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Thinking of giving up drop bars...

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Thinking of giving up drop bars...

Old 05-02-18, 08:56 AM
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Kilroy1988 
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Thinking of giving up drop bars...

Good morning!

So I'm nearly 30 years old, recently married, and have been a very seasonal rider for the last decade since I became passionate about bicycles. I've been strictly riding road bikes with drop handlebars and rather aggressive fit and stance for most of that time, and love going fast and far... But, I find that taking the time to train up for proper rides, then actually getting out for a long day with all of life's priorities, is becoming unrealistic.

I recently finished swapping some old-fashioned upright bars onto my Centurion Le Mans with fixed/single speed cogs. I was able to get out for a 34 mile ride out in the valley with just a bit of headwind and was pleasantly surprised by my pace - nearly 16mph average, or as well as I'm doing on my 1986 Club Fuji as of late. The upright riding position feels safer and more pleasant, and I don't have any fear of stress or fatigue in my upper back, neck, shoulders, or bum, like I do when I'm out all morning on a more race-oriented machine, and it just seems to make sense.

I have six road bikes, three still to complete restorations on. I love how they look. I love the speed... But I'm beginning to question whether I really love riding them that much, nor whether I should be. Has anyone faced this crisis? Any happy converts? Anyone going out for century Sunday rides on roadsters, or out doing touring? I'd love some feedback. Cheers!

-Gregory


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Old 05-02-18, 09:00 AM
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Greg,

riding is about what you want out of the experience.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Greg,

riding is about what you want out of the experience.
Truly! I think this can be considered an "early-adulthood crisis," and the essential question here is "what do I want?" I'd like to know if other folks have had the same debate, and what choices have been made, for many of ye are much more experienced and wiser than I.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:08 AM
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Yep... there are those who would quibble, but the desire for upright bars is not a character flaw. I rarely ride drop bar bikes anymore. The realization that there will always be someone faster combined with many of the same reasons you stated. As an added benefit of uprights, I can actually see more than the forty feet of pavement in front of me now.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:13 AM
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I am finding the upright bars are more comfortable and easier on my lower back.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:29 AM
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I also find a more upright riding position more comfortable.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:30 AM
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I was headed in that direction, doing most of my riding on upright bars. Then I got a bike with brifters, and it would have been too much work to modify the bike. Then I got used to the drop bars again. Now most of my bikes have drop bars.

Do what works for you, and keep an open mind.

If my commute were three miles or shorter, I would probably do it on drop bars.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:22 AM
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I like drop bars, but I have a relatively short torso. That leads to shorter stems, and I keep the bars up within an inch or so of saddle height. I like the flexibility of a more upright position on the ramps, or more forward, aero position on the hoods or in the drops. I'm not out hammering, but I try to keep up a moderate pace. I can certainly see the attraction of flat bars vs an aggressive race fit, but I think there can be a middle ground with drop bars. I wouldn't mind flat bars for shorter rides, but I think I would miss the flexibility after a few hours.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Truly! I think this can be considered an "early-adulthood crisis," and the essential question here is "what do I want?" I'd like to know if other folks have had the same debate, and what choices have been made, for many of ye are much more experienced and wiser than I.
You are not alone. I grew up racing motorcycles so an upright position feels more natural to me. If I were racing bicycles, I would do what ever it takes to be competitive. But I'm not. I take long, scenic rides, solo, for fun, exercise, and brain unwinding. So, I don't need a race bike. I gave up drop bars and skinny tires in the 1990s because they were sucking the fun out of my rides. My critical requirements are a comfortable upright position, comfortable bars with multiple hand positions, a good saddle, grippy pedals, and excellent tires. I can do fifty miles easily and comfortably on my single speed boat anchors. I always come home with a big smile and feeling better about life and myself.

I dig your bike.

Oh, and I wave to carbon fiber electronic shifting roadies in their lycra, because I "get it" that that is what puts a smile on their face. More power to them.



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Old 05-02-18, 10:30 AM
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As long as it is not flat bars your are good

I use both, upright bars on my "hop on and ride bike" that i use for errands, casual ride, backup commute bike and drop bars on my main bike

I find, especially with brifters (and i have a downtube friction dropbar bike also) it is faster and more efficient for my commute and longer rides

on the other my upgright bike is fun for just casual riding around.

so it does not have to be one or the other...unless you want it to be
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Old 05-02-18, 10:30 AM
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It's a huge and diverse Cycling Universe.
Equally enjoyable for all.
Find your piece.
Or sample more than a few. N+1!!!

Still a drop bar guy.
Slow can be good, so can fast and faster (for all the physio/psycho benies and other pluses).
Rubber Side Down for All.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:31 AM
  #12  
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My issue with upright bars are the lack of hand positions.

