The technicals of bike handling skills are pretty independant of handle bar choice.

Bar style isn't the cause of your difficulties.


Edit:
It sounds like your stem is at least 2-3cm too short now. The hand numbness is the give away. Too much pressure because the bar is too close & the contact points are probably ~44cm apart & not the 66cm apart they would be on a flat bar which would have the effect of making it closer still.

Last edited by base2; 05-05-20 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 05-05-20, 12:05 AM
  #9  
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I have reduced lower back mobility. But Iíve ridden a lot with that. Iím comfortable on a flat bar set decently low but find ĒnoĒ sensible use of the drops. If I set a drop bar so that I can ride in the drops for more than 1-2 minutes, then the top or the hoods gets higher than I need it.
I also need to set the bar closer than general fit recommendations suggest. I do like the thumbs-forward grip offered by the hoods. Although it took testing my way through three brifters and two bars before I found a combination I was comfortable in.
Iíve tinkered with fitting brifters to bullhorns or TT base bars to get the thumbs-forward grip and brakes and shifters within easy reach as on flat bars.
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Old 05-05-20, 04:14 AM
  #10  
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I got back into riding the last year or so in order to have an inexpensive 2nd vehicle. Found it was so much fun, especially my Salsa Journeyman flat bar, and so much more exercise than walking or hiking I decided to get really into it with my Warbird late last year.

I have type 1 diabetes (not 2 so I'm not fat!) and have for most of my life since I was little control has been always really good which is why I am complication free and so healthy. I lost 5-10lbs the last year as it's been over 8 months I went alcohol free. I was hoping to lose more but I guess I wasn't drinking that much. Still the energy gain was substantial. I ended up being just as tired and fatigued as before but I am excercising more.

Now I am early 40's, 183lbs, always in pretty good shape but as the kids are getting older I am in better shape than ever. I also like archery, shooting guns, lifting weights and kayaking. Kids getting older has allowed me to do these things and share. Glad to be watching Stranger Things, Goonies and stuff like that so to speak though we do activities as screens are forbidden except distance school/learning now and family movie night. With this "coronacraziness" given I am working from home now I find I am excercising even more the last 2-3 months. I was excercising maybe 1-2 hours a day before, now more like 3-4 hours a day now! My archery is getting amazing at 4-5x a week. Riding almost every day as well as hiking almost every day (1hr each, usually more). Weight lifting and calesthenics 3-4x a week. Kayaking when I can.

I know what you mean about a motorcycle class. I used to race cars and know about the benefits of how to brake, rotation on entry and selecting the line not necessarily that give the biggest radius, but allows you to get on the power as soon as possible, not necessarily stomping on it as that raises the wheels that steer and causes understeer. Power, even a little bit = grip and rotation which is why I prefer flat bar. More control = more speed.

I keep wanting to go back to the drop bar because the Warbird feels so awesome as it's supposed to be 'faster' but it ends up being less comfortable and much slower on account of the bad grip, poor control especially at high speed on bumpy road and slow shifting, lousy braking control and bad hand position as compared to a flat bar. Having to constantly change position for every control input is not intuitive and slows me down. I'd rather pedal against the strongest headwind upright, it's much faster than not being in control! I will raise the bar this morning a bit and bring the allen key in case I need to make adjustments during the ride. Thanks for suggestions will see how this ride pans out.

Last edited by Attilio; 05-05-20 at 04:22 AM.
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Old 05-05-20, 05:34 AM
  #11  
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Gotta call TROLL on this OP-thread

To paraphrase the OP's premise.."I hate folks that post they hate some well-loved piece of equipment as all it does is create a big dust cloud and everyone leaves without the slightest change in their position"

If you don't like drop bars..don't use them..was that so hard?

..waste of time and good electrons
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Old 05-05-20, 05:50 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
... I hate drop bars.

