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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-22-08, 06:03 PM   #1
chico1st
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flat vs drop handlebars

this is a really quick question. Does anyone prefer a certain type of handlebars for a snowy winter bike? I have flat bars on my winter bike now, but in the summer i like drop bars much better.

thanks.
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Old 11-22-08, 06:29 PM   #2
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I think flatbars. Having your brake levers there at a miliseconds notice all the time is a good idea in snow . Plus flat bar grips are easier to hold on to with thick gloves than road bike hoods. IMHO.
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Old 11-22-08, 06:35 PM   #3
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I almost always switch to flatbars for the winter, but if I am riding drops, I will put cross levers on.
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Old 11-22-08, 06:41 PM   #4
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4 of my six bikes have drop bars, the Big Dummy has flipped Albatross bars, and the snow bike has...yes, flat bars.
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Old 11-22-08, 08:18 PM   #5
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for winter, I'm beginning to think drop bars aren't too great, at least for rim brakes.

can't get enough leverage from the hoods with the snow and ice that gets caked on the rims and brakes. of course, it's not an issue with discs.
steering leverage isn't too much of a problem with decently wide bars.
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Old 11-22-08, 08:22 PM   #6
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Think of drop handlebars as flat handlebars with drops added.
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Old 11-22-08, 08:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Think of drop handlebars as flat handlebars with drops added.
uhh....no.
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Old 11-22-08, 08:58 PM   #8
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uhh....no.

Umm...yes http://www.origin-8.com/dropEnds.htm

Drop bar bar ends!!!
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Old 11-22-08, 09:04 PM   #9
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Umm...yes http://www.origin-8.com/dropEnds.htm

Drop bar bar ends!!!
uhh, no.

ride a properly fit drop bar bike, then a flat bar bike, then whatever monstrosity you want to build with those things...then get back to us with an update on your education concerning the difference between the three.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:56 AM   #10
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uhh, no.

ride a properly fit drop bar bike, then a flat bar bike, then whatever monstrosity you want to build with those things...then get back to us with an update on your education concerning the difference between the three.
+1 - No. Clamping those things on a flat bar does not equal a proper set of drop bars. Not even close.

The the OP question:

In general, I far refer drop bars, BUT I switch to flat bars for the deep winter with the studded tires. As an avid mountain biker as well, I find I feel more comfortable with my bike handling skills on sketchy surfaces with flat bars. The position is more upright the wide bars seem to make balance a bit better, the controls and grips are easier to use with heavy gloves.
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Old 11-23-08, 12:28 PM   #11
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My first winter I rode a hybrid with flat bars. Last year I rode my Trek Portland with drops.

I found I prefer the drop bars in winter, just as I do in the rest of the year.

I ride the hoods almost all the time anyway, so the usual argument about brake levers doesn't apply.

I double-glove instead of wearing oven mitts (or their cycling equivalent) and had no problems with operating the shift levers. Hell, even wearing my lobster gloves I could use the STI just fine. (But they're too warm for most days.) So I don't buy the clumsiness argument either.

I've never understood the leverage argument. When road cycling I steer by leaning. Who needs leverage? The few times I've gone off-road it's also not been an issue. Although MTBers are sure surprised to find an old guy on a skinny-tired drop-bar bike right on their tails. The only advantage MTBers seem to have on me in my limited off-road winter riding experience is shorter wheelbase and lower gears to keep their cadence up. EDIT: Oh, and higher bottom bracket keeps their feet out of the snow.

Where I *do* notice a difference is front/rear weight distribution. With the drops there's more of my weight on the front. Sometimes it's helpful or just plain makes me feel better about the front holding its line. Other times--icy ruts for example--less weight on the front would make life easier.

In the end, having ridden both types in winters, I'll keep my drops.

Last edited by tsl; 11-23-08 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
uhh, no.

ride a properly fit drop bar bike, then a flat bar bike, then whatever monstrosity you want to build with those things...then get back to us with an update on your education concerning the difference between the three.
While my post was simply an attempt at being cheeky, I must point out that every bicycle is a compromise, and this may be a compromise that someone finds to be the perfect one for them and their riding style.

