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Aggressive Position vs Relaxed Position

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Aggressive Position vs Relaxed Position

Old 06-07-16, 12:57 AM
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drmfunky
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Aggressive Position vs Relaxed Position

I am just wondering what position those on the forum tend to favor the most while riding; aggressive or relaxed. For myself, I tend to ride in a more relaxed position with my hands mostly on the hoods for the vast majority of the time. However, I tend to notice that other cyclists around me go for a more aggressive approach.

As for bike fit, it's more of an "Eddy Fit" which may explain why I tend to have a more relaxed position.

I am curious if any other members on the forum care to discuss their position or which they find themselves using the most while riding, and if you think one is better than the other.
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Old 06-07-16, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by drmfunky View Post
I am just wondering what position those on the forum tend to favor the most while riding; aggressive or relaxed. For myself, I tend to ride in a more relaxed position with my hands mostly on the hoods for the vast majority of the time. However, I tend to notice that other cyclists around me go for a more aggressive approach.

As for bike fit, it's more of an "Eddy Fit" which may explain why I tend to have a more relaxed position.

I am curious if any other members on the forum care to discuss their position or which they find themselves using the most while riding, and if you think one is better than the other.

At the risk of coming across as snarky, why do you care? It depends at least somewhat on why people ride, e.g. for pleasure, for cardio-vascular fitness, to race, to suffer on epic rides, etc, and on riders' physical conditions.

As for me, I've got a very flexible back, so I've slammed my stem and I like to ride in the drops a lot, maybe 40% of the time, mostly on the flats, downhill and sometimes uphill. I ride a lot on top of the hoods, too, maybe 40 or 50%, and the rest of the time on top of my bars.
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Old 06-07-16, 08:15 AM
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It's personal. It depends on your fitness, experience, and the speed you may gain from a more relaxed to aggressive position. I believe there's a sweet spot in between.

For example, finishing a century ride in 6 hrs with a more aggressive position vs in 8 hrs with a more relaxed position. The extra two hrs needed in a more relaxed position might cost you more. In a shorter ride, finishing 10 mi strong head wind in 40 min or an hr?
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Old 06-07-16, 08:36 AM
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It really is personal as noted by both posters above. Also, a good rider can ride in an unaggressive position and a weaker rider can ride in an aggressive position. I have worked with a fellow club member who also rides a Roubaix like I do and he rides more upright than me and rarely uses the drops. I ride a French fit...not even as aggressive as an Eddie fit. Mind you this guy is a brute and built like a brick s#&t house and he is very tough in a sprint in particular...a very strong club rider. A more aggressive position causes him pain like it does me...only I get more neck pain and he gets pain in other areas. Both of us have done sub 5 hr centuries...a bookmark for a decent recreational cyclist.
So...fit doesn't necessarily correlate to the level rider you are. I honesty let pain be my compass on fit. I ride as aggressively as I can just shy of pain. Roadbiking is a battle between aerodynamics and pain.
Btw, most that have their bike set up more pro like tend to ride more on the hoods and tops. Reason is...very few have the fitness of a pro. Their ability to ride for sustained duration in an aggressive position is one of the reasons they are pro.
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Old 06-07-16, 08:37 AM
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I think with a more relaxed (think H2) fit to the overall bike, it makes those recovery efforts on the tops easier...and recovery on the hoods easier too.
I think more importantly you should have a fit where you're comfortable riding the recovery, more upright position, as well as getting aero with forearms parallel to the ground.
I have an H2 setup and I guarantee you that I'm in a more comfortable position AND more aero than most of the people I see riding around with slammed stems and stiff arms.

I've got about 2" (5cm) drop from my saddle to my bars. And the reason for that is because it's just right for me.
Relaxed, but parallel on the hoods, when set up right, will be more comfortable and more sustainable than stiff-armed in the drops of an incorrect setup.

