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Old 03-28-06, 11:31 PM   #1
Banzai
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Drop bar comfort problem

I recently converted my flat bar roadie to drops. However...

When I have the bar set so that the tops and hoods are comfortable (i.e. near level), the drops are too steep, and uncomfortable for anything greater than short "bursts" or downhill stretches into the wind.

When I have the bar set so that the drops are comfortable, it angles down the tops, and creates too steep a handrest on the hoods, so I either have to "hold on tight", or relax but smash the flesh between my thumb and index finger on the brake hoods. Angling up the brakes even more would not fix the problem, and it takes the levers out of reach from the drops.

Very frustrating. I spent a lot of time and effort making this conversion, and making it affordable.

My LBS recommended I go to Bontrager Select Flat Tops. Does anyone have experience with my problem, or with the recommended bar?
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Old 03-29-06, 12:37 PM   #2
John Wilke
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How long have you ridden this set up? (Give it longer than a week.)



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Old 03-29-06, 12:44 PM   #3
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Could you post a picture of your set up?
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Old 03-29-06, 12:50 PM   #4
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Are you using a shorter stem to go with your drop bars?
Yes, a photo will be helpful.
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Old 03-29-06, 12:51 PM   #5
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It sounds like you need another bar config. I like nitto noodles ymmv
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Old 03-30-06, 05:02 AM   #6
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You can get drops with a smaller drop radius eg 3TTT Morphe. Nitto also make some nice examles. These are mainly used by tourists who prefer comfort over extreme aerodynamic efficiency
Some bars have a straight "ergo" section on the drops, others have a continuous curve. It is personal preference but I slip down the straight section so prefer curves.
.
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Old 03-30-06, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
You can get drops with a smaller drop radius eg 3TTT Morphe. Nitto also make some nice examles. These are mainly used by tourists who prefer comfort over extreme aerodynamic efficiency
Some bars have a straight "ergo" section on the drops, others have a continuous curve. It is personal preference but I slip down the straight section so prefer curves..
+1
I also make sure that the ends of the bars are in line with the drop-outs on the back wheel which gives me the correct angle. Could it be that part of the problem is that the distance between saddle and bars is too far? This does make it difficult to get comfortable. You do realize that Flats are set usually 2" further away than drops and this can mean fitting a shorter stem?
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Old 03-30-06, 09:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by onbike 1939
+1
I also make sure that the ends of the bars are in line with the drop-outs on the back wheel which gives me the correct angle. Could it be that part of the problem is that the distance between saddle and bars is too far? This does make it difficult to get comfortable. You do realize that Flats are set usually 2" further away than drops and this can mean fitting a shorter stem?
The distance is comfortable, and I'll post pics as soon as I doctor the picture to appropriate file size. (You may find my Franken-bike setup intriguing...).

The issue is the angle. I want the tops/hoods to be more level for a nice semi-upright position when I need it, and I also want drops for when I need them. But, if the tops are a level platform, the drops are steep (particularly that "ergo" bend), so only a very tight and diligent grip will give me a good hold. If I adjust the drop angle to "just right", then the tops have a downward pitch that crushes the flesh between thumb and index finger on the "rest" in the hoods when I rest my weight on my hands. Only a tight and diligent grip will save me from that as well.

The LBS was quite convincing about the Bontrager flat tops. I just wanted to see if there were experience with these, or a work around that I hadn't figured out. I switched to the drops to get more numerous hand positions, of which I desire all of them to be comfortable. If I can only get one and a half to be comfortable, well...

I'll figure out this picture thing by the end of the day. I hope.
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Old 03-30-06, 10:58 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=banzai_f16]I recently converted my flat bar roadie to drops. However ... When I have the bar set so that the tops and hoods are comfortable (i.e. near level), the drops are too steep, and uncomfortable for anything greater than short "bursts" or downhill stretches into the wind . . ./QUOTE]

I think this is exactly what you want. Ordinarily, you will be riding in what is a comfortable position for you, with many different hand positions.

The drops are for those situations where, because of the conditions, a comfortable riding positon will not be your primary consideration. If you are never in such conditions, then you will always be riding on top of the bars.

The problem some people have--possibly because they have a bike that is too small--is that they cannot get the tops of their bars high enough, e.g., they essentially are always riding in an aggressive position such that their "drop" position is totally unusable.

Personally, I like the tops of the bars about even with the saddle and standard drop bars work Ok for me. However, there are bars that have a more shallow drop. That's where Bontrager bars may come into the picture.

Last edited by wagathon; 03-30-06 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 03-30-06, 02:18 PM   #10
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Here's another question about the whole issue. Most pics I've looked at of drop bar angle set-up have the tops angling down, with the hoods set rather high. This, I think, would make the drops quite comfy, but I don't understand how that works with putting one's hands on the tops/hoods. Not to mention brake lever reach.
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Old 03-30-06, 03:31 PM   #11
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I don't understand what you are describing. What is the angle of the bars when viewed from the side?

If the bent down aero position is too hard to hold, use the tri guys simple adjustment. Get a seat setback post and reverse it so it's pointing forward. This should give you a steeper seat tube angle which will enable comfortable drop positioning.
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Old 03-30-06, 05:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banzai_f16
Here's another question about the whole issue. Most pics I've looked at of drop bar angle set-up have the tops angling down, with the hoods set rather high. This, I think, would make the drops quite comfy, but I don't understand how that works with putting one's hands on the tops/hoods. Not to mention brake lever reach.
One rule of thumb is that the drops should point toward your rear brakes.
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Old 03-30-06, 10:30 PM   #13
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I usually have eight or ten road bikes around. That gives me a chance to try out a wide range of bar/brake lever combinations. I like to ride with my hands on the top of the brake levers. The bar/lever combination that is most comfortable is one where the bar "flows" directly into the top of the lever. Your hand can't feel where the bar and lever join together...they feel like a single flat surface.

If you have a bar where there is a gap or "dip" where the bar and lever meets, your hands tend to slide forward into that gap, and it can be uncomfortable. Sometimes moving the levers up an inch or so on the bars will reduce or remove that gap.

Rivendell sells a Nitto bar that is designed to provide that smooth "integration" of the bar and lever. Nitto products provide top quality at reasonable prices...some of my Nitto bars and stems are twenty years old, and I suspect will last me another twenty years.
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Old 03-31-06, 01:22 AM   #14
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Hmmm, sounds like you're not resting your weight on the heel of your palms, but rather on the soft flesh between the thumb and forefinger? If you position the weight just right, you don't have to grip anything when you're the tops, the hoods or the drops. You should be able to wiggle ALL your fingers freely, including the thumb...
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Old 03-31-06, 01:39 AM   #15
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Well from what I'm hearing you might need a different bar. I use the Ritchey Biomax drop bar and it works quite well for me. Take a look at my pic.
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Old 03-31-06, 08:56 AM   #16
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Ok, here's my setup, if this helps. Seat tube angle 73 degrees. Bar is about 1 inch higher than seat, hoods are about 1.5 to 2 inches higher than seat. Bars are rotated up. Instead of bottom of drops being parallel to the ground, they rise about 30-50 degrees. If your arms are shorter, you may need to get a tri long nose seat so you can slide forward and backwards on the saddle.
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