Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

View Poll Results: Drops/Flats
Drops 65 55.56%
Flats 23 19.66%
Switch off 29 24.79%
Voters: 117. You may not vote on this poll

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-08-07, 07:18 AM   #1
kill.cactus
500 Watts
Thread Starter
 
kill.cactus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Bikes: Trek 7200 FX ('05), Trek 6000 ('07)
Posts: 833
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Drops in traffic (omg)

I just got a used Jamis Ventura Elite off Ebay:
I went downtown to drop off some books at the library. It was pretty much rush hour in Ann Arbor (which isn't that big of a city, but it does have a specific commerical/downtown section). I've ridden tons on my hybrid with flat bars and SIS shifters and I've never had problems. I knew drops were a little trickier, so I planned on being extra careful.

Wow...

The bike's racing aspects really made it scary. I'm just not used to switching from one hand position to grabbing the brakes.

The weight did make accelerating much more exciting though



How many choose flat bars over drops for the stability/ease of use factor?
kill.cactus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 07:21 AM   #2
DataJunkie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 14,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like drop bars. However, my routes tend to be low traffic. Though I have ridden in heavy traffic with them from time to time without issues. In my case the saddle to bar drop may be more important than the type of bars. One bike is maybe a half inch and the other over an inch.
DataJunkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 07:29 AM   #3
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
Posts: 17,710
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
I just got a used Jamis Ventura Elite off Ebay:
I went downtown to drop off some books at the library. It was pretty much rush hour in Ann Arbor (which isn't that big of a city, but it does have a specific commerical/downtown section). I've ridden tons on my hybrid with flat bars and SIS shifters and I've never had problems. I knew drops were a little trickier, so I planned on being extra careful.

Wow...

The bike's racing aspects really made it scary. I'm just not used to switching from one hand position to grabbing the brakes.

The weight did make accelerating much more exciting though



How many choose flat bars over drops for the stability/ease of use factor?
Generally, you don't spend much time on the lowest part of the drops (sounds like you are since you are shifting your hands around to brake). Most people spend more time on the hoods of the brakes. Watch some racer dude movies and you'll see that they spend lots of time on the hoods and only go down to the drops when they want to go really fast on a downhill.

When on the hoods, all you have to do to brake is use your 3 outermost fingers on the lever to stop. Even in panic situations, I find I can stop the bike easily with that grip.

Go forth and try again
__________________
Stuart Black
New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 07:32 AM   #4
spokenword
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Bikes: ANT Club Racer, 2004 Trek 520
Posts: 1,117
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
I've ridden tons on my hybrid with flat bars and SIS shifters and I've never had problems. I knew drops were a little trickier, so I planned on being extra careful.

How many choose flat bars over drops for the stability/ease of use factor?
Originally, when I started riding, I chose flat bars for stability/ease of use, but as I started doing more distance / weekend rides, I started wanting a road bike with drop bars for the aerodynamic benefits.

So, after riding a Trek 730 hybrid for years, I sold that off and bought a Trek 520 touring bike, and it took me a while to get used to the position, but got comfortable with it after two weeks of riding. Even riding in places like downtown Boston aren't that intimidating. Now, I don't ever see myself going back. Of course, it helps that with the 520 and my current bike, the handlebars aren't that far below the saddle.
spokenword is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 07:35 AM   #5
celerystalksme
Banned.
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 1,548
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
I just got a used Jamis Ventura Elite off Ebay:
I went downtown to drop off some books at the library. It was pretty much rush hour in Ann Arbor (which isn't that big of a city, but it does have a specific commerical/downtown section). I've ridden tons on my hybrid with flat bars and SIS shifters and I've never had problems. I knew drops were a little trickier, so I planned on being extra careful.

Wow...

The bike's racing aspects really made it scary. I'm just not used to switching from one hand position to grabbing the brakes.

The weight did make accelerating much more exciting though



How many choose flat bars over drops for the stability/ease of use factor?
i like drop handlebars...

also...i'm an ann arborite!!!!!!!
celerystalksme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 07:54 AM   #6
ibikedc
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Washington DC
Bikes:
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I made the switch a few months ago from a hybrid with flat bars to a Cross Check with drops.
It does take a bit of getting used to, but once you do you probably won't go back- you'll find the position so much more efficient, especially when climbing or trying to get up any speed.

As cyccommute said, you'll want to spend most of the time on the hoods, which is a less crouched position. You'll be better able to see what's going on around you without craning your neck up and you'll be able to reach the brakes easily. You will get used to braking while in the drops though.

