Im running trekking bars now for the similar benefit..
a near plug and play swap with straight bars, the aero tuck is bending my elbows
reaching the far grip on the figure 8 bend .
But the OP wants a Road bike because all the other kids have one.
and if it's Florida , you cant drop them with a stronger (overpass?) climbing ability ..
Seattle , maybe ... work on that , Tempo Hammer it ..
shift Up as you climb and you will go further with every pedal stroke.
Last edited by fietsbob; 03-16-14 at 12:06 PM.
1. The general claim re. multiple hand positions is true: drop bars do permit more than do straight flat-bars or flat bars w/bar ends (my preference). There are other kinds of 'flat bars' (e.g. trekking, Jones 'loop', etc) that further narrow the gap. However, the real question is: to what extent does it matter? The default position for most non-racing cyclists on drop bars is the hoods. The drops tend to be little-used; the usual variation is between hoods and tops. And that's the key: flat bars w/bar ends, properly set up on a bike designed for flat bars, permit precisely that variation with its attendant advantages: changing torso and wrist/arm angles to prevent locking-up in a fixed position. So as far as extended distance/time on the bike is concerned, one of the three key inherent advantages of drop bars can be secured, quite easily, with flat bars. I'll freely admit the other two advantages cannot: aero tuck (drops) into a headwind or on a descent, and getting into the drops for a full-on sprint.
2. The specific claim that the drop bar default position (hoods) is more natural is true for many; in those cases, drop bars are an obvious choice. But we are not all the same; I am one of those (and there are many of us according to my physiotherapist [a cyclist]) for whom that position is in fact unnatural. It's a factor of arm/wrist pronation. If I let my arms hang down/shoulders relaxed, my palms in fact face back, not in toward my thighs; when I raise my arms -- still relaxed -- my palms tend to face the ground. So for me, the 'grips' position on flat bars (or tops on drop bars) is the more 'natural' position; my arms/shoulders actually feel slight tension when I adopt the 'pistol grip' position. I still need/want the 'pistol grip' alternative with bar ends for variation (see #1 above), but flat bars with good ergo. grips work for me, and I find braking/shifting easier from that position.
So, I think personal preference/physiology is what matters. Unless one is racing or has some other compelling reason to adopt/adapt to drop bars, the choice between the two broad 'kinds' should be based on what one finds most comfortable. In that, surely we don't disagree.
Apologies for droning on about this; I've had to sort it out (in part with medical/physiotherapy help over several years) because I love cycling, love cycling over distance and climbs, and love road racing (as a fan) and the aesthetic of road race bikes. No question that's what I'd be riding if they were reasonable for me, as a 62yo (gack!!) recreational cyclist, but they are not (for the reason I gave in #2 above, and for a couple of other physiological reasons specific to me). I've experienced quite a bit of frustration over the whole business; I'm just happy that some of the major mfgs. are now producing really nice flat-bar road bikes. I had to 'build' my own in 2010/2011 off a stock Sirrus Comp, and we all know how much extra cost that involves!!
Very interesting comments from Badger1. I have ridden borrowed drop bar bikes but cannot get on with the drop position because of a long-standing neck condition and do not see the point of having a drop bar bike and only using the hood or top position. That is why I am building a road bike with narrow carbon flat bars and ergo bar-ends. It won't allow me to win any races, not that I enter any or even belong to a club, but will be fine for reasonably fast 40/50 mile, hilly rides when I choose not to use the mtbs. I plan to run it with 25 or 28mm tyres and, as I weigh 150 lbs, do not foresee a major rear tyre puncture problem.
As far as the OP is concerned go for what suits you, you seem to be doing your homework first. If you can adapt to drops, great, I'm sure you'll not regret it.
b1, interesting comments about your hands. I've never met anyone like that, but I won't dispute that it could be common.
It should go without saying that a proper setup is critical w.r.t. drop bars. "Serious" hammerers like them much lower than I keep mine. My tops are high enough that I can ride them relaxed if I choose. Forward throw of the bar to the hoods is horizontal, which raises the hoods. If I need a more aero position I keep my hands on the hoods and my elbows bent. I would think, but can't prove, that this is even more aero than arms straight and on the drops, since the arms present less cross-section to the wind. Since I can't bend my back but so far, there is no need to set up the bar to accommodate a more aggressive position. All of which is another way of saying you needn't keep the bar 6" below the saddle and the hoods angled away from you unless you really really really want them that way.
Real cyclists use toe clips.
With great bikes comes great responsibility.
Your project sounds interesting: pics when finished?
David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino
"When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.
"Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008
Any type of bike set up has this inherent thing for discomfort. That's what keeps the designers and engineers busy. Its just a matter of degree for each individual as they age. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes not.
the question of discomfort riding may get the recumbent riders testifying soon , as to the solution ..