So I think when you talk about aero vs relaxed, there doesn't have to be a compromise. The amount of aero is only equatable to the amount of flexibility and stabilization your body can achieve while still optimizing power output through the various muscles involved in the pedal stroke. You take too far away from one or the other (aero vs power) and you're fighting a losing battle. It's all about finding a medium that your body can support and rolling with it...and then exploring the various ends of that medium as comfort and fitness allows.
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Old 06-07-16, 08:48 AM
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My vintage steel bike has a very aggressive racy geometry with substantial saddle-to-bar drop. I only ride that one when I'm feeling strong, and only for shorter rides.

My other bikes are more relaxed. I tend to use the drops a lot, especially in windy conditions.
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Old 06-07-16, 08:50 AM
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Speaking of H2 fit and for those that think they need 5" of drop to be fast, look no further than Chris Horner's H2 Madone.
Chris rides in what would be considered a 'club riding position'. Several of the club riders I ride with ride in a more aggressive position than Horner..but he can of course drop any of them easily. So position on the bike doesn't necessarily relate to speed.

About his bike and fit compared to his team mates:

Pro bike: Chris Horner's Radioshack Trek Madone 6.9 SSL ATOC - BikeRadar


See a pic of Chris on his bike below...almost astounding for a pro:
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Old 06-07-16, 09:02 AM
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And a further nuance, handlebar height doesn't necessarily correlate to back position and many know that horizontal forearms is more aerodynamic.

Take a look at the profound difference in fit between Horner and his teammate in the pic below. Then take note of their forearm position relative to their back position.

For those interested, as an average rider, I ride pretty close to Horner's position and it very comfortable and I can get my back down with bent arms as well even tho I am not even even in the same league as Horner and much older.
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Old 06-07-16, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Speaking of H2 fit and for those that think they need 5" of drop to be fast, look no further than Chris Horner's H2 Madone.
Chris rides in what would be considered a 'club riding position'. Several of the club riders I ride with ride in a more aggressive position than Horner..but he can of course drop any of them easily. So position on the bike doesn't necessarily relate to speed.

About his bike and fit compare to his team mates:

Pro bike: Chris Horner's Radioshack Trek Madone 6.9 SSL ATOC - BikeRadar


See a pic of Chris on his bike below...almost astounding for a pro:
You seem awfully upset that some riders prefer big drops.
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Old 06-07-16, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
You seem awfully upset that some riders prefer big drops.
Absurd. No doubt you have been told that often...lol.
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Old 06-07-16, 09:23 AM
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I'm in the drops most of the time, but I only have my bars 2 1/2 inches below the saddle so it's not an aggressive position unless I purposely crouch down to get aero. Most guys I see on group rides have their hands glued to the hoods, but their stem is slammed.
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Old 06-07-16, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Most guys I see on group rides have their hands glued to the hoods, but their stem is slammed.
Is there a problem with that? Not rhetorical, honest question. If that gives them a comfortable position, what's the downside?
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Old 06-07-16, 09:34 AM
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My Lynskey is an "endurance" geometry frameset, and I run about a 5.5cm drop. The frame has a 55.7cm effective top-tube length, with 38.24cm reach (horiz. measurement from BB to head tube), and I use a 110mm/6° stem. My bars have a 128mm drop with 73mm reach.

My CAAD10 is more of a "race" geometry with steeper angles, and it has about an 11cm drop. The frame has a 56cm TT length, and a 39.4cm reach, while I use a 100mm/6° stem. My bars have a 125mm drop with 80mm reach.