Love my Salsa Journeyman Flat bar. Rode it for a year, still enjoying it. Tried a Warbird and it's amazing, pedals great but doesn't ride so nice on account of the drop bar. The drop bar seems to just lower performance and make everything difficult on account that the position is so awkward you can never really do anything as well or precisely as with a flat bar and you have to have to anticipate maneuvers and get your hands just right. When you want to shift, you brake, when you want to brake, you shift. The control is never as precise and while I've read you have a choice of hand positions they are all terrible, tied for dead last and leave me wishing for a flat bar on account of hands going numb. I can also never really get my hands to grip as well as I can on a flat bar so I can't go fast or risk letting go. And if I do get a good grip on a drop bar then the position is such that I can't brake or shift gears which kills my confidence to do anything but coast, never mind any real speed. I thought about getting a flat bar like the Journeyman to replace the drop bar but then there are control incompatibilities and there's no guarantee for the time and aggravation the end result could work.

What I find that I prefer with a flat bar is that you can shift up, down, steer, keep straight/stable and brake all at the same time without having to change hand position that in a flat bar you can only do one thing and then have to keep changing hand position. I guess a flat bar is OK on short rides or for low intensity bike path/neighborhood stuff but I find the more I need varying controls in rapid succession the slower I go with drop bar. As the ride gets longer, more challenging, more traffic, more bumps or higher speeds and elevation changes, especially fast downhills and higher overall speeds the better the flat bar makes the bike easier to control. What am I doing wrong?
User error.
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Old 05-05-20, 06:17 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
Gotta call TROLL on this OP-thread

To paraphrase the OP's premise.."I hate folks that post they hate some well-loved piece of equipment as all it does is create a big dust cloud and everyone leaves without the slightest change in their position"

If you don't like drop bars..don't use them..was that so hard?

..waste of time and good electrons
The problem is that I got a really nice bike with drop bars that I briefly pedalled and thought I enjoyed with the responsiveness but now that my skillset is growing and I can go quite fast and longer I find that the drop bar isn't working for me at all. I am very well aware it's much loved which is why I am posting for help because I HATE IT and am unable from my own devices to find a way that is working for me but because I already bought the Warbird it's not as easy as "not using them".

So I have three choices:
1. Convert it to a flat bar which is expensive and a lot of work with no guarantee of successor
2. Sell the bike at a loss and consider a custom build with carbon frame/ flat bar (even more expensive!)
3. Figure out what I can do to make it work for me.

For now I am trying #3 . That said I just got back from a ride and I tilted the bars more forward not less. It's not as bad but I still don't have a very good grip and still can't brake and shift as quickly as I'd like. The forward position really doesn't work for me as it's very uncomfortable. I am trying to get used to it. Any suggestions like maybe padding, gloves or stuff like that? I am looking online and seeing there are more than a few people who don't like drop bars as well I know I am not alone. What I would like to know is what *YOU* did (plural) to make them work for you.

Last edited by Attilio; 05-05-20 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 05-05-20, 07:28 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
... I hate drop bars.

Love my Salsa Journeyman Flat bar. Rode it for a year, still enjoying it. Tried a Warbird and it's amazing, pedals great but doesn't ride so nice on account of the drop bar. The drop bar seems to just lower performance and make everything difficult on account that the position is so awkward you can never really do anything as well or precisely as with a flat bar and you have to have to anticipate maneuvers and get your hands just right. When you want to shift, you brake, when you want to brake, you shift. The control is never as precise and while I've read you have a choice of hand positions they are all terrible, tied for dead last and leave me wishing for a flat bar on account of hands going numb. I can also never really get my hands to grip as well as I can on a flat bar so I can't go fast or risk letting go. And if I do get a good grip on a drop bar then the position is such that I can't brake or shift gears which kills my confidence to do anything but coast, never mind any real speed. I thought about getting a flat bar like the Journeyman to replace the drop bar but then there are control incompatibilities and there's no guarantee for the time and aggravation the end result could work.