If every bicycle wasn't a compromise, then Trek could just sell the Lime and after winning the TdF on it you could go Freeride the damn thing.

However I will just go ahead and respect your right to remain close-minded to alternative setups.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:49 PM   #13
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Has anyone actually used those drop bar ends? I know, I know, they will not be the same as real drops. But, it could possibly be useful.

jim

p.s., I like flatbars in the super-cold, mainly because I am so bundled up I can hardly bend enough to get in the drops and still have my head up to see.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:57 PM   #14
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While I prefer drops for normal road riding. I feel more secure in slippery or marginal conditions with flat bars so my winter bikes which are used on snowy or icy surfaces have flat bars. However, I am going to make my winter single speed into more of a hybrid this year with some old Nashbar trekking bars that I have around. And the old mountain bike is going hard core this winter with a 3 speed internal hub transmission.
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Old 11-23-08, 03:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
uhh, no.
Well, I guess I'm missing something, then. I have inline brake levers on the top bar of my drop handlebars. If I didn't use the drops at all, or if I cut them off, how would my handlebars be different from flat handlebars? Only difference I can think of is the width -- but you can buy pretty wide drop handlebars.
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Old 11-23-08, 06:38 PM   #16
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you'd have bull horns then...
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Old 11-24-08, 06:40 PM   #17
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i have my own theories on this. flat bars give you better stabiltiy and hand positions for riding in bad weather/snow, better leverage for more control and a more upright seating position to see traffic and your hazards better. but... drop bars keep you a little more tucked for cutting thru the bad weather better and also not as exposed upright to take wind and rain as directly.

personally for snow i prefer flat, rain i prefer a more tucked drop position and yes i've rode both in both types of weather.
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Old 12-01-08, 08:02 PM   #18
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Flat will probably give you better control given equal experience, but I'm riding bullhorns with a cross lever right now. I need more than just one hand position and I need to be able to tuck down. They're great for climbing as well. I have a couple of sizable hills on my commute.
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Old 12-01-08, 09:41 PM   #19
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I'm a roadie, I haven't owned a bike with flat bars in years but every time I get on one I definitely feel less stable because the position is much more vertical. The leverage argument is a non-issue. The problem with breaking in the winter isn't getting the wheels to stop, it's getting the bike to stop and stop without spilling. Your wheels might not stop if you have bad brakes, and it's very wet and slushy and you're going down a giant hill, but then you'd have the same problem in the summer when it rains, so you just need better brakes.

In the end, the safest system is probably what you're most accustomed to, you have to pay a lot of attention to everything you're doing on slippery days so the more technique that is second nature, the better.
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Old 12-06-08, 01:11 PM   #20
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I find that some sort of bent bar is far more comfortable for me, because flat bars hurt my wrists. But moustaches, north roads, or bars like on-one's midge and mary bars all give a nice wrist position without hampering access to the brakes the way drops do.
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Old 01-12-09, 08:53 AM   #21
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I have drop bars on my winter commuter, but have them raised around 5" up from where my road bike bars are set.....
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Old 01-12-09, 09:25 AM   #22
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I have the best of both worlds, a CX bike with few studs and drop bars and an old Mtb with flat bars and a lot of studs. When it gets really technical and difficult (especially very steep singletrack downhill) flat bars are better. If I should choose one I think the setup saf-t has sounds really good.
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Old 01-13-09, 07:15 PM   #23
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I switch my bars from drops to origin8 space bars for the winter on one bike, and flip my moustache bars on the other. I like the wider bars and more upright position in the snow.
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Old 01-17-09, 01:45 PM   #24
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I prefer the option of the drop bars. Because, If I want speed, I can 'go low'. If I want to cruise, I can 'go high'.
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Old 01-30-09, 11:52 AM   #25
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If you ride the hoods all the time then why have drops. I always wondered this.
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