Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
Reload this Page >

How often are you in the drops?

Notices
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

How often are you in the drops?

Old 10-02-17, 12:13 AM
  #1  
commu*ist spy
Thread Starter
 
spectastic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: oregon
Posts: 4,459
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 653 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
How often are you in the drops?

I noticed that almost all gravel racing pictures I've seen features a rider in the hoods. are there any scenarios where the drops are preferred? I'm building a commuter/cross/touring/gravel do it all bike with the pictured setup (except mine looks a little better). Would this setup work very well for cross/gravel riding and/or racing?

e771d3a1b954ee1dfcd5c743d5fea634--push-bikes-bar.jpg
spectastic is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 05:44 AM
  #2  
Got Hills, I do!
 
"Fred"'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 765

Bikes: Trek Domane SLR 9.9 - Trek Supercaliber 9.9.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Depends, in gravel races I am in the drops 80%-90% of the time. casual riding less than 10% unless its a headwind. most my gravel training rides are around 40%-50%
"Fred" is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 06:36 AM
  #3  
Expired Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 11,829
Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3781 Post(s)
Liked 5,756 Times in 2,904 Posts
I'm generally in the drops going downhill. You don't want your hands flying off the bars when you hit a rough patch.
shelbyfv is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 07:12 AM
  #4  
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 16,720

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11060 Post(s)
Liked 7,615 Times in 4,247 Posts
My drop bars are made for the drops to be where your hands are most often. With that said, its probably 30% drops and 70% on the hoods/ramps/tops.

There is no right or wrong way in all this.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 07:18 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seacoast, NH
Posts: 757

Bikes: Chinook travel/gravel/family tandem, Chinook all-road, Motobecane fatbike

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 233 Post(s)
Liked 34 Times in 25 Posts
My drop bars are positioned such that my most aero position is in the hoods (with forearms flat). I only use the drops about 10% of the time -- mostly for descending and cornering. On long bumpy descents, the hooks are the place to be.
OneIsAllYouNeed is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 07:58 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 126
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I'm almost entirely on the hoods, although I'm giving thought to getting more of a riser stem and a flared bar, so I can utilize the drops more often in the rough bits. It will take me a while to figure out the right amount of rise such that the hoods remain a useful position, but I can't see a reason not to do this.
ATPAH is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 07:58 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Spoonrobot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,100
Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1241 Post(s)
Liked 193 Times in 121 Posts
Downhill or rough sections - 100%
In a group - 100%
Just riding along/racing by myself - probably 30% or less

That set-up looks like a poor choice for any of the activities you listed. Bullhorns are great for very specific uses but otherwise flat bars or drops are the best for general purpose bikes, IMO.
Spoonrobot is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 08:15 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
mihlbach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 6,645
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 68 Posts
If you mostly find your self riding at an easy pace (which is totally fine) you may not find drops to be that useful or comfortable. But if you like to wind it up, they offer better aerodynamics, stability, and control than any other position available on a traditional road-style handlebar setup with hoods.

On road or gravel I use drops for downhills, headwinds, when standing to climb short hills, and all other times involving speed and/or big efforts.

I don't do much fast group riding, but when I do, I am in the drops virtually all the time.

When riding singletrack with a gravel or CX style bike, I use drops for everything except slow extended climbs. The aero benefits aren't that important here but they give you more stability, power, and control over the hoods and flats.

Even on easy rides, when I may only use the drops 5-10% of the time, they are still worth having IMO. Its nice to occasionally use them to stretch your back if for no other reason.

Last edited by mihlbach; 10-02-17 at 08:23 AM.
mihlbach is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 09:44 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 23,208
Mentioned: 89 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18883 Post(s)
Liked 10,646 Times in 6,054 Posts
The drops are the most comfortable position on my bike, so a lot of the time. Maybe 60 %.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 02:33 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,863

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1147 Post(s)
Liked 415 Times in 335 Posts
That is rather a personal question! ;-)

people with flat bar bikes are never in the drops, nor are the many people who set their drops so low that they are uncomfortable.

I'm in the drops when I am on a fast group ride, or difficult/technical section. In a short hard workout, most of the time I'm down - if it is a longer ride at an endurance pace, not so much.

Buillhorns are fine. They work great on fixed gear as standing up helps a lot with acceleration and braking on those bikes. Even so, you are right - for many people they are just as useful as drops - for many people rarely use the drops.
chas58 is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 04:40 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 289

Bikes: Masi Giramondo, Trek 830 monstercross build, Raleigh Gran Sport, Lemond Tourmalet

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 121 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 19 Times in 12 Posts
I find I'm in the drops at least half the time. My bars are generally set up with bar end shifters, which encourage me to stay in the drops, but I also tend to have my bars up a bit higher - the flats are an inch above my saddle and the drops are 3inches below - which makes the drops pretty comfortable all around.
bcpriess is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 09:06 PM
  #12  
Member
 
Flamme Rouge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 46
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
The drops are the most comfortable position on my bike, so a lot of the time. Maybe 60 %.
This.

If you're not comfortable in the drops then you might want to work on your flexibility or check your bike fit. Or both.
Flamme Rouge is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 09:53 PM
  #13  
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 22 Posts
I'm in the drops maybe 20% of the time. Mostly riding into a strong headwind, on fast descents and any time the going is very rough or technical or I need to be as aerodynamic as possible. Due to spinal issues in my neck, I cannot move my head up enough to see well from the drops for an extended time even though my bars are placed high enough to be otherwise comfortable.