I'm very comfortable on both.
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Old 06-07-16, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
Is there a problem with that? Not rhetorical, honest question. If that gives them a comfortable position, what's the downside?
Surprised you don't get it. Its called being a slave to fashion. That is largely what bike fit is to many. They compromise their comfort based upon a Walter Mitty norm of try to set a bike up like a racer. Average riders aren't the same weight, have the same strength or the flexibility of the a racer...why they are average among other characteristics including your average observation which misses the point. A more enlightened rider sets up his/her bike to place the handlebar in position where all positions are comfortable and drops are more usable based upon more pedestrian physiology...just like a pro with more outlier anatomy. Variety is what makes a dropbar such a wonderful option. Otherwise, an aggressive position relegates a roadbike to that of a single position aggressive mtb position which btw some off road rider prefer for XC riding.
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Old 06-07-16, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Surprised you don't get it. Its called being a slave to fashion. That is largely what bike fit is to many. They compromise their comfort based upon a Walter Mitty norm of try to set a bike up like a racer. Average riders aren't the same weight, have the same strength or the flexibility of the a racer...why they are average among other characteristics including your average observation which misses the point. A more enlightened rider sets up his/her bike to place the handlebar in position where all positions are comfortable and drops are more usable based upon more pedestrian physiology...just like a pro with more outlier anatomy. Variety is what makes a dropbar such a wonderful option. Otherwise, an aggressive position relegates a roadbike to that of a single position aggressive mtb position which btw some off road rider prefer for XC riding.
"Using the standard position of hands on top of the drops doing 45kmh (almost 28 mph), the study found that you can lessen your aero drag by over 10% by riding in the drops, but surprisingly a position with your hands on the hoods and your arms parallel to the ground was the best position to be in. This position improved your aero drag by over 13%. Sadly most of us do not ride at 28mph on the flats so the gains we may see at 16-20mph of the typical sportive level rider may be smaller, but free speed is free speed.
The study concluded what we all probably know, which is the smaller you can make your body on the bike, the less wind resistance you create. What may not have been so obvious is that the best position to maximize this is not in the drops themselves."
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Old 06-07-16, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Surprised you don't get it. Its called being a slave to fashion. That is largely what bike fit is to many. They compromise their comfort based upon a Walter Mitty norm of try to set a bike up like a racer. Average riders aren't the same weight, have the same strength or the flexibility of the a racer...why they are average among other characteristics including your average observation which misses the point. A more enlightened rider sets up his/her bike to place the handlebar in position where all positions are comfortable and drops are more usable based upon more pedestrian physiology...just like a pro with more outlier anatomy. Variety is what makes a dropbar such a wonderful option. Otherwise, an aggressive position relegates a roadbike to that of a single position aggressive mtb position which btw some off road rider prefer for XC riding.
Not saying much there, really.

If a rider has a 'slammed' stem and is comfortable riding on the hoods, where he spends most of his riding time, must he be a slave to fashion?

I will repeat the question:

If a 'slammed' position that leads to comfort on the hoods is used by a rider, what is the downside of adopting such position?

I am sure you are capable of a straightforward answer rather than going on yet another tirade.
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Old 06-07-16, 09:59 AM
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I set my bikes up so I can ride comfortably for hours upwind in the drops with my arms fairly straight. Yes, bent arms are more aero. I used to do that as a 25 yo bike racer. There was a race where I rode with my arms bent, back horizontal for the first three hours. (Very strong headwind coming from our left on an open 2 lane highway; ie, virtually no shelter for anybody.) But I was 25. I could ride with my arms bent for hours. I am now 63. Headwinds haven't gotten any easier. So I pay a small wind resistance penalty with much straighter arms while keeping my back almost as low.

There is one big plus of riding the drops that no one talks about now, though I used to hear this from my club vets when I was a newbie a long time ago. If you hit something you didn't see; rock, pothole, crack in the pavement, the drops are a far more secure place to have your hands. You cannot slide forward off them. And the time when you are far more likely to hit that whatever is when you are very tired, when you have been going very hard for a long time. Drops you cannot or will not use when you are beat are drops that won't save your butt. And, as those same club vets used to point out, avoiding crashes is big-time important, at least if you race, because they can cause huge disruptions in training.

Another place I ride the drops a lot - when I am on someone's wheel, esp someone I do not know well. If they lead me over any junk, I want to be in the drops.

Learn tor love your drops. It might keep the smile on your face.