Give it another week. I nearly got a Ventura Elite; it's a good bike and you'll be in love with it and the riding position soon enough.
ibikedc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 07:57 AM   #7
kill.cactus
500 Watts
Thread Starter
 
kill.cactus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Bikes: Trek 7200 FX ('05), Trek 6000 ('07)
Posts: 833
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
i like drop handlebars...

also...i'm an ann arborite!!!!!!!
yeah A2! lol
kill.cactus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 07:58 AM   #8
kill.cactus
500 Watts
Thread Starter
 
kill.cactus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Bikes: Trek 7200 FX ('05), Trek 6000 ('07)
Posts: 833
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When I got the bike I installed the bars in a very aggressive stance. Maybe by pivoting them upwards I'll feel steadier on the hoods.

Thanks for the feedback.
kill.cactus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 08:21 AM   #9
ax0n
Trans-Urban Velocommando
 
ax0n's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lenexa, KS
Bikes: 06 Trek 1200 - 98 DB Outlook - 99 DB Sorrento
Posts: 2,400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I love drop bars in traffic. It depends on what I'm doing, but on a flat stretch of road, I ride the hoods. Downhill, I hit the drops and either pedal hard or tuck-n-roll. I rarely use the flat part of my handlebars unless I'm trying to position myself higher to look around or something. Since my STI levers allow me to brake from either of my two main hand positions (I have a few derivatives of these positions), I do kind of like drop bars over flat bars for commuting.

Flat bars aren't too bad. I do notice a little more wrist/hand fatigue on longer commutes, though. I could go for some barend grips, but it doesn't bother me enough to spend the cash on them. Sometimes I just cup my palms around the handlebar ends when I know I won't need to brake.
ax0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 08:43 AM   #10
lil brown bat
Senior Member
 
lil brown bat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Boston (sort of)
Bikes: 1 road, 1 Urban Assault Vehicle
Posts: 3,878
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I voted flats because I commute in heavy traffic on crappy streets, and while hoods would be okay, drops really would not.
lil brown bat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 08:50 AM   #11
Az B
Fattest Thin Man
 
Az B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Directly above the center of the earth
Bikes: Miyata 610, Vinco V, Rocky Mountain Element
Posts: 2,649
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Drops offer more hand positions than flat bars. If you want the ability to brake from the flat part of the drop bars, you can easily add in line brake levers like some cyclocross bikes have. The levers cost about $20 at Performance/Nashbar and are simple to install.

The only bike I have with flat bars is my mountain bike, and I really miss the additional hand positions that drops offer on rides any longer than 20-30 minutes.

Az
Az B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 08:52 AM   #12
grolby
Senior Member
 
grolby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BOSTON BABY
Bikes:
Posts: 9,133
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I like drops just fine for maneuvering in traffic. Once you've developed solid bike-handling skills with drop bars (and it does take more practice), you might find that you prefer them. The fact that most drop bars are narrower than uprights can be very handy for squeezing through tight spaces, if you ever feel you need to do so.
grolby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 09:34 AM   #13
EMT
Senior Member
 
EMT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Tokyo
Bikes:
Posts: 392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I commute every day in crazy traffic with drops---it feels much more natural and easy (now) than flats, and better control.
EMT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 10:29 AM   #14
SDRider
Cat None
 
SDRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Diego
Bikes: LOOK KG 461, LeMond Zurich, Giant Talon 29er 0
Posts: 4,510
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
I just got a used Jamis Ventura Elite off Ebay:
I went downtown to drop off some books at the library. It was pretty much rush hour in Ann Arbor (which isn't that big of a city, but it does have a specific commerical/downtown section). I've ridden tons on my hybrid with flat bars and SIS shifters and I've never had problems. I knew drops were a little trickier, so I planned on being extra careful.

Wow...

The bike's racing aspects really made it scary. I'm just not used to switching from one hand position to grabbing the brakes.

The weight did make accelerating much more exciting though

How many choose flat bars over drops for the stability/ease of use factor?
I ride a road bike exclusively...this includes commuting. I find myself riding on the hoods most of the time anyway and it becomes second nature to move your hands up there in certain situations just in preparation for braking or when you are being a little more cautious.

