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Bikepacking in a hybrid - Drops or Flat bars? Clipless or Flat pedals?

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Bikepacking in a hybrid - Drops or Flat bars? Clipless or Flat pedals?

Old 08-12-20, 03:45 PM
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CalebPlewe
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Bikepacking in a hybrid - Drops or Flat bars? Clipless or Flat pedals?

I am planning a 2-day 300 mile ride next summer. I have a 2014 Trek FX 7.1 hybrid bike and even on my 15 mile rides my wrists get sore from being in one position the whole time. Should I invest in some drop handlebars to give myself multiple positions? Or is it just as effective to buy some used bar-ends and throw those on my current bars?

On the question of pedals - Should I invest in clipless? There is also the cheaper route with the old strap in pedals. Does anyone still use those? Both give the ability to pull up on the pedals, but is one better than the other?

I cant find a bikepacking forum so I came to the general section.
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Old 08-12-20, 03:48 PM
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Start with bar ends. If it works, great. If you love it then get a road bike.

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Old 08-12-20, 03:53 PM
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I would choose drop bars and platform pedals.
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Old 08-12-20, 04:02 PM
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Definitely get clippless pedals. I would suggest Shimano SPD’s so you can walk in them.
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Old 08-12-20, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by CalebPlewe View Post
I am planning a 2-day 300 mile ride next summer. I have a 2014 Trek FX 7.1 hybrid bike and even on my 15 mile rides my wrists get sore from being in one position the whole time. Should I invest in some drop handlebars to give myself multiple positions? Or is it just as effective to buy some used bar-ends and throw those on my current bars?

On the question of pedals - Should I invest in clipless? There is also the cheaper route with the old strap in pedals. Does anyone still use those? Both give the ability to pull up on the pedals, but is one better than the other?

I cant find a bikepacking forum so I came to the general section.
First, “bikepacking” is a subset of bicycle touring that people are using incorrectly now. Bikepacking involves more rugged terrain and more rugged bikes. For example, bikepacking

2020-01-26 16:51:13 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

vs touring

IMGP1058 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Bikepacking can be done on smooth roads but it also should involve some rock riding. The touring bike is faster and less efficient at off-road riding. I also tend to keep the mileage on a bikepacking trip lower (25 to 40 miles) vs touring days (40 to 80 miles) mostly because riding off-road is harder.

As to flat bars, if you look at my bikepacking bike, you’ll see the bar ends. They help to alleviate numbness on climbs and on flats. They aren’t perfect but they do work. Get some with some length, however. There are stubby ones that are mostly useless. The longer ones will give you more hand positions.

For pedals, clipless is easier than toe clips. Toe clips require flipping up the clip which can be bothersome on climbs. Often you can’t just let toe clips hang down because they will scrape against the ground while you pedal. With double sided mountain bike pedals, you put your foot on the pedal and you’ll eventually be clipped in. No need for flipping the pedal. They are just easier.
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Old 08-12-20, 04:18 PM
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As already mentioned.....try some bar-ends on a few extended rides. It's low cost and you can install them yourself. Switching to drops involve more parts and additional costs if you're not handy with tools.
I personally would ride with SPD's and get a pair of shoes (MTB). These shoes/cleats combo allow the cleats to be retracted in the shoe and allow you to walk rather comfortably.
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Old 08-12-20, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CalebPlewe View Post
I am planning a 2-day 300 mile ride next summer. I have a 2014 Trek FX 7.1 hybrid bike and even on my 15 mile rides my wrists get sore from being in one position the whole time. Should I invest in some drop handlebars to give myself multiple positions? Or is it just as effective to buy some used bar-ends and throw those on my current bars?

On the question of pedals - Should I invest in clipless? There is also the cheaper route with the old strap in pedals. Does anyone still use those? Both give the ability to pull up on the pedals, but is one better than the other?

I cant find a bikepacking forum so I came to the general section.
I will offer my thoughts in order: 300 miles on gravel in two days is beyond my abilities. Based on my gravel riding in the mountains, 50 miles is a very full day.
Drop bars will extend the reach you have to the hoods and drops. A shorter stem could compensate, but you should evaluate whether you want a more upright (hybrid flat bar) or something leaning forward and more aero. Center of gravity of the bike shifted forward, especially during descents, can be something to consider.
I use and prefer toe clip and strap type pedals for my paved road bikes, but platform pedals for my gravel bike. If I'm stopped and then need to start again, but I'm on an uphill 8% grade, I don't want to have any delay to begin pedaling. I tried toe clips but realized that, as fast as I am getting into the pedals, platforms are faster and at least as secure (with pins). The ability to pull up on pedal strokes is significant to endurance athletes and Strava athletes, but for those of us who ride because it's simply fun, platform pedals are plenty efficient. Others will disagree.
Mtbr.com.
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Old 08-12-20, 05:15 PM
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300 miles in two days is huge mileage...but, each their own.