Ben
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Old 06-07-16, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I'm in the drops most of the time, but I only have my bars 2 1/2 inches below the saddle so it's not an aggressive position unless I purposely crouch down to get aero. Most guys I see on group rides have their hands glued to the hoods, but their stem is slammed.
Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
Is there a problem with that? Not rhetorical, honest question. If that gives them a comfortable position, what's the downside?
I also have the bars set up with just a small drop. I really like being able to switch from hoods to drops, and I use both regularly. The drops are more comfortable on really rough roads, since the load is spread over more area of my palms. And it's easier on my arms and shoulders to switch both positions.
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Old 06-07-16, 10:46 AM
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I firmly in the relaxed riding position camp. A few simple reasons. I'm older and it's easier on my bones, I'm never going to race anyone so I don't need to be aero unless I'm descending or in a headwind, and where I live there are very few opportunities to descend. Headwinds on the other hand are constant and at times just plain will breaking. I ride on the flats or hoods most of the time but do get into the drops to take a break from the wind or get in a different position to ease up on my old joints. It helps a ton at times.
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Old 06-07-16, 11:01 AM
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No two of my bikes are set up exactly the same. The road bike used for longer distances has a somewhat relaxed/upright setup, my fixed-gear MTB is as well but I spend 95% of the time in the drops, and my "go-fast" road bike is set up more aggressively. They all do their jobs well.
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Old 06-07-16, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I set my bikes up so I can ride comfortably for hours upwind in the drops with my arms fairly straight. Yes, bent arms are more aero. I used to do that as a 25 yo bike racer. There was a race where I rode with my arms bent, back horizontal for the first three hours. (Very strong headwind coming from our left on an open 2 lane highway; ie, virtually no shelter for anybody.) But I was 25. I could ride with my arms bent for hours. I am now 63. Headwinds haven't gotten any easier. So I pay a small wind resistance penalty with much straighter arms while keeping my back almost as low.

There is one big plus of riding the drops that no one talks about now, though I used to hear this from my club vets when I was a newbie a long time ago. If you hit something you didn't see; rock, pothole, crack in the pavement, the drops are a far more secure place to have your hands. You cannot slide forward off them. And the time when you are far more likely to hit that whatever is when you are very tired, when you have been going very hard for a long time. Drops you cannot or will not use when you are beat are drops that won't save your butt. And, as those same club vets used to point out, avoiding crashes is big-time important, at least if you race, because they can cause huge disruptions in training.

Another place I ride the drops a lot - when I am on someone's wheel, esp someone I do not know well. If they lead me over any junk, I want to be in the drops.

Learn tor love your drops. It might keep the smile on your face.

Ben
+1
I was always taught to be in the drops any time you're riding "in stress": accelerating, holding a wheel, cornering, bad pavement, crosswinds, moving through the pack.
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Old 06-07-16, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
"Using the standard position of hands on top of the drops doing 45kmh (almost 28 mph), the study found that you can lessen your aero drag by over 10% by riding in the drops, but surprisingly a position with your hands on the hoods and your arms parallel to the ground was the best position to be in. This position improved your aero drag by over 13%. Sadly most of us do not ride at 28mph on the flats so the gains we may see at 16-20mph of the typical sportive level rider may be smaller, but free speed is free speed.
The study concluded what we all probably know, which is the smaller you can make your body on the bike, the less wind resistance you create. What may not have been so obvious is that the best position to maximize this is not in the drops themselves."
Eddy knew this without wind tunnel data:

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Old 06-07-16, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
Is there a problem with that? Not rhetorical, honest question.
And the honest answer is it's stupid. Guys want their bikes to look cool when they post a picture of it, it ends of being too low for comfort so they keep their hands glued to the hoods. Kind of takes away the point of having drop bars.
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Old 06-07-16, 12:16 PM
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Just checked my drop, ~4cm.
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Old 06-07-16, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
Not saying much there, really.

If a rider has a 'slammed' stem and is comfortable riding on the hoods, where he spends most of his riding time, must he be a slave to fashion?

I will repeat the question:

If a 'slammed' position that leads to comfort on the hoods is used by a rider, what is the downside of adopting such position?

I am sure you are capable of a straightforward answer rather than going on yet another tirade.
Tirade? I explained it succinctly. Can't help your surprising lack of comprehension. Pretty obvious to most that understand why fashion rules the day. From women ruining their feet with 6 inch stilettos...btw, no complaints to cars in the hood riding on 22's with no sidewall. Elementary.

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