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  1. #1
    Mild-mannered Commuter
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    Body position on drop bars?

    Hi

    I have an old touring bike that I am converting to a commuter. At the moment I use flat bars, and was thinking of trekking bars or similar. However, after giving it a quick spin (before the chain got stuck), I found the drop bars to be quite comfortable once I got used to them -- and the bike rode beautifully.

    My question is, what are the advantages of using drop bars versus a more upright position beyond aerodynamics? Is my body better placed to use the pedals?

    Thanks

    jimmay

  2. #2
    Senior Member cabaray's Avatar
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    I'll start with a quick reply and I'm sure that others will chime in. First thing that comes to mind is lots of hand positions.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmay
    Hi
    My question is, what are the advantages of using drop bars versus a more upright position beyond aerodynamics? Is my body better placed to use the pedals?
    Thats not quite the right question. Drop bars can be used long and low for aerodynamic efficiency. They can also be set much higher and closer for comfort.
    In both positions you get a wide variety of alternate hand positions.
    It is quite possible top set flat bars in an aerodynamic position, check out some courier setups.
    The question of body positioning (separate from the shape of the bars) does have an impact on efficiency but it also depends on your flexability and how much power you like to apply to the pedals. Generally the more powerful the rider applies, the deepeer and more forward they prefer to ride. For pootling around town at low power a more upright position may be preferable.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Leaning forward brings more muscles into play, so you don't tire a small set while the others are dead weight. Raising the saddle straightens the legs, reducing stress on the knees.

  5. #5
    Mild-mannered Commuter
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    Thanks; it's the low position that uses more of my muscles. That makes sense. To get power on my hybrid, I either need to get forward and low, or right back almost pushing against the handlebars.

    So, for now, I'm going to keep the drop bars.

  6. #6
    Year-round cyclist
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    I would like to separate the issues:

    1. The bars per se

    I find I prefer the shape of drop bars as opposed to the shape of straight bars. I'm OK with old style British or Dutch "rounded" bars, but not with straight bars, which tend to cause pain in the wrists and shoulders. Maybe it's because I haven't ridden enough with them (borrowed bikes only).

    On the other hand, with road bars, I find that my hands are in a naturally-comfortable position, especially in the drops.

    2. Access to controls

    Current brakes and shifters are easily accessible from the drops and hoods, with bar-end shifters very close to the drops and STI or Ergo accessible from the hoods. With straight bars, controls are easily accessible from the bars, but not from bar ends.

    3. Height

    Drop bars don't necessarily require you to bend more or to stretch further. I have seen a few courriers with straight bars that are about 20 cm (8") lower than their saddle; they need to bend a lot! Conversely, with drop bars set at about the same level or even slightly higher (for the tops) than the saddle, you don't need to bend too much, whatever "too much" means for you. Rivendell, amongst others is promoting a rather laid back setup with the tops level with the saddle, and this is what I have. After all, I commute and tour; I don't race.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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