Sure, and an easy way to do it if you're hesitant is to see if your hybrid will take 28c tires. Hybrids often have fairly big tires but can also take 28c. From a 28c with little tread to a common 25c tire on a road bike is a small step. The drop bars (if your hybrid is flat bar) is a bigger step but it's just a small amount of muscle-memory training that is needed before you feel comfortable. The key, IMHO, is to look for an "endurance" road bike as opposed to a full-on race bike so the geometry is a bit more forgiving and there is less drop from the saddle to the handlebars. Trek Domane, Spec Roubaix are just two names of many of the endurance bikes.
Alaskans for global warming.
The best endurance road bikes under $2,000 - BikeRadar
[Road bikes come in two major categories these days: race and endurance. Race bikes generally have bigger gears (53/39-tooth chainrings) for more top-end speed, steeper geometry for quicker handling, and shorter head tubes for aggressive aero positions. Endurance bikes have smaller gears (50/34T) on a compact crank for easier climbing, slacker geometry for more stable handling, and taller head tubes for more upright positioning.]
Now, the issue of taller head tubes. Isn't that on race bikes now?
Yep, the racing models are offering the higher head tube option or featuring it, it would depend on which bicycle you were looking at. The Synapse, Roubaix and Domane (just as three examples) type have endurance geometry and the higher head tubes and are intended for the longer and rougher events or usage. The line is becoming blurred though, these types also have some slight racing geometry coming on now and you are seeing wins on these "endurance" bicycles as well as a lot of people that just want the more upright position, but still ride or train faster. I believe Trek has three different geometry available, H1, H2 and H3, depending on the model and level.
Its interesting that this years Bike of the Year for Cycling Plus magazine (your BikeRadar link is related to this, the BOTY is in the newest issue) is the 2014 Synapse 105, it is known as an endurance bicycle but Sagan keeps winning sprints on it, too. as I understand things he has chosen to use that frame for both the Cobble type events and more traditional road contests. I don't think its just an "old guy" position thing, the interest in century rides as well as Gran Fondos, Sportives, Audax and such seem to be driving the higher head tube use.
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I did not choose to have Parkinson's Disease, but I can choose not to allow it to control my life.
"the issue of taller head tubes. Isn't that on race bikes now?"
Endurance bikes can be race bikes. The Roubaix was designed specifically for the Paris-Roubaix race where a shock-absorbing kind of race bike was needed but the distinction regarding race vs endurance geometry is made to point out the differences between bikes made for "normal" racing that entails a traditionally small-framed bike with a short head tube and a tight geometry that is very stiff and bikes made to allow a rider to sit a bit more upright and have a slightly longer geometry with slightly slacker angles. Some like the Roubaix and Domane have frame parts designed to absorb road vibrations/shocks while others claim to use carbon layup that does similar things. You can find "endurance" bikes with taller or shorter head tubes and the same is true with "race" bikes. Plenty of racing is done on "endurance" bikes but as a class they have general properties that somewhat set them apart from a less forgiving "race" bike. They may also be fitted a bit differently. If you go to a good shop at age 22 and tell them you're a cat 2 racer and looking for a serious competitive bike they'll fit you on a small frame for your size so you are very aero. If you go in at age 60 and tell them you have a bit of a bad back but want to ride a super quality carbon bike for 60mi rides with competitive friends they'll put you on a slightly larger frame with a shorter stem on an "endurance" frame that will allow you to sit a bit more upright. Watch pros racing any of the "Tours de" and you'll see them on very small bikes and pretty short head tube with long stems but you can certainly find differences from one make and model to the next.
Alaskans for global warming.
Be aware that using the drop section of the bars about 10% of the time is not far below average. Lately I run taller head tubes and/or more spacers and/or higher stems so I can use the drops more - maybe as much as 15-20% of the time on my gravel bikes. This from a hardcore drop bar loyalist.
The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.
As you look at drop bar road bikes keep in mind that many people look for the "right" fit as if it there is a single perfect size when in reality many people can fit on two different sized bikes of the same make and model. Some bikes only come in sm med large or xs sm med lg and in those cases it's likely that only one of that model will fit properly but many bikes come in 2cm increments and in that case it's quite likely you might fit either of two sizes by changing out stems. When that is the case you can often choose between a slightly smaller frame for a bit more aero form at the cost of needing to be leaned down a bit or a slightly larger frame (both with appropriate stem lengths) with a somewhat more upright position. That's been previously alluded to but thought it worth a bit more comment. Hybrids are typically setup with a very upright position and a saddle that is matched for an upright rider. When moving to a road bike with drop bars expect a different shape of saddle and a concomitant need to break in your sit bones in an entirely different manner. It does make it hard to know which bike feels best. Focus on your upper body balance to ensure your saddle fore/aft works well with the amount of stretch you have and your saddle to handlebar drop so you don't have a lot of pressure on your hands. That's critical. Your butt will adapt but poor balance doesn't change without adjusting saddle position and stem length.
Alaskans for global warming.