Ive just gone with Technomic stems and drops. I’m happy.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:39 AM
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I get to ride several thousand miles a year and still love to do the faster group rides so drop bars are still the way to go. When I took some time off of serious riding, I put some Soma Oxfords on a bike and really enjoyed it. But after riding upright for a while, it was uncomfortable at first going back to drop bars. I think that if you don't then you won't and then you can't.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:45 AM
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Meanwhile, I've been working on getting a flatter back, even -- actually, especially -- for commuting. Each to their own.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:58 AM
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Experiment a little and enjoy. I find that I enjoy both these days, but none of my drop bars are set with the tops any lower than the saddle.
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Old 05-02-18, 11:00 AM
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I have over 10,000 miles on my Paramount Series 5, and more recently my Trek Crossrip. As I have aged, I have come to truly hate riding a bike with drop bars. Last year I purchased a Trek FX6s. That's a Domane carbon road bike frame with 700x25c tires and flat bars. It is night and day for comfort for me. I don't ride for speed these days...I ride for exercise and expect to be comfortable. Hybrid bikes is where it's at for me. I understand the concept of flat bars having fewer hand positions, but on the drop bars, all of the hand positions were bad.


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Old 05-02-18, 11:13 AM
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Ride whatever is comfortable. Drop bars make sense for long rides or high speed or into the wind, whereas upright bars make sense for short rides at slower speeds with few into the wind stretches. Your note that you used an aggressive fit and stance suggests that it is not just the bars that you are talking about, but perhaps the fact that you had the drops set up much lower than, and/or at a much greater reach from, the saddle. This has nothing to do with the bar type. Personally, I find upright bars to be quite pleasant for very short trips. I could not tolerate the lack of hand positions or inability to reduce my wind profile for anything but around town rides though.

This actually reminds me of a conversation with my brother. He was complaining bitterly about the drop bars on his bike. I asked him why he had the stem slammed so that the bars were several inches below the saddle and why he had such a loooong stem on there. He said that the (young) guy at the LBS had told him this was the proper setup for him. We changed out his stem and he was suddenly comfortable for the first time in years.

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Old 05-02-18, 12:12 PM
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I like both, for different applications. Upright for errands around town where buildings mostly block the wind. But wind is a constant here in North Texas, so if I'm going out on the road I want my drops option. I completely agree with davester about the stem height/length.

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Old 05-02-18, 12:22 PM
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I just got my wife these Jones bars for her Sirrus (flat-bar road bike). I was thinking we have come full circle:



Jones Bend H-Bar® 660 Aluminum - Jones Bikes
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Old 05-02-18, 12:22 PM
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I put flat bars on a road bike and I like it much better. I use this bike mostly for commuting, riding in traffic, etc. and I find the upright position much better. I also have a a bike with drop bars and have no problems with that bike, but if I had to have one bike, it would be a flat bar bike.
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Old 05-02-18, 12:24 PM
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It's perfectly fine. Sounds like it suits your needs. Most of Europe seems to do quite well riding everywhere on upright bars. Like many here I have both. I am perfectly comfortable with dropped bars, but I do enjoy my upright bike too. They are a nice change of pace, literally. Riding my albatross equipped Clem encourages me to relax and enjoy the scenery, and not be tempted to race people half my age up the hill.

Very cool bike BTW.
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Old 05-02-18, 12:36 PM
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I feel your pain. I was lucky and found a nice early 90s "hybrid". I didn't like the original flat steel bar on it, so I switched to a wider alloy riser bar. I really enjoy riding this bike.

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Old 05-02-18, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
.... Has anyone faced this crisis? ....
Yup, been there, done that. Converted my old Trek 720 to an upright style, with north road handlebar... thought I'd gone over to the dark side and perfectly happy to go there.

But alas I found I hated it. I've gone back to drop bars.

So... by all means, give it a try! No excuses are needed, if you like it. No excuses are needed if you don't.
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Old 05-02-18, 02:20 PM
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Nothing wrong with riding fast as long you enjoy it, I got a point about a decade ago where every ride felt like it had to have a specific training purpose, aka a chore, and something in me said STOP so I stripped off my Polar computer and HRM and just rode, man that felt good, as good as going 17 mph did, and I noticed stuff on rides 1'd done dozens of times that had never registered before, has the eagles nest always been there? Not long after that I discovered lugged steel. Now that I am older and fatter its not so much of "choice" which a long way around to say do the type of riding that puts a smile on your face.
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Old 05-02-18, 03:02 PM
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I will be the voice of unreason.

Drop bars for life.

Not comfy? try a different stem. Different frame geometry.

Drop bars offer more comfort options than any kind of flat bars by far. You can make yourself more or less upright as you choose.

Also, its fun to have more than one kind of bike.
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