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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-15-10, 03:35 PM   #1
bhop
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Easier climbing in drops? Or my imagination?

I've had my fixed gear for few weeks now. I commute to work on it a couple times a week, alternating with my road bike, (around 13 miles one way). I'm enjoying it a lot.

One thing I noticed, is it 'seems' like climbing hills is easier when i'm down in the drops, (track drops, same height as top of tire). I'm trying to figure out if it's just me thinking about it too much, or if it's normal/common.

edit: I should also note the head tube on my bike isn't very tall, it's a small bike, so the saddle/bar drop isn't as extreme as it might seem from the text above.

I've lowered the bars by one spacer since this pic was taken
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bhop73/...7612225719186/

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Old 07-15-10, 03:39 PM   #2
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If you think that's awesome, try it with brake hoods.



You are probably feeling great because your base position (in track drops even with the tire) is so bad for street riding. The incline of the road actually brings you to an upright position.
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Old 07-15-10, 03:42 PM   #3
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Hoods are the best for climbing But I use bullhorns. Just as good imo.
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Old 07-15-10, 03:43 PM   #4
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If you think that's awesome, try it with brake hoods.

...

You are probably feeling great because your base position (in track drops even with the tire) is so bad for street riding. The incline of the road actually brings you to an upright position.
Well, on my Aurora, I do climb on the hoods. On my fixie, i'm riding on the top of the bar for most of the commute, so i'm in more of an upright position when cruising. The drops are low, so I don't cruise in them, but one day I tried dropping down to climb a big hill and it seemed easier...

edit: now that I think about it.. maybe it's the lack of hoods on the track bar that makes the nearly horizontal drops feel easier..

anyways, being new to riding with one gear and these types of bars, I was just curious about it. My other bike has such a different feel.

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Old 07-15-10, 04:35 PM   #5
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Hoods are the best for climbing But I use bullhorns. Just as good imo.
+1
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Old 07-15-10, 05:33 PM   #6
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Yea hoods work but I personally prefer drops for a more aggressive position. Up hill with chopped risers on fixed donesnt feel normal at all for me at all.
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Old 07-15-10, 05:46 PM   #7
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I find climbing in the drops on a fix gear is easier because fixed geared climbing is more power based. You use your lower back muscles more in the drops. On a geared bike you can drop to a lower gear and spin your way up. When spinning at higher revs for longer periods of time it is easier to stretch out and hold the hoods of your brake levers.
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Old 07-15-10, 05:51 PM   #8
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Hoods are the best for climbing But I use bullhorns. Just as good imo.
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+1
Plus two.
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Old 07-15-10, 06:23 PM   #9
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Yea, I think I get you. I always climb in the drops. It is better. But, my setup is much more normal than yours. You could fit a small, 3rd world country between the bottom of my drops and my tire. There is no way, regardless of body makeup, experience or fitness having drops that ridiculously low is appropriate for the road. Actually, same goes for track drops on a street bike. No way it's appropriate. Sad.
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Old 07-15-10, 07:07 PM   #10
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The general thinking is that going in the drops gives you an aero benefit (which is basically meaningless on a climb) at the expense of being able to take deeper breaths (which is critically important when climbing). But as has been noted here, the higher gear ratio and the opportunity to engage your low back in the climbing action might mean that the story is different for fixed gears.

But I kinda doubt it.

For me, nothing makes as big a difference when climbing as state of mind. If you feel like joe racer in the drops, you very well might climb better.

Just do whatever is most fun and enjoy it.
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Old 07-15-10, 07:21 PM   #11
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Just do whatever is most fun and enjoy it.
Sounds good to me.
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Old 07-15-10, 07:31 PM   #12
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If you like the drops then good for you. There are discussion about this on the road cycling forum, it's just preference
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Old 07-15-10, 07:31 PM   #13
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edit: I should also note the head tube on my bike isn't very tall, it's a small bike, so the saddle/bar drop isn't as extreme as it might seem from the text above.
i dont think its "easier" but i climb in my drops most of the time.(i find it comfortable) this includes while standing and on my road bike with hoods.

saddle to bar drop:
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Old 07-15-10, 07:39 PM   #14
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The general thinking is that going in the drops gives you an aero benefit (which is basically meaningless on a climb) at the expense of being able to take deeper breaths (which is critically important when climbing). But as has been noted here, the higher gear ratio and the opportunity to engage your low back in the climbing action might mean that the story is different for fixed gears.

But I kinda doubt it.

For me, nothing makes as big a difference when climbing as state of mind. If you feel like joe racer in the drops, you very well might climb better.

Just do whatever is most fun and enjoy it.
Being in the drops absolutely does not come at the expense of taking deeper breaths. I mean, think about that for a second. So, every track rider in the history of track cycling has ridden in a position that "costs them". Road pros live in their drops. Apparently, this is clearly at the expense of performance. Being in the drops on climbs has nothing to do with being fixed. No change. Frame of mind matters with everything. Going to the toilet in the correct frame of mind is a good thing. Basically, the post is utter balderdash
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Old 07-16-10, 10:20 AM   #15
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I climb in the drops, but only when I'm STANDING and mashing up a hill. If I'm going up a smooth, steady ascent, I will typically stay seated and just ride the tops of my bars.