Bar ends to start for sure...I have a couple of different Velo Orange bars for my hybrid--using Crazy Bars presently.

If going clipless, get an MTB shoe or similar so you are able to get off and push/walk.
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Old 08-12-20, 05:23 PM
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I would see how bar ends work on some longer rides.

If you want to go with drops, I’d think about a new bike.

Regarding pedal choice.... by the time you are putting in 150 gravel mile days, you will know what works for you. Try them both, decide which you like, and ignore rhe internet’s opinion on the matter.
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Old 08-13-20, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
300 miles on gravel in two days ....
​​​​​
Originally Posted by Kapusta
gravel
I must be crazy but in my mind, I am picturing him riding on paved roads, not gravel. 300 is a lot either way.

Unless I missed something?
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Old 08-13-20, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
I must be crazy but in my mind, I am picturing him riding on paved roads, not gravel. 300 is a lot either way.

Unless I missed something?
You missed the part where I imagined this being on gravel

But still (like you say), back to back 150 milers is a lot. And back to my point... if you get to that point, you really don’t need anyone telling you what kind of pedals to use.
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Old 08-13-20, 08:58 AM
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Okay so maybe 300 in two days is a bit ambitious? I plan on doing a couple of centuries and a 150 miler before the big one so I can learn my own limits. I may add an extra day and I may not.

t would be on highways the whole way, I wouldn't have to cross a single bit of gravel. And to those whom I offended by calling that 'bikepacking,' thanks for correcting me! I started biking only this summer so everything that has been posted here has been more than helpful.
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Old 08-13-20, 09:02 AM
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Lots of Europe buys what we call hybrids , for touring to gain more hand positions , you'd add figure 8 bend 'Trekking' bars.

they use all the controls of the straight bars ..

I have 2 bikes with them , & Rohloff hubs, whose grip shifters only fit 22.2 tubing, 7/8", not 15/16" of road bars..
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Old 08-13-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by CalebPlewe View Post
Okay so maybe 300 in two days is a bit ambitious? I plan on doing a couple of centuries and a 150 miler before the big one so I can learn my own limits. I may add an extra day and I may not.

t would be on highways the whole way, I wouldn't have to cross a single bit of gravel. And to those whom I offended by calling that 'bikepacking,' thanks for correcting me! I started biking only this summer so everything that has been posted here has been more than helpful.
You are suffering from too much “de France” and not enough “Tour”. 150 mile in a day on any bike is a highly ambitious goal. Back to back 150 mile does is beyond ambitious. Back -to-back 150 mile days with a touring load is trending towards the ridiculous. Touring shouldn’t be about seeing how far you can ride in a couple of days. Touring should be about the journey. I seldom do much more than about 50 miles per day. I could do 100 miles per day but I also plan on seeing things along the way. If I run across a museum or a natural feature or just an interesting shop, at 50 miles per day, I have time to mess around. My wife has had to teach me this lesson several times.

About 40 years ago, we were on a tour of Scotland. We kept being asked if we were with the “Alaskans” in every town we went through. We weren’t and we always seemed to be about a day behind them. I really wanted to catch up with them to talk to them. After about a week and a half, we stopped hearing about the Alaskans because, apparently, we had diverged from their route. Eventually, we ended up in Oban, a tiny western Scotland coast town. We spent a couple of days there, rode a bus out to Iona, had great food (odd for Great Britain, I know), and spent a wonderful couple of days. We left, rode a day out of town, and decided that we really wanted to go back and do some more exploring. So back we went.

After a wonderful trip back to Iona and a wild boat ride to Staffa, we returned to town and there were the Alaskans! I approached them and said “We’ve been chasing you guys for 2 weeks!” The response I got was “So you caught us.” I did get out of them that they were just passing through town and were 50 miles into a 100 mile day and had to get going. And that was it. No discussion of where they had been, where they were going, adventures , or anything. Basically, just a matter of fact “so you caught us”. They weren’t interested in the little gem that they were charging through. They weren’t interested in seeing sites. They were just interested in miles.

I wanted those miles as well and, like a petulant child, I made the rest of my wife’s day miserable until I realized that what we had found, they had missed. Later we found a solo cyclist from the US who was more than interested in sharing his travels. We shared a meal and exchanged route tips and had a very wonderful evening in perhaps the prettiest town in Scotland.

