I am building up a crosscheck with a internally geared hub. I would like to use it for our local rails to trails path and short tours. I am thinking about north road bars. Is there only one hand position for bars like these or do people actually put bar tape on the rest of the bar and switch positions? I have tried these bars on a friends bike and thought I would give them a go but after a very long ride I am wondering if any body changes their hands with them.
I've used North Roads extensively. Basically, you have one hand position, but that's not the whole story. If set up properly, and other fit issues are all good, a set of North Roads can be so comfortable that you only need the one position. I use drops, too, by the way. When riding a bike with drops, the entire system is different, spreading your weight around the three points of the bike. In this, more aggressive posture, there will be a need to move your hands around some.
Not so with NR's. I've done several centuries withthem on a Trek 520 I had. Got lots of looks, but did fine - better than some, who where rubbing their butts and ringing their hands.
If you go with NR's, you'll want a weight bearing saddle, not a skinny. I strongly suggest a Brooks B-67.