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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.

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Old 08-02-08, 12:00 PM   #1
steve-in-kville 
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Drop or straight bar commuter??

Such a basic decision yet I can't make up my mind. The few straight bar bikes I look at are tough to come by in my frame size. The drop bar bikes are more common, but I hear that the rider's position takes some getting used to.

Suggestions? What would you do? I have about 10 miles to work, plus would be ridden for fitness when I am not running.

steve
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Old 08-02-08, 12:13 PM   #2
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I commuted all of last year and most of this on straight and I've made the jump to drops and I'll never go back. Being able to get out of the wind is the main reason for me. Even though I was crawling yesterday, I didn't feel like I was fighting a sail. On the flat bar, to get low, i would either rest my forearms on the bars or rest them along the whole bar. Neither was safe nor comfortable.

Plus, being able to drop down low and turn the turbo on is great.
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Old 08-02-08, 12:20 PM   #3
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My experience was buying a used comfort bike for $50 and riding it for 9 months and then buying a drop bar bike.

After riding for a while you will be more likely ready for a drop bar.

If you are a young whipersnapper then just buy the drop bar bike and go for it.
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Old 08-02-08, 03:38 PM   #4
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personal preference. i prefer the drops at the moment b/c they offer 4-5 different hand positions to the flat's 1.
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Old 08-02-08, 04:36 PM   #5
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I prefer drop bars. I am almost never in the drops, but the top has enough hand postions to keep me happy.
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Old 08-02-08, 05:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Such a basic decision yet I can't make up my mind. The few straight bar bikes I look at are tough to come by in my frame size. The drop bar bikes are more common, but I hear that the rider's position takes some getting used to.

Suggestions? What would you do? I have about 10 miles to work, plus would be ridden for fitness when I am not running.

steve


That's odd, every shop I go in is loaded with hybrids.
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Old 08-02-08, 06:04 PM   #7
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That's odd, every shop I go in is loaded with hybrids.
That's the same way around here. Haven't they got the word -- all that's old is new again.

Drops are nice. Since "going there" I can't imagine a scenario that I'd buy a bike without drop-bars. I love them that much...
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Old 08-02-08, 06:49 PM   #8
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Maybee I see things funny, but, isn't the top of a drop bar a lot like a straight bar? (just shorter usualy) Hangin on to the top of my drops feels a lot like riding a straight bar bike to me. I have one of each and the drop bar bike gets 90% of the use now days. The variety of hand positions is realy usefull.
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Old 08-02-08, 07:01 PM   #9
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Maybee I see things funny, but, isn't the top of a drop bar a lot like a straight bar? (just shorter usualy) Hangin on to the top of my drops feels a lot like riding a straight bar bike to me. I have one of each and the drop bar bike gets 90% of the use now days. The variety of hand positions is realy usefull.
yup there IS a flat part on drops, you're right!
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Old 08-02-08, 07:04 PM   #10
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I would use straight on a mountain bike frame, and drops/TTs [LOVE tts] on a road/track frame.
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Old 08-02-08, 07:13 PM   #11
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My old bike had drops and I rarely dropped to the bottoms. My new (to me) bike came with a set of triathalon bars. They take a bit of getting used to, but, now that I have, I will never own another bike without them. My wrists and back enjoy the rest they get when I am in them. I love the feeling of trucking along on long flat or slight downhills with them. On flat ground I think they are good for an extra 2 mph or so over long distances.

If I could figure out a way to shift the RD, I swear I'd never come out of them!
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Old 08-02-08, 09:07 PM   #12
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Well I know what I choose, drops no question. More hand positions, better in headwinds.

It's personal preference, but for a 20 mile RT commute, I'd recommend you try drops.
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Old 08-02-08, 09:57 PM   #13
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i go with "drops"!

