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Old 06-17-08, 01:49 PM   #1
Fleetdog
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Changing Body Position

I ride a Gary Fisher Wingra hybrid for commuting. Depending on which of my 3 likely destinations I'm going to, my ride is between 4 and 6 miles each way mostly on bike paths or country roads so I encounter little traffic but several fair sized hills. The thing that currently bugs me is that I feel like my body is a giant sail when riding into anything over a slight breeze.

What can I do to get myself in a slightly more aerodynamic position other than buying a road bike or just leaning down with my elbows way bent? I'm currently investigating my options (read bargain shopping) for putting pursuit style bullhorns on with bar-end shifters and road brakes without breaking the bank, but I'm wondering if there is a simpler and less expensive option. Would a new stem with a little less height and a little more reach do much good?

I'm not looking to turn this into a race bike, I just hate getting totally bogged down by light wind.
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Old 06-17-08, 01:58 PM   #2
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Would a new stem with a little less height and a little more reach do much good?
The $0 option would be to flip the stem and see how that goes. I'm guessing that would put your hands about 2" lower.
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Old 06-17-08, 02:28 PM   #3
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How about a set of these?
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Old 06-17-08, 03:09 PM   #4
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There's no doubt about it, once you've ridden in a more aerodynamic position, anything else in wind (and there's almost always wind, isn't there?) feels very slow and tough to ride in. Even though I've always been a road rider, I've had a few hybrids. What I did was to simply lower the handlebars to about an inch below my saddle, and I installed bar ends to stretch out more like riding on the hoods of a road bike. I would try that before spending money on another bike.
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Old 06-17-08, 05:06 PM   #5
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I'm definitely not going to buy another bike. The most expensive option I'm considering is to set my current bike up with bullhorns and bar-end shifters (which would also likely require new brakes).
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Old 06-17-08, 06:08 PM   #6
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I'm definitely not going to buy another bike. The most expensive option I'm considering is to set my current bike up with bullhorns and bar-end shifters (which would also likely require new brakes).
There are a number of options that would work with your current shifters and brakes. Aerobars, simple bar ends, trekking bar, mustache bars, or the drop barends CACyling suggested. Bikeman has a pretty good selection.
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Old 06-17-08, 09:41 PM   #7
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Mr. Underbridge had me a bit puzzled with his first response because I had never noticed that my stem was 2 pieces instead of 1 like on a lot of road bikes. After a trip to the LBS where the guy suggested the same thing and pointed out the 2-piece construction of my stem, I came home and made the flip. I also bumped up my seat just a bit more and from the little test ride on my block I think this will do for a while. I'll know much better after the ride to work tomorrow though.
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Old 06-17-08, 09:44 PM   #8
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Wearing lycra and spandex would also help rather than your big jacket acting as parachute! )
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Old 06-18-08, 01:01 PM   #9
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I'm definitely not going to buy another bike. The most expensive option I'm considering is to set my current bike up with bullhorns and bar-end shifters (which would also likely require new brakes).
If you're willing to go that route, you might consider some drop bars with bar end shifters and new brake levers. There's no reason that this option would be more expensive than what you're talking about up there. The bars would be about the same, the bar-end shifters would be the same, and if you need to replace brake levers anyway, that would be about the same as well. Simple drop bar brake levers are not expensive anyway, even if that's an additional cost. It would give you some advantages over bull horns:

A more aerodynamic position (in the drops)
More options for position which improves comfort in the long haul. This is a huge advantage of drop bars - properly sized- over most other options.

The position on the brake hoods with drop bars would be very similar to bullhorns, as would the position on the horizontal top part of the bars - so you're not losing that.

There's a bunch of options for inexpensive alloy drop bars with factors such as deep vs. shallow, "anatomic" vs. smoooth/classic curve, etc. If you buy the right diameter, you can probably keep your current stem as well.

Somethng to think about.
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Old 06-18-08, 10:46 PM   #10
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"Cyclocross" levers are inexpensive and versatile! If you can find a Suntour bar-end shifter (they're really cheap on Ebay all the time) you'll be good to go.

Here's what I did.
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Old 06-19-08, 01:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleetdog View Post
Mr. Underbridge had me a bit puzzled with his first response because I had never noticed that my stem was 2 pieces instead of 1 like on a lot of road bikes. After a trip to the LBS where the guy suggested the same thing and pointed out the 2-piece construction of my stem, I came home and made the flip. I also bumped up my seat just a bit more and from the little test ride on my block I think this will do for a while. I'll know much better after the ride to work tomorrow though.
The nice thing about a body is that it's adjustable and has joints that can bend. Combined with mushy control-centre on top, it can be made to do all sorts of things.

One thing to work on is flexibility, do lots of hamstring stretches. Because in a low position, your legs need to come up and meet your chest. That's not very comfortable and is actually very muscularly inefficient unless you have good flexibility.

Another huge factor in improving aerodynamics is to BEND YOUR ELBOWS. This applies to both road and MTB bars as well. It's silly to lower your bars down to knee level if you keep your arms straight. You may have a lower head and upper-body, but your arms are fully blocking teh wind. Best to have your forearms parallel to the ground so they draft behind the hands. And if your shoulders are on the same level as your hips, then your entire upper-body only blocks as much wind as your shoulders. Here's some examples of good body-positioning for minimal wind-drag. For racers, an added benefit is those drafting behind you have to work harder as well....



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Old 06-19-08, 08:18 AM   #12
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Wow Josh, I love that bike!

While it hasn't been very windy here the last 2 days, I am very much enjoying having the bars a bit lower. I'd still like to have a bullhorn bike, but at this point I'm thinking I may keep this bike as is and save to cobble together a single speed sometime to put the horns on.
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