I just got an All-City Space Horse. I love almost everything about the bike except the handlebars. It came stock with Salsa Pro Road Medium 3. I feel like the ONLY comfortable position they're offering me is on the hoods. The tops are a bit narrow and the drops are just downright uncomfortable and/or painful. The two main problems I have with the drops are:
1. I have small hands. Or rather, short fingers. I cant reach the break levers without jamming my hand into the curve of the drops.
2. The curve of the drops is too narrow. It feels like it's scrunching my hands and I don't really have a good grip on the bars from here.
I don't feel like I want a larger drop, per se, but something more comfortable. Perhaps something ergonomically shaped? Maybe a flare? The choice of bars is overwhelming. I definitely want to stay with a drop bar, but have no idea where to start looking. What brands. What shapes.
I guess I don't even know the right questions to ask to start me in the right direction.
It's more likely a problem with your general setup or riding position. If the hoods are the only comfortable spot it suggests your reach (stem length) is inadequate, especially if you notice a lot of back-pressure against your hands riding in the drops. As you ride in the drops try to imagine what it would feel like if they were an inch or two further away, higher or lower. Without so much back-pressure and weight on your hands your wrists will be more adjustable and the lever reach easier. It's also possible your saddle is a centimeter or two too far forward and this is contributing to your handlebar problems.
Last edited by Clem von Jones; 04-05-14 at 07:47 PM.
The drops are the least comfortable position for most people and some people, in fact, never use the drops. Ever. The picture the o.p. supplied is pretty useless for really making any definitive assumptions (there might be an irony in that) but... I've seen worse setups. Bars look like a nice 'compact' bend. I can't see improving that really. Bar height relative to seat looks alright. The o.p. says they have small hands... maybe and maybe they just think they do. Find out. Its easy enough. Then get brake levers (even brifters) that are made for smaller hands. But I don't think that's the issue. If the o.p. can put their elbow on the nose of the saddle and have their middle finger reach the bars they are at least in the ball-park of being properly fitted. Really, how much braking does one do in the drops? Most of my braking is done from the cross-levers I have installed on the flats. Almost as much is done from the hoods. I can count on one hand and one foot the number of times I have applied the brakes from the drops. And I don't find riding the drops nearly so hard these days since I have lost about 5lbs from being seriously strict about sugar intake. FWIW.
It's also possible your saddle is a centimeter or two too far forward and this is contributing to your handlebar problems.
Actually, those saddles are designed to be used by riders sitting nearly bolt upright. You sit at the very rear of them with the seat tilted nose up by as much as four degrees or however much tilt it takes to get the rear part of the saddle dead level. It is not the best kind of saddle to use on a drop bar but it can work. If it is going to, it would be just about how it is set up in the picture provided. More forward, if anything, but not less so.
Problem solved. The LBS where I bought the bike swapped them out for a Salsa Bell Lap they had taken off a Cross-Check. Better yet, they did it as an even swap and didn't even charge me for the labor! It's much more comfortable now. There's plenty of room on the tops so my hands are not narrower than my shoulders, the drops are much more ergonomic, more comfortable and I can reach the levers, and there's just enough flare to the drops to make me feel quite stable at high speeds on the downhill section of the narrow bike lanes on the local bridges!