1) find a "swanstem" gooseneck stem (search eBay)

2) add to this a "randonnierre" set of handlebars. (")

3) apply "grab-on" padding (lbs) and you have the best handlebar ergonomic means, that i have yet to find, way to ride!

also, with a drop handlebar, you have more options of hand position too, like Modernjess stated above.

good luck in finding the classics listed...and the choices you make in your handlebar!

t
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Old 08-02-08, 09:59 PM   #14
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I have ridden on both. I had a straight bar on my first bike (old rigid Trek 820) and now have drops on my LHT. It took about a week to get used to the drops, but the first headwind made it all worth it. Now I cannot think of a type of terrain or riding conditions where I wouldnt prefer the drops as a commuter.
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Old 08-02-08, 11:12 PM   #15
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I commuted to work on my Trek 6500 mountain bike, dual-dutied for singletrack and riding to places. Now that I have a drop-barred road bike, I can't ride flats more than 3 miles anymore.
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Old 08-02-08, 11:19 PM   #16
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Sometimes I ride my cyclocross bike on my commute.

Sometimes I ride my 29er.

For 10 miles drops are better, but flat bars are fine too. If you're just getting a bike to ride to and fom work, don't overthink it. They all move forward when you pedal.

Note: Drops are pretty much superior, especially on-road. And yes, they do take some getting used to. If your "fitness" rides are over 20 miles or you live in a windy area I'd get the drops.
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Old 08-02-08, 11:22 PM   #17
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Hey I'm a newbie and this is helpful to me too! I've tried out a few of the commuter bikes, which all made me feel sort of like the "Flying Nun"....it seemed very....the opposite of aerodynamic...I rode a ten-speed with standard ten-speed bars all through highschool, can the newer drop bars be much different?
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Old 08-02-08, 11:29 PM   #18
uke
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See, now I had to look that up.

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Old 08-03-08, 01:50 AM   #19
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get a drop bar set up. Flat bar sucks for more then 10 miles. short hop's it's no problemo though.

Im still on flat bar myself, and hate it now after 1400 miles on this bike..

i only hate it because i made of mistake of renting a nice cannondale synapse 5 for a weekend, so much better! And i wasnt even fully fitted to the bike..you have much more variety with a drop system, hand postions. with flat bar it's either death grip or hands on one hip.
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Old 08-03-08, 03:01 AM   #20
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i started with straight bars but now i bought a bike with drops - more hand positions and better in a headwind.
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Old 08-03-08, 05:56 AM   #21
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Quote:
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That's odd, every shop I go in is loaded with hybrids.

We have plenty of hybrids in the area... and I'm not against that type of bike for the right purpose, but most (if not all) have front suspension.



steve
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Old 08-03-08, 07:02 AM   #22
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drops.

Even my MTB is getting converted to drops since straight bars KILL my wrists...
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Old 08-03-08, 07:18 AM   #23
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Yeah, way more choice of bikes with flat bars. Especially in the lower price range. I think most bikes are sold to people who ride only a few miles at a time. The rest figure that since they are putting in the time and effort, they "deserve" or need the higher priced road style bikes?
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Old 08-03-08, 07:23 AM   #24
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drops.

Even my MTB is getting converted to drops since straight bars KILL my wrists...
I'm in the same boat. I wanted to like straight bars--really wanted to, but 5km and my wrists and balls of my hands really start to hurt, and there's no where else I can put my hands to give them relief. My bars are too short, and I've got too much junk on them to add bar-end bull's horns, so I'm stuck. I hope to win a pair of drops complete with stem and brakes, here this evening. If not, I'm not sure what I will do.

I used to have a Raleigh with Randonneur (sic?) bars, and would really like to have another pair (came to like the upturn over time), so I'll second that recommendation. :-) (unable to find a pair here in Krakow, though)

-Jon
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Old 08-03-08, 10:28 AM   #25
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Short straight bars are for mounting climbing.
Drop bars are for stretched out road bikers. When you stretch out, your hands quickly become numb; so, you have to change positions often.

There are also different North Roads for a straight riding position. All your weight goes on a saddle; so, you can enjoy one comfortable hands position.
Here is a typical commuting French bike.

Last edited by Barabaika; 08-03-08 at 11:35 AM.
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