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Hoods feel perfect, but drops feel "cramped."

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Hoods feel perfect, but drops feel "cramped."

Old 04-22-16, 10:24 AM
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Hoods feel perfect, but drops feel "cramped."

On my summer commuter/slow group ride bike/spare road bike, I love riding on the hoods. Since this bike has sora components, that makes using the thumb lever a bit easier. However, whenever I actually go on a solo road ride with this bike, I feel like I'm cramped in the drops. My hands are often ALL of the way forward, hanging on to the curved part of the bar.

The bike has traditional curved drop bars. I'd say they most look like the Nitto classic in the following picture.



So technically, the hoods hang off and in front of the bars, so the amount of reach is good, but when I go to the drops, my hands can't go forward as far, so they're jammed into the curve of the bar.

What type of bar should I look at to fix this? I know they make bars to bring the drops back to you (most ergo bars look like this, short top section with drops that sweep toward you so that the ends of the bars are further back than the tops of the bars.) (looking from the top.) But I want the opposite of that. I don't want to move the position of my hoods at all, because they're extremely comfortable.



Also, related to the hoods. On this particular bike I have them turned in a bit, so they don't face forward. I'd classify them as having "toe in." Is this normal for some people, or does it indicate a fit problem? Again, I find them super comfortable.

EDIT: Pics of bars.



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Last edited by corrado33; 04-22-16 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 04-22-16, 10:28 AM
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How about different bars and a longer stem? I toe my hoods in a tiny bit. Sounds like your hoods are down on the hooks like they used to ride in the old days. Now folks install the hoods so that the hoods' ramps make a continuous line with the bar tops. That's much more comfortable.
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Old 04-22-16, 10:45 AM
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I use a stem long enough that when I cup my palms over the brake hoods, ie as far forward as I can get, I am in full TT position when I bring my forearms down to the bar tops. Riding in the drops with elbow bend I am nearly as aero. Riding the drops with small elbow bend, I am decently aero but in a position I can ride all day with a relaxed and stretched out back and deep, comfortable breathing. (I ride handlebars like yours; no "ergos" for me.)

I have very long arms. I get this stretched out position using stems and bike geometries that are not "normal" to say the least. 3 of my 5 bikes are custom frames. The first, I hadn't yet had my awakening as to how long a reach I really need. Although we thought we were addressing my reach needs when I ordered it, the bike now has a 155 stem and is my most comfortable, laid back bike. My two stock frames have 135 and 175 stems. My two newest customs have just 120 and 130 but were designed from scratch to keep the stems that short.

Edit: Hood toe-in. If it makes your bike more comfortable or work better, do it! I used to toe my right hood in after I broke that collar bone. I now do both as I have broken each twice (and finally arrived back at symmetry). I assume no one else rides your bike so you are under no obligation to make it right for anybody but you.

Ben

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Old 04-22-16, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
How about different bars and a longer stem? I toe my hoods in a tiny bit. Sounds like your hoods are down on the hooks like they used to ride in the old days. Now folks install the hoods so that the hoods' ramps make a continuous line with the bar tops. That's much more comfortable.
Not quite. My hoods on this bike do "complete the line" that flow from the tops of the bars. But they're still further out than the drops are.

As for the toe-in, I'd say mine are at a good... 10 degrees in.
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Old 04-22-16, 11:02 AM
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Perhaps bars with a deeper drop would let your arms stretch out more when in the drops. Even a 10mm change might make all the difference in comfort.
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Old 04-22-16, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Perhaps bars with a deeper drop would let your arms stretch out more when in the drops. Even a 10mm change might make all the difference in comfort.
That's what I was thinking as well.

Also, updated for pics in the OP.
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Old 04-23-16, 07:51 AM
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I'd suggest looking at a compact-style bar, like a 3T Ergonova, for example. I'm not sure if it would solve your "too close" feeling, but I find them to work well, in 40 cm.
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Old 04-23-16, 08:00 AM
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Also, I suspect your stem might be too short. And compact bars like my 3T are usually rather short-reach.
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Old 04-23-16, 03:08 PM
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Fit-wise, dropping the bar has the same effect as a longer stem, and you have plenty of spacers. The lower you go the more you'll have to rotate the top of the bar forward. Your classic-bend handlebar has about 100mm of reach compared to 75-ish on modern compact bars, and those classic-bends are pretty comfortable when you have the stem and drop correctly dialled in. When you change handlebar drop or stem length try 20mm incremental changes because anything less is barely noticeable.

Stem calculator: https://yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php

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Old 04-23-16, 07:41 PM
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There is nothing wrong with holding the bars in the curve of the drops. That's a good position. Are you riding with your elbows bent. You shouldn't be taking all your weight on straight arms.

You could try a longer stem or dropping the bars down lower.

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Old 04-30-16, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
The bike has traditional curved drop bars. I'd say they most look like the Nitto classic in the following picture.



So technically, the hoods hang off and in front of the bars, so the amount of reach is good, but when I go to the drops, my hands can't go forward as far, so they're jammed into the curve of the bar.

What type of bar should I look at to fix this? I know they make bars to bring the drops back to you (most ergo bars look like this, short top section with drops that sweep toward you so that the ends of the bars are further back than the tops of the bars.) (looking from the top.) But I want the opposite of that. I don't want to move the position of my hoods at all, because they're extremely comfortable.



Also, related to the hoods. On this particular bike I have them turned in a bit, so they don't face forward. I'd classify them as having "toe in." Is this normal for some people, or does it indicate a fit problem? Again, I find them super comfortable.

EDIT: Pics of bars.



I see what you're talking about. And modern compact bends only worsen the situation, since the farthest reach is at the top of the bar. I've been there, and I found a solution with a Pro Vibe 7s handlebar in the "round" bend.

Using your current bar, I suggest getting a longer stem and mounting the levers higher up on the bar. To compensate for the raised levers, you might want to flip or lower the stem, too. The lowering will give you even more stretch when you're on the drops. The drawback will be that lever reach from the drops will be increased.
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