What I find that I prefer with a flat bar is that you can shift up, down, steer, keep straight/stable and brake all at the same time without having to change hand position that in a flat bar you can only do one thing and then have to keep changing hand position. I guess a flat bar is OK on short rides or for low intensity bike path/neighborhood stuff but I find the more I need varying controls in rapid succession the slower I go with drop bar. As the ride gets longer, more challenging, more traffic, more bumps or higher speeds and elevation changes, especially fast downhills and higher overall speeds the better the flat bar makes the bike easier to control. What am I doing wrong?
I'm with you on this. I don't ride drop bars in the dirt. No control. Nothing shifts better than 10 sp shimano mountain IMO.
What you are looking for is a Cross Country Mountain bike.
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Old 05-05-20, 07:33 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
The problem is that I got a really nice bike with drop bars that I briefly pedalled and thought I enjoyed with the responsiveness but now that my skillset is growing and I can go quite fast and longer I find that the drop bar isn't working for me at all. I am very well aware it's much loved which is why I am posting for help because I HATE IT and am unable from my own devices to find a way that is working for me but because I already bought the Warbird it's not as easy as "not using them".

So I have three choices:
1. Convert it to a flat bar which is expensive and a lot of work with no guarantee of successor
2. Sell the bike at a loss and consider a custom build with carbon frame/ flat bar (even more expensive!)
3. Figure out what I can do to make it work for me.

For now I am trying #3 . That said I just got back from a ride and I tilted the bars more forward not less. It's not as bad but I still don't have a very good grip and still can't brake and shift as quickly as I'd like. The forward position really doesn't work for me as it's very uncomfortable. I am trying to get used to it. Any suggestions like maybe padding, gloves or stuff like that? I am looking online and seeing there are more than a few people who don't like drop bars as well I know I am not alone. What I would like to know is what *YOU* did (plural) to make them work for you.
What type of riding are you doing with the Warbird ... on-road (including unpaved/gravel roads) or off-road? Is it meant to be your 'road bike'?
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Old 05-05-20, 07:45 AM
  #16  
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I do all my riding on paved asphalt but the shop suggested hybrid because road conditions around here in New England are awful. Even in the summer after they sweep the roads the seismic sized cracks and divots in the asphalt vomit sand, oil and gravel. I feel much more confident with this "bad" terrain grip than I do in a road bike.

The issue is there are a lot hills, some intersections, traffic and a very nice state park that has some people around. You have to watch the people, there are some nice tight curves too making some sections like a racetrack. Fun fun fun, not with a drop bar. So I need control of all elements and be able to brake, shift and steer at the same time and I would prefer to do so comfortably if I can manage it.

And as I said, the drop bar is too.... bent over. It doesn't matter how many positions there are when none of them are comfortable and I can't control my bike and go as fast as I would like in any of them! What do people do in order to like drop bars so much?
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Old 05-05-20, 08:08 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
I do all my riding on paved asphalt but the shop suggested hybrid because road conditions around here in New England are awful. Even in the summer after they sweep the roads the seismic sized cracks and divots in the asphalt vomit sand, oil and gravel. I feel much more confident with this "bad" terrain grip than I do in a road bike.

The issue is there are a lot hills, some intersections, traffic and a very nice state park that has some people around. You have to watch the people, there are some nice tight curves too making some sections like a racetrack. Fun fun fun, not with a drop bar. So I need control of all elements and be able to brake, shift and steer at the same time and I would prefer to do so comfortably if I can manage it.

And as I said, the drop bar is too.... bent over. It doesn't matter how many positions there are when none of them are comfortable and I can't control my bike and go as fast as I would like in any of them! What do people do in order to like drop bars so much?
OK. So, I'm not going to comment on 'drop bars for road cycling -- yea or nay'. To my mind, the discussion is utterly pointless. Some road cyclists, like me, simply do not get on with drop bars/brifters. This can be for many different reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with "user error", bike set-up ... whatever. Similarly, there are many road cyclists who cannot abide 'flat bars', again ... for various reasons.

Others here will suggest ways in which you can adjust things so that you might come to like your Warbird's drop bar set up. Hope that works out; certainly the cheapest option for you -- your choice #3 above.

However, if you decide you want to go the flat bar route, I will briefly comment with reference to the 2 other choices you mooted in your earlier post: don't try to convert your Warbird (choice #1 ). Doing so will be expensive, and -- assuming your Warbird is the correct size for you -- the resulting bike will never, in my opinion, be quite right. It will 'work', but the geometry will never be perfectly suited to using flat bars: a road bike correctly designed for flat bars should have a frame reach at least 3cms (or more) longer than one designed for drops, for a given size.

