Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montréal (Québec)
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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.
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.