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Road bike hand position - name them

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Road bike hand position - name them

Old 01-11-21, 12:13 PM
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Hypno Toad
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Road bike hand position - name them

Let's get down a silly rabbit hole of bike terminology... I know many terms for hand positions on road bars, but there's one grip I don't know what to call.

Let's start with the basics:
  • On the tops: hands on the horizonal bars, like a flat-bar bike, mostly used on climbing
  • On the corners: slight modification of 'on the tops', hands further to the edge of the bars ... where the bars turn forward to the levers. I typically use this for a quick rest to stretch my back or while eating.
  • On the hoods: hands on the brake hoods, the most popular/common position
  • On the hooks: hands on the drops, right at the front to have easy access to the brakes, common position for descending or to get aero for a break away or sprint
  • On the drops: kinda old school since most most modern bars don't have the longer extension to place the hands further back on the drops. On my bikes that have bars that allow this position, it's a nice alternative aero position.
Here's the hand position I'm asking about (first pic). First, this hand position doesn't work with all brake hoods, but most modern brake hoods are designed for this grip. This position offers a way to get shoulders lower (more aero) and shifts the pressure points on your hands. I find myself using this position when riding alone on straight and flat roads (not advisable in a group ride - or only when leading the group).



For contrast, this is the position I refer to as 'on the hoods'. Are both grips still referred to as 'on the hoods'?

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Old 01-11-21, 12:21 PM
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the pistol grip is a position i use too.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:27 PM
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I do something similar to your top photo, but I'm more on top, palms a little more downward facing, lever knob more in the middle of my palm, and my pinky doesn't hook under the shifter. It's probably a little less secure in terms of bumps, but yeah, I only really do that when I'm in front or by myself on a long, clean stretch of road.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
the pistol grip is a position i use too.
Pistol grip ... like that!
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Old 01-11-21, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I do something similar to your top photo, but I'm more on top, palms a little more downward facing, lever knob more in the middle of my palm, and my pinky doesn't hook under the shifter. It's probably a little less secure in terms of bumps, but yeah, I only really do that when I'm in front or by myself on a long, clean stretch of road.
I think the pros ride the same way (without pinky under the brake lever). Like you said, the pinky helps keep your hands secure if you hit a rough patch. I worked with the team at The Fix Studio a couple years ago on a bike fit, the fitter was adamant that you want to use a finger or two to prevent losing your grip.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:13 PM
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I run two fingers on top, two tucked under the levers. Pinky shifts up, ring fingers down. BTW, I am running MicroShift. That may not work on Shimano/Sram.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:15 PM
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I learned a modified "hands on hoods" position many years ago. I rest the meat of the side of the hand (karate chop) by laying it on where the bar meets the hood, and DON'T wrap my palm or hook my fingers around the hood. The hands rest firmly enough to control the bars, but there's no impingement on the median or ulnar nerves. No grabbing, per se. Light touch.

I grab the hood only when needed (standing, sprinting, shifting or braking). This greatly reduces fatigue.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:18 PM
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I use that top position. I would call it maybe Aero-hoods? It's always as you say, stretching out at the front, getting a little more aero than the pistol-grip, but without going into the drops. The next step from Aero-hoods is Invisible Aero-Bars. Which is the not-adviseable-on-public-roads elbows-on-the-tops position that you see pros doing when riding a steady pace on the front.

I don't believe the pinky is necessary. If you're in a riding situation where you think you may need quick access to the brakes, you should probably be in the pistol-grip position anyway. And as you say, lots of hoods nowadays (particularly Campag with their horns-design, but also Shimano and SRAM hydraulic levers with the reservoir up top) have plenty of space up above to get a solid grip on the top of the hood.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I do something similar to your top photo, but I'm more on top, palms a little more downward facing, lever knob more in the middle of my palm, and my pinky doesn't hook under the shifter. It's probably a little less secure in terms of bumps, but yeah, I only really do that when I'm in front or by myself on a long, clean stretch of road.
I use a similar position with bent elbows and forearms parallel with the road. Almost like an "invisible aero bar" position, but with palms resting on top of the hoods. Sometimes I turn my palms more to face the ground, and sometimes I keep them more side-facing.
For me, this is just an alternate hand placement when in an aero position. I can move between this and riding in the drops without changing my overall body position. It's harder to "pistol grip" the hoods when your elbows are bent.



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Old 01-11-21, 01:48 PM
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I should add that I have 5 drop-bar bikes, all with different shifters:

90s version of Campi's Ergo shifters - I can't use the pistol grips with this bike
SRAM hydraulic GX - these are very comfortable with the pistol grip
Shimano 105 - these are good with the pistol grip
Old Shimano Microshifters - I can't use the pistol grip with this set up
Gvenalle GX - great with the pistol grip

N+1 coming in '21 will have SRAM eTap - based on the test ride last fall, these hoods are optimized for the pistol grip
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Old 01-12-21, 03:14 PM
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I more often use a top position by holding the hoods. It gives more aero-pressure to hold and maintain the brake position for a proper grip. Forr me, this is only another hand situation when in an air position. I can move among this and riding in the drops without changing my general body position. It's harder to "single-handed grip" the hoods when your elbows are twisted.
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Old 01-13-21, 03:08 PM
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Tops, 'shoulders' (the term I use, don't know if there is another more correct word), hoods, drops, 'transition' (ditto), flats.
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