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How often are you in the hoods vs drops?

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How often are you in the hoods vs drops?

Old 06-30-18, 01:25 AM
  #1  
spectastic
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How often are you in the hoods vs drops?

the answer may vary given different conditions, terrain, situation, so please elaborate
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Old 06-30-18, 04:50 AM
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You're absolutely correct, it depends.

Whatever feels comfortable is the number one determinant (for me). I commute about 15km each way here in Germany, mixed surface, lots of hills, and ride a ton of kms in addition to my commute route just because I have a gravel bike, I'm guessing I've ridden 40000 km of gravel in the last 3 years, between here and the DC area. But, to make things a little easier, my rules of thumb: (1) only use the drops on paved downhills, and gravel that I know (that's smoother, naturally anything rough or washboarded out is just too much vibration to safely ride in the drops); (2) hoods if I know the section will require braking and it's bumpy (preferring to ride the hoods rather than reposition my hands for braking); and (3) bar tops most of the time (to include climbing, gravel or paved). And, cobblestones...good luck, you can ride 'em fast, but you gotta be a ****** as they say auf Deutsch.
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Old 06-30-18, 10:21 AM
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Downhills headwinds drops everywhere else hoods.
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Old 06-30-18, 06:27 PM
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25% drops
50% hoods
25% ramps and tops
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Old 06-30-18, 06:33 PM
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How good is your bike fit? I see tons of riders out there that compromise their bike fit to the point of making the drops all but unusable....drops too low for their back flexibility, and bars rotated high to raise the hoods/brifters.

I put aerobars on my gravel rig due to our lovely plains headwinds out here. If I'm on the open road and away from folks...aerobars is more where I tend to be what with having to fight headwind. If the course is technical or crosswindy--the drops. Hoods/tops get rotated through to give the other positions a break or if I'm just plain pooped.
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Old 06-30-18, 06:43 PM
  #6  
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65/35 but depends on the ride. Downhills yes, headwinds yes, also fast flats.
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Old 06-30-18, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
25% drops
50% hoods
25% ramps and tops
That sounds about right. Though I think I spend more time on the tops on rougher stuff, and more time in the drops on pavement. So it evens out.

On loose/rough surfaces, it's about comfort or control. Out on the pavement, it's more about speed and efficiency.
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Old 07-01-18, 03:32 AM
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When riding offroad I use the drops if the terrain is super steep and/or very rough. On asphalt I tend to use it on big downhills, or flats when there is a headwind.

I would like to use the drops more in offroad situations since I have more control over the bike but I need to work on my flexibility.

Most of the time i'm on the hoods, but on long mellow climbs I use the tops a lot to save my neck.

Last edited by Facanh; 07-01-18 at 04:22 AM.
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Old 07-01-18, 09:12 PM
  #9  
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drops on the downhills and rollers. hoods and tops when i get bored or need to just change position. i'll climb on the drops if i'm feeling "it" that day.
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Old 07-02-18, 11:50 AM
  #10  
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I ride my gravel/cross bike on singletrack quite a bit. I'm still relatively new to this style of riding, and was surprised (coming from a mtb with a pretty relaxed riding position) how quickly I took to ripping singletrack, including descents, in the drops. I love it, and the control it offers.
Anyhow, I'm about 80/20 hoods/drops I guess overall. Very rarely go to the tops, usually only on pavement.
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Old 07-05-18, 06:24 AM
  #11  
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About 50% in the drops.
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Old 07-05-18, 06:59 AM
  #12  
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Drops almost exclusively. Long story...
There may be a difference in your body comfort and your confidence comfort. I can get a setup where my body is very comfortable in the hoods. Comfortable meaning I could ride maybe 75 miles in a day on gravel or road with some normal hand position changes through the day and come out feeling good at the end. I had that in my gravel bike. The issue was I was not confident in that comfortable position on anything but smooth road. I tried for almost a year to gain confidence on easy trails, bumpy grass, small bunny hopping over uneven surfaces, down hills, in the loose and uneven and some singletrack.. I just wasn't getting it. There were places I should be able to ride this bike but couldn't get confidence riding in the hoods. Stuff I could easily breeze though even in my cheap old hybrid. In the drops were slightly better for confidence but not enough. One the brakes were not as easy to reach and my bars were just too narrow for the control I wanted and for some reason my knees didn't like the drops. I concentrated on making the drop experience better. I think I did that and now I am confident and comfortable in the drops. Lack of suspension and traction is now my limit on what I can do, not my confidence and control. It took getting some wider flared bars and moving my hoods slightly forward and tweaking my stem length and height at the expense of a slight decline in hood comfort. mainly wrists long term because of a hood position dip. That's fine because my drop position is just as comfortable overall as my previous hood position and I am much more confident in the lower wider stance. I can and still do use the hoods but it is mainly just for a break and a change of pace. Overall my experience has changed like night to day on my gravel bike. I can and still do that 75 mile day in gravel or road but now almost exclusively in the drops. Any aero advantage is a welcomed bonus.

To get the one ultimate hood and drop position for me would require a radical change in hood and paddle shape.