Going slow and enjoying the ride is something that my wife has had to remind me to do numerous times since. Going fast is fun. Going far is fun, too. Enjoying the trip is equally as fun and often far more rewarding. There’s plenty of time to set records, touring just isn’t the best place. Slow down and enjoy the trip.
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Old 08-13-20, 10:40 AM
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If the bike is designed for flat bars I wouldn't convert it to drops. Some people add bar-ends and aero bars to flat bars for long distance riding:

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Old 08-13-20, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by CalebPlewe View Post
I started biking only this summer ...
I'm 55 so I've been riding since about 1970 or so and I still can't do 150 miles. But truth be told, I've never tried. But even if I did, I'd probably be too wiped out to do it again the next day.
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Old 08-13-20, 11:05 AM
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I think the answer is what ever you prefer. No right or wrong answer here, people tend to like either option.

For wrist discomfort you could try a more upright riding position. Taller and shorter stem. Won't be as aero into the wind but less stress on the joints. Better gloves, thicker grips/bar tape might help as well. You could also try a trekking bar. Lots of options, going to be trial and error to find the one that works for you however.

Like tyrion said not sure I would convert a flat bar bike to drops. Changes the whole geometry.

As for clipless vs. flats, half a gazillion threads exist on that topic. I prefer the clipless for safety, less chance of bouncing off the pedal on a fast downhill. I also have some knee/hip issues the clipless pedals fix. Like someone said SPD's let you walk normally, the set I have are very quick to get into and out of.
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Old 08-13-20, 11:52 AM
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https://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bars/
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Old 08-13-20, 12:37 PM
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Other than my BMX years as a teen, I've only had bicycles w/drop-bars. A few months ago I borrowed a neighbor's flat-bar bicycle (26" wheel MTB), once. It felt haphazard and alien to me, especially when going down hills. I don't recognize any advantage of flat bars.

My touring has been only with toe-clips pedals. Late last year though, I switched to traditional, flat, rubber-block pedals. I thought that my feet might not stay on them. That doesn't really seem to be a problem though.

As for "an efficiency advantage when pulling up on the upstroke" on clipless pedals, I've seen anecdotes of studies that showed no advantage when doing this, compared to riding with flat pedals. The first time I'd heard the theory of an efficiency advantage when pulling up, it was in reference to toe-clips (probably before clipless was invented), said by my non-serous bicyclist father.
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Old 08-13-20, 12:49 PM
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FWIW clipless pedals are not more efficient than platform pedals. There are advantages to clipless, but efficiency isn't one of them.
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Old 08-13-20, 01:13 PM
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I've done 300 in two days but it wasn't on any sort of loaded bike so if you can actually do that after 4 months of riding you're a badass.

Bar ends make flat bars better but there are so many alt bars out there now I'd look into those.

Since you don't plan on really touring you just want a two day suck fest I'd go clipless.
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Old 08-13-20, 06:43 PM
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I’ll bite...

My longest, fully loaded day was about 140 miles. Not super hilly, but definitely not flat. It came near the end of a nearly 4 month trip from the west coast (Seattle) to the east coast (Maine) and then south to Philly. I was wiped. The campground I was supposed to stay at maybe 11 miles before the end was flooded due to Hurricane Floyd the day before. Had to get a motel room and was glad I had a relatively easy day after that.
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Old 08-13-20, 09:16 PM
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It's hilarious how these newbie trolls ALL pick exactly 300 miles and TWO days. LOL And a lame bike with no rack mounts.
This is what the 5th or 6th?? Even if he called it 2 nights and 3 days, it's still wildly unlikely. The second day of my last tour, I had a 30+ mph straight on head wind. I went 3.5 mph and got 24 miles. My more or less goal was 2 day totals a max of 150 miles.
Anyway, I've never used anything but platforms and NO helmet. LOL. Using foot binders is the dangerous one of those 2. IMO
Those straight HBs are the pits no doubt. Needs 30+ degree sweep.
I just did a 133.6 mile day ride in 12.5 hours, on a 73 lb bike with my SA RD5w. Wasn't totally tired yet. Wasn't going to ride 20 miles the next day either.

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Old 08-14-20, 08:10 AM
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Well, NYTimes today had an article about Everesting, so they'll be talking about 29000 feet in a day instead from now on
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Old 08-14-20, 12:06 PM
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I would not change the bars to drops on a frame designed for flat bars - it will change the fit drastically and not necessarily for the better. Bar ends are a very good option for flat bars. Long bar ends with an 'L' shape used to be common, and these provide multiple distinct hand positions, but I don't know how many styles are available.. Most newer bar ends are short and really only give you one more position, although that's better than nothing.

Also take a look at your saddle. A saddle pointed nose-down can cause excessive pressure on your hands as you instinctually try to brace yourself from sliding forward. Saddles are generally best when perfectly level viewed from the side. You might have to play with saddle height and fore-aft position to get comfortable, or even find a different saddle with a shape that suits your anatomy and riding position better.
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