You get used to the drop bars fairly quick, just keep at it.
SDRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 11:16 AM   #15
Chuck G
Dirty old man in training
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cary NC
Bikes: 2007 Novara Randonee, 1991 Raleigh Olympian, 1988 Nishiki Ariel
Posts: 455
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Az B View Post
Drops offer more hand positions than flat bars. If you want the ability to brake from the flat part of the drop bars, you can easily add in line brake levers like some cyclocross bikes have. The levers cost about $20 at Performance/Nashbar and are simple to install.
+1

My Randonee came with drop bars and STI brifters, and I put some Cane Creek in-line brake levers on it. I split my time between riding on the hoods and the drops, but most of the time when I pull up to stoplights or stopsigns I use the in-line levers. I really like them.
Chuck G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 11:48 AM   #16
shuttoj
Member
 
shuttoj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Drops all the way, makes me feel like I'm riding a big-boy bike. That being said, I'm on the hoods or the bars (with cheater brakes) 95% of the time. Headwinds over 15 MPH sends me straight to the drops, I expect to be doing that more when winter settles in.
shuttoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 11:50 AM   #17
caloso
Packfodding 3
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper
Posts: 33,503
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Personally I don't care for flat bars. I have drops on all my bikes, including my mtb.
caloso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 12:10 PM   #18
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,255
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My primary fair weather commuter... it's not hard to tell where I put my hands.

Even when I do ride in a hands up position I still prefer to brake from the drops.

Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 12:29 PM   #19
M_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 3,693
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
As someone who made "the switch" less than a year ago, I would reccomend that you start with the handlebars in a fairly non-aggressive position. If you have spacers, put them under your stem. If your stem has rise, flip it upwards so the rise is positive. And yes, spend 95% of the time on the hoods or just behind the hoods. Braking should be more than adequate there.

As you get comfortable with the drops, you'll find yourself gradually lowering the bars into a more aggressive stance until you find that "magic spot." At least that's what I did.
M_S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 12:38 PM   #20
hairlessbill
Daily Rider
 
hairlessbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Boulder, CO
Bikes: 89 Bridgestone MB-3, 93 Bridgestone RB-1,93 Bridgestone MB-1, 95 Klein Fervor, 02 BikeE AT, 06 Surly Cross-check, 8? Schwinn Frontier
Posts: 638
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've commuted in Boston with drops and flats and a few in between. Prefer drops, heavy traffic or not. Flats give only one position which is good for about 30 minutes of riding for me - if that. Ride on the hoods and keep your head up.
hairlessbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 12:49 PM   #21
Mr. Underbridge
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Reston, VA
Bikes: 2003 Giant OCR2
Posts: 2,369
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm one of the weirdos who uses the drops pretty much exclusively. From a physics standpoint, I've never understood the combination of 90% hood riding with the STI shifters, because the best mechanical advantage is gained when using the things in the drops. This may not be a big deal for some, but I hate riding on the hoods as a result. This is made worse because I have small hands, but I also hate feeling like I'm using two inches of lever and a couple of fingers to brake.

Shimano needs to design a shifting/braking system for people who want to ride on the hoods (which is most people) and is actually optimized for that. Right now, between Shimano and the bike manufacturers, they're selling bikes set up for racing to a public that is, generally, not racing. It's no wonder that people don't feel comfortable commuting on a new bike set up as it was sold.

I second the recommendation for a higher stem.
Mr. Underbridge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 12:50 PM   #22
MrCjolsen
Senior Member
 
MrCjolsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Davis CA
Bikes: Surly Cross-Check, '85 Giant road bike (unrecogizable fixed-gear conversion
Posts: 3,956
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
My primary fair weather commuter... it's not hard to tell where I put my hands.

Even when I do ride in a hands up position I still prefer to brake from the drops.

This bike is SCREAMING for a pair of Nitto bullhorns and a nice TTT quill stem.
MrCjolsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 12:57 PM   #23
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,255
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't like bullhorn bars.

I'll stick with my randonneur bars I presently have (cause I love them) and am actually looking for a vintage stem.
Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 05:13 PM   #24
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
Posts: 17,710
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
When I got the bike I installed the bars in a very aggressive stance. Maybe by pivoting them upwards I'll feel steadier on the hoods.

Thanks for the feedback.
That might help. I prefer the tops to be parallel with the ground. Lots of people put the drops parallel with the ground. There's no wrong way to do it but try rotating them up to see if that works for you.
__________________
Stuart Black
New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 05:16 PM   #25
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,255
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My bars are rotated up a little as I only run one brake and have no hoods to rest my hands on...the randonneur bars are tres' comfy and I have similar bars on a number of my road bikes.
Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:16 PM.