So budget permitting, choice #2 is the right one in my opinion. All the major mfgs have full-carbon 'flat bar road bikes' in their line ups these days: Specialized, Trek, Giant, C'dale, even Canyon. I've ridden a Specialized one (Sirrus) since 2010, for all my road cycling. I've just this past year purchased a new, full-carbon Sirrus. Works for me.

Old Sirrus (still have it):

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Old 05-05-20, 08:09 AM
  #18  
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New Sirrus:

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Old 05-05-20, 09:12 AM
  #19  
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Thank you Badger1 that was a very helpful post. Like you said, you want to get something right straight off the bat from the factory as none of us are as smart as all the R&D these big companies can dish out with their billions of dollars and millions of man hours. Money dumped modifying something from what it was designed to do is like lighting $100 bills on fire. I get it.

For now I am going to see what suggestions I come up with to make the most of the drop bars, especially just using it a lot and trying to practice though I feel very constricted and limited by the body position and lack of grip as well as lack of dexerity on the brakes and shifters. I am going to continue using my Warbird to see how I can make the best of it. I am looking to avoid spending money right now given the status of the economy but my long term plan might be to hand it down to my younger son who LOVES drop bars when he outgrows his current bike at only 11 he is 5'5"! I might consider a flat bar bike similar to the Warbird when economic times improve. By then I will have practiced enough on the drop bar to see if I can make use of it or if I really don't want it.
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Old 05-05-20, 09:16 AM
  #20  
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I hate them too. With my very long torso it is unbelievably uncomfortable to lean forward and all my weight is centered on my hands. No thanks. If you're racing it makes sense, if you are riding for exercise or in traffic, not so much.
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Old 05-05-20, 09:55 AM
  #21  
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Here's my story. Rode Mtn bikes in 90's-00's. 5 years ago decided to pick up cycling again. wanted to ride on paved MUP's and roads. Bought a Sirrus "Flat bar road bike". Loved it. after a couple years my mileage went up and I wanted to try a drop bar bike. Bought a "Gravell bike" with 105/hydraulic disc. Only time I rode a drop bar bike was on the several test rides while shopping for one. Felt fast, but after 5 miles or so my hands would be so numb I couldn't hardly turn on a bike light. The buyers remorse set in and I thought I had made a huge mistake. The shop gave me a 30 min bike fit when I bought it. I finally scheduled. After the fit, it is like a different bike. Nothing drastic was done either just adjusted to me.

What's funny is after about 6 months of riding the new bike when I get on the flat bar bike it takes me a little bit to get the feel back. Now it feels unnatural to ride with my thumbs pointing in.
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Old 05-05-20, 11:24 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Razorrock View Post
The shop gave me a 30 min bike fit when I bought it. I finally scheduled. After the fit, it is like a different bike. Nothing drastic was done either just adjusted to me.
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Do you mind if I ask what they did?
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Old 05-05-20, 12:16 PM
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If you compare the two Journeyman versions, the drop bar is nearly the same as the Warbird, but the flat bar version of the frame is two inches, not cm longer at the same size. Once you account for the drop bars the reach is pretty similar. There just aren't many premium hybrids that aren't just a road bike with a flat bar. Specialized does one that is based on the Diverge that isn't much longer but it gets a lot more stack.
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Old 05-05-20, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Gconan View Post
Do you mind if I ask what they did?
flipped the stem. went from -6 to +6 degrees.

The nice thing about the bike fit is I have a nice sheet with all the numbers so when I buy the next bike I have something to go with other than "feel".
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Old 05-05-20, 01:22 PM
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Use what works for you and makes bicycle riding a joy. I found just raising the drop bars up to the level of the seat (or just above) was what I needed to make them comfy. I also put on a slightly wider drop bar (46cm, kind of hard to find) helped improve control I tried flats on my touring bicycle, but found I much prefer drops for the variety of hand positions and the slightly aero position when pedaling into a headwind. And like you I got rid of the brifters; I went with old style non-aero brake levers and bar-end shifters (one bicycle has downtube friction shifters).
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