This goes for road and fixed riding.
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Old 07-16-10, 10:29 AM   #16
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I tend to rotate through the positions on rides with longer, more laborious climbs. Hands on the hoods is the default position, concentrating on the full circle. I'll sit up with my hands on the flats and concentrate on the kick through the top of the circle, or get down in the drops and focus on kneeing myself in the chest.
I generally won't bother standing up on anything longer than a quarter mile, unless the grade gets really severe.

All the positions use different muscles in different capacities, and so it helps to distribute the load.

If you find climbing in the drops easier, it may just be because you're using a muscle group that has been resting more during the other parts of your ride, and so it has the most in the tank to get you up the hill.
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Old 07-16-10, 11:01 AM   #17
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On my fixie, i'm riding on the top of the bar for most of the commute, so i'm in more of an upright position when cruising. The drops are low, so I don't cruise in them, but one day I tried dropping down to climb a big hill and it seemed easier...
If you're comparing the tops of track bars to the drops then yes, it is not just your imagination. You get more leverage from the drops, since they are further from the center-line of the bike than the tops, which are pretty narrow on track drops.
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Old 07-16-10, 11:58 AM   #18
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I've tried drops on both my fixed rigs. I still find, for me, that bullhorns work better for climbing. I like to grab the bull by the horns, pun intended, when I hit a hill. But kinda sucks, when I'm riding really long rides I wish I had my drops back....

Would it be Moronic to put long aero bars on a fixed fear with bullhorns? I've really contemplated it but I've never seen it before...

Regardless. It's good to rode what you feel comfortable with. Now if we can figure out which bars are better for steep Downhills then I'm set.

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Old 07-16-10, 12:15 PM   #19
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Being in the drops absolutely does not come at the expense of taking deeper breaths. I mean, think about that for a second. So, every track rider in the history of track cycling has ridden in a position that "costs them". Road pros live in their drops. Apparently, this is clearly at the expense of performance. Being in the drops on climbs has nothing to do with being fixed. No change. Frame of mind matters with everything. Going to the toilet in the correct frame of mind is a good thing. Basically, the post is utter balderdash
News flash, guys - according to oldfixguy you're doing it wrong:

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Old 07-16-10, 12:31 PM   #20
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I'm inclined to believe that people still ride in drops because the greater aerodynamic advantage outweighs the loss of maximum lung capacity.
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Old 07-16-10, 01:48 PM   #21
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I'm inclined to believe that people still ride in drops because the greater aerodynamic advantage outweighs the loss of maximum lung capacity.
Aero benefit only kicks in at like 30MPH and above...which is why these guys climb in the least aero position possible at 5-20mph. Wind resistance increases exponentially with speed and vice-versa with lack therof when climbing.

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Old 07-16-10, 01:54 PM   #22
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its really nice to be comfortable in the drops. i spend much more time there than i did in the past.
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Old 07-16-10, 02:01 PM   #23
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Would it be Moronic to put long aero bars on a fixed fear with bullhorns? I've really contemplated it but I've never seen it before...
Socks
That's how I have mine setup, the reason I built myself a fixed gear was to train for triathlons. The constant spinning has taken my training to the next level. Since I'm training for tris I put some clip on aero bars on my fixed so I could work on m positioning while spinning. Its definitely fun to train with, but I only ever drop into them when I have very long stretches of country roads. Even with wide open spaces I feel that these are very dangerous. Its hard to switch in and out of their positioning while spinning and luckily Ive never had to do it in a bad situation(i.e. stopping suddenly for a car or what not). Anywho it can be done and it is excellent to train with, but it is very dangerous imo.
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Old 07-16-10, 02:11 PM   #24
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That's how I have mine setup, the reason I built myself a fixed gear was to train for triathlons. The constant spinning has taken my training to the next level. Since I'm training for tris I put some clip on aero bars on my fixed so I could work on m positioning while spinning. Its definitely fun to train with, but I only ever drop into them when I have very long stretches of country roads. Even with wide open spaces I feel that these are very dangerous. Its hard to switch in and out of their positioning while spinning and luckily Ive never had to do it in a bad situation(i.e. stopping suddenly for a car or what not). Anywho it can be done and it is excellent to train with, but it is very dangerous imo.
Like this, maybe?
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Old 07-16-10, 02:39 PM   #25
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Would it be Moronic to put long aero bars on a fixed fear with bullhorns? I've really contemplated it but I've never seen it before...
I gave it very serious consideration in order to have another position on longer rides - in particular to take weight off of the wrists and hands. I held off because I couldn't bear to spend the bucks on nice ones OR to put something cheap and/or heavy on my pretty bike.

Next year I'm planning to do an 8-day, 750km ride on my Sputnik so I think I will probably add the aero bars for that trip.
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