Now that I am running SRAM HRD levers, my hands are very secure on the hoods in more situations than with other levers I have used. The bullhorns in the original post look like it would be very easy to have your hands slip forward on a rough descent.
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 10-02-17, 10:24 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 144
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 94 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
5-10 % of the time against head wind or downhill

I need more practice on it I guess.
rgr555 is offline  
Old 10-03-17, 06:41 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Pompiere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NW Ohio
Posts: 3,456

Bikes: 1984 Miyata 310, 1986 Schwinn Sierra, 2011 Jamis Quest, 1980 Peugeot TH8 Tandem, 1992 Performance Parabola, 1987 Ross Mt. Hood, 1988 Schwinn LeTour, 1988 Trek 400T, 1981 Fuji S12-S LTD, 197? FW Evans

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 541 Post(s)
Liked 1,056 Times in 542 Posts
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
The drops are the most comfortable position on my bike, so a lot of the time. Maybe 60 %.
Same here. I have taller stems on my bikes, so the drops are just a bit lower than the saddle, the tops are slightly above. I find the palms inward, handshake position to be most comfortable for long periods on the bike.
Pompiere is offline  
Old 10-04-17, 11:49 AM
  #16  
commu*ist spy
Thread Starter
 
spectastic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: oregon
Posts: 4,459
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 653 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
the head tube on the frame I'm buliding up is pretty small, meaning I can probably configure the bull horns to be low enough to be like drops
spectastic is offline  
Old 10-05-17, 02:56 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cascadia
Posts: 1,206

Bikes: Jamis Quest Comp

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 169 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Flamme Rouge
This.

If you're not comfortable in the drops then you might want to work on your flexibility or check your bike fit. Or both.
Or lose some weight. I don't find drops as comfortable when I've got a bigger belly.

I suppose you could roll that into flexibility, though.
Sullalto is offline  
Old 10-05-17, 05:06 PM
  #18  
don't try this at home.
 
rm -rf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: N. KY
Posts: 5,976
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 987 Post(s)
Liked 530 Times in 365 Posts
The drops spread the load on my hands. It's way better on rough roads or on gravel. More secure, too.
So I have the bars high enough that the drops are just another hand position, very comfortable. Shallow drop bars are good for this.

I used to just use the drops for extremes -- fast downhills, strong headwinds, all-out sprints. Raising the bars just a little, and fine tuning my bike fit made all the difference.
rm -rf is offline  
Old 10-05-17, 05:33 PM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Middelbury, Vermont
Posts: 1,105

Bikes: Giant Escape 1

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
I think this is a great question and I have wondered myself why cross bikes don't have mountain bike (flat) bars. I have ridden my mountain bike on gravel roads and can't imagine doing it with drop bars.
practical is offline  
Old 10-06-17, 01:19 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cascadia
Posts: 1,206

Bikes: Jamis Quest Comp

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 169 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by practical
I think this is a great question and I have wondered myself why cross bikes don't have mountain bike (flat) bars. I have ridden my mountain bike on gravel roads and can't imagine doing it with drop bars.
Not a common problem, but with gimpy arms/wrists/hands from carpal tunnel and tendinitis problems, I absolutely need to vary my hand positions for any ride longer than 60 minutes. Flat bars for any length of time sound horrid, as appealing as MTB'ing is to me.
Sullalto is offline  
Old 10-06-17, 10:05 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chicago suburbs
Posts: 268

Bikes: 2007 & 2008 Specialized Tricross Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rarely on drops and almost always on hoods. Drops only on sharp uphill stretches for body leverage. Otherwise more comfortable upright back position on hoods at other times.

Originally Posted by practical
I think this is a great question and I have wondered myself why cross bikes don't have mountain bike (flat) bars. I have ridden my mountain bike on gravel roads and can't imagine doing it with drop bars.
This is an excellent point. But I think drop bars give more hand position choices, leading to more comfortable options.

Last edited by Richard8655; 10-06-17 at 10:32 AM.
Richard8655 is offline  
Old 10-06-17, 10:50 AM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,764
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1975 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 173 Posts
Originally Posted by practical
I think this is a great question and I have wondered myself why cross bikes don't have mountain bike (flat) bars. I have ridden my mountain bike on gravel roads and can't imagine doing it with drop bars.
what do you expect flat bars to give you on gravel when turning is initiated by leaning and countersteering?
redlude97 is offline  
Old 10-06-17, 11:09 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Middelbury, Vermont
Posts: 1,105

Bikes: Giant Escape 1

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by redlude97
what do you expect flat bars to give you on gravel when turning is initiated by leaning and countersteering?
I feel I have better stability and balance with a flat bar. I don't race. Gravel and dirt roads can have challenging surfaces like a mountain bike trail.
practical is offline  
Old 10-06-17, 11:12 AM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,985

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4866 Post(s)
Liked 4,018 Times in 2,611 Posts
I rode 100 miles yesterday, probably 60% in the drops. I can get a little more aero on the hoods but the drops are all day comfortable and I never have to worry about that rick I didn't see knocking my hands off.

On the gravel roads around here, the downhills are steep, so much so that going slow isn't an option. Those downhills bottom out with washboard that will have you hoping your frame and wheels are up to it. The drops are the only place I will put my hands!

"commuter/cross/touring/gravel" - for long hours on a bike, having multiple and positions with different reaches can be a valuable asset. The picture you show has on the levers for maximum reach and 4" behind that, the tops. All at the same level of drop. Not much choice. After 5 hours of riding your back is going to be begging you to do something else if you are anything like me.

Ben
79pmooney is offline  
Old 10-06-17, 11:20 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,764
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1975 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 173 Posts
Originally Posted by practical
I feel I have better stability and balance with a flat bar. I don't race. Gravel and dirt roads can have challenging surfaces like a mountain bike trail.
Then why would you want a cross bike for that application and not just a carbon fork hard tailed mountain bike? Drops on a cross bike are just as stable as a flat bar hand position if not more. Just look at old school mountain bikes with dirt drops.
redlude97 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.