Last edited by u235; 07-05-18 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 07-05-18, 07:41 AM
  #13  
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On a 54-miler yesterday, I believe I was only on the drops twice, both for steep descents. On the other hand, a speed demon I am not.
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Old 07-06-18, 03:56 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
the answer may vary given different conditions, terrain, situation, so please elaborate
60 - 40 drops but as has been said depends in terrain. Single track in drops road when pounding but actually ride top bar not hoods as i have old school levers
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Old 07-08-18, 08:37 PM
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Downwind on the hoods or tops or the bent part of the top before the hood.
Into the wind, that's when I'm in the drops. And usually the flat at the bottom because I'm spent.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:29 AM
  #16  
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Been a long time since I owned a drop bar bike. So long ago that 10 speeds (as in 2x5) was still the thing and there were no hoods on the brake levers. I rode on the tops of the bars almost all the time and in the drops only when I was facing a ferocious headwind. My current bike came with a flat bar that I replaced with a Jones Loop H Bar after some experimenting with others. It offers a range of hand positions but the one I ride in 70% of the time is probably equivalent to riding on the hoods. I can get a more drop like riding posture with my hands on the most forward part of the loop and I use that less than 10%, when facing a headwind. I can get a very upright position with my hands on the grips at the ends of the bars and that is where I ride about 20-25% of the time. That position is good for a change of pace on long rides to relieve hand discomfort and it gives you excellent steering control on loose/soft surfaces. I suppose that is somewhat like riding on the tops of the bars in terms of posture but not for steering control.

I think I am about to buy a drop bar gravel bike so I expect to get re-acquainted with drop bars soon. It will have flared drops so on the drops will be the preferred position for the really loose/soft stuff as well as for fighting headwinds. I'll probably spend most of my time on the hoods. I don't know what I will do when I want to "sit up"....
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Old 07-10-18, 08:56 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by khutch View Post
... I don't know what I will do when I want to "sit up"....
Consider putting on the cross-country levers; those levers that sit on the tops with clamps on or beside the center sleeve of the bars. You will see no effect on your normal braking and they are first class stoppers (unlike the "extension levers" of cheap bikes of the past). (Tektro and others make them.)

Ben
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Old 07-10-18, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Consider putting on the cross-country levers; those levers that sit on the tops with clamps on or beside the center sleeve of the bars. You will see no effect on your normal braking and they are first class stoppers (unlike the "extension levers" of cheap bikes of the past). (Tektro and others make them.)

Ben
Only catch, is that interrupter levers limit you to cable-actuated brakes.
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Old 07-10-18, 09:03 AM
  #19  
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I set all my bikes up to be #1 comfortable in the drops. In other words, the place I can spend all day, even if I am very tired - so I am incouraged to use them late in the day when the road gets sketchy or I have to go upwind. My legs appreciate the former, fewer crashes happen with the latter.

Wind is a large factor in how much I use the drops. Yes, I am more areo with my palms on the brake hoods and my forearms on the bars, but I am not as close to the brakes and do not have as secure a grip should I hit anything. Wind at my back and all positions work. (Life is good!)

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Old 07-10-18, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Only catch, is that interrupter levers limit you to cable-actuated brakes.
No, they have no effect whatsoever. When you are using the regular levers, the only change is that you have another "stop" on the bike for your cable housing. Done cleanly, you will never feel it.

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Old 07-10-18, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
No, they have no effect whatsoever. When you are using the regular levers, the only change is that you have another "stop" on the bike for your cable housing. Done cleanly, you will never feel it.

Ben
Not my point. Interrupter levers only work with cable-pull brakes, not hydraulics.
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Old 07-15-18, 06:34 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I set all my bikes up to be #1 comfortable in the drops. In other words, the place I can spend all day, even if I am very tired - so I am incouraged to use them late in the day when the road gets sketchy or I have to go upwind. My legs appreciate the former, fewer crashes happen with the latter.

Wind is a large factor in how much I use the drops. Yes, I am more areo with my palms on the brake hoods and my forearms on the bars, but I am not as close to the brakes and do not have as secure a grip should I hit anything. Wind at my back and all positions work. (Life is good!)

Ben
After a lot of trial and error, I have found this to be the best way for me. My problem had been going by the Lemond bike sizing formula, which had me (at 5'10") on a 53-54 cm frame. I balked when I first saw this figure, but still tried for probably 20 years to make the small frames fit me. But they never felt right, and getting into the drops on a small bike can be extremely uncomfortable, making them all but unusable except on fast descents.

Recently I have been riding frames in the 56-58 cm range, and loving it. Now I can easily set up a bike so the drops are the most comfortable position, and I use them almost exclusively now, on pavement and gravel both. These days, I'm in the drops probably 85% of the time. The drops are great for sprinting when you're feeling good that day, they also support you extremely well at the other end of the energy spectrum, when you're so tired you can barely hold yourself up. When my legs are completely fried, properly set-up drops feel almost like relaxing in a recliner. And very stable too.

So glad I gave up on the tiny frames. While Lemond was a great sportsman and role model, and definitely the best American rider of his generation, his sizing formula did not work well for me at all.
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Old 07-17-18, 08:10 AM
  #23  
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75%+ drops. It's a road bike so that's the main handlebar position. Hoods for harder climbs or when tired, I guess 20%. Tops are for when I'm really tired and resting, 5% or so.
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Old 07-17-18, 09:41 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
75%+ drops. It's a road bike so that's the main handlebar position. Hoods for harder climbs or when tired, I guess 20%. Tops are for when I'm really tired and resting, 5% or so.
thats not true for any modern road bike/groupset. The hoods are the main position on a modern road bike. Setting up the drops as comfortable results in not having an aggressive enough position for the most aero. This is fine for any a gravel bike where it matters less. My road and gravel bike have a 2" difference in saddle to bar drop since the primary position is fundamentally different for different objectives.
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Old 07-17-18, 09:45 AM
  #25  
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Only is heavy headwinds cruising downhill most of the